Sports

How I Would Book: Ronda Rousey's Road to Wrestlemania

Introduction:

As pretty much everyone knows by now, Ronda Rousey has signed a full-time contract with WWE. A lesser known fact, but one that I don’t hide, is I’m not a fan of Ronda. I admittedly never have been. I have my own reasons, but they’re of no matter here. No, my goal here is to set my dislike aside and take WWE’s perceived goal to put championship gold on her waist and show how I would bring it to fruition. My first article in this style was a piece detailing plans for a performer I like. That was simple. This, taking someone I don’t care for as a wrestler, and make them a champion, is a bit more challenging. If for no other reason than to overcome a sense of apathy and deliver a story line not only passable to WWE fans, but even likeable.

Background:

The new “Rowdy One,” whose nickname was bestowed upon her by WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper himself. She’s coming into WWE off of a storied MMA career. While she did suffer two successive losses to end her run, she did start 12-0 in professional fights, even becoming UFC’s first Women’s Bantamweight Champion. While we all know none of this matters in WWE, for obvious reasons not limited to the fact that it’s a different sport, they want her to be booked strong and be pushed early to win either the Raw or Smackdown Women’s Championship. While other rumors abound like The Rock and Ronda facing HHH and Stephanie, I will simply move forward with two things in mind: 1) the aforementioned push to a title reign, and 2) the fact that I am writing this BEFORE finding out which brand Rousey will be assigned to going forward. We only have about two months to cover, so let’s get started.

First Thing’s First, Where Does Ronda Go?

As stated, right now we don’t know where Rousey will be assigned. Conventional wisdom says she will go to whichever brand Asuka isn’t challenging. Currently that would mean Charlotte vs. Ronda, or Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda. The trick here is that we don’t know what we’re getting from a show-woman aspect in Rowdy. Charlotte is easily the right choice to carry a match with a relatively untested Superstar. Alexa could be changed out, but that would have to be for Sasha Banks as no other member of the Raw roster gives you the best chance for a quality match. This is all just my opinion of course, but Sasha seems to be Raw’s work horse for carrying matches. Seriously, if the women had an Intercontinental Championship, Sasha would be the one winning a kayfabe tournament in Rio de Janeiro, but I digress. Asuka and Alexa have already had encounters and worked a bit with one another, so it only makes sense to let the “challenger chooses the champion” notion to be a simple false diversion tactic. That being said, Asuka stays with Raw, and faces Sasha at Wrestelmania (shh, we’ll get there on another “How I Would Book…”) and Rousey goes to Smackdown to work with The Queen.

You Have to Earn Your Spot:

Ronda is obviously going to be a babyface, and I believe Charlotte has begun to show small signs of a shift back to heel. However, I wouldn’t just thrust Rousey into the championship picture, not when there’s a perfectly good heel faction running around. Yes, Rowdy Ronda Rousey’s first feud would be with Ruby Riott. Pushing the rhetoric of, “this is our world, you don’t belong here, and you need to earn it,” I would have Ruby and her squad face Rousey one at a time going to a blowoff match with Riott at Fastlane. The Riott Squad though, is very obviously a group of “chicken shit heels” and will have all three members present to give Ruby a numbers advantage. Despite the odds being against her, Rousey would go on to beat the entire Riott Squad down and win the match, making her look all the better and hopefully leading to the split of a largely unwanted faction. Post-Fastlane, Rousey can score a dominant win over Natalya and a decently contested wins against Becky and Natalya, putting her over three veteran stars and former champions, validating her position as Charlotte’s challenger for Wretlemania.

Faces Gotta Win, Pal:

Vince McMahon and WWE love a feel good moment at the granddaddy of them all, opting in most cases to have the good guys win in big ways. While Ronda is making her way through the ladies on the Smackdown roster, Charlotte will face Naomi at Fastlane and after winning with questionable tactics to start with, she’ll attack Naomi to solidify the switch back to being a heel. This sets the two women on a clear collision course with the obvious face/heel dynamic avoiding the dreaded ‘face vs. face’ match that has seldom worked for the company on long-term runs in the past. When the two finally compete at Wrestlemania, Charlotte can tap out to a submission following a well-crafted match, giving Ronda and fans a Wrestlemania moment to remember for years.

Post-Wrestlemania:

Since Rousey will have believably worked her way through at least the majority of the women on the blue brand, it makes her an even more believable star in the wrestling world but it also leaves more challengers for the future like Tamina, once the rematch with Charlotte is concluded, putting a neatly wrapped bow on their program. In fact, using Lana’s angle as a sidekick to Tamina, you could take the title off of Ronda without making her look bad and not have a repeat of the still-fresh undefeated gimmick used by The Empress of Tomorrow.

Conclusion:

The question remains though, can Ronda be effective in WWE? We know she can most likely put on great matches, but there’s more to it in “the E.” Professional wrestling is a performance art of a different breed. While fans appreciate a worker that can put together great stories in a ring, to survive for any length of time you have to be more than a great fighter. You have to have personality, charisma, you have to be able to talk on the mic (which isn’t as easy as it sounds) and so much more. Because the moves are choreographed, mistakes shine through more than a missed punch or botched submission in mixed martial arts. Despite not being a fan, I want Rousey to do well. If she is going to be such a featured star, it’s best for the fans if she can be successful and perform well, even if the fans don’t know it, or don’t realize it. For now, only time will tell.

Daniel Ballard

I am a 34 year old Army veteran and currently a full time student. I'm married with 2 children (1 boy, Riley; 1 girl, Emily) and aside from school, my job is to take care of my daughter during the day. I am an aspiring writer with many projects currently in the works out of the passion of writing. In addition, I am pursuing my bachelor's degree in Business Management with experience in retail, mechanics, auto shop management, military recruiting, and well, dadding.