WWE’s presentation of Raw Women’s champion Ronda Rousey has been almost perfect the last few weeks. Rowdy herself has seemed more comfortable, and as a result delivered better performances on the microphone and while doing physical things like applying her signature armbar, than at any point in her year-plus run as a pro wrestler.
All of that was true last night (Mar. 18) as Rousey laughed off poor John Cone when he was sent to control her, plowed through Dana Brooke and was joined by husband Travis Brown in punching every referee they wanted to.
It was followed with just the right touches online, too. WWE.com reports Brooke is being treated at a local Chicago area medical facility as a result of Ronda refusing to release her submission hold after the official called for the bell:
“Dana Brooke was injured at the hands of Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and was taken to a local medical facility for further evaluation.
The injury occurred after Rousey locked in the Armbar and earned a submission victory over Brooke in their Raw Women’s Championship Match. After the bell, Rousey refused to release the hold and applied additional pressure on Brooke’s left arm.
After a physical altercation involving referees and security guards, Rousey left the arena with her husband, fellow MMA fighter Travis Browne.
Stay with WWE.com as more details on this story become available.”
Meanwhile, the champ is daring the company to do anything about her, or her husband’s, behavior:
@wwe can fire me whenever they want. They can’t control me with this job.@wwe can’t control me with hired goons.@wwe can go ahead and fine me however much they want. They can’t control me with money.— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) March 19, 2019
Here’s a recap for those who missed the action tonight https://t.co/ZkVIRgDdZk
This is all great! Or at least it would be if it was the main focus of the story of Rousey’s title defense at WrestleMania 35 against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
To be fair, it is a main focus now - along with the parallel SmackDown story where Flair is upset Lynch is paying too much attention to Ronda and Becky is upset Charlotte’s in the match at all. But that’s come after weeks and months of other things. And even as I find myself getting excited about Rowdy finding her groove, my mind drifts to wonder why she’s showing up if she doesn’t care about money or the business, why she’s caring around a title she’s admitted she knows is a prop, why Becky was suspended, or wouldn’t see the doctors, or...
And I know some of those things only happened online, and that I should try to just pay attention to the core of the program as it is now - especially since they’re doing some things really well. But that’s not how I consume my entertainment (especially not from a genre which encourages me to keep up with all of their various channels and outlets). I like to take in all the pieces of the puzzle, see how they fit together and build to the final, completed picture.
Even though some of those pieces are gorgeously made and snap together perfectly, there are a bunch of other raggedy-ass ones I can’t get to fit. Plus, I keep turning up ones I thought were great earlier, but now I’m just tired and frustrated there are still more of them in the box... plus they remind me of other sections of the puzzle I don’t want to deal with:
It’s all too much. And I don’t realistically expect a payoff which will reward the effort it takes to perform the mental gymnastics required to make sense of it.
Which isn’t to say I won’t be watching and hoping the moment we get from these women at MetLife Stadium next month isn’t so special it renders all my kvetching moot. Or that I begrudge anyone who is able to discard elements of the story that don’t work and go with the ones that do.
But when I think about this program - one I was as excited at the end of last year as I have been for any wrestling feud in years - my eyes glaze over and I start thinking about Kofi Kingston, or The Miz, or Dave Bautista, or just about any other angle on the card for April 7.
I just don’t care.