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How Should WWE Book Ronda Rousey?

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Ronda Rousey joining the WWE was one of the worst kept secrets in recent years, and it was one met with many conflicting opinions. Who would she face? What show does she join? Will she be a full timer or just another Brock Lesnar? Why is she even here? Lets not beat around the bush, her acquisition is a HUGE deal for WWE, despite her UFC career going down the pan she is still one of the most recognisable sportswomen in the world and will undoubtedly bring in more of that sweet dolla dolla that makes Vince McMahon sleep easy at night. But what direction should WWE take with her and how can she be booked without alienating the fans and half of the locker room? Let’s take a look at some of the best and most viable booking options…

Four Horsewomen of WWE v Four Horsewomen of MMA

Let’s start off with the one which makes the most sense. At this exact moment in time we know how good Rousey in inside the Octagon of UFC, but we have no idea how well she will be able to adapt to the choreographed, dramatic showmanship which WWE prides itself on. Therefore, putting her in the ring with 7 other women would be the best way to paint over the cracks and hide any flaws she might have early on, as the last thing WWE would want is their biggest signing in years looking stupid and having the crowd shit all over her big moment.

This booking also makes sense because of who would be involved in the match. While the crowd may not be overly invested in the MMA ladies (Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) seeing four of the WWE’s best female stars compete together for the first time would certainly be a WrestleMania moment and keep the fans interested throughout. There’s no doubting the talent and experience of WWE’s femme fatale’s – Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley – and any one of them would be able to help Ronda look good and like a legitimate badass.

Rousey’s debut in a WWE ring, and even more so her debut at WrestleMania, needs to be treated like the huge deal which it undoubtedly is. Millions of eye’s all over the world will be glued to the event to see what Ronda can bring to the table, so the mainstream appeal of this match makes it the ideal booking for everyone involved and also means that we get to see all of our favourite women involved without necessarily having to have Charlotte defending her title.

4 Horsewomen off WWE minus 1 vs 4 Horsewomen of MMA minus 1

Going for the gold

The next most viable option would be Ronda going after one of the Women’s Championships… but which one? A lot of this comes down to what WWE choose do with Asuka, we’re no closer to finding out who she will be challenging after her historic win at the Royal Rumble and it’s a really tricky one to call. Asuka challenging Alexa Bliss, with the potential of Nia Jax joining to set up a triple threat, would free up Rousey to challenge Charlotte over on SDLive. This would arguably be the best 1 v 1 match available, Charlotte has proven time and time again how ridiculously good she is in the ring and she desperately needs legitimate competition after a few months of not exactly setting the place on fire, and she has really struggled to come even close to her fantastic rivalry with Sasha Banks. She has also improved substantially on the mic, which is the area Rousey will likely struggle the most, so Charlotte should be able to carry the feud in terms of promo’s with ease.

The other potential match up could be Rousey v Asuka, and a lot of people are getting behind this one but there’s one major flaw here… who wins? WWE have built Asuka to be the most invincible force we’ve ever seen, and while the streak has to come to an end eventually can you imagine the backlash if Rousey was the one to break it? It’s going to take a long time for her to settle in and be seen as a legitimate superstar so to have her defeat a fan favourite who made history and happens to have a record breaking undefeated run would do her more harm than anything. At the same time, can you really see Rousey losing at Mania? WWE need to find her someone she can beat with everyone accepting it, or have her involved in a match where she doesn’t win but also finishes the match without being the person to take the loss.

For me that could quite easily come in the form of a fatal 4 way for the RAW Women’s Championship. We still have nearly 2 months until Mania and plenty of opportunities to shoe horn Rousey in to the title picture by having her ambush various superstars. Not only does this get her on TV and help to build the storyline, it also means she doesn’t necessarily need to have a 1 v 1 match in the build up and can save that moment for Mania. Now that we know she is signing her contract during Elimination Chamber, I would have her interfere in the Nia Jax v Asuka match so that Kurt Angle is forced to have all 3 women face Bliss at Mania. Rousey can dominate the match, clean house but be ganged up on by all 3 women and roll out of the ring for a while. Bliss eventually takes the pin from Asuka who wins clean. Everyone is happy. WWE get Rousey bringing in viewers at the biggest event of the year, Nia and Rousey don’t look bad in defeat and Asuka continues the streak and wins the gold. BOOM. Book it. Money.

She pointed 4 times. Each time, Charlotte, Asuka and Bliss all looked up with her. Like, what were they expecting the 2nd, 3rd and 4th time?

