There are several ways that a professional wrestler’s career can come to an end, and many of them aren’t good. One of the worst ways you can go out is through injury, which denies you the chance to say goodbye to your fans and end your career on your own terms. Edge struggled with that for years, which is why we’re seeing him make a spectacular comeback now after nearly a decade away from wrestling. An even worse way would be to pass away through accident or misadventure in the midst of your career, although thankfully, that happens less nowadays than it did in the past.
Some wrestlers carry on for such a long time that by the time they’re ready to hang their boots up, everyone else has already moved on. Every wrestling fan can think of a performer who hung around for too long and sullied their own legacy by stepping in the ring when they were too old to do so. Ric Flair is an obvious one. The Undertaker is in danger of doing the same thing now. Beyond all of this, there are the wrestlers who just disappear. They lose their push, slip down the card, and eventually retire without ceremony at a small indie show somewhere, long after the bulk of the audience forgot who they were.
With all of those unpleasant routes out of the business available, we’d have to say that if Becky Lynch has wrestled her final WWE match, she’s had a happy ending – and we have good reason to believe that it may have happened. The Irish ‘lass kicker’ may not have specifically said that she won’t be back when she announced her pregnancy this past week on Monday Night RAW, but nor did she make any solid undertakings about returning in the future. We’ve seen female wrestlers have babies and make comebacks before – Brie Bella and Maria Kanellis managed it recently, and Mickie James has also done so – but what reason would Becky Lynch have to do the same?
This is probably going to be a ‘crossroads’ moment in Becky’s life. Nobody knows how their body is going to react to having a baby until it happens. Nobody knows how they’ll react to having a child on an emotional level until it happens either. Some women heal up quickly, are happy to leave their child with a grandparent or carer after two or three months, and go straight back to work. Others bond with the baby to such an extent that life on the road simply becomes unimaginable, and so they have no desire ever to return to the ring. Becky could go either way. She might be in what ought to be the peak years of her career at 32 – but when she comes to ask herself whether she wants to return, she might also ask herself what the point would be.
There’s nothing left for Becky Lynch to achieve in wrestling. In just two short years, she’s come from being the least-known of the fabled ‘four horsewomen’ to becoming arguably the biggest mainstream star in the history of women’s wrestling. After the fans got behind her when she stood up for herself against Charlotte Flair, Becky became ‘The Man’ – and fans bought the act. She sold merchandise by the truckload and headlined shows. She was in the first-ever all-female WrestleMania main event. She held the RAW women’s championship for over a year, and briefly held both the RAW and SmackDown women’s championship at the same time. She won the Royal Rumble. She was on the cover of the WWE’s official video game. More recently, she’s started landing television acting roles, and may even have a movie career coming. Anywhere Becky steps from here is a step down. There’s nothing for her to do that she hasn’t already done. When she looks upon all that and reflects, she might conclude that her legacy is already complete as a wrestler.
If Becky does reach that conclusion, it’s probably bad news for the company. We can’t possibly know for sure, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that this pregnancy came as a surprise to WWE. Had WWE known their biggest female star was pregnant, she probably wouldn’t have beaten Shayna Baszler at WrestleMania last month. They also wouldn’t have included her on the list of stars who are about to become online slots. Later this year, WWE is featuring several star names from their current roster and releasing a whole range of online slots to websites like Rose Slots. Becky is one of them – but she won’t be around to promote it. In fact, you might get better odds placing a bet on one of those online slots than you would from making a bet that Becky Lynch will ever come back to the WWE roster as a full-time performer.
There are ways of coming back to wrestling that don’t involve working in the ring full time. As we’ve seen with the brief returns of Trish Stratus and Lita in recent years, a big-name performer can come back and work one or two high-profile bouts a year and spend the rest of their time at home. Perhaps Becky would be happy working a Brock Lesnar-like schedule. Maybe she’d be content with appearing for WrestleMania and SummerSlam but focusing on being a mother for the rest of the time. It’s just as possible, though, that her mindset is one of either being a wrestler or not doing it at all. If that’s the case, her victory at WrestleMania 36 might prove to be the final match of her career.
WWE will miss Becky Lynch badly in the months to come, and so will her fans. At the same time, it’s difficult to feel sad. This is a happy time in her life, and after working a relentless schedule for the past two years, she’s earned a break. She’s also earned the right to do whatever she wants to do with her professional career from this point going forward, and whatever she decides, we should all respect it. Be happy that Becky Lynch’s career happened. Don’t be sad that it might be over.