Raquel Rodriguez first caught my eye when she showed up at NXT TakeOver: Portland to assist Dakota Kai in her match with Tegan Nox. Though Rodriguez had bounced around in developmental for a bit, something about her being lady Diesel to Kai’s Madam HBK piqued my interest.
When their relationship dissolved, Rodriguez moved on to a strong run with the NXT Women’s Championship. While it was clear that she still needed seasoning, Rodriguez had all the elements to become a star: size, strength, and presence.
And then came her debut on the main roster, where she went from being a badass to just another generic babyface who smiled too much. And it was enough for me to tune out.
Her killer-turned-cuddly personality was nauseating, and over the last year, it’s caused me to skip out on her matches and segments altogether.
And then came the June 19 edition of Raw.
Because Rodriguez was facing the legend Trish Status, I convinced myself to sit through it. But I told my wife, “God, I hate when Raquel wrestles. All she does is smile and flex her back muscles. What a waste.”
But this night, a more serious Rodriguez arrived and obliterated Stratus, rag-dolling her from corner to corner. On more than one occasion, my wife had to tell me to quiet down as the words OH, DAMN, and HOLY **** came booming out of my mouth.
And when Rodriguez nearly beheaded the WWE Hall of Famer with a clothesline that put Stan Hansen’s lariat to shame, I stood up and said, “HELL YEAH! More of that!”
(Author’s note: props to Trish Stratus. What a hell of a beating she took to spotlight Rodriguez’s true potential.)
Recently, I shared why presentation and casting are vital to a wrestler’s success. Until last night, WWE’s packaging of Raquel Rodriguez as an oversized Disney princess was putrid. It was also a first-class ticket to Mehville.
But this Raquel Rodriguez? Oh, my sweet Lord, Bruiser Brody.
WWE, shut up and take my money!