Sonya Deville returns on Friday Night SmackDown

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2021/01/01/sonya-deville-returns-on-friday-night-smackdown/

On the first Friday Night SmackDown of the new year, Sonya Deville (Daria Berenato) made her return to WWE programming with a brief backstage cameo walking past members of the roster.

Deville has been absent from programming since losing a “Loser Leaves WWE” match against Mandy Rose this past August at SummerSlam.

The abrupt departure followed a scary incident where her home was broken into with the intruder arrested and charged with multiple offenses including aggravated stalking, attempted arm kidnapping, and criminal mischief. The case is still active and set to proceed.

It was noted to us by one source in the company that her return had been in the works for some time.

WOAH. @SonyaDevilleWWE is BACK on #SmackDown! pic.twitter.com/AcId1KWFDV

— WWE (@WWE) January 2, 2021

Great that she’s back but will they explain why the “Loser Leaves WWE” stipulation no longer counts…? Should’ve just had her attack Mandy (Matt Hardy on Edge style) and demand a rematch to be reinstated or something.

This is easy to explain. When she lost the “loser leaves town” match, they were wrestling at the Amway Centre in Orlando, Florida. Now they are wrestling at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. So, she left town, but now WWE is in a different town so it’s ok to return.

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I think we often get bogged down in “needing explanations for everything” because we’ve come accustomed to criticism of what we’re watching and not really focusing on the thing that just makes it a more enjoyable thing to watch. A detailed explanation often is like checking a box and not really doing anything to improve the latter. She’s going to be a big help to that division and if the first story is good, no one will care about loose ends. That’s really all I care about as a fan.

So yeah, long way of saying I love the “we’re in Tropicana Field now” idea. Hell, that’s even more of an explanation than we get for why lifetime bans in football and UFC are overturned inevitably each time.

I think the problem is, if loser leave town matches obviously do not matter. Why should I care for the next one? What makes me watch the next match? Nothing… thats right.

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What makes you watch the next match? Probably whatever thing that made you watch the last one that featured 27 and 30 year old women entering their prime that had no chance of leaving town forever?

It’s kind of the thing where I say I don’t worry a ton about this stuff. Would it have made anyone feel better if it were a “Loser Leaves For 6 Months” match? It was an entertaining story and there were actual consequences. That’s what makes us always forgive most stories with some holes.

I guess we’ll see if they do put more work into the answer than McGuire’s glorious one though to satisfy whoever needs it though.

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Why are you acting like people wanting things to add up and make sense are the abnormal ones? Most people don’t accept logic holes when it comes to any show they watch especially extremely obvious ones. This expectation that wrestling fans shouldn’t care about things making sense has been a part of the fabric of wrestling for too long.

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Yes. We already accept a lot of fake stuff from wrestling because we know that the wrestlers need to work together to avoid killing each other. And it’s pretty much accepted that the wrestlers are characters – even though that distinction is still a bit blurrier than the typical actor playing role on TV.

But beyond that, wrestling in the current era is essentially a “universe” of TV shows and PPVs like the MCU or whatever else. So it should be held to the same standard when it comes to plot holes, loose ends, and nonsensical storylines. If a company wants comedy, we expect it to be funny. If a company wants drama, we expect it to be dramatic. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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I agree with you on this.

If we are being asked to invest in a universe, I can deal with silly characters or occasional questionable behaviour. However, don’t betray the story you’re telling.

People, rightfully so, would jump all over WCW for doing career ending matches with Hogan / Nash or whomever, only for guys to pop back up a short time later.

When you teach your audience that nothing matters - people will tune out.

And don’t make fans feel like they’re asking too much for questioning logic within the universe.

Eh, alright, I accept I’m wrong.

I can appreciate your opinion on the topic (and please know, I am not hung up on this match or participants specifically) - it’s more of the opinion of stips in wrestling in general. And in this case - WWE.

WWE made the stip. Nobody forced them into doing it. They are going back on something they always had complete control over… So in the end, they look really silly.

I have said it for years - the accelerated erosion of WWE’s audience mainly has to do with the fact that nothing / very, very, little ever truly “matters”. It’s all just filling hours upon hours of weekly TV time.

When people get invested in aspects of the product, they have been repeatedly beaten down being told that they are wrong for doing so.

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I’m perfectly as invested as anyone else in their product, but I probably should have been more specific with the kinds of stipulations and situations I feel like detailed explanations for actually enhance.

