It’s sure been a long road for Dublin, Ireland’s Rebecca Quin. But this past Sunday at WWE Backlash, the woman better known to the WWE Universe as Becky Lynch finally realized a lifelong dream and became the Smackdown Women’s Champion, defeating five other competitors – Nikki Bella, Natalya, Carmella, Naomi, and Alexa Bliss – in a 6-Pack Challenge to capture the inaugural title for the Blue Brand.
As a young girl in Dublin, Becky knew she wanted to be a professional wrestler. In June of 2002, a 15-year old Becky Quin walked into a local wrestling school, run by future WWE Superstar Finn Balor, and by November, the youngster made her professional wrestling debut at a local indie show. Often teaming with her brother in intergender tag matches, it was clear to everyone that this was indeed what Becky wanted to do – that it was in her very being to be a professional wrestler. Before long, she joined the ranks of NWA UK Hammerlock, the first European promotion to ally under the NWA brand in 1993.
By 2005, wrestling under the name Rebecca Knox, she had moved to Canada to continue her career, joining famed British Columbia promotion ECCW (Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling) and being crowned the company’s inaugural SuperGirls Champion (a title she would lose to former WWE Superstar Ivory, and was also held by future workmates Natalya and Emma). By year’s end, she was then working in the United States, with a brief stint in New England Championship Wrestling (NECW) and then in the all-women promotion Shimmer. She spent some time in Japan in 2006, and continued touring and wrestling across North America and Europe until 2008. Following a no-show at a Shimmer event in early 2008, Quin announced she was leaving wrestling as she was having second doubts about professional wrestling as a viable career option. Six years in the business, from the age of 15 to 22, had taken its toll mentally and physically, and the young Dubliner was beginning to suffer serious doubts if she’d made the right choice.
Becky took nearly three years away from the sport she’d always loved and it ate her up inside. Had she made the right choice in retiring so young? With so much unproven? So many questions unanswered? The answer was a resounding “no”. In 2011, she returned to Shimmer, initially in a managerial role with the mother-daughter tag team of Saraya Knight and her daughter, future WWE Superstar Paige. Her return to the squared circle and dedication to her craft paid off. In 2013, she was signed by WWE and assigned to their burgeoning developmental system, NXT.
She made her NXT TV debut on June 26, 2014 with a victory over Summer Rae. Allying herself with another popular face, Bayley, the two began to feud with the BFFs (NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte and Sasha Banks). After months of unsuccessful attempts at dethroning the Queen, Lynch turned on Bayley and joined with Sasha Banks in the heel duo Team BAE (Best At Everything). It wasn’t long before Lynch returned to that of a fan favourite, and at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable in May of 2015, Lynch debuted a new steampunk look with fiery red hair signalling the new rebirth of Becky Lynch. And she hasn’t looked back since. Alongside her friends Charlotte, Banks and Bayley, the media dubbed the four women the Four Horsewomen, in honour of the quartet’s sheer dominance in NXT – and not just in the women’s division. The four put women’s wrestling back on the map and routinely stole the show at every NXT event, be it Live Event or TakeOver.
In the fall of 2015, Lynch joined Charlotte and Sasha Banks on the WWE main roster and helped kickstart the Diva Revolution, that helped dissolve the painfully sour taste of the Diva’s Division of the past several years, and fill it with promises of excitement that the WWE Universe hadn’t felt since the glory days of Trish Stratus and Lita. Charlotte would taste gold first, winning the Divas Championship from Nikki Bella, and then capturing the inaugural new WWE Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania 32 this spring. Sasha Banks would have her moment following the Brand Split, capturing Raw‘s Women’s Championship just a few short months ago.
When the Brand Split brought Becky Lynch to Smackdown Live, she was surrounded by a roster of women far deeper than Raw’s. While it lacked the A-list star power of having Charlotte, Banks, Paige (and now Bayley), it featured solid performers in Natalya, Nikki Bella, and Naomi, plus two NXT call-ups, Alexa Bliss and Carmella. But none of them was Becky Lynch. In under a year, she was not only one of the most popular women on the main roster, she was one of the most popular Superstars.
This last Sunday, the WWE crowned its first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion, a world title for the Blue Brand’s female Superstars. And rightfully so, it went to the third member of the Four Horsewomen to win a world title in under a year. The Irish lass kicker, Becky Lynch.
It took 14 years of blood, sweat and self doubt to reach the top of the mountain, but now it’s safe to say that Rebecca Quin made the right decision in 2011 to return to the sport she almost turned her back on. And with a clear focus and direction in front of her, Lynch is on her way to immortality.
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