All Heel Everything

I like to think I am open to a lot of things. Unless your argument is baseless, disrespectful, or downright cruel, I like to think I will hear you out. I can’t promise we’ll agree at the end, but I will hear you out.

Today was a weird day. I went into work feeling disjointed and off. I decided to drink too much espresso to make up for it and spent most of the afternoon vibrating. I ended up talking a co-workers ear off and trying to get into Twitter battles. Beware of Lady J looking for a fight.

My fight of choice was about Eva Marie. After hearing that she came out after Bayley beat Alexa Bliss on NXT last night and announced a title match for herself next week, I wanted to vomit. I can’t stand Eva Marie. I never liked her on Total Divas and she was garbage in the ring during her main roster run. I’m told she has improved quite a bit since going back down to developmental (which, let’s face it, is different then NXT at this point) but I wouldn’t know since I skip over any match she’s in. I understand people’s attraction to her physical form, but there’s something about her that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t believe in slut-shaming anyone, or putting another women down for the way she chooses to dress, but there’s something about her that makes me want to turn away. I suppose that’s my problem, though, and not hers.

No one did end up engaging me in a fight (thank you to all of my Twitter followers for not taking the bait when I’m being a jerk) but my poor co-worker listened to me rant and rave. And then they listened to me try and talk through it on my own. Now, I would boo Eva Marie if I could be bothered watching anything she does – which is great, because she’s a heel. Has she earned the right to a title match? I’m not sure. Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that anyone who is pro-Eva Marie thinks she has. She is also currently aligned with the Big Bad of the NXT Women’s Division right now, Nia Jax. So she’s an über-heel with a heater. She’s pretty much the perfect opponent for Bayley, too. Bayley is not a traditional “diva” – she is a beautiful, strong woman, but not necessarily overly sexualized like Eva Marie is. Bayley’s friends have all moved on to the main roster, while Eva Marie is only starting to form her alliances. While Bayley had to work hard to prove herself and become the champ, she has worked some amazing matches – matches that will go down in the history books – while Eva Marie still struggles to prove herself worthy of the championship or even a place on the NXT roster, for some of us.

I don’t think Eva Marie winning the title off of Bayley on a regular one-hour episode of NXT is a good idea. (Note: I write these blogs assuming you don’t read spoilers. Feel free to assume I don’t either.) I think Eva Marie losing by some technicality is good, because it gives her a chance for a re-match, probably at NXT Takeover: London. This would be a great venue for Eva Marie to win and go back to a Women’s Title heel regime. She could conquer people with the help of Nia Jax until it was time for her to move up to the main roster. Then she could write off people like Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alicia Fox, & The Bella Twins – none of whom could say they were ever NXT Women’s Champion. I would tune in to watch her get in Brie’s face and say “when they told me I sucked, I went down to Orlando to get better. They’ve been telling you that you suck for years, and what have you done about it?”

For me, the problem (besides my own personal discomfort around her) is that she isn’t a very good promo. I know some people might blame the hostile, selfish NXT Universe. There is nothing, it seems, that the NXT live audiences love more than to hear themselves screaming ridiculous phrases. Sometimes I think the NXT audiences just want to see themselves get over and not the wrestlers. But after watching the promo between her and Bayley from last night, I did feel a bit sorry for her. It’s no good for a heel when the babyface has to try to calm the audience down – and they don’t even listen to her because they despise you so much. But here’s the thing anyone who ever gets in the ring to cut a promo should remember: you have a microphone. I have seen gifted actors fall apart in front of live audiences because they don’t get the reaction they were expected. I spent months with a cast of The Rocky Horror Show who were as tight as you can be, but the second the audience started calling things out, they fell apart. When you’re cutting a promo, and the audience gets rowdy, DO NOT ADDRESS THEM. It’s precisely what they want, and then they know they have the power. Instead, just keep talking. Maybe they won’t be able to hear you – but the only person who needs to hear you is your scene partner if they are going to respond. Otherwise, your microphone is going to pick up your voice just fine. I would like to see Eva Marie come out one night and just stand in the ring, let the audience boo her and scream a bit and then cut her promo and leave. Eventually people will pipe down to hear what you have to say. And your TV audience (who, let’s face it, makes up more of the people watching you than your live audience does) will ALWAYS hear you.

I’m not an Eva Marie fan. Maybe I’ll change my mind about her. But right now – I’m willing to wait and see what happens. I spent quite a while last year shrieking on the internet for Lana to get her promos (and her extremities) under control. Guess what? She did. So there’s hope.

The Lady J Says

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