Rowdy Revolution: Ronda Rousey Comes to WWE

February 23, 2013 was a historic night in the world of combat sports – the night that the UFC held a fight featuring two women. After twenty years of fisticuffs thrown, submissions applied, and decisions both fair & controversial were handed out, Liz Carmouche entered the acclaimed Octagon to do battle with the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion. Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” blared throughout the Honda Center in Anaheim, California to formally introduce the world to a phenomenon – a woman who in such a short time as a professional mixed martial artist had astounded viewers with her accomplishments outside of UFC – Ronda Rousey. What happened that night helped spark a flame of gender equality in sports & entertainment that would cause a fundamental change in how fans of MMA viewed women fighters. Little did anyone know that Ronda Rousey’s success in the Octagon at “UFC 157” and beyond would also affect pro wrestling. The WWE “Divas” era had taken the former Women’s division in another direction following the retirements of future WWE Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita; leading to a group of women either being hired for their physical appearances & taught on the job how to become in-ring competitors (The Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle), or given an opportunity due to sheer exceptional in-ring talent alone while not being utilized consistently in relation to their abilities (Beth Phoenix, Gail Kim). Once apathetic to the plight of these women struggling to gain headway in WWE, fans started becoming vocal in their disgust over women’s wrestling matches given two to three minutes a night on televised programs that lasted nearly two hours. #GiveDivasAChance became the rally cry of fans and WWE Divas alike.



Eventually WWE (mostly) saw the error of their ways – failing to capitalize on a section of the market just begging to be utilized both for entertainment and profit – and started promoting their women wrestlers nearly on the same level as the men; even dropping the term “Diva” to simply categorize them as “WWE Superstars” just like their male counterparts. Women like Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Asuka, Bayley, and Becky Lynch graduated from WWE’s third brand NXT to up the ante of a landscape starting to evolve as well thanks to a mix of long-time WWE women wrestlers able to either embrace the new style of longer, more intricate matches or those who could learn on the job a lot faster than their predecessors in a more taxing environment. Almost five years after her historic win over Carmouche, Ronda Rousey was becoming the talk of another world as rumors of her leaving MMA to join the ranks of WWE were becoming impossible to avoid. The rumors could not have come at a better time for WWE as the company promised to write another historic chapter in the story of its lauded “women’s revolution” by presenting the first ever thirty-woman Royal Rumble match with the winner getting a Women’s Championship match at “Wrestlemania” later in the year. After an hour of action, Asuka reigned supreme and appeared to be on the verge of announcing her intended opposition for “Wrestlemania” – either “Raw” Women’s champion Alexa Bliss or the “Smackdown Live!” Women’s titleholder Charlotte – when “Bad Reputation” started playing. For fans who were unfamiliar with the song, the name “Ronda Rousey” appearing on the large video screen known as the “Tron” in a font reminiscent of the “Hot Rod” logo that turned a regular white t-shirt into an iconic symbol once worn by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was enough to inform those out of the know. Stepping onto the stage was not only Rousey sporting a shirt of similar design as the aforementioned shirt, but also Piper’s legendary leather jacket to make her official WWE debut while motioning for her goal of competing at “Wrestlemania”.



As of now it’s unknown what WWE has in mind for Rousey heading into the biggest show of the year for WWE, but the potential of her being a major part of WWE television for the foreseeable future. The most interesting aspect of Rousey in WWE is the potential of women main eventing WWE’s “Superbowl”. When Ronda entered the ring in Philadelphia she not only confronted Asuka and the Women’s champions, but also Stephanie McMahon. It was at “Wrestlemania 31” Rousey made her first WWE appearance (then still contracted by UFC) to confront Triple H & Stephanie alongside The Rock. Though Rousey motioned for a potential title match at “Wrestlemania”, there’s also a big chance Rousey’s first WWE match could feature her snap, crackle, pop McMahon on WWE’s grandest stage. If one could dream about Rousey’s next year as a WWE Superstar it would lead to the main event of “Wrestlemania 35”. With Asuka earning a Women’s title shot for this year’s “‘Mania”, have “The Empress of Tomorrow” become the Women’s champion of either brand opposite of Rousey’s brand; be it “Raw” or “Smackdown Live!”. With Asuka remaining undefeated and retaining her championship throughout 2018 and into 2019, Ronda follows the champ’s lead before winning the 2019 Royal Rumble match where Rousey makes the formal challenge to Asuka for their highly-anticipated match that actually headlines WWE’s grandest show. No matter the long-term outcome, the fact remains WWE has gotten a lot rowdier with the addition of another Olympian, former UFC star, and all-round once-in-a-lifetime athlete to its roster with the intent of delivering more memorable moments that are usually associated with the annual road to “Wrestlemania”.


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