WWE NXT, 2014
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and for Becky Lynch, even her wrestling debut at age 15, her global experience, and her year in WWE developmental couldn’t save her from bad ideas.
Bad ideas like making your wrestling persona the biggest mick this side of the Atlantic.
Hey, I’m an O’Donnell. I can use the M-word.
Remember when The Rock first debuted, and management told the ultimate good guy babyface that you can’t smile enough? I have a feeling that Triple H pulled a rib on Becky Lynch on her debut night and told her you can’t dance enough.
|The first sight viewers on the WWE Network saw of Becky was of her leaping onto the NXT stage like a leprechaun.|
|Becky danced a jolly jig to the ring, accompanied by whimsical Irish music with the finest fiddling MIDI could buy.|
|In case you didn’t get the picture about where Becky was from, she did another, slightly impractical jig on the ring apron.|
|Becky even struck a fighting pose befitting a Notre Dame mascot.|
|Look, we got it: she’s Irish.|
“LOOK, WE GOT IT. SHE’S IRISH”!
Just who the hell taught Becky how to dance?
|That was a rhetorical question, but the announcers had the answer anyway: Colin Farrell’s brother! The viewers’ blarney-detectors should have been ringing like mad at that point.|
|Trained dancer Summer Rae took offense to the prospect of being upstaged at her own game, turning the match into a dance-off from the opening bell.|
|Becky was none too impressed by Summer’s hoity-toity dancin’, responding with — you guessed it — a jig! This was a jig of defiance. She even sang an angry ditty to go along with it, consisting of the words, “Diddly diddly diddly diddly.”|
|And as if Becky hadn’t already Irished up her debut enough already, the commentators informed us that she was good friends with Sheamus and idolized Fit Finlay.|
|In one of her few non-jig-related pieces of offense, Becky hit an exploder suplex for the victory. Thank God she didn’t give Summer a potato.|
|After the match, Becky did a celebratory jig…|
|…followed by a limping jig to a smattering of applause from the NXT crowd, in particular those fans who already knew who she was before she debuted as the female Hornswoggle. From the rest of the fans, the reaction to her debut was akin to a post-St. Patrick’s Day hangover.|
|The debut turned out downright embarrassing, and by the end of the night most fans no doubt remembered only the fact that Becky danced like a moron. That’s not a good way to start your career, even when performing in front of the irony-loving Full Sail University crowd, whose favorites include an enhancement talent named, “Blue Pants” who isn’t even under contract.|
|Fortunately, before she could be branded, “Green Pants,” Becky abruptly transformed into a headbanger…|
|…and eventually, a steam punk who would fit in better in a Jules Verne novel than in a Lucky Charms commercial.|
And while I’m on the subject of debuts and ethnic stereotypes, does anyone remember Yoshi Tatsu’s first match?
In the summer of 2009, Shelton Benjamin returned to ECW after being drafted from Smackdown. You wouldn’t think that would be something to be happy about, but not only did the announcers spin this demotion into a positive, but Shelton himself celebrated in his own unique way: by becoming astonishingly and inexplicably racist.
|His opponent was newcomer Yoshi Tatsu, who not only was part of GM Tiffany’s New Superstar Initiative, but was also, to Shelton’s amusement, Japanese. He also had the peppiest entrance music in WWE history.|
|Benjamin, apparently never having met an Asian guy before, found Tatsu’s nationality hysterically funny. It was even more immature than the time that this writer, at two years of age, ran around the house shouting, “It’s a Chinese guy! It’s a Chinese guy!” when the pizza delivery man showed up at the door. (He was black).|
|First, he cut a promo in broken English and threatened to summon Godzilla.|
|Then, even after the bell rang, Shelton wasn’t done, insisting that he bow before any real action got started.|
|And he bowed some more as the announcers sat there, dumbfounded.|
|He then shuffled across the ring for even more bowing…|
|…because this match wasn’t already enough like a World War II-era Bugs Bunny cartoon.|
|You’d think he’d be satisfied, but no, Shelton just had to bow in all four corners of the ring consecutively, like the world’s most racist strap match.|
|(And that’s saying something!)|
|Then it was time to start the actual match — well, not quite yet, because Shelton still hadn’t done his Karate Kid stance…|
|…or his sumo impression. Bless Mama Benjamin’s soul (unless she’s still alive; I can’t remember how that gimmick ended), because I know she’d never let her Shelton act the fool this way if she were still around.|
|After five minutes of mockery, the Gold Standard appeared ready to get down to business with Tatsu, but not before a plea to squeeze in just one more bow, after which Yoshi Tatsu promptly kicked him in the face and pinned him.|
|The next week, Shelton beat Tatsu in a much more competitive rematch. Still, I’m sure Benjamin was sholly he ever insulted the Japanese people.|