WWE has always had celebrity fans, but have any as dangerous as Ronda Rousey ever stepped into the squared circle?
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey shocked the world and guest-starred at WWE’s Wrestlemania 31 on Sunday night. One of the lesser-known things about the UFC’s Bantamweight champion is that she is an avid wrestling fan, who often attends live events in the front row.
It is well-known that despite being poles apart, WWE and UFC enjoy quite the rivalry. When one considers recent events such as CM Punk signing with the fighting promotion and Brock Lesnar snubbing a move the opposite direction, it was a shock that the Arm Collector left her customary front row seat to involve herself in a feud.
It is even more of a shock that UFC President Dana White would permit should an action when Rousey is the financial pride and glory of his promotion, alongside our own Conor McGregor, at the moment.
“I’ve told you many times how I work with Dana [White]. I always, always call him and make sure he is okay with anything we ever do in movies, television and otherwise” (To UFC Tonight).
Conversely, WWE was opening up its audience to an athlete and sport, which their target base (especially the younger generation) may actually prefer to their own talent. WWE are pushovers when it comes to pleasing their audience and usually that ends up with predictable poor decision making when it comes to booking guests and spots.
In Rousey’s appearance, using a real famous fan and not a fake, the company took important steps toward achieving a goal of courting new fans, blowing up social media and broadening its base.
Squaring off with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, Rousey received the biggest cheer of the night. In what turned out to be a brilliant move, her appearance just simply worked and Rousey looked as though she really belonged, a star even in the company of the Rock.
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) March 30, 2015
Hilariously to the MMA fans out there, Rousey was obviously not trying to hurt anyone in the two moves she performed. It couldn’t have been any further from her devastating fourteen second submission of Cat Zingano at UFC 184 last month.
Instead, the 61KG Rousey lightly – but still frighteningly – completed a judo throw on the 120KG Triple H before putting a weird arm hold on Stephanie designed not to snap her in two.
Those watching would have presumed this was a one-off magic Wrestlemania moment. Then Rousey went on Twitter with this.
The night: Historic.
The moment: Electric.
The Rock, Ronda &the WWE Universe: Magic.
We're just gettin' started… pic.twitter.com/mUOoBIFsaQ
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) March 30, 2015
To say she stirred the pot would be an understatement. The internet went crazy and the UFC has to respond with a tweet via its weekly show “UFC Tonight” stating,
“Ronda Rousey does NOT have a deal with the WWE, her WrestleMania appearance was a ‘one-off”.”
Rousey’s agent, Brad Slater, told UFC Tonight on Wednesday that no further plans were being discussed for her to take part in any WWE programming, now, or in the future. Slater made it clear that Rousey is focused and currently preparing for her looming showdown with Bethe Correia at UFC 190 later this summer in Brazil.
Standing at an undefeated 11-0, dominant in the UFC and now beginning a budding movie career, acting in Fast and the Furious 7 as well as the new Entourage, this writer has no doubt that Rowdy would easily dominate the WWE. It was fun for WWE while it lasted and everyone got the exposure they wanted, but if Ronda ever does transfer over to scripted warfare, expect ructions.
Garbh Madigan, Pundit Arena