Twenty six years old, less than five years as a professional wrestler, and one of the most decorated women’s wrestlers of all-time. There is probably no bigger testament to the WWE Performance Center than Alexa Bliss. In her relatively short career, “Little Miss Bliss” has amassed five women’s titles across Raw and SmackDown, won the first ever women’s Elimination Chamber, is a former Miss Money in the Bank, and now has a money match at SummerSlam against Ronda Rousey.
Apart from Charlotte Flair, no woman has been booked stronger than Alexa on the main roster. Her path to get to where she is now represents the result of dedication to character work and understanding how to be an effective heel. Upon signing with WWE in 2013, her start wasn’t exactly promising. Alexa’s first character was that of a “glitter fairy” who legitimately came to the ring in a sparkly tutu. She may have garnered a positive reaction at first, but it was a character with a low ceiling.
There’s nothing wrong with a babyface Alexa Bliss in concept. In fact, her story is tailormade for it. A woman overcoming anorexia and finding subsequent success on the bodybuilding circuit is the perfect backstory for a fan favourite. This has never been referenced regarding Alexa’s character though, possibly at her own request. It’s understandably a sensitive subject, but without any personality of her own, Bliss was in danger of being stuck in NXT forever as a glittery crowd pleaser.
A change was needed, and the age old “turn them heel” tactic was the best move they could have made in hindsight. Aligned with the then NXT Tag Team Champions, Blake & Murphy, Bliss unveiled a more sadistic side. She shed her previous persona and replaced her upbeat theme music with a vicious dubstep remix. While Bliss primarily served as a heel manager in NXT, it was in this role that she carved out the character that she would later go on to capture so much success with.
Bliss would spend the rest of her time in NXT with limited in-ring performances. Her main role was leading the tag champs in feuds with the likes of Enzo & Cass (and Carmella, by extension), as well as the Vaudevillains. Bliss would in fact never procure the NXT Women’s Championship, though she did commence a feud with Bayley over the belt before prematurely setting her sights on the main roster.
No longer with her Aussie boys by her side, and without the boast of NXT gold to help carry her on the main roster, it was sink or swim. Bliss would spend her first five months on SmackDown moving around the women’s division, securing herself #1 contendership to Becky Lynch’s SmackDown Women’s Title on the October 9th, 2016 episode of the blue brand.
It was at TLC in December of 2016 where Bliss would capture her first of five women’s championships. She would also start a streak of being on PPV either in a title match or in a match involving the champion that still continues to this day (thanks to her MITB cash-in). For someone to win a main roster title so soon after their call up is one thing, to do it having no championship experience whatsoever is even more impressive.
After losing and regaining her blue belt – before dropping it again at WrestleMania 33 – Bliss would make her way to the Raw brand. It was clear at this point that WWE were positioning her to be one of the top women’s stars in the company. This was made further evident by Bliss capturing the Raw Women’s Championship just one month after being drafted to Raw. Granted, her feud with Bayley had its fair share of flubs, namely the now infamous ‘This is your life’ segment, but it made her a star without equal. Charlotte Flair was now on SmackDown, so the spot to rule the roost on WWE’s flagship show was wide open.
Over the course of the next year, Alexa Bliss would dominate, never dropping out of the title scene. She was the focal point of the entire women’s division. From April 30th, 2017 to April 8th the following year, there would only be a mere eight days where Bliss wasn’t Raw Women’s Champion. Nearly an entire year on top with a small blot coming at the hands of Sasha Banks at SummerSlam. She has since gone on to define the belt as her own, arguably surpassing Charlotte Flair as the most commonly associated with the title.
When looking back at her start as the fan favourite squeaky clean babyface to the arrogant, conniving villain and how much it did for her career, it makes one wonder where Bliss would be now if she hadn’t turned. Perhaps she’d still be toiling away in NXT or barely being featured on television. It’s amazing how one simple attitude change can lead to so much continued success. When it seemed Alexa had left the title picture for the foreseeable future after losing her feud to Nia Jax, she’d be right back in the mix in a matter of months.
WWE have made one of their most successful homegrown talents to date with Alexa Bliss, and it’s a testament to her ability to perform as a character and the tremendous amount of faith that they have placed in her. At this point, she might be the leader of the women’s division for years to come.
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