Ladies and Gentlemen…

This one might just be wishful thinking on my part but hear me out for a minute. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Paul Heyman (as seen here), the man can spin gold on the mic and gets us so much more invested into Brock Lesnar’s rivalries than we really ought to be. But with Lesnar likely to leave WWE when he drops the Universal Championship to Roman Reigns at Mania, what is there left for Heyman to do? Joining forces with Rousey, essentially the female Lesnar, has huge potential. I’ve heard Rousey speak at press conferences and seen her act in movies and it’s a little bit … let’s say uninspiring. That’s not a dig at her by any means, not every great superstar has been incredible on the mic and she’s entering a world in which she has no experience at all, but having the incomparable Heyman working as her mouthpiece is best for business. Lesnar has always been horrible on the mic, so WWE did the right thing by pairing him with Heyman and its didn’t exactly do Lesnar any harm now did it?

I can even picture the perfect way for the pairing to be introduced. Rousey enters the ring to sign her contract at Elimination Chamber with Kurt Angle already in the ring. After a little bit of pandering to the crowd and saying how happy she is to be here, Stephanie McMahon comes down to the ring because GOD FORBID she should stay off TV for more than a couple of months. She enters the ring and talks some rubbish about women’s revolutions and making history. Steph comments on what happened at Mania 31 (we’ll get to that later). Rousey goes to sign the contract but hesitates, grabs the mic and says that she isn’t comfortable signing the dotted line without someone there to give it a once over first. She needs her advisor… her trusted accomplice… her advocate.

Regardless of who she faces at Mania, Heyman’s inclusion in the program would make it must see TV. The hype he could generate would certainly get people to rally behind Rousey, in the same way they have with Lesnar, when before they may have been sceptical after the way she was introduced at the Rumble, taking away from Asuka’s win and the horribly awkward interaction which followed.

I miss my headset 🙁

Do you smell what The Rock & Ronda are cooking?

This seems like the least likely of the bunch but its still worth mentioning. The WWE Universe will forever love The Rock, and with good reason, so he would be another prime candidate to get the fans to rally behind Rousey. The whole premise of this one would be as a continuation of the interaction which saw R&R (Rubbish I know but I’m sticking with it) take HHH and Stephanie down a peg or two at Mania 31. These are the McMahon’s we are talking about here so no doubt some day they will be looking for retribution after being humiliated publically.

Frankly I hope this one doesn’t happen, and I struggle to see it coming to fruition regardless of my feelings towards it. The Rock seems to care less and less about WWE now, and in a sense I cant blame him. WWE need The Rock, The Rock does not need WWE. When he first started off in Hollywood it was expected that he would still make the odd appearances and have the odd short term program, such as when he came back to face John Cena. However now that he seems to be in a new movie every other week, what would even be in it for him anymore? It would be a throwaway match that the majority of fans wouldn’t care about, and takes up a slot which more deserving superstars could be utilizing.

So to summarise… it doesn’t need to happen. It would be a waste of a match/slot on the card. Talented superstars would be overlooked. Most fans wouldn’t care. It would only serve to boost Stephanie and Trips humongous ego’s. So… you can almost guarantee it’ll happen then. because WWE that’s why!

Don’t.. Bring. It

 


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Is Shinsuke Nakamura Right Where He Belongs In WWE?

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Shinsuke Nakamura is one of the top stars working in the pro wrestling business today. That’s due in large part of course to his proven track record in New Japan Pro Wrestling. But it’s also due to his time in WWE. But some fans are wondering where he stands today.

Nakamura is a born entertainer, there is no denying that. He has the ability to turn on his charisma at the push of a button and it may very well be that he never turns it off. Shinsuke looks and acts like a star because he is one. He has a full understanding of how to play the game and very few play it better than he does. So is he right where he belongs?

Many would argue he’s not and that’s understandable. He was so hot in New Japan that imagining him as anything any less was impossible when he left the company. He was the rockstar of New Japan and he embraced that role like no one before him ever had. It was logical to assume that his success would directly translate to WWE’s main stage.

Of course that assumption was perhaps not rooted in reality. WWE didn’t exactly have the best track record when it came to promoting Japanese Superstars. Then there was the fact that many independent talents were often encouraged to change their gimmicks upon arriving in Vince McMahon’s company. But there was reason to hope for the best.

This is not the same WWE that so many indie stars encountered in the past. This WWE embraced the independent scene and used that fact to its advantage. WWE does not force a guy to change who he is, merely for the sake of trying something new. In fact many Superstars are now extensions of their former selves. WWE allows them to bring what they have to the table so they can expand upon it.

