Ruby Riott versus Ronda Rousey at Elimination Chamber was a match with so much potential, yet WWE frustratingly refused to capitalize on that in any way.
Squash matches, like any other kind of match, have their time and place in WWE.
A new superstar is debuting and needs to look strong? A squash match is the way to go. There’s a monstrous heel that’s trying to make a dominant statement to the rest of the roster? Brock Lesnar practically built his career on that kind of squash match.
An established main event superstar taking on an up-and-coming future champion at a pay-per-view? Now, there’s a problem.
Ruby Riott versus Ronda Rousey at Elimination Chamber was a complete sham of a match. It was nothing more than an excuse to set-up the post-match angle between Rousey, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch when it could’ve been so much more.
Ruby Riott is one of the brightest stars in the WWE. She has a great gimmick as the confident mastermind behind The Riott Squad, a fact which was seemingly going to be used to create an exciting match between her and Ronda Rousey.
When The Riott Squad first attacked Rousey, both Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan got to have some brief moments in their respective encounters with the Raw Women’s Champion before they were ultimately defeated. Then, if you recall, Riott nearly took the ring herself before she backed down.
Hence, we got the two superstars one-on-one at Elimination Chamber.
It’s fairly clear what the implication was with that segment. Riott herself, as the stable’s leader, is naturally also the most dangerous member of the group, making a clash between her and Rousey a true match to watch out for.
Even if most fans would consider her chances to win slim at best, considering the building storyline for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania, it was presented as being clear that Riott would prove a true test for Rousey.
At least, that’s what we were led to believe.
Instead, WWE booked this match as a complete squash match, betraying any hope that was built for what could have been a show-stealing bout.
Riott and Rousey could have easily had an exceptional match with one another. They’ve both consistently been improving in the ring, and there was certainly enough of a story to be told to carry the match along.
There was really no logical reason whatsoever for WWE to give this match so little time.
Ronda Rousey already looks strong enough heading into WrestleMania. She’s clearly ready for whichever combination of Flair or Lynch she will ultimately face. Even if WWE was concerned with her “momentum” though, they had a clear out with the rest of The Riott Squad.
Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan could have easily interfered in the match to further make Rousey’s victory look impressive. It’s that simple.
On the other hand, Ruby Riott is still a star with untapped potential. She hasn’t had a notable rivalry for the Women’s Championships on either brand yet, but it’s easy to see she has all the tools to compete on that level.
By having Riott defeated with arguably less memorable moments in her match then her fellow Riott Squad member’s encounters with Rousey on Raw, WWE certainly hasn’t presented her as a future championship contender though.
It’s a frustrating outcome for what was a match and storyline that seemed to offer so much more.
Instead of propelling the career of Riott along, while also giving Rousey another memorable match in what’s been a string of entertaining pay-per-view encounters throughout her time in WWE, it was just a tool used to set-up an angle that’s already seeing plenty of time on both brands.
Both the fans and competitors involved deserved so much better from WWE.