Ronda Rousey’s appearance at Royal Rumble didn’t give us any kind of indication of the character she would portray in WWE. There was no real analysis to be made of her big debut because there was nothing to it. She smiled a lot. She pointed at the WrestleMania sign. That was that.
We learned quite a bit from it but two things stood out most:
- Rousey should do as little talking as possible
- It is absolutely the right call to have her first feud in the door be against Stephanie McMahon
I’m not going to suggest WWE pair Rousey with Paul Heyman, although I’m confident it would have success in the same way his alliance with Brock Lesnar has, but she may need a mouthpiece. She’s just too awkward, too quiet, too unsure of herself to stand in a WWE ring and cut a promo in front of 8,000 people. She’s got incredible physical charisma, however. If that translates to good wrestling matches, she’ll basically be the female version of Brock Lesnar.
It is that very awkwardness, however, that makes Stephanie the perfect opponent to bring her in against. McMahon is the exact opposite, as comfortable as it gets, a truly fantastic performer in nearly every way (other than, you know, actual wrestling). Most importantly, though, she is one of the very few heels on the WWE roster who can actually get a babyface over.
When Rousey stopped talking and got pissed off, she was really good. What made it even better was Stephanie reacting to her.
Look at her cower in fear when Ronda walks her down:
Look at how she stares up at Ronda as she walks away while Stephanie tends to her husband, who Rousey just dispatched with ease:
That’s how you get the point across that this a killer, with a performer like Stephanie making it very clear just how afraid she is of dying at this killer’s hands. It’s not even a question either. She doesn’t wonder if Ronda could rip her soul from her body, she knows she could and is barely able to contain her pants shitting terror at that knowledge. But she’s just egotistical enough to press her luck and/or lose control (hence the slap).
That’s why it works, and it’s also why it wouldn’t work if it was any other woman on the roster. This is how they are going to establish Rousey, and it looks to be a damn good plan.
Just, you know, don’t let her grab a mic and say “hey guys” ever again.