I just don’t find the need to have something like “she petitioned to be reinstated and the commission said ‘cool’” get too much in the way of my enjoyment of the product. Of course, they’ve yet to even explain themselves, so who knows if my low level of bar or everyone else’s level of accepted bar winds up getting crossed. I just don’t know what cool explanation people are waiting on here to enhance her return from a stip they had to transition to last second because they didn’t know how long she’d be away (I’m sure someone will think of something). And frankly with this kind of “Never _____” stip in wrestling history (sans actual territories existing), other than Cody with the AEW title and HBK with retiring*, I know what to expect with a stip like this because we’re wrestling fans and it was never meant for anything more than to give her an easy way off TV for a while anyway. The only way you actually fulfill this stipulation is if she actually leaves for good and since that’s not happening and it’s being broken either way you look at it, they might as well get to the good part instead of the preamble.

But I’m obviously alone or in a distinct minority in this matter, so I’m gonna let it go.

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Personally I’m willing to give WWE a bit of rope with this one, given the circumstances of the “loser leaves town” stipulation.

Just about everyone knew what was happening behind the scenes with Sonya and Mandy when they changed the stip from a hair match to a “loser leaves town” match. They were a week away from the PPV where these women were set to have arguably the biggest match of their careers, but unfortunately some creepy loser messed that up for them. Sonya needed her time to deal with the mental baggage or the legal situation surrounding the incident, or whatever else.

WWE needed an out and didn’t have six weeks to put something together that actually made sense, so they came up with this. I don’t think “our performer was being stalked and could have been murdered so she needed a few months off” is any better of a storyline explanation than a flimsy loser-leaves-town stipulation. And it’s certainly not fair that Sonya should be punished and have to stay gone away longer.

Maybe WWE could work something into the storyline where Sonya HAD to come back because she’s still got her targets set on Mandy’s hair, and they could give us the hair-vs-hair match we were supposed to get in the first place? Something like that. For me this whole situation is a lot more excusable and less egregious than Liv Morgan being revealed as Lana’s lesbian lover and never mentioning it again, or three months of “what’s in Eric Rowan’s mystery box?” paid off with a plastic spider.

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I was pretty much going to say the same thing. This was a very unique circumstance, and while normally I would not be defending them for something like this, in this case I can’t blame WWE for their handling of a fucked up situation. I’ll take this over cancelling the biggest match of their respective careers, or jeopardizing her case by shaving her head. You had to do a stip bigger then head shaving, and their really aren’t many I can think of.

If we are really getting technical, it was a looser leaves WWE match, and storyline wise she did leave for over 4 months. It wasn’t a “looser has to retire match”. It’s not horrible that she came back, I’d be much more upset if it was a retirement stipulation.

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The issue isn’t really how they handled her having to take time off. That was understandably a difficult situation and everyone gave them a pass for changing the match stipulation even though it was out of nowhere from a kayfabe point of view.

The issue is how they’re handling her coming back. Not only does it not make sense but just having her show up isn’t very interesting, it’s lazy. Just have her attack Mandy backstage demanding a rematch, have security take her away, then do that again until Mandy gets angry and wants WWE to reinstate her. It’s not difficult.

Obviously we have to wait and see how they explain it away (if they even bother to do that) but I imagine it’d be more a case of “here’s a quick reason, now let’s go on like nothing happened”.

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To be fair, this is the same company that debuted Eric Bischoff in a backstage cutaway for absolutely no reason.

They make some very bad decisions when it comes to that sort of thing.

Makes way too much sense dude it would never work.

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If it’s going to be a lesser version of what they did the first time around, and after this amount of time, it will, I don’t really think it’s a great idea to rewind the tape on this feud, even if it’s the easiest way to an explanation. They also probably still can’t do a hair vs. hair match, so just something one on one is going to feel like a petering out of the feud rather than the height they left off on. I know Mandy isn’t exactly coasting on that momentum anymore, but with Sonya being a fresh slate, she has a far wider path to something hotter than doing a redux.

Honestly, I would give Sonya the win at the RR. She has killed it this year and a Sasha vs Sonya match at mania could be a great fresh match.

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It is just lazy storytelling - she could have been drafted by RAW or just attacked someone violently.

Instead she strolls backstage on Smackdown and the announcers pretend like nothing has happened.

It’s not surprising, it’s the way WWE “tells stories”. Vince believes no one will remember and nothing gets acknowledged