Nia Jax has turned heel again. At least, this is the conclusion many have drawn after the Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey segment on the 28 May episode of RAW. Allegedly, Nia became the bully and thus undermined all her anti-bullying efforts during her face run. Was Alexa Bliss right? Was Nia Jax the bully all along and Alexa the victim?
To quote Seth Rollins: that’s a hard no. Neither did Nia Jax turn heel on Monday, nor did she bully someone. How do I justify my take on the situation? Well, as always, I look at other cultural products and link them to the WWE, trying to make sense of it all. Ironically, the inspiration for this opinion piece comes from none other than Ronda Rousey herself. Or, to be more precise, her theme song Bad Reputation, which also features in the movie Shrek. By analysing Shrek’s behaviour and role in the movie, it will be clear that Nia is still one of the good gals.
No Secrecy Involved
At the beginning of the movie, Shrek encounters a mob that came to his swamp to fight him. The villagers talk among themselves and Shrek overhears it. He reveals himself to them and corrects their notions of what an ogre might do to them, intimidating them in the process. Being rather blunt about this, he does not try to hide anything from them. Then he even gives them the chance to run away, laughing as he watches them.
Nia Jax’ exhibition against the jobber started with Nia demonstrating how she would counter the Armbar. Would a heel give away her secret tactic before the great match? Absolutely not, as heels usually act smarter than faces. Showing the game plan before a match is a very un-heelish thing to do. Nia later went on to inform Rousey that the latter has never encountered someone like The Irresistible Force in the UFC. Instead of leaving Rousey in the dark, Nia prepares her mentally, so that all parties involved know what to expect. Since when have openness and honesty become heel traits?
One of the most famous scenes in Shrek is the fight that takes place at Duloc. While Bad Reputation is playing, Shrek defeats the knights, using several wrestling moves. He starts with basic attacks, but as the fight progresses, he uses fancier moves, showcasing his abilities. The crowd cheers and eggs him on to use a chair, which he does. Yet, as soon as the last knight is defeated, Shrek stops fighting and does not attack his opponents any further.
After the jobber was ready to fight again, Nia Jax picked her up and performed a Samoan Drop. She also showed Ronda her Leg Drop and a Rolling Senton. After the latter, the referee signaled Nia that her opponent could take no more. And what did Nia do? She attacked her no further. A heel would have continued with the attacks, showing her superiority and viciousness. Even when Rousey followed her invitation to the ring, Nia did not lay a hand on her. She even turned her back on her opponent when exiting the ring, which is not the smartest thing to do. As pointed out earlier, faces tend to do less-than-smart or even outright stupid things. Heels by contrast use every opportunity to get a cheap shot in.
Layers Over Layers
Think back to last week’s RAW. Stephanie McMahon, in true heel fashion, riled Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey up, getting some barbs in. And the two women, like in true face fashion, fell for it. The remarks concerning Nia’s championship matches against Alexa Bliss must have stung. You also have to consider where Nia comes from. Nia comes basically from wrestling royalty, as many of her family members are also in the business. Nia lives and breathes wrestling. And then, suddenly this UFC attraction comes in and steals the thunder of the established wrestlers. This didn’t sit right with Nia and she made her thoughts on that known via twitter. Shrek sets out on his adventure to reclaim his swamp and he is celebrated as a hero. He is the good guy of the story. But when Nia tries to protect her yard swamp, she suddenly becomes a bad person again?
Things are often more complicated than they initially appear. The same can be said for people. It is Shrek who brings up the onion analogy. He claims that he is more layered than people give him credit for. I argue that the same thing can be said about Nia and faces in general. There are different kinds of faces, just as there are different varieties of heels as well. Rey Cash has written an amazing article on the nuances of characters. I think people jumped to the wrong conclusion on Nia. Especially as Braun Strowman displayed the same tactics on the same RAW episode, but I don’t hear him being referred to as anything, but a babyface.
For now, Nia Jax is still a babyface, trying to protect her swamp from intruders. A girl should do what she wants to do and not give a damn about her reputation. Really, really.
What do you think? Leave a comment below or message me on Twitter @KirstinHerzog1.