It’s true that WWE’s treatment of Japanese talents has been less than stellar but Shinsuke Nakamura is an exceptionally gifted athlete. There was just no way that WWE, or any other company, could ever look at him and not see him for the star that he is. So if he’s allowed to be himself and if he’s given an opportunity to impress on the main event level, then what would stop him from excelling in WWE?

Shinsuke Nakamura came in like a star and that’s exactly how he was booked. WWE did right by him and much to everyone’s surprise, Shinsuke did get the red carpet treatment. He conquered NXT, just as many knew he would. But he also received an impressive amount of spotlight when he came to the main roster. 

Nakamura was presented as a respected athlete known around the world because that’s exactly what he is. The company knew what it had with him and any doubt as to WWE’s ability to properly book him was gone. This was the Shinsuke Nakamura that everyone wanted. He was the real deal.

But somewhere along the way, things began to go a bit south. Nakamura’s heel turn at WrestleMania 34 was shocking and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was completely out of character for him. Yes, Nakamura had been a vicious heel in New Japan. He was fully capable of turning on anyone at any time and he would do it with a smile on his face. However, that was The King of Strong Style. 

This Nakamura is The Artist. His canvass is the WWE ring and his artwork is beyond compare. Shinsuke was popular because he was different. He was over because he was unique. His flair for the dramatic set him apart from everyone else and it made him a must-see WWE Superstar. He was indeed an attraction.

But the moment he turned on AJ Styles was the moment he put the WWE Championship above his art. Nakamura was no longer an exceptional character capable of wowing an audience of millions. Now he was just another heel with an agenda. What made him special was overshadowed by what made him typical. Shinsuke was just like everyone else. But is that really the case?

Nakamura has thrived in many respects since WrestleMania 34. He was able to use a different side of his personality and he learned to get over in different ways. Instead of using his crowd-pleasing character to make the fans smile, he now uses it to make them recoil in confusion. What’s wrong with him? Why does he act like this? What happened to the lovable guy we once knew?

Now his character is more enigmatic than ever before. Was The Artist persona merely just a mask he wore to fool everyone and now he’s finally showing the world his true self? Is he now Batman when he previously had everyone believing he was Bruce Wayne? Shinsuke Nakamura is fully immersing himself in this twisted version that WWE fans didn’t even know existed. But most importantly, he’s loving every minute of it.

There’s a reason why Shinsuke Nakamura is the United States champion. That belt could have landed on any number of SmackDown Live Superstars but it currently sits on Nakamura’s waist. Why? Because he can wear it like no one else can and because he’s a Japanese Superstar that came to WWE with dreams of doing great work on the worldwide stage. That’s exactly what he’s doing and he doesn’t need the main event in order to do it. 

Would fans love to see him as WWE champion? Yes. Could he wear that title and add value to it? Absolutely. Does he need it in order for fans to consider him successful? Absolutely not. Shinsuke Nakamura may not be the top guy and he may not be the face of WWE but he is an important piece of the presentation. But is that enough?

The fact is that Nakamura will probably leave WWE one day. He will likely return to New Japan and reclaim his throne as The King of Strong Style. But until then, fans have a chance to enjoy one of the most colorful and capable characters that WWE offers today. He may get a run at the top eventually. If he does, then everything that came before will merely be just another chapter in his story. With any luck, that story is far from over.


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Opinion

Who Is The Villain? Charlotte or Becky?

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Becky Lynch

One of the biggest stories coming out of SummerSlam was the complete disintegration of the friendship between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch after Flair seemingly stole the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Lynch when Lynch seemingly had the match won, but hitting Lynch with Natural Selection for the three count. A furious Lynch knocked out her former friend and left her in a heap. Now, the surface narrative has been Becky turning heel, but the WWE Universe hasn’t been cooperating with that narrative, preferring to cheer Becky as the hero of this tale and boo Charlotte as the villain. Are they right or is this another example of fans hijacking the narrative?

Heel!Becky. This is the WWE narrative: Becky was so outraged by Charlotte stealing her moment again, she turned on Charlotte and has repeatedly attacked her former friend from behind, which is certainly what a heel would do.

The pros of this has been Becky’s new attitude and her more ruthless approach in the ring. The way she turned was very heelish. To hug your best friend and congratulate her and then slap the taste out of her mouth and beat her up is extremely heelish…or it should be.

