Wednesday, October 31, 2018

StoryCraft - Wrestling - Lynch v. Flair

Lynch and Flair kick the hell out of each other

So this weekend there was a title match between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch. It was one for the ages, I loved every minute.

Yes, I know, wrestling is dumb. Usually. But once in awhile, a few times a year, it's great. And Becky Lynch versus Charlotte Flair was soooo great. This is what people live for, story telling and investment that has you screaming at the screen.

Emotional connection. That's the key. It doesn't matter your genre or medium. Get the audience invested in the characters, and you're golden. How do you do that? I dunno. It's hard.

But I can show you how the WWE did it with Flair/Lynch. I'll tell the story and maybe we'll learn something.

THE SET UP

For years, and up until recently, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were besties. They came up through the roster together, trained together, had each other's back. An unbreakable duo. Over time, however, the relationship became strained. As Flair was winning titles, Lynch played second fiddle. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Then, earlier this year, Flair was injured. Her boob popped. Seriously, that's not kayfabe or storyline. One of her breast implants was damaged in a match and was leaking. She had to get it fixed, so she was out for awhile. The top of the mountain was clear, the throne empty.

Into that gap stepped the bestie, the side kick, Becky Lynch, determined to make a go of it, stepping out from Flair's shadow. And goddamn did she kick ass, running through the roster like a buzzsaw, earning a title shot in mid summer. She was just one win away, an easy win too against a sub-par champion named Carmella.

So Lynch's dreams were about to come true. Champion. Finally. After years of toil.

Then Charlotte Flair came back from injury.

THE TURN

Immediately, ex-champ Charlotte Flair was given a title shot. They added her to the very same title match where Becky Lynch was favored to win the title against Carmella. It became a triple threat match. Three women in the ring. First to get a pin wins.

And, of course, Flair gets the pin and takes the title. The crowd booed. Everyone in the arena, everyone watching at home, was hoping Lynch would take it. She'd worked so hard, struggled for so long, to have the rug pulled out from under her now was gut wrenching.

When Charlotte Flair, with her newly won title in tow, went to shake her friend's hand in a show of friendship and good sportsmanship, it happened. What we'd all been waiting for. Becky Lynch snapped, beating the holy hell out of Flair, leaving her former friend broken in the middle of the ring with her title.

The crowd went nuts. I did too. Lynch was no longer content with second fiddle. She wanted her her title shot. Demanded it. One on one. No bullshit getting in the way.

THE PAYOFF

This being wrestling, when a beef is set up like this it doesn't fester. It doesn't eat away for long, it gets settled. It gets settled in the ring. In this case, a last woman standing match at the all women's PPV, Evolution.

Now let me explain 'last woman standing'. It's basically a no hold's barred hardcore match. No pin falls, no count outs or submissions. The winner is the last one standing when the other can't get up. It's perfect to settle a feud.

A feud this well set up, taking years to grow, is a fine thing. It gets you invested in the match itself. Delivering a good show in the ring, however, is difficult. You have to match up the heat of the feud with the action in the ring. And this feud was so hot there's no real way you can do it justice with just any old scrap. It has to be epic, and violent.

And it was. The most violent women's match in history. They hit each other with kendo sticks, blasted each other through tables, whacked each other with chairs. They jumped off of ladders onto the announce table, and through it. They fought out into the crowd. At one point Flair had Lynch's legs bent up in a ladder. Flair moonsalted. Becky buried Flair under a huge pile of broken chairs and tables, only to have Flair come busting up out of them like a demon.

Finally, after more than 30 minutes of nonstop wall to wall insanity, Lynch power bombed Flair through a table for the win.

Lynch. Champ. Finally. I don't think my fat heart could have handled much more, it was that awesome.

EPILOGUE

So now what? Lynch is champ. She vanquished her friend. Is it over?

No. This is wrestling. It never ends. Don't think for a second Charlotte Flair is through, she'll be back. And Lynch will be waiting.

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