How it is supposed to be:
As is the case with any big WWE signing, the first order of business has always been to give said talent an immediate push to make a return on the investment. That has been the plan going back decades. WWE has always found a way to make even marginal talent relevant in some way. For example, a mid-card Scott Hall (aka, The Diamond Studd) in WCW would come to WWE and immediately be placed alongside Ric Flair in a feud with Randy Savage and Curt Hennig. Dustin Rhodes would have moderate success and quality matches in WCW and then go to WWE to create one of the most iconic and unique characters in WWE history. In later years, Paul Wight (aka, The Giant) would debut in a major storyline as the Big Show and go toe to toe with Stone Cold Steve Austin in his first appearance. But is the WWE doing things right with Ronda Rousey?
This desire to push talent when they arrive allows WWE to see the crowd reaction and determine if a particular star may have the potential to contribute in a meaningful way and justify more marketing while putting the machine that is WWE creative behind them. This is all fine when the wrestler is an established commodity elsewhere and you have something to build on all the while having a sense of what you have. Unfortunately, the WWE does not have a large body of work on its latest major signing Ronda Rousey. She has appeared in one live math. Despite outperforming expectations at WrestleMania, Ronda Rousey has yet to perform as a weekly competitor. This limits WWE’s ability to gauge her value.
Why is WWE pushing Rousey so hard?
Ronda Rousey has huge brand name recognition. She is a legitimate, tough competitor from the UFC and has tons of potential. Do we really know if she will ever meet that potential? Is there anything we have seen that indicates that she is able to have the type of match that, say, Bayley and Sasha Banks can put on? The answer is an emphatic no.
What they should have done
However, WWE needed to approach the Ronda Rousey signing very differently. She is a huge draw. There is potential for some amazing matches down the line. She could be the future of the women’s division. With all of those considerations, she still needs a world of experience. Most of all, she needs to earn the die-hard smart mark fans’ appreciation.
This week, it was announced that Ronda Rousey will face Nia Jax for the RAW Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank. To put that in perspective, Ronda Rousey has never stepped into a ring in a single’s match. She has never pinned an opponent. To be honest, there has never been a less qualified individual to challenge for a world title in wrestling history (unless you count the Giant beating Hulk Hogan in his debut at Halloween Havoc).
Friendly advice for WWE
It is time for WWE to start to prove to their fans that they are able to better present their product in a way that doesn’t seem rushed and doesn’t look like a money grab. I fully expect Ronda Rousey to win the Women’s Championship at Money in the Bank because Triple H, Stephanie, and Vince will be too afraid to allow her to lose in her singles match debut. Not only that, but she has to start to build her reputation for next year’s WrestleMania main event program against Charlotte Flair.
I support WWE gathering up as much talent as possible and cultivating their brands. I am supportive of the initiative to bring women’s wrestling to the top of the card. They have earned it. Unfortunately, many other talents have been full-time contributors to the RAW and Smackdown brands and those talents deserve to be in a high-profile women’s championship match long before Ronda Rousey. The feud with Stephanie ended abruptly. There was no closure. There are other female talents who could help launch her singles match dominance. WWE simply needs to focus some energy on building long-term stories that make sense and do the women’s championship justice. Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax at Money in the Bank is not it. At least, not yet.
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