The problem is that Becky’s reaction is perfectly understandable. Pretty much everyone knows a Charlotte Flair, the favorite that always gets the breaks, whether or not they’ve really earned it. For Becky, who had worked so hard to earn that title shot, to have Charlotte basically get a shot just for showing up and then stealing the title from her, would’ve been hard to swallow, especially knowing that you had the match won and your ‘friend’ not only cost you the title but attacked you and pinned you to win that title.

Heel!Charlotte.  This is the fan narrative: Charlotte is the heel because she didn’t have to work nearly as hard as Becky to get that SummerSlam title shot, all she did was show up for work and win one match, while Becky had to beat every heel in the division. Charlotte also seems to have made the decision to attack and pin Becky rather than Carmella. That’s an extremely shitty thing to do to someone you consider a friend, especially knowing how hard that friend worked to get the opportunity you stole from her.

Charlotte doesn’t help her case by acting like an entitled princess who can’t understand why people  don’t get why she deserves to always be champion, even when she doesn’t. Her derision of Becky as ‘insecure’ and saying that Becky didn’t deserve the title because she didn’t win, even though Becky HAD the match won and basically derided and insulted the person she used to call a friend, shows a level of narcissism that’s just shy of being a serial killer. It shows that in Charlotte’s mind, it’s ALL about her and that she’s the only one who deserves to be champion and if you’re not going to cheer for her and support her, you’re nothing to her. This is a woman who will not tolerate her flaws being pointed out, even when she deserves to be called out. That’s not much of a babyface.

However, Charlotte’s reaction to Becky’s comments isn’t that uncommon with how other babyface champions have reacted to insults, justified or not. John Cena has been infamous for having similar reactions to being called out, and a lot of women would probably have had similar reactions during a fight with a good friend.

If there is a defense for Charlotte’s behavior, it may be that her path to WWE was SO different from Becky’s which makes it hard for her to understand why Becky was so upset, but at the same time, she doesn’t seem to really want to understand or care. To her, Becky is just jealous and insecure, not someone with a legitimate reason to be angry.

So, who is the real heel here? Well, in the words of Obi-Wan-Kenobi, it depends on your own point of view. Both women have a real claim to be the righteous party in this argument, but it’s pretty clear that, at least to most fans, Becky is the hero who struck back at teacher’s pet, Charlotte. It remains to be seen if WWE will get on board or stick with their chosen narrative.


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Opinion

Brock Lesnar Creates the Kind of Chaos WWE Does Not Need

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Here we go again. The main event scene on Monday Night Raw has once again become even more disturbing with the addition of Brock Lesnar.

The former Universal Heavyweight Champion entered the main event at Hell in a Cell, taking down both the current champion Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman in a  sad but predictable ending to a decent pay-per-view.

WWE cannot seem to get out of its own way in deciding what to do with the red brand’s title. Or, maybe it’s Lesnar who is holding the marionette strings of a company that has not moved on from the Beast Incarnate to forge a new identity of main event stars. The Hell in a Cell match between Reigns and Strowman was muddled with the arrival of Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose as it was.

Adding Lesnar to the chaos and disorder creates more problems than solutions for the creative team, Reigns and the title he wears around his waist.

The thought was once Reigns beat Lesnar to claim the belt, it would be the end of the line for the WWE and UFC star, who has made no secret he wants to dominate the octagon once again. It also opened the door for Reigns to finally assume his role as Vince McMahon’s master plan of having the current Shield Member and four-time champion to step over Lesnar, John Cena and anyone else in his path as the company’s new face.

I’m sure WWE’s fans have finally succumbed to the notion Reigns isn’t going anywhere. To steal a phrase from Ric Flair, “Whether you like it or don’t like it, learn to love it…”

You get the idea.

So now, WWE has a three-headed monster fighting over the same belt it did only months ago with no end in sight. The notion of McIntyre stepping forward as the next opponent for Reigns looks to be squashed. Lesnar’s contract, demands and lack of airtime while wearing the Universal Title finally pissed the fanbase off. Does putting the strap back around his waist make sense?

Now that Strowman has become an ally of Ziggler and McIntyre, how does this all play out? Does anyone care? Is the best thing to come out of the Hell in a Cell match is the return of Paul Heyman? It’s still a tangled web WWE weaves with no ending point. It’s status quo for poor booking.

It appears to be the norm, not the exception. We all just learn to deal with it, mainly because change does not seem to be a good thing in this promotion.


Always Use Your Head and visit the official Pro Wrestling Tees store for The Chairshot All t-shirt proceeds help support the advancement of your favorite hard-hitting wrestling website, The Chairshot!


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