I’m honestly not sure what the point of the last few months has been. If Lana wasn’t even going to be involved in the feud blow off match, why book it?
Man, I honestly thought I was done working for the year. My son is due any minute now, and may very well have already been born by the time you read this. I was hoping for a nice relaxing viewing of RAW this past Monday, but then WWE did something so nonsensical that it made me drag the laptop out one final time in 2020.
This week could have very well been the biggest week yet in Lana’s WWE career. She was set to face Nia Jax on RAW and then have an opportunity to win her first Championship ever Sunday at TLC when she and Asuka faced off against Jax and Shayna Baszler for the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
WWE even had Lana doing the media rounds this past weekend to promote both shows. I was lucky enough to get to talk to her about her career journey and how this week could have been the culmination of years of hard work. The key word there, is could. It could have finally been the moment when she accomplished her dreams, but WWE pulled the rug out from under her.
Things started off on the right foot. Lana did get a measure of revenge after weeks of torture at the hands of Nia Jax. During their match The Ravishing One knocked Jax off the turnbuckle and was able to fold her up long enough to get the 1-2-3 in a shocking upset. It was a quick match (like all Lana matches), but still a big win as Jax is heavily protected by WWE creative. However, things quickly turned ugly for Lana as Shayna Baszler hit the ring, and the Women’s Tag Team Champions brutally attacked her. They kayfabe injured her ankle so bad that WWE medical almost immediately ruled her out of Sunday’s match at TLC.
Some of you may not realize this but over the last few months, the main storyline within the RAW Women’s Division has centered around Lana. You would think the focus would be on Asuka. She is the RAW Women’s Champion after all, but ever since her feud with Bayley and Sasha Banks came to an end she has been moved to the back burner.
These last four months Asuka has been used more as a back drop in other story angles than being involved in anything major for herself. Case in point, instead of building up to a title defense at TLC for Asuka, WWE instead decided to have her back up Lana in the true top story on RAW.
Nia Jax has been on a mission to destroy Lana for weeks now, almost like it’s a personal attack on the business that she even try to be successful at it. Jax may have finally accomplished her goal on Monday. If that was the story WWE was going for, then they succeeded. However, if the story was about Lana overcoming adversity to prove all her haters and doubters wrong, then the company has missed the boat twice now.
The first time was at Survivor Series were she won the match by standing on the ring steps. Yea she was the soul survivor technically, but the win was hollow. She didn’t do anything to overcome or change the perception that she doesn’t belong in a WWE ring. Now, after months of building toward this big blow off match at the last PPV of the year, Lana will not even be competing.
Lana will always have her detractors, but WWE creative has actually done a great job of building this very relatable story arc around her. They took time and effort to push someone other than the usual suspects. They got me invested. They made me care. Then they took it away for no reason.
I cannot possibly imagine that this was the long term plan. This is the equivalent a writing a book and killing off the titular character before the final act. It could be compelling story telling if done correctly, but this was not. This, to me, screams a last minute change of the script.
Taking Lana out of the story that was hers and proceeding with the Women’s Tag Team Title match with Asuka and a mystery partner is a complete waste of the last few months of storytelling.
In the long run, Asuka will be fine. As frustrating as her booking has been, she’s still one of the most talented and over stars on the Red Brand. She’s built up her equity and is bound to be used heavily in the build up to WrestleMania. Note, I said the build up to Mania and not necessarily the show itself.
Who this really hurts though is Lana. She’s the one who desperately needed the big victory. She badly needed the Andy Dufresne finish. She needed to crawl through this river of *expletive deleted* that has been her life these last few months and come out clean on the other side.
It appears that’s just not going to happen. WWE has now passed up two golden opportunities to bring Lana into a new light and reward her years of dedication, and I am no longer holding out hope that it’s going to happen at a later date. This lack of a pay off here makes everything WWE has done surrounding this story arc utterly pointless. It also helps fuel the perception of many that WWE just can’t tell long-term stories anymore.