A Rowdy Year: A Look at Ronda Rousey’s Rookie Year in the WWE 

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Photo: WWE

On January 29th, 2018, Ronda Rousey showed up at the end of the Royal Rumble showing that she has signed an official contract with the WWE. The former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and the world renounced “Baddest Woman on the Planet” was officially a WWE Superstar. And many fans around the world were left with one question – Can she do this? It was a clear answer from the start as this was one of the best first years in company history.

Ronda Rousey went right into a feud with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, leading to her first ever match on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania. Rousey teamed up with Kurt Angle to take on Stephanie and Triple H and simply stole the show. The mixed tag team match would go 20 minutes and was a showcase for Rousey’s pure athleticism, speed, and overall ability to tell a story. Not only was this possibly the match of the night, but quite possibly got the crowd into it the most. The crowd went crazy when Ronda showed no fear towards Triple H, throwing punches at him, doing a roll through into the “Piper’s Pit” just for Stephanie to make the save. Rousey would go on to show her unmatchable speed, eventually getting to Stephanie. Rousey showed plenty in her repertoire that night, stealing the show and finally putting the armbar on Stephanie for her first victory.

After WrestleMania, it was clear that Rousey could do this. She would show how she was all in, having multiple house show matches while also being on TV from time to time. It wasn’t until Money in the Bank where Ronda would have her next televised match for the RAW Women’s Championship against Nia Jax. While this rivalry would be focused on how Rousey had never faced anyone like Nia, and that you can do things in a wrestling match you could not do inside the octagon, this match was more proof Ronda was talented and more than capable of doing this. While the match wasn’t a long mat classic, it was another way for Rousey to show her ability. She took an absolute beating in this match while showing incredible feats of strength as well. Rousey looked like she was about to capture her first WWE championship when Alexa Bliss appeared, taking out Rousey, ending the match with DQ and cashing in on Nia to regain the RAW Women’s Championship. This would lead to a high profiled match for Rousey going into SummerSlam, by chasing Alexa Bliss and the RAW Women’s Championship.

After just two televised matches, a lot became clear. It was known that WWE needed Ronda, but it is fair to believe that maybe Ronda needed the WWE. While she has had such a successful career from being champion in the UFC to being a movie star, Rousey has said in multiple interviews how much she loves this. And while some may continue to say she doesn’t belong, she absolutely does. Ronda has been the center point of interest for many fans going into any pay-per-view, just to see if she can continue to improve, which it seems is a definite yes. As she went on to SummerSlam to become the RAW Women’s Champion, it was then that people could realize how much this meant to her. Not only being accepted by the WWE Universe but being able to see her popularity rise more and more. What became clear was that Ronda was going to be the main event of the first ever all women’s PPV and that it was fair to say she deserved such honor.

Photo: WWE

While the Women’s Revolution had been in full gear before Ronda Rousey had gotten there, some would say Rousey helped get it to the next level. Having Ronda Rousey allowed them to propel what was going on with the women to huge platforms, as a main event match at the Evolution PPV with one of WWE’s mainstream stars in Nikki Bella, which helped with what they were hoping for. While the match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte stole the show, these two went out and had a solid match where all the fans wanted to see was Ronda lock in that armbar on Nikki. While many feared that since Ronda wasn’t a wrestler beforehand and that would result in the crowd turning on her, she instead was a fan favorite and a must-see attraction for the WWE.

And while everything leading up to Evolution for Ronda was entertaining, nothing would match her feud with Becky Lynch. It is common knowledge that Becky Lynch is going to WrestleMania to face Ronda in the main event, yet this feud simply started as a Smackdown vs RAW match at Survivor Series. And while this gave us entertaining Twitter exchanges, a moment that will never be forgotten of a bloodied Becky Lynch raining down chair shots on Rousey and leaving her laying as she invaded RAW, what Ronda Rousey really did was help the rise of Becky Lynch more than anyone besides Lynch herself. And while we did not get to see a match that the wrestling world had been clamoring for before Survivor Series, this managed to add Charlotte to the fray. Ronda and Charlotte went on to have a physical, fast-paced match that continued to keep the people talking, proving that on short notice, Ronda can have a great match with anyone.

As the greatness continues for Ronda Rousey in her WWE career, Ronda has expressed so many times how much she loves being in there. She continues to have a smile on her face doing so, and it is only a year later and the negative reaction is just starting. Not because of Ronda, but because of who they put her in the ring with. For what we know, Ronda’s most recent two rivalries are against fan favorites Sasha Banks and the hottest wrestler in the company right now, Becky Lynch. And this past week on RAW, you could see it was finally getting to her despite another great match at the Rumble against Banks and a great in-ring staredown with Becky. She delivered her fiercest promo almost a year to the day she debuted in the WWE, stating “any ring I stepped to in is mine, I own the ground underneath my feet and I am going to own you at WrestleMania.” Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch are going to have a war come WrestleMania time, possibly as the main event.

While she still has her haters out there, Ronda has been a great addition to the company and should continue to do so heading into Wrestlemania against Becky Lynch. If they do main-event WrestleMania, no one will bat an eye as this may be the match with the most heat, the most conflict, and simply the right on to end the show on. Ronda Rousey. Becky Lynch. WrestleMania Main Event. Have a year, Ronda Rousey.

Photo: WWE

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