Ronda Rousey is trying too hard to play “bad guy” wrestler.
After social media tussles with Becky Lynch in recent weeks and the in-ring segment on Raw last week, Ronda Rousey posted an addition to her video series on YouTube where she claimed she wasn’t going to “follow the script” anymore. The profanity-laced rant saw the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion insult the WWE fan base and the sports entertainment genre. Unfortunately, Ronda’s attempt to rebel against pro wrestling is more cringe worthy than cutting-edge.
Make no mistake about it, Ronda will do exactly what she’s told to do and this attempt to “shoot” on the wrestling business is management’s attempt to garner interest in a Wrestlemania card that is lukewarm so far. While the idea of a former UFC champion going “off script” provides a certain level of intrigue, it will ultimately have a much more negative effect on the rest of the card.
It must be said that Ronda has certainly done well during her run in the squared circle, considering her level of experience. In some ways, it’s a double-edged sword because her notoriety from MMA is what allowed her to transition to a prominent spot in WWE, but there’s also a degree of scrutiny that goes along with that spot. Other top acts are held to the same standard so it’s not just demands being made of the former judo Olympic medalist.
It should be noted that much of the criticism toward Rousey was based on her over exaggerated tacky promos. Instead of intensity, Ronda on the mic often resulted in the audience rolling their eyes after Rousey’s cliches. In many ways, the profanity in the YouTube series is a cheap replacement for her lack of substance on the mic otherwise. It’s ironic that Ronda is inspired by the legendary Roddy Piper, but resorted to crude language to try to get a point across for an angle. Piper specifically mentioned in various shoot interviews before his passing that he didn’t use much profanity in his promos because he thought it was a lack of talent. Aside from the language, Ronda referred to Becky Lynch by her real name, Rebecca Quin so Rousey “broke the fourth wall” because she could find Lynch’s Wikipedia page?
In theory, the point of this angle is Ronda trying to “sell” the fact that she’s not going to cooperate with her opponents so when she waits for a spot, such as for Charolette’s moonsault, how exactly is that a shoot? Doesn’t the slightest look of cooperation make Ronda’s proclamation look foolish? Unless she defeats her opponent in 30 seconds, which she should be able to do as a professional MMA fighter that is in the ring with a “sports entertainer” then how exactly will it look like Rousey isn’t following the script? And if that one-sided brief match happens in an effort to follow through on the “shoot” scenario build up then that’s not much of a show at WrestleMania.
The totality of the situation really insults the intelligence of the audience. Granted, it’s well-known that professional wrestling is a show, but when the fans are directly told on an open platform that the product is a work, it takes away from the viewing experience. When Criss Angel makes a bus disappear within seconds, the director of the show doesn’t walk on stage prior to the illusion and say, “hey folks, the bus isn’t disappearing, we’re simply putting a curtain in front of it after Criss waves his hands in front of it.” The fans buy tickets to the show to see the spectacle, the same way the larger than life characters in sports entertainment are booked to attempt to create memorable moments.
So when Ronda basically says, “the rest of this stuff is phony, I’m the real deal” and management is going to run with that selling point, how exactly are the fans supposed to invest in any of the other matches on the show? If Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar is openly acknowledged the “fake match” on the card while Ronda’s match is “real” then why should the fans care what happens to the universal title match?
I’d suggest that this attempt to go “behind-the-scenes” is being used as a poor substitute for compelling booking and an intriguing television product as a build up to the biggest show of the year. It’s almost comical that WWE brass tailors much of its business strategy to be considered mainstream entertainment, but the structure of actual product is often counterproductive to that. Ronda Rousey as a former MMA “real” fighter is given priority over the rest of the card, which sends the message that the sports entertainment product that WWE is trying to sell is secondary. That wouldn’t be the case if management allowed for an atmosphere where true star power could flourish and where legitimate money-drawing stars could be established.
Perhaps, this lame attempt to “go off script” could’ve been avoided if Ronda was better on the mic, but again, make no mistake, Rousey will follow exactly what she’s told to do and when it looks like she’s working with her opponents, this entire “real fight” angle will look silly. I’m not sure how management will generate a major buzz about WrestleMania, but it definitely isn’t this angle to build the show.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.
Until next week
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