I have to thank former Inscriber Digital Magazine member Nick Ficorelli for giving me the idea for this story about Ronda Rousey.
I have been trying to put into words what I thought about Rousey’s debut at WrestleMania 34. The former UFC champion has been all the rage since she made her first appearance at a WWE event at the Royal Rumble in January. After a successful match with partner Kurt Angle, beating Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, I changed my tune about Ronda Rousey and her place in WWE.
After reading a comment that Ficorelli made last night, it all made sense. Ronda Rousey is the new “Stone Cold” Steve Austin of professional wrestling. It’s the perfect comparison given that she has challenged authority from the moment she came face to face with the owners of the company that will guide her career.
Austin, the uber-popular, catch phrase spewing, beer guzzling, cantankerous and ornery cuss, was perfect for the Attitude Era when professional wrestling needed someone to challenge the boundaries of a business that moved away from the beliefs of Kayfabe. Austin is arguably one of the five greatest stars of the era and continues to clear a path for today’s larger than life performers.
If you are in favor of Ronda Rousey being compared to both Roddy Piper and Steve Austin, give me a Hell Yeah!
Rousey, who has been the antihero of sorts in MMA, walks into a situation where the land of make-believe is very real. Her adjustment to the grappling style of professional wrestling means she must put more effort into developing her character as believable.
Becoming the new Austin is a role she will fill without a problem. As long as she remains true to the commitment of fighting the good fight, fans will adore her as much as they did in an octagon. And if she should jump to the dark side, as every wrestler other than John Cena does, she will be loved even more.
With her first match at WrestleMania 34, Rhonda Rousey exceeded expectations. She was sharp in her movement, her holds were definitive, and she was able to use the same kind of moxie in a squared circle that led her to victories in Dana White’s world.
Essentially, the introduction was easy. Now comes the hard part finding her viable opponents who will work with her as she continues her WWE education. Rousey, who is touted as the baddest female on the planet, needs to develop more clarity in promo work and of course she still needs to work on her in ring skill. Who becomes her next opponent, aside from Stephanie McMahon is crucial to her development moving forward.
Rhonda Rousey was supposed to walk into WWE and take the women’s division by storm. That part hasn’t happened yet. She is the new star in the east who has proven she can make the transition from one style to the next. She must also prove that she can handle opponents with different types of skill sets and must be able to deliver a promo that takes her out of the UFC arena and continues her growth as a WWE character.
The former Olympian and MMA champion was able to make the transition initially, but now we wait and see whether her next step in her education is as smooth. If Ronda Rousey can do that, I suspect she has a decent shelf life is a WWE superstar.