The hottest rumor in professional wrestling became official in late January, when it was announced legendary UFC star Ronda Rousey would be joining the WWE.
Rousey in effect put her once promising MMA career behind her with the announcement that she would be signing a contract with the biggest professional wrestling company in the world.
The news came as less of a surprise after Rousey lost back-to-back title matches to ruin a perfect start to her mixed martial arts career.
For the longest time you had to choose where to bet carefully to snag real value ahead of Rousey fights. In the blink of an eye, the most dominant force in the female MMA scene was completely knocked off her pedestal and forced to think about her future.
Fans and experts alike had been either hoping or predicting Rousey would ditch the UFC for the bright lights of the WWE and that’s finally become a reality.
In fact, while Rousey’s deal with the WWE was probably fully agreed upon behind closed doors, the two parties will “officially” sign on the dotted line as Rousey is set to appear in the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view event.
Elimination Chamber, which arrives on February 25th, is an extension of the Raw brand, which Rousey is reportedly latching on with. Rousey made her commitment to WWE and Raw official in an appearance at the Royal Rumble and it was quite the spectacle:
This was just the start of what promises to be a brilliant WWE career for Rousey.
The UFC superstar is already set to appear at Elimination Chamber and could soon after headline the WWE’s SummerSlam event. From there, it’s anyone’s guess just how big of an impact Rousey will have in one the greatest sport genres in the world.
A marriage that has truly been over three years in the making is finally here, but as interesting as Rousey joining the WWE sounds, what does it really mean? More importantly, will Rousey be more than just a name?
To prepare for a whole lot of Rowdy Ronda Rousey in the near future, I’m breaking down precisely what Rousey brings to the table:
Star Power For Days
There is something to be said for the lack of polish Rousey has as an actor and performer. She was a stud in the brutal UFC, but it’s fair to say she has some work to do on “selling” to an audience.
That being said, I’m not even sure how much true work there is to do when everyone has already decided that they 100% love or hate her.
A personality that popular and polarizing has already ignited and divided a fan base so much that her reach and hype probably protects her and the WWE from her actually being a bad wrestling character.
In turn, even if Rousey comes off stale or forced, it might not matter.
Besides this, Rousey is going to have plenty of time to earn her keep, while her MMA following is going to help make her extremely relevant immediately.
It’s very rare that the WWE can just drop a new character in and get instant results. I think everyone already saw her staying power at the Royal Rumble and if she can improve at selling herself, the sky is really the limit.
She’s a real fighter
Not every former pro fighter turns into an elite WWE performer. You need star power, showmanship, the physique, personality, dedication and a budding fan base to really climb the ladder.
Rousey certainly has the fighting chops, though. There’s no getting around how poor Rousey’s exit from the “real” fighting scene was, but when she was at her best, there was literally nobody that could touch her.
While Rousey was never an elite striker, she has a wrestling background and knows how to work a canvas, both standing up and on the ground. Her experience as a fighter will only help her as she molds her new skill-set in the WWE, while it also immediately legitimizes her.
The fact that she’s been there, done that and has bumped heads with championship level talent in the UFC makes her a legit force to be reckoned with. The women of the WWE might not be scared, but they probably should be.
The Rowdy One was a dominant floor fighter in the UFC and successfully defended her bantamweight title six straight times.
While Rousey proved to have a fairly versatile skill-set in the toughest fighting league in the world, she was largely known for her floor game and Judo skills.
Her Olympic background helped transform her into one of the most dangerous floor assassins in the game and nobody can bat an eye at a remarkable nine submissions across 12 career wins.
The point? Rousey doesn’t just come in with a big name and marketability. She also comes in with a distinct shtick.
Rousey can work with a plethora of canvas moves and may even bring her coined armbar to the WWE as her “finisher”. Just as importantly, though, Rousey’s uncanny ability to react and adapt to other fighters on the fly could also be a trademark of her Rowdy persona.
She’s not scared
I know this is the WWE and it’s notorious for not being “real” fighting, but anyone who watches this sport and suggests these people aren’t putting their lives on the line simply isn’t paying attention.
Rousey already did this at a higher level, so she won’t be afraid to pull out all the stops. Even deeper, her character will come in without any fraudulent cracks in the armor and she won’t back down from anyone.
Taking one look at Rousey’s entrance at Royal Rumble, you can see an expressive individual that seems genuinely excited to be part of the WWE family. Rousey may end up channeling this combination of pride, joy and bravery into becoming one of the best WWE fighters we’ve ever seen.
Overall, Rousey has a lot to offer and this is a very exciting time in the WWE. There are still some amazing characters in the lineup, but the WWE has grown stale in some regards and spicing things up with a new character that people are still familiar with is an amazing move for the company’s overall brand.
It remains to be seen precisely what Rousey will do and how she’ll do it. However, on paper, she brings a ton to the table and could potentially exceed the lofty expectations she and the WWE are currently setting themselves up for.