Ronda Rousey endured one of the worst beatings of any female, or male, Superstar, in recent WWE history. The current Raw Women’s champion was mauled by Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series, as The Queen assaulted her with kendo sticks and then a steel chair.
But it’s not the beating that many fans are still talking about. It’s what comes after the beating that seems to be the topic of conversation. It seems that even though WWE’s intent was to show Ronda’s toughness, the move may have backfired. Has the company booked Rousey into a corner with this new feud?
Rousey has been down before, that much is true. She was a champion in the UFC after all. Though she was never attacked with a weapon inside the Octagon, she also never had an opponent protecting her either. The goal in the UFC is to win the fight, which obviously means that fighters do not pull punches.
So yes, Ronda Rousey knows what a beatdown feels like. But in the world of MMA, a fighter’s worth is based on that fighter’s toughness. However in the world of WWE, a Superstar’s worth is based on that Superstar’s booking. At least, this is how the fans see it.
It’s not as though Ronda hasn’t proven her mettle in Vince McMahon’s ring because she definitely has. She took the best that Charlotte had to offer and she did it like a professional. Rousey’s didn’t have to agree to that spot. She could have said no and chances are, fans would never have known about it.
But the same fans that booed her out of the building at Survivor Series must surely understand that Rousey was likely more than willing to go along with the assault. She may even have encouraged Flair backstage to go all-out and not to hold back.
Ronda knew how important that spot was, not only for her but for Charlotte as well. In one night. Rousey received the worst beating of her pro wrestling career while her attacker was welcomed back into the good graces of the WWE Universe. But that’s the problem.
The spot backfired. Rousey did indeed prove her toughness and that should have been enough to win the crowd. But instead, the fans turned on her. They sided with Charlotte, who went into that match as a hated babyface. All she had to do was take the low road and suddenly, the fans immediately supported her. They cheered and hey chanted her name. They said “thank you, Charlotte.”
Anything can happen in WWE. It’s not just a catchphrase, it’s a fact. The company itself understands that as well. Even the best laid plans fall apart at the worst moments. But even though the fans see that here, WWE perhaps doesn’t.
This is the part where WWE looks right at a situation but then looks right past it. The truth is that Charlotte’s attack on Ronda was pointless. The crowd did not need an incentive to hate Charlotte because they already did.
What the fans needed was a reason to want this match to happen again. Flair versus Rousey already had a big fight feel and the crowd was already anticipating a top notch bout. So if the company’s intention was to continue this angle at a later date, then a double count-out would have worked just fine.
Or perhaps a time limit draw would have been more than enough to get the point across. Both women could have ended the match on their feet, protesting that all they needed was a few more minutes. Fans would have gone along with that and a second match would have been the most logical move at some point.
The only real reason to turn Charlotte Flair heel was to course correct from her rivalry with Becky Lynch. From the moment that Becky turned on Charlotte, the company likely realized that something would need to change. Just as turning Charlotte on Ronda backfired, so too did turning Becky on Charlotte. In both instances, the fans favored the aggressor when the company wanted them to side with the victim.
The fact that the victim became the aggressor may have appeared to be ironic symmetry. But this was a premeditated plan to reset Charlotte Flair’s character. WWE doesn’t often go to that extreme for anyone. Fans need look no further than Roman Reigns or even John Cena to believe that.
But Charlotte is at her best as a heel and WWE knows it. Ronda is the ultimate babyface female Superstar in the company right now so anyone she faces must be a heel so she can get over. If Rousey’s opponent is a babyface, then the crowd splits and that’s obviously not what WWE wants.
However in its haste to restart Charlotte Flair, WWE did some damage to Ronda Rousey. No one could have predicted that the Los Angeles crowd would be hostile toward Rousey at Survivor Series. But Charlotte’s rampage at the end really never should have happened in the first place.
WWE is backing Ronda into a corner that she may not be able to get of and it’s happening through no fault of her own. The company wanted her to be a babyface and she’s done an admirable job thus far. But now she must deal with being the type of babyface that WWE fans typically hate. She’s tough, sh’s fearless and won’t back down from anyone. But her words seem hollow because she fights fair and won’t take the easy way out.
It’s as if a Superstar has no credibly with the WWE audience unless she’s willing to cheat in order to get ahead. This is evidenced by the recent slew of heel turns in the company and the lack of success with each one. Lynch was cheered. Charlotte was cheered. Dean Ambrose, were it not for dragging Roman’s physical health into the storyline, would likely be hearing the cheers as well. The only exceptions so far may be Daniel Bryan and Johnny Gargano. But all it takes is one promo or one match, to make fans fall in love with them all over again.
The WWE faithful are going to cheer for whoever they want. There is no changing that. But Ronda Rousey seemed to be doing just fine until she faced Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. Now The Baddest Woman on the Planet is staring down the prospect of having to get over on not one, but two, red hot heels that the fans are receiving as babyface. It’s a tough mountain to climb for any WWE Superstar and it will be especially tougher for Rousey. But then again, “tough” is what she does better than anyone else.
