WrestleMania 34 has come and gone and the landscape of the WWE is about to change with the latest rendition of the Superstar Shakeup on the horizon. With 14 matches and numerous championships on the line on Sunday night, one person walked out of the Superdome with the brightest spotlight. Ronda Rousey made her in-ring debut on Sunday night and she did not disappoint.
In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 34, Rousey had made several appearances on television. I like many other fans was a bit hesitant as to what she would be capable of as up to this point her physicality and mic work had been lackluster. But when the lights were shining the brightest Rousey stepped up beyond expectation.
Walking into the Superdome to her now familiar music of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” and her million dollar smile, Rousey was ready. Clad in kilt and leather jacket in honor of her friend and mentor Rowdy Roddy Piper, the arena erupted. But soon the bell would ring and that smile would leave her face and become a menacing scowl. For the first portion of the match, Ronda was kept on the outside as the McMahon/Helmsley Era targeted Angle and kept him out of his corner.
Stephanie McMahon would actually target Ronda numerous times while they weren’t the legal participants of the match. Even starting the match with pulling Ronda’s hair and then running to hide behind Hunter. But the taunting would soon turn on Stephanie and the women would become the legal wrestlers. That’s when Ronda would destroy any negative worry that fans had going into WrestleMania. Atheltic movement, smooth grappling and lightning-quick strikes that looked like a million bucks.
The only thing I heard fans complain about was the fact that Ronda wasn’t able to make Stephanie tap quicker to the armbar. Now, this is pro wrestling, not MMA, there needs to be the added drama. And even though Stephanie got the upper hand on Ronda, it was through dirty tactics, not actual skill. Each and every time Rousey would slap on the armbar McMahon would defend and thus building the anticipation among the crowd. When Ronda was finally able to cinch in the armbar and force Stephanie to tap the crowd erupted.
When all was said and done I think the only people that knew what Ronda was capable of were her and the others in the ring. Many supported her but the main fanbase seemed a bit nervous with what they had seen leading into the match. After that great debut and how awesome she looked working against someone who isn’t an actual wrestler, fans began salivating with the thoughts of future matchups.
With the Superstar Shakeup coming next week, Ronda may have a brand new roster of women to work with. Just the idea of her working against seasoned veterans like Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Asuka and so many more is beyond exciting. The big rumor coming out of WrestleMania was the plan to have Charlotte Flair face Ronda at WrestleMania 35. With the right build that match would easily be the main event at MetLife Stadium.
When Rousey signed on it was said that she would be a full-time competitor and so far other than some preexisting obligations she’s lived up to it. Making an appearance on the RAW after WrestleMania she would once again slap an armbar onto Stephanie and leave the crowd happy. With Summer Slam approaching as the next major event it’ll be beyond important to follow up her Mania match with another high profile bout. Summer Slam feels like a perfect time for a match against a heel Sasha Banks, with Banks being jealous that Ronda has all the attention instead of The Boss. The match would be top notch and would leave both women better than when they entered.
After crushing the expectations leading into WrestleMania 34 it’s safe to say Ronda Rousey has earned her spot. It’s clear that she has put in the work not only in the ring but with her psychology and selling. In the match not only did she look great but she also made Stephanie look like an honest threat and opponent. That is one of the biggest aspects of wrestling, but competitors need to not only look good but make sure they leave their opponent better than they entered the match.
I for one, am incredibly excited to see what’s next for “The Baddest Woman on the Planet.”