Quite the week, huh?
The Road to WrestleMania 34 is officially under way folks. With yours truly heading to Milwaukee next Monday night for Raw, I have come to one major realization. Ronda Rousey will probably not be making a trip to Wisconsin next week. Just a hunch. I am a big fan of hers, so that sucks to say. It is also tough to see many other top stars appearing. John Cena is advertised but even that is up in the air now given his “free agent” status. Nobody should think The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, Big Show, or any other legend will be gracing us with their presence on Monday night. Heck, even Kurt Angle may be a long shot after the way Raw ended. Feels like we are due a week off with all those shenanigans surrounding Rousey.
Rather, us fans in Milwaukee have been given…Asuka vs. Nia Jax. Fine, I see how it is WWE. Time will tell what else is added. Until then, let’s get back to Rousey.
It feels as if I am going to be writing about Ronda Rousey and all the headlines she made since Sunday night, now is the time to do so.
I loved the contract signing at WWE Elimination Chamber 2018. Loved it. Here is why.
First off, I LOVED that this all took place in Las Vegas. Clearly a lot of history with the MMA world. This was an instant sink or swim moment for the newly signed WWE Superstar. Thrown right into the firepit. Yes, that was a Roddy Piper reference. Despite her quiet and still demeanor and silent killer bad reputation (zing!), she pulled it off. If you have never heard her talk before, that is how she is, my guess is the fans who were expecting LOUD energetic promo have never actually heard a promo from her. She was herself here, and that was great.
Secondly, I LOVED that it was made very clear from the beginning that she was not getting an immediate title shot. There was speculation on her jumping the ranks to head to Smackdown LIVE to face off against Charlotte. As much as I do think that match is penciled in for the future, there is plenty of time to get there. She is not ready for that and placing on the forever B-Show makes zero sense. That leaves Alexa Bliss…and well, there is no intrigue there. Thus, no immediate championship challenge at WrestleMania 34.
Thirdly, I LOVED her Piper dedication speech. Again, she was speaking from the heart and not just yelling and screaming about nonsense. This has been an emotional experience for her ever since the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, and it is still showing. Let the girl live her dream, bring in the casual audience and cut some slack on her promos. Rouse has been out of the spotlight for well over a year and never has done this kind of thing before. She wanted to praise the Rowdy legend; there is nothing wrong with that. Fans will gravitate towards her because of it and know that it’s sincere.
Fourthly, I LOVED that she (in kayfabe) requested and received no special perks in her contract. This was quickly pointed out and was a smart way to silence any of her detractors. This leads me to my next point…
Fifthly, I LOVED that Rousey said she wanted to earn respect. Nothing was going to be given to her. It was one thing for somebody else to point this out, but having it come straight out of her mouth was the right call. Ronda is a fan of the business and knows all about celebrities who come and go just for a paycheck. Again, any critics that were ready to pounce on her signing were shut down in a hurry. WWE was ready for any potential backlash.
Sixthly (is that a word?), I LOVED the entire contract signing set up. You could not have picked two better heels to place her against than Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. They were all smiles and way too cocky for this to NOT be a swerve. Let’s be honest here. If Ronda confronted Asuka (again), she would have received a good number of boos besides the usual “This Is Awesome” chant. If she had confronted Charlotte, same thing. Boos. Alexa? Okay, that might be nothing but cheers. Long story short, not many fans are going to back HHH and Steph with their corporate speak and authority. Almost by default, Rousey was going to look like a hero. WWE knew this and when you add in the WrestleMania 31 history, it made perfect sense for this to be the initial feud. Protects everyone in the ring and gets the appropriate crowd reaction.
Seventhly (Is THAT a word?), I LOVED the Kurt Angle addition. WWE was quick to point his Olympic background and link him to Rousey right away after a hug – something she did not do for anybody else in the ring. Off the bat, the audience was let in on their friendship and respect they had for one another. Angle got his revenge from Survivor Series on Triple H (and Steph) with him spoiling the plans for The Authority to manipulate their new star. Best of all, it is an adequate replacement for the rumored man in this inevitable tag team bout. From what I understand, the Rock is not competing at Mania with Rousey. Not many others can carry the mainstream ball this story line will require. A WWE Hall of Famer, world renowned Olympian like Kurt Angle works. Banged up or not, old or not, injured or not, it is a tag bout that will center around the showcase more than the actual bell to bell action. Good news for Kurt.
Finally, we saw this on Raw the next night, I LOVED that we got to see Rousey slapped by Steph and then HHH sucker punch Angle. Brilliant. Two forms of revenge now for the fan favorites. Heels being heels, as they should be. I have no doubts in my mind that Ronda is going to rip the arm off Steph at Mania. No doubts at all. She will rip that arm right out of its’ socket and smash her over the head with it, as Angle makes Triple H tap out in the ring via an Ankle Lock. That can happen in New Orleans on April 8th. Not in February. Not on Raw. The look on Rousey’s red face at Elimination Chamber was downright scary and for WWE, that means money.
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