As we move ever closer toward WrestleMania, and we expect to have a long-overdue women’s match headlining the show, here’s a question to ponder: did WWE really need Ronda Rousey?
Let me break down my thinking for this one. While I have no evidence to support this (it’s just my theory or question), is WWE finally comfortable putting women in the main event on their biggest show of the year, because one of the ones involved would be Ronda Rousey? She who has headlined UFC PPVs previously?
While I cannot say for certain that she is the reason we will likely get a women’s headlining match in New Jersey next month, it isn’t all that crazy to connect those dots either. And then this question hit me…and I wonder if WWE really needed Ronda at all.
Look, I am not saying she’s been bad for business. I am not saying her year in WWE has gone badly. Rousey, to her credit, has worked hard and steadily improved in most areas. I’ve been a critic of her mic work, but even that shows improvement (her promo on RAW as she turned heel was her best work yet). What I am saying is we are staring at a main event of Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey. Fans were clamoring for Rousey and Lynch ever since Survivor Series didn’t go off as planned. Not so much Charlotte in that mix, but that seems to be the direction we are heading in.
When you factor in the rumblings that Rousey, for one reason or another, will actually leave WWE after WrestleMania, and I go back to the opening question-did WWE really need her? Did she do something big for the company that no one else could have or would have done?
I am going to go out on a limb here and say…no. No she did not.
Nothing that transpired in 2018 or thus far in 2019 can be credited to Rousey, really. WWE already was getting ESPN coverage. WWE was already mentioned relative to MMA (thanks to Punk and Lesnar). Evolution? That would have happened regardless. The women’s tag belts? Fans and pundits alike have been calling for those for far longer than Rousey worked in a WWE ring. The as-yet-unconfirmed women headlining ‘Mania? Yeah, most fans believe that should have happened already. Look back to a few years ago, Charlotte, Becky and Sasha Banks were the best match in Dallas.
Fans knew back then that women can and should main event WrestleMania. Most of us don’t sweat the names. We want the best, most compelling matches. We want great story, great drama, great spots. It’s why fans got behind the Yes! Movement. It’s why fans are behind Kofi Kingston. It is also why fans weren’t so much behind Roman Reigns in previous years. And it’s also why fans turned on Rousey in favor of The Irish Lass-kicker.
Ronda Rousey will almost assuredly be in the main event at WM35, but i dare say she should not be. Considering the other women in the division who have actually done more to put the WWE Women’s Division into that rarified air, I can easily name a few Superstars who are far more deserving of that main event honor-and that’s before I deduct points for a possible post-WM35 departure.
Women…Superstars….like Sasha Banks and Bayley and Natalya, Alexa Bliss and even the Bellas (botches notwithstanding) have meant a lot more to the Women’s Division than Rousey, when you look at where things were five and ten years ago as compared to now.
Maybe WWE needed Ronda. I don’t really think they had to have her. I think Ronda needed WWE more than WWE needed her. There might be three women lining up to main event WrestleMania, but that spot was earned and deserved long before Rousey showed up at the Royal Rumble in 2018.
Clearly someone in Stamford has an MMA infatuation. I have a feeling Ronda Rousey is to the Women’s Division what Brock Lesnar has been to the men. I expect that until, or unless, we have a Horsewomen versus Horsewomen clash, we will still have Ronda Rousey coming in and out of WWE programming. She might be fun, she could be great, but the true reasons the Women’s Division has risen to prominence has had nothing to do with her arrival or presence.