Three days ago, Ronda Rousey debuted at the “2018 Royal Rumble”, capping off a very strong night for WWE. Rousey is a well known wrestling fan and came to the ring, really awkwardly pointed at the Wrestlemania sign (really, it looked so weird), and then staring down Asuka, Charlotte and Stephanie McMahon.
You can probably guess where things are going from here, but there are several options and that’s where we’ll be looking today: what does Rousey do in what is likely to be her first match at “Wrestlemania XXXIV”?. Some of these matches have been rumors and some of them are stronger possibilities than others but they all seem like they could happen.
Ronda Rousey vs. Stephanie McMahon
The problem I see here is plausibility. At the end of the day, McMahon is someone who has wrestled one regular match in over fourteen years (and that was back in 2014). She’s not a regular athlete and is ten years older than Rousey. While you can make the case that a professional and active wrestler could hold their own with someone like Rousey, there’s a limit to how far you can push that idea and McMahon would be crossing that line in a big way.
While I could see this match happening, partially just as a way to troll the fans, I don’t think it’ll actually happen. WWE likes to poke at its audience but this would be a step too far even for them. McMahon is talented, but unless the match runs about fourteen seconds, I can’t imagine this actually taking place. It’s just too much of a stretch and I think WWE actually realizes that.
Ronda Rousey vs. Asuka
If there’s ever been a dream match for Rousey, this is pretty much it. Asuka has been an MMA style fighter since her debut with the lethal strikes and submission holds but no one has ever given her a real test. Who better to be the real opponent than a former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion? The undefeated Asuka vs. Rousey writes itself.
This one makes a bit more sense too as you have something that is going to be more suited to Rousey’s style. Asuka is one of the most polished performers WWE has (male or female) and has a ton of experience. Let her be in there against someone as unique as Rousey and let her see what kind of a miracle she can pull off. Rousey would be better suited wrestling a match closer to an MMA fight and Asuka can do that as well as anyone else.
However, with Rousey seemingly around for the long haul (or so she says), I’m not sure I’d use this as her first match. That would be the same thing that TNA did with having Kurt Angle face Samoa Joe in Angle’s first match with the company. Why would you waste what could be a huge match no matter what happens between the two of them? Unless Rousey is the biggest bomb in history, she’s going to be around for multiple matches and you can keep Asuka on hold until they have time to properly build things up.
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte
If Rousey vs. Asuka is the dream match, this is the half asleep dream match. Since she debuted on the main roster nearly three years ago, Charlotte has been presented as the undisputed best performer in the division. She’s a natural talent with the size, strength, athleticism and natural skills to be able to hang with Rousey in a match like this (or at least to be presented as being able to do so).
This is a really simple concept: the best of the MMA world vs. the best of the WWE world. This is the definition of a story that writes itself and there’s a great chance that Charlotte could carry Rousey to a great match. If anyone is capable of pulling off something like that, Charlotte is capable of doing so, just by taking Rousey down and beating her up a bit, which could make for an entertaining match.
That being said….if WWE doesn’t run Asuka vs. Charlotte for the title at “Wrestlemania XXXIV”, they’ve pretty much officially lost their minds. It’s an easy match, you can almost guarantee a great performance, the story is simple and to the point and it frees Rousey up for another match while leaving the matches with Charlotte and Asuka for a later date each. Asuka vs. Charlotte is the right way to go, but where does that leave Rousey? Well there’s only one real place left to go.
Ronda Rousey/The Rock/Kurt Angle/Braun Strowman vs. HHH/Stephanie McMahon
You could probably pick any of the partners here and any of them would work. You could make a case for any of the three and all of them have a legitimate case for the three of them to be Rousey’s partner here, and that would be the best idea. This is one of the things that people are forgetting and it’s going to be pretty easily the biggest factor in Rousey’s match: she’s a complete rookie.
That’s what people need to remember. Rousey is a trained and experienced mixed martial artist but she’s not an experienced professional wrestler. Sure she can spend a lot of time in the Performance Center and train quite a bit but there’s a very, very big difference between practicing in a training center and wrestling in front of seventy thousand people. Rousey isn’t going to be able to go out there and have a fifteen minute match without a bunch of smoke and mirrors and really, it would miss the point of having her around, at least at the beginning.
The longest fight Rousey ever had was less than twelve minutes long. Do you know how long Rousey spent in professional MMA fights combined? In her fourteen fights, Rousey’s total time from bell to bell was thirty three minutes and thirty three seconds or about two minutes and forty five seconds per fight. If you omit her three longest fights, that average goes down to a mere sixty one seconds.
Now why in the world would you want to see her in the ring for more than a short amount of time? Rousey’s huge appeal was her ability to destroy people in incredibly quick fashion. Since WWE isn’t likely to want to do something like that on the grandest stage of them all, a tag match makes sense.
There’s a built in story for almost everyone here (Strowman vs. HHH was teased at “Survivor Series 2017”, Angle vs. HHH ties in to McMahon tormenting Angle and Rock was there when Rousey showed up in 2015). Rock would of course be the best option but Angle is the likely choice (fellow Olympic medalist as well). If you can get Rock then so be it, but Angle isn’t the worst idea in the world. The tag match is the way to go though and it would make for the smartest move.
Rousey is one of the most interesting prospects in wrestling but they need to present her the right way. If WWE doesn’t do this properly, they could waste so much potential in short order. Rousey could be the female Brock Lesnar if they treat her the right way, but so much of that depends on how well they start things off. Don’t screw this up WWE, because you’re not getting another chance at it.
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