Ever since the moment that Ronda Rousey stepped into a WWE ring at Wrestlemania 31 and confronted Stephanie McMahon, the question was always when, not if, would Rhonda make the jump from UFC to WWE
When Rousey finally did make her debut at the end of the 2018 Royal Rumble, her impact has been felt throughout the women’s division, though some felt that her debut overshadowed Asuka’s historic woman’s Royal Rumble victory. After the Angle/Rousey vs HHH/Stephanie match occurred at Wrestlemania 34, the thought has been where would Rousey go from here?
In what was a surprise to many, Rousey was name #1 contender for the Raw Women’s Championship, without ever competing in a televised singles match. While Rousey is gifted athletically, her mic skills haven’t been up to par. In interviews shortly after Rousey debuted at the Royal Rumble, she stated that she wanted to work her way to the top, and not be handed anything because of who she is.
What has even been a bigger surprise than her becoming the #1 contender has been the lack of a story line between her and women’s champion Nia Jax. The little buildup there has been has felt awkward, forced, and has not come across Raw well. There is potential for a main event pay-per-view match up, however it feels like it is too soon for Rousey.
So why is Rousey receiving this huge push so quickly? Rhonda obviously is a known female name in professional sports. Her accomplishments in the UFC have not, and possibility will not be duplicated any time soon. Her name alone helps attract media coverage to the WWE and the women’s division. Her push may also come from the fact that she has recently been announced as the first female inductee into the UFC Hall of Fame. Rhonda is also starring in Mile 22 which hits theaters in August, which is even more opportunity for media coverage for WWE. With slumping ratings on RAW, WWE could use all the publicity it can get.
Is WWE handling her push correctly or is it being done at the expense of more experienced female competitors? If Rousey defeats Nia Jax, what direction does WWE take? Nia is possibility the only believable legitimate threat to Rousey currently on the WWE roster, so what happens if Rousey defeats Nia on Sunday?
Ideally, WWE should have taken one of two directions with Rousey. The first, she could have become the first woman to defeat Asuka. While some may have panned the idea of an outsider ending the streak, it may have been more universally accepted then her first match being for the title.
The second, and possibly the direction they are heading, is Rousey taking on Charlotte Flair. Flair has been positioned at times as the face of the Women’s Revolution. What better pairing to have than these two especially with Flair ending Asuka’s undefeated streak.
Rousey could have, and should be positioned as the Brock Lesnar of the female division; a legitimate fighter who could mow through the competition leading to a championship match with Charlotte Flair. There could have been potential story lines with Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nattie, and Nia all leading up to the first ever women’s main event at Wrestlemania 35 between Rousey and Flair.