On last week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown, two of the brand’s superstars, Lacey Evans and Elias, were surprisingly introduced as babyfaces after several months of being booked as villainous characters. There was no fanfare involved in these changes, nor were there any clear signs that the two wrestlers would be shifting to good-guy status on television, but as a new report suggests, that appears to be the way WWE intended things to be.
As quoted by Ringside News, Dave Meltzer explained on a recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio that Evans and Elias’ respective changes in alignment were “turns with no turn,” which means WWE purposely did not book any angles or segments to build things up. Citing an example, the veteran combat sports journalist mentioned the segment on last week’s SmackDown where Evans interrupted Bayley and Sasha Banks‘ promo and picked a fight on both heels, despite her once-established status as a villain.
“So the key was that Bayley wouldn’t like attack her,” Meltzer was quoted as saying. “[Evans] attacked Sasha and Bayley backed off. So like Bayley didn’t help Sasha either so Bayley wouldn’t jump her. The idea was that Bayley was afraid of her, yeah [Evans] turned. Elias turned with no turn so we’re doing a lot of turns with no turns.”
As Elias had just returned from a long injury-related absence, Ringside News opined that his turn made “much more sense.” The publication noted that the guitar-playing mid-carder established himself as a good guy in a segment where he “busted” Drake Maverick for flirting with Dana Brooke despite the fact he recently got married to Renee Michelle.
— WWE (@WWE) November 30, 2019
Although Ringside News pointed out that Evans had been building some rapport with audiences as WWE potentially sets her up for a feud against Bayley and Banks, PWTorch was more critical of her face turn in a separate report, writing on Monday that the former Mae Young Classic entry is better suited to playing the heel. The outlet also noted that Evans “isn’t that good” yet as an in-ring performer, which could potentially make it hard to watch her matches against Bayley and/or Banks if their feud progresses further.
Regarding Elias’ face turn, the above publication also graded his Friday Night SmackDown segment as a “miss” because of how weak his return segment turned out to be. However, PWTorch‘s Jon Mezzera also posited that the former “Drifter” of NXT still has the potential of freshening things up on the blue brand, despite having a character that had, at one point, become extremely stale.