Charlotte Flair is going to be in the main event of WrestleMania 35.
We've all had a few days to process the dramatic change to the equation that came in the form of Vince McMahon suspending Becky Lynch and inserting Flair as Ronda Rousey's opponent for the Raw women's championship on April 7 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In all but the most dramatically radical scenarios, this will lead to a triple-threat match between Rousey, Lynch and Flair in what's lining up to be a historic moment -- a strong possibility that this showdown will be the first women's match to close out a WrestleMania. There are positives and negatives to inserting Flair in the match, so let's break down what the six-time WWE women's champion brings to the table.
First and foremost, there's plenty of history and narrative to go around. There's the lengthy story between Flair and Lynch, from their friendship and partnership in NXT's Four Horsewomen to the triple-threat women's championship match at WrestleMania 32 and all the way through SummerSlam 2018 and Lynch's breakout stretch of late. There's Lynch turning to Flair to take on Rousey at Survivor Series and Flair's absolute breakdown in destroying Rousey with a kendo stick. Finally, Rousey didn't only cost Lynch the SmackDown women's championship at TLC; Flair was on that ladder too. It would also be nice for Rousey to clarify what her motive was for getting involved and pushing over that ladder at TLC.
Flair brings big-match experience into this event, and she will relieve a couple of key pressure points for Rousey in particular. With Rousey no longer taking the brunt of the heat from Lynch supporters, we're more likely to get the confident, ass-kicking Rousey we got on the microphone at the tail end of her post-Royal Rumble confrontation with Lynch, not the version of Rousey who stumbled in the face of overwhelming shifts in reaction from the audience at the start of that segment.
With Lynch and Flair in the ring, you also have two veteran presences who can handle the pressure of closing out WrestleMania and offer Rousey multiple opponents to lean upon in that match. That isn't to say there has been much to complain about in terms of Rousey's biggest matches to date, but the spotlight of WrestleMania history is another issue entirely.
This change also offers far more in the way of narrative between now and April 7. You can only have Becky Lynch show up on both Raw and SmackDown every week on the microphone opposite Ronda Rousey, Triple H or Stephanie McMahon before it gets stale. Giving the underdog Lynch more barriers to clear while setting up the McMahon family and Charlotte Flair as the detestable villains opens a world of opportunity. We could get to Ireland to find a suspended Lynch brooding and plotting. Lynch could show up to Elimination Chamber, Raw or SmackDown and simply unleash vengeance upon all who get in her way. In terms of mainstream attention, could it get any better than Lynch getting revenge against Vince McMahon in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania?
There's also plenty of time for Flair to feed off all of the anger and hate, and the tools for that are already in place. Flair could easily point to the fact that she should've been the winner of the women's Royal Rumble match anyway, as Lynch got into the match only on the whim and judgment of Fit Finlay (Irish conspiracy, anyone?). Between injury concerns and suspension talk, Flair can sew insecurity among fans, and the closer it gets to WrestleMania without Lynch back in the match, the more vitriol fans will send Flair's way.
Rousey will have to find a balance between the humble, fighting champion she wishes to portray and the ruthless destroyer persona that suits her far better in the world of WWE. It seems likely to be a matter of adjusting on the fly, week by week, but with more players in this scenario, there should be enough time for Rousey to hit that pocket.
Are there drawbacks to this scenario? Sure. Asuka and the SmackDown women's championship have all but disappeared in recent weeks, after what should have been a monumental, decisive victory over Lynch. There's no telling what's ahead for that title at WrestleMania. It could be that a multiwoman match, ala WrestleMania 33, could come into play, or some balancing act due to Flair's and Lynch's departures could bring a Raw star over to challenge Asuka over the next couple of months.
Concerns about the flow of a triple-threat match carry some merit, but plenty of WrestleMania triple threats have lived up to the hype. Just look at the Intercontinental championship bout that opened the show last year, or the main event of WrestleMania 30 with Daniel Bryan, Batista and Randy Orton.
In reality, a lot of the anger and frustration expressed the past couple of days at the change to a triple-threat match centers on one major element: the finish to the match. Even as Lynch appears poised to triumphantly conquer the world, if that victory comes by pinning Charlotte Flair's shoulders to the mat or forcing her to submit -- and not by directly ending Ronda Rousey's streak of invincibility, with Lynch vanquishing her greatest foe -- it would feel somehow lesser in scale.
There's plenty of time to get angry at the creative direction the WWE chooses to follow from here on out, and it's a near certainty that it won't be perfect. But before you pull the panic switch and hit the publish button on your eighth angry tweet of the day, take a deep breath, let a few things play out, and then unleash the inevitable tirade that's sure to follow.