Ronda Rousey is the Baddest Woman on the Planet. She’s the Greatest Female Athlete in Combat Sports History. And yet somehow, WWE has managed to screw up her presentation; something that should’ve been the easiest thing in the world. After Rousey’s loss at WrestleMania 38, it’s hard for us to envision her recovering the momentum she’s lost so far, but it isn’t all her fault. Here are 5 ways WWE is ruining Ronda Rousey.
— WWE (@WWE) April 3, 2022
5. WWE doesn’t have enough female performers to help build Ronda Rousey as a credible threat
While this might sound bizarre to you, allow us to contextualize it. Ronda Rousey is one of the meanest in-ring performers WWE has ever signed to a deal. And there is an easy way to position someone as a credible threat in Sports Entertainment: through a series of squash matches. That’s how Braun Strowman got over in the first place.
Granted, beating up local enhancement talent isn’t something that The Baddest Woman on the Planet should be doing, but that’s where the roster depth comes in. Despite having an objectively good first run in WWE, her second run is falling flat partially because there are no credible threats to Rousey on the roster.
Who does she move on to after Charlotte Flair? Shotzi? Who hasn’t gotten enough TV time since being called up? Part of Rousey’s failure during her second run is because of a lack of Superstars who aren’t the 4 Horsewomen; and Ronda’s already beaten most of them, as well.
4. WWE broke the magic spell by giving Ronda Rousey a mic
Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing like a Ronda Rousey interview. The charisma, the charm, the delivery, it’s all on point when she isn’t talking inside the squared circle. It’s a problem when she is. The Rowdy One is not a natural promo, and instead of doing something about it, WWE persists on trying to get her to cut a halfway decent promo.
If they want Ronda’s words to mean something, have her destroy a jobber in a quick match and interview her in the ring afterwards. Put Michael Cole in the ring and let him lead Ronda through the segment. It will be much more effective than her rambling on about something the crowd is not interested in listening to. Make it a spectacle, like her post-fight promos from UFC.
3. WWE should have brought back Ronda Rousey with a manager
By the time her first run in WWE ended, fans knew what to expect from Ronda Rousey as a performer. They knew she would put on the match of the night in the ring, but were also aware of the fact that her character just couldn’t keep the momentum going in other segments.
By the time Rousey dropped the title to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 35, she’d fumbled enough for fans to start disregarding what she said on the stick. WWE should have put a charismatic manager with her right after her Rumble victory. Molly Holly, Paige, Beth Pheonix; WWE could have either of these women become her mouthpiece. But we all know what they choose to do instead, and it isn’t working, Mr. McMahon.
2. Ronda Rousey being a babyface in 2022 is bizarre
Especially after everything she’s said about the WWE Universe since her first hiatus from the company. In fact, her first promo after the Rumble made us think she was returning as a heel. But WWE has since clarified that she is, in fact, a babyface and while that explains the Charlotte feud, it doesn’t explain Ronda’s status.
She’s much more natural as a heel or even a badass shades-of-grey character. Having Ronda Rousey be the “under-dog” babyface is a bizarre miscasting of The Baddest Woman on the Planet. The word “bad” is in her nickname, for crying out loud! It looks like her current run is going to take a turn on Heel Avenue soon enough as well, if WWE doesn’t somehow fix her character; and soon.
1. WWE failing to capitalize on the UFC hype surrounding Ronda Rousey is coming back to haunt them
Brock Lesnar was drummed up as a Beast following his return to the WWE since departing from the UFC. AJ Styles was played up as the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion in a rare occasion of WWE acknowledging a performer’s accomplishments elsewhere.
But despite having billed Rousey pretty much the same way as she was in UFC, WWE has clearly not built her up enough. If they had kept her first run in the same vein as Brock Lesnar’s 2012 return, we’re pretty sure her current status in WWE might have been very different.
Pro-wrestling might be a scripted venture, but the actual in-ring action and the character portrayal is still a key part of live TV. And that is something that can only happen if you have a compelling story to tell. The problem with Ronda Rousey in WWE is that she isn’t compelling enough. She was never compelling enough as a babyface character, but even her ring work is losing its shine and that loss to Charlotte at ‘Mania 38 is proof of WWE having dropped the ball with the Best Female Fighter of All-Time. Here’s hoping they can salvage it soon enough, otherwise they’re going to have a PR nightmare on their hands.