Ronda Rousey had two excellent WWE Raw Women’s Championship matches in back-to-back nights and does a great job of putting over her opponents in the ring, but she needs to be careful when promoting her own fully legit fighting credentials; she may be inadvertently “exposing” pro wrestling when she kicks down her opponents.
The WrestleMania 35 main event between Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey feels like WWE‘s most highly-anticipated match in quite some time.
Though Lynch is the must-see wrestler here with the thunderous “Becky! Becky! Becky!” chants she receives on a nightly basis, Rousey has been viewed as the promotion’s biggest mainstream star; it’s star-power she earned by being an Olympic medalist and a UFC Champion.
Rousey is quick to remind wrestling fans of her credentials. She did so on Raw when she told Becky that she could kill her with her bare hands, a claim that I doubt many people would refute. The Raw Women’s Champion doubled-down on this talk in a tweet promoting LaToya Ferguson’s Raw recap published on Rousey’s official site.
“If anyone wants to see a bunch of performers act tough and watch me resist every urge I had to beat the living s–t out of anyone who dared approach me so I don’t get sued or arrested – here’s #Raw recap from yesterday”
While Rousey has done a fabulous job of working with her opponents in the ring and has made a seamless transition to the sport as an actual wrestler, this tweet rightfully received widespread criticism from fans for burying pro wrestling.
Aside from the fact that only The Shield have been arrested recently for causing mayhem on Raw, Rousey has to be careful when referring to her colleagues as “performers” acting “tough”.
This language becomes even more quizzical when considering the toughness of the women she’s shared the ring with. Sasha Banks, her opponent at Royal Rumble who helped Ronda put together the match of her life, has wrestled through injuries for years as one of WWE’s primary workhorses in terms of matches per year.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch suffered a concussion on the go-home show before Survivor Series, bleeding profusely with a “broken face”. But Lynch didn’t even miss a beat, completing one of the most memorable segments in WWE history – a segment that included Rousey.
Becky will be Ronda’s opponent at WrestleMania 35, and for as much as Ronda likes to diminish Lynch’s accomplishments in her promos by callously insulting the jobs Becky worked to climb to WWE’s summit, Lynch is the woman the crowd cheers for in this program.
If Rousey glosses over how tough the other women in WWE are and refers to pro wrestlers as “performers” who are fake-tough, that disrespects the sport that she says she’s loves. And when Rousey sells in the ring or high-fives kids in the audience, I believe that she loves pro wrestling.
However, even if she doesn’t mean to insult the sport when she tries to put herself over as “The Baddest Woman on the Planet”, the implication when reading her Twitter posts or hearing her speak on television is the same.
Rousey has already mastered the art of making her opponents look great in the ring, selling their submissions and strikes beautifully; she and Bayley put on a masterpiece in limb-targeting and injury-selling this week on Raw. That said, Rousey still has to improve when it comes to discussing pro wrestling through promos, whether online or on television, because if she’s beating “performers” who “act tough”, then how much of a bad-ass is she really in the realm of pro wrestling?
We’ve seen plenty of superstars, such as the tandem of Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar or the amazing NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, put over their own fighting chops without burying opponents as fake-tough. Rousey should take a page out of their book, because it’ll only lead to her having a stronger program that makes her look tougher; there’s just no sense in kicking down opponents, especially people like Becky Lynch who are legitimately bad-ass.