Ever since this year’s Royal Rumble back in January, fans inside and even outside of WWE have been waiting to see just how well Ronda Rousey would be utilized, how well she would integrate into the system and locker room, but most of all, how dedicated was she? We’ve heard how she has been a fan for a long time, she was friends with Roddy Piper, who allowed her to use his ‘Rowdy’ moniker during her time as a mixed martial artist, where she dominated the UFC female division for a long time.
The only way to see how dedicated she was, or how well she would be used, was for WWE to take the plunge and sign her. A fact which was denied by both parties all the way up to the Rumble event, with both sides saying they were too busy at that point in time. They even went as far as to have Ronda’s make-up people and crew posting pictures of themselves and Ronda, implying that she was not in the country on the day of the event.
Low and behold, she did debut at the end of the show, to stand face to face with both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champions, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, plus Asuka, winner of the first ever Women’s Rumble match. The crowd went nuts, Ronda pointed really hard at the WrestleMania sign, and a lot of the female talent aired their thoughts on social media and podcasts, with Sasha Banks saying she had nothing to say at all about it, Nia Jax and others saying that the placement of the debut made the Rumble feel like it meant less.
To make matters worse, Rousey wouldn’t even go on to face any of these women at ‘Mania, ending up in a mixed tag with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, a match that was set up after Kurt pointed out to Ronda that she was being used. It was a match which I thoroughly enjoyed, I like how they had her beating up on Triple H, even teasing a pedigree once he had got the upper hand. In the end, Kurt and Ronda were victorious after she forced Stephanie to tap out to an armbar. I was very impressed by the strength she showed when hoisting Triple H up onto her shoulders from a grounded position.
The night after this, Stephanie tried to sucker Ronda in again, leading to another armbar, this time it was enough to injure Steph, sending her off of TV for a while.
These three events, the debut, the tag match and the armbar the night after ‘Mania, are the three most memorable things so far that has happened with Ronda. All of her other showings have been her fending off attacks or coming to the aid of Natalya, with whom she has been training with and has befriended.
There has been nothing notable, definitely nothing worthy of entering any title scenes yet, which is why I was shocked the other day when I saw a red carpet confrontation between Ronda Rousey and Raw Women’s Champion, Nia Jax. Former SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair was also lurking in the background, yet it was Jax who challenged Rousey to a match at Money in the Bank, on June 17th.
We were promised that Ronda would be on every Raw, which wasn’t the case, plus she has literally had a handful of encounters on tv with the other female talent. There were many more matches that would make much more sense, however, I think there is a method to their madness.
We saw Ronda’s friend Natalya earn her spot in the Money in the Bank match, a match that if she wins, she could use that opportunity to really give Ronda a huge WWE welcome.
At this point in time, I envision Natalya winning, possibly with the aid of Rousey, or her being a distraction at the very least, leading to one of three options: either Ronda wins and Nattie cashes in on her, Ronda loses but Nattie takes advantage of the still worn out Jax to win the belt, or Ronda wins and is shadowed her entire reign by her friend, always having to look over her shoulder.
I felt at first like they had rushed the Ronda run due to some issue with the women’s division on Raw, yet it is more the case that they have an issue with Ronda losing her hype if they don’t do something big, and soon. I don’t think that is the case, I personally believe there were many things they could have done to get Ronda used to the way things work there and in turn get us used to seeing her on TV, she hasn’t had enough time to settle and for it to just be the norm yet.
Plus, if Jax is the most dominant female, and Ronda beats her, we’ve got ourselves a Brock Lesnar situation. Nobody left would credibly beat the Champion clean.
That’s why I think Ronda may be screwed by Natalya at Money in the Bank. It doesn’t make sense for her to have the belt yet, plus there are a lot of other people in line for that shot. I hope that Natalya does it before Rousey wins the Championship, as Nia doesn’t deserve her run to end this quick, and Ronda hasn’t done enough to have her reign yet.
I think Nattie will come down near the end when Jax is down, making it a triple threat and leading to a stare down between Rousey and Nattie, Jax will take advantage and get the pin on Natalya, keeping both Jax and Ronda strong and allowing for the feud between Nattie and Ronda to play out for a while. The title shot can be done later on down the line, Ronda doesn’t need that yet, she needs building, and time to settle. When the time is right, Ronda as champion could be the biggest thing for the women’s division.