“Back in Ireland, my mum still wants me in bed by 4pm!” Becky Lynch on WWE 2K17, turning heel and loving Ryu

Given the larger-than-life reputation of WWE, it’d be no surprise to meet the first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion and discover that success had gone to their head somewhat. Yet there’s no such aura around Becky Lynch. The Dubliner’s steampunk girl-next-door persona has won her fans young and old since debuting on the main roster in July 2015, and what impresses most on meeting her in a Cardiff hotel is that it isn’t an act. As confirmed by a story of her returning to Ireland to visit her family last week.

“I got to go home before this tour,” reveals the 29-year-old Lynch – real name Rebecca Quin, whose CV outside the ring includes a stint as an Aer Lingus flight attendant. “We had a couple of days off beforehand, so I went back to Dublin for two nights. Watched telly, played with my dog, drank lots of tea with my mum. She worries so much about me being a wrestler. When I was at home she wanted me in bed by 4pm! I’m like, mum, I’m the women’s champ!” 

“My mum’s place is exactly how it used to be,” Lynch says of the chance to enjoy home comforts. “No action figures. No merch. My mum doesn’t haven’t any of that stuff, but she asked me to bring her some back this time. So I did – and she got me to sign it! I was a bit, like, 'but you know me. You birthed me!' She’s proud as punch and can’t really get over it all.”

Lynch cites her first action figure – a second is on the way shortly – and a debut video game appearance as among her life goals, and although not a devoted gamer is humbled to have been reproduced in digital form via WWE 2K17.

“I’m an old-school gamer. I had a Sega [Mega Drive], Commodore 64, Game Boy. I love Pac-man, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter. Ryu is my favourite-ever character – I’d love to leapfrog the Hadouken. I never really evolved too far beyond that, but I have played 2K17. Seeing it, with the graphics, that was amazing. I love the way you can mix up the entrances – which are so lifelike – to have me, Bayley and Sasha doing New Day’s entrance. That’s pretty awesome.” 

“I have only one gripe,” Lynch continues. “My hair is less orange in the videogame than in real life. That’s old-school Becky Lynch!” Thankfully, fans are able to fix this oversight using the Community Creations feature, where wrestler edits – including hair dye – can be shared globally with a couple of button clicks. “It reminds me of those little books you had as a kid, where you could dress characters up using stickers,” she says. “It’s like that, but with… me! Almost virtual-reality esque. It’s quite surreal.” 

One factor behind Lynch’s fervent following is that she makes up 25% of the Four Horsewomen: a quartet who, through exceptional matches in NXT, slowly persuaded fans to take women’s wrestling seriously, and inspired WWE to abandon its antiquated concept of ‘divas’. Lynch is naturally proud of the role she – and cohorts Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Bayley – played in what the company termed a ‘women’s revolution’, and says the four continually strive to outdo one another.  

“The real revolution wasn’t hashtagged,” says Lynch. “It was just a case of us slowly doing our job well. We were given the opportunity to do that, and then got brought up onto the main roster and [the revolution] became this bigger thing. But the real thing happened much more quietly, without any big fuss.” 

“Each of us wants to be the best. If you see [Sasha or Charlotte or Bayley] have an amazing match, you want to have one that’s even better. In a good, competitive way.”  

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It’s not only her follow Horsewomen who Lynch goes to huge lengths to praise. Her current feud with WWE draft call-up Alexa Bliss has been one of 2016’s most enjoyable, and the Irish ‘lass kicker’ happily enthuses about her onscreen arch enemy. 

“I want that responsibility of elevating the newer additions to the roster, like Alexa,” reveals Lynch. “She has the big spotlight, and she is just crushing it. She’s so charismatic. She’s adorable looking, this little tiny thing in cool little outfits, with pigtails – but those mean facial features, and the way she struts around like a peacock: what a heel. She’s doing a great job.” 

Image: WWE

Image: WWE

There are others, too, still in NXT who Lynch can’t wait to brawl with. “Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are two phenomenal workers, I would love to see them up here on Smackdown. They’re great girls with great talent. A bit of momentum and we’re going to see amazing things from them. Ember Moon is extremely talented, and Daria, from Tough Enough, she’s very unique and cool. The fans are going to get behind her. As for Asuka, she is phenomenal.” 

Lynch is hugely popular as a face – AKA ‘goody’ – but one highlight of her time on developmental brand NXT was as a heel, feuding with the equally beloved Bayley. She says she’s super excited to reignite her nefarious side somewhere down the line. 

“Oh, 100 per cent,” she laughs. “And [I’ll do it] when people least expect it! Mostly for social media: Twitter or Instagram becomes so much more fun when you can be boastful and say whatever you want. You can be so full of yourself and ridiculous when you’re a heel. And if I’m ever going to feud with Bayley again, you couldn’t have her be the heel. Actually, I would love to see Bayley heel though. Wouldn’t that be funny. What would she do? Kick puppies? I don’t know!” 

Also in the future – if WWE has any sense – is a WrestleMania main event pitting the Four Horsewomen against one another. It’d represent a logistical challenge with Becky on a different brand to her long-time comrades (Banks, Bayley and Charlotte are all on Raw), but even so Lynch’s eyes light up when I make the suggestion that it should happen, and go on last.  

“Absolutely! I just wonder what Championship we’d be going for,” she responds. [Charlotte, daughter of grap legend Ric Flair, is the current Raw champion.] “At Survivor Series [on November 20] all four of us could be in the ring at the same time – with me against the three of them! How is that going to play out? I’m hoping there’ll be some sort of a stand-off moment. I’ll be so conflicted.”

“But yeah, WrestleMania, that would be ultimate goal. Absolutely incredible.” 

And, surely, the one evening when that 4pm curfew definitely will not apply. 

WWE 2K17 is out now. Wondering if it's worth your cash? Then be sure to check out our extensive review.    

Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.