One of the reasons Ronda Rousey coming to WWE was legitimately compelling was the fickle nature of the fan base. This is an audience filled with fans who are encouraged to be loud, to make their voices heard, to be a part of the show. That often results in going against whatever Vince McMahon believes is best. In Rousey’s case, that never happened. She was pushed hard from the outset and the fan base received her warmly. She is always unable to contain her joy at this, perhaps because she was coming out of an MMA career marked by a combative relationship to that sport’s fan base and the delicate emotional state two crushing knockout losses to end said career put her in.
She’s just really happy that people seem to like her. It has made the transition a smooth one, and even seemed to help guide her along her path of growth as she’s gotten better and better, not just at the actual wrestling part -- she’s a natural at that -- but with her promos. But I’ve long wondered what would happen if those same fans turned on her and the cheers turned to boos.
There was never really any danger of this when she was matched up against Alexa Bliss, or Nikki Bella, or Nia Jax. But now that she’s got Becky Lynch after her, the fans are being forced to make a choice on who exactly they’re going to support.
They damn sure aren’t choosing Rousey.
We know this because she couldn’t even get through a promo about her match against Sasha Banks at Royal Rumble without the fans in Phoenix at Monday Night Raw drowning her out with boisterous booing. Finally, we would get to see how she would handle such a thing.
Turns out, not well!
January 29, 2019
I don’t know if this is the case but it sure seemed like someone made the judgement call to save her from the rest of her promo and sent Bayley out a little earlier than planned to get to the match they were scheduled to have. She looked genuinely hurt by the crowd’s response to her, and when Lynch actually showed up, that fire came out in a big, big way with a promo that didn’t feel so much like a promo but someone who is tired of someone else’s shit and isn’t going to stand for it for even a second longer. It works because we know she can back that up.
That is what made Rousey a monster draw in MMA, by the way. She was never, ever afraid to say exactly that, and then she went out and destroyed everyone until she ran into someone better and was destroyed herself. She was unapologetic the entire way. She was the perfect heel.
I don’t know if that’s where this is headed but the official start to the build to Rousey vs. Lynch at WrestleMania 35 couldn’t have been more compelling, both in how it played out in this segment and the anticipation it created for the next two months of shows leading to the match itself.
This is going to be so damn good.