Where did WWE fail with Alexa Bliss?

 WWE

WWE

Take a trip back in time. It’s late January 2017, and SmackDown Live is the hottest brand in wrestling. A lot of this has to do with the brand’s usage of The Miz, AJ Styles and John Cena. But there’s also another figure who’s been making waves over the preceding months. Someone who many pegged to be a superstar once they got it going. And for the most part, this person did exactly that, shot up the charts, and became one of the hottest young stars in the company.

That person is Alexa Bliss. Bliss, by now, had been Smackdown Women’s Champion for a month. The promo skills that she flashed in her feud with Becky Lynch instantly made her a favorite in the internet crowd. Not only was she clearly the best talker in the women’s division, but one of the best mic workers in the entire company, genders be damned. And, right or wrong, Bliss had “the look” working for her as well. You don’t have to watch her very long to understand that, and you don’t have to delve too deep into WWE’s history to understand why she would be a favorite in their eyes, either.

While she still had work to do with her in-ring skills, polish could always happen down the road. It wasn’t a huge concern. But what was certain then was that Alexa Bliss was a Supernova waiting to happen.

All WWE had to do was not find a way to screw it up.

Flash forward a year later and… Oh, would you look at that?

It appears that WWE found a way to screw the pooch.

Alexa, now on Monday Night RAW, has been treated as a complete and total afterthought for several months now. Despite the fact that she’s been the Women’s Champion since late August, her reign has been a farce. She also does not have the win-loss record that you would expect from a champion, and certainly not of somebody that you think WWE thinks highly of. If you don’t believe me, let’s look at some statistics here.

  • From October 30, 2017-January 29, 2018, there were 14 episodes of Monday Night RAW. Alexa Bliss, the RAW Women’s Champion throughout that time period, wrestled on two of those episodes.
  • Within that time period, Alexa wrestled only one additional singles match: A Champion vs. Champion match against Charlotte at Survivor Series. A match that Bliss lost.
  • Let’s pull the curtain back even further. From September 4, 2017-January 29, 2018, there were 22 episodes of Monday Night RAW. Alexa Bliss wrestled on five of them. She picked up only one win in that time period on October 30.
  • Do I want to pull the curtain back even further? I think I do. Let’s go to June 5th. June 5th was the day after Extreme Rules, which featured the infamous Cane on a Pole Match, a horribly booked match that NEARLY nuked Bayley into oblivion, and a match that most thought made Alexa look SUPER STRONG IN. Well, what happened after that? From June 5, 2017-January 29, 2018, there were 35 episodes of Monday Night RAW. Alexa Bliss wrestled on 11 of them. She went 3-8 with a DQ victory on June 5th over Nia Jax. The only time that Alexa wasn’t a champion during this time period was on August 28, when she faced (and defeated) then-Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks.

The last bullet point might be the most eye-popping. To have a champion, and only use them in matches ELEVEN TIMES over a 35-WEEK PERIOD is pathetic. There is no other word to describe it. That’s over half a year, and you can’t get her in a match more than roughly one-third of the time? There’s no excuse for any of that, and it’s hard to understand where all of this went wrong.

And now with the recent announcement of a Women’s Elimination Chamber, this stretch figures to continue into February. There’s almost no point in having Alexa wrestle singles matches or any sort of matches against her possible contenders, so her next match figures to be on February 25th. That will also mark nearly FOUR MONTHS since Alexa last defended her RAW Women’s Championship.

Let’s also take a look at some more numbers. Here are the W-L records for the women of RAW since June 5th. These records include matches on RAW, Main Event and PPVs:

  • Alexa Bliss: 5-11
  • Alicia Fox: 3-10
  • Asuka: 15-0
  • Bayley: 15-9
  • Dana Brooke: 3-8
  • Emma: 4-14
  • Mandy Rose: 3-4
  • Mickie James: 7-12
  • Nia Jax: 12-14
  • Paige: 4-1
  • Sasha Banks: 19-13
  • Sonya Deville: 3-5
 WWE

WWE

After looking through that list, perception doesn’t really look like reality, does it? Everyone claims that Bayley is done for, yet she has the second-most wins of anyone on the roster, and the same amount as Asuka does since she was called up in October. Everyone claims that Sasha Banks has been misused, and while her championship reigns have been awful, she has the most wins of ANYONE in this time period. And Alexa… the Raw Women’s Champion… has the second-worst win% of active women’s wrestlers on the RAW roster right now. Only Alicia Fox has a worse win%. Emma, of course, is gone, so her mark of .222 is null and void.

Even if it was, Alexa would be in the company of Alicia and Emma, who weren’t exactly viewed as the stars of the division, or even reputable before Alicia’s surge around the time of Survivor Series (Captain Alicia was great, I will say). That’s the kind of company she finds herself in. You’d figure that she’d be in the company of Sasha or Asuka or Bayley, three of the bigger stars that RAW has. You’d think maybe she’d be in the company of Nia Jax, a dominant force in her own right. Hell, you’d think that they’d AT LEAST have her in the company of Mickie James, who at this stage of her career, is nothing more than an enhancement talent. But… no. Alexa, based on win-loss record for OVER HALF A YEAR, was in the company of Alicia Fox and Emma.

So, where did this go wrong for Alexa? It’s really hard to pinpoint an exact moment, but I keep going back to what happened the week before June 5th. The disastrous Bayley: This Is Your Life segment. Since then, Alexa’s promo usage has shot down the chute, as well. And that’s the weird thing, because promos are her strength. When she was on SmackDown Live, she was able to cut promos at will, and showcase her skills. On RAW, however, that’s changed and changed a lot. It can’t seriously be a lack of trust. It’s not that she’s cut a BAD promo. I don’t think she has since her character change in May 2015. That segment, Bayley: This Is Your Life, wouldn’t have been good with ANYBODY in it. It wasn’t good with Alexa at all, let’s be clear. But why has her screen time gone down since then? Why has someone, who can CLEARLY carry herself on the microphone, been so shut out from it for over half a year now? None of it really makes any sense at all.

And I think the bigger thing to ponder is why people just seem to be letting this skate by. It’s very clear that Alexa’s being misused right now, despite having the RAW Women’s Championship. I know what you’re thinking: How can a champion be misused? Well, just as I pointed out in this article: Wrestling 11 times over a 35-week period on TV and going 5-11 in matches on TV and PPV is how you misuse a champion.

But can you imagine if this were Sasha Banks? Or Bayley? People would be out in droves, shouting out about how unfairly they’re being treated. With Alexa… it’s… mostly silence, and confusion as to why she isn’t a focal point. But that’s it. It’s certainly not as loud as it would be if it were Bayley or Sasha.

You can just look at the reactions to Bayley’s loss at Extreme Rules or even Payback, or the repeated reactions every time that Sasha Banks loses her championship within only a few weeks or days of winning the belt to get what I mean about how ‘loud’ they are. But Alexa, whose booking nerfed Bayley in the spring and nerfed Sasha in the summer, doesn’t seem to draw that kind of reaction from fans. And why is that? Because she’s not a 4 Horsewoman? I don’t know if that’s completely the answer, but I wouldn’t rule it out as one of the reasons why.

Alexa was one of the rising stars and biggest brand split success stories in 2016 and early 2017. Now, as we’re nearly done with the first month of 2018, she’s a complete afterthought on RAW, she’s barely used on the program, she rarely wins matches and she surely won’t be the champion after WrestleMania. What happens after that? Lord knows. But based on everything that’s happened since June, it doesn’t look great for her after NOLA. And that’s a damn shame.