NXT Minus 6: Too Early To Fantasy Book War Games?
Everyone loves fantasy booking. Right?
The answer is No. It’s not too early.
6. NXT teases us with a Matt Riddle-Arturo Ruas match that went 3 minutes? I know it’s not happening, but those guys deserve a Takeover spot. Kudos to NXT for playing up the mma aspect. Everything from Mauro’s commentary to the ref stoppage made this feel like it should have been in an octagon. If you haven’t already seen it, check out Ruas’ match from the Evolve 10th Anniversary show. Dude is a killer.
5. We got the final opening round match of the Dusty Rhodes Everyman Classic. Bronson Reed is good. He delivered what might be the biggest frog splash I’ve ever seen. There is always a place for athletic big men, but he’s not the story.
4. Dexter Lumas is creepy. The key to wrestling is to crank your personality up to 11. If this creepy thing is any part of Dexter Lumas, I don’t want to be in a room with him. I don’t trust him around my kids. I wonder how many crimes against humanity he’s already committed. Creepy in a way that Bray Wyatt can only hope to be.
3. Tyler Breeze enters the running for Savage Burn of the Year. He looked at Jaxson Ryker and asked “Weren’t you Buddy Murphy?” Brutal. That line alone is worth the return of Prince Pretty.
2. I finally got the moment I was waiting for: an interesting KUSHIDA match. I was ready to send him to 205 in exchange for Akira Tozawa. And if this is Apollo Crews, I will gladly take him back full time in NXT. Stellar matchup and worth watching. 4.4 stars.
1. Oh no, this cannot be happening. They’re turning Keith Lee into Kassius Ohno 2.0? He’s talking about getting passed over for the new guys? And he’s jobbing to Damian Priest next week? Been here a year and zero Takeover matches? The Ridiculous Keith Lee deserves better. THIS…CAN…NOT…BE…HAPPENING!!!
Bonus time: Old school versus new generation. Tyler Breeze heads up a cast of NXT OGs to take on Undisputed Era in (cue William Regal voice) War Games to determine NXT supremacy. Keep Apollo around. Throw in Cesaro and Harper, maybe even Samoa Joe, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a brawl. Either that or Undisputed Era versus the Club. I’m cool with both.
Tiffany’s Takes: WWE NXT (7-17-19)
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Who will be the first to challenge Adam Cole for the NXT Championship?
Have I ever told anyone that I can’t stand Matt Riddle? I have? Okay. I don’t even know what it is, but he sets my teeth on edge. I will give him props for having a good match with Arturo Ruas, but I’m not sure what they’re doing with his character, except teasing a heel turn after that NASTY beatdown of Ruas. I am here for Killian Dain vs Riddle, that even sounds like fun!
Looks like we are going to Undisputed Era vs Street Profits at some point, but I’m waiting for UE to make a big deal about Street Profits being on the Main Roster for the last couple of weeks.
I love that Mia Yim is learning from everyone’s mistakes in dealing with Shayna Baszler and is going after Baszler’s friends, who are the real reason she’s stayed on top for so long. This feud is going to get nasty in a hurry and I can’t wait!
The next match of the NXT Breakout Tournament had a lot to live up to after two AMAZING matches and one not so amazing. I’m not sure what in the world Australian Strong Styles is, I’m guessing it’s like any ‘Strong Style’ in that it’s pretty hard hitting. I also didn’t know Australia had a Black Forest, it was never on ‘Crocodile Hunter’. I did like this match, however. I can’t say it was as amazing as some of the other matches, but it was really good. Bronson Reed won the match for Australia, so we’ll see what happens in Round 2.
Someone should tell Tyler Breeze that having a beard doesn’t make you a man. I’ve seen teenagers with better facial hair. I did love the little dig at Forgotten Sons, but I don’t think Breeze really wants to pick a fight with Jaxson Ryker, that’s not going to end well.
Well, it looks like we’ll likely get a confrontation between Io Shirai and Candice LeRae next week, unfortunately for Kacy Catanzaro, she’s going to be Shirai’s punching bag before that.
I wasn’t really into KUSHIDA vs Apollo Crews. I’m just not a huge fan of either guy. The match was really good, but I don’ t think anyone really thought Crews was going to beat KUSHIDA, who is getting built into a title contender, but it was a longer match than Crews has been having for most of his WWE run, so there’s that.
I’m still not into Keith Lee, I just don’t get it, but I’m super stoked about the prospect of Lee vs Damian Priest, that promises to be a wild match.
So, it’s officially official, we WILL be getting Adam Cole vs Johnny Gargano III and it sounds like it’s going to be the last one. I did like Gargano comparing his victory tour of trying to inspire young people in Cleveland with Cole’s obnoxious antics at the Gargano restaurant. Also, love the ‘Johnny Badass’ thing, very cool. NXT TakeOver: Toronto II is going to be a wild ride in that Three Stages of Hell match! Thank you, William Regal for booking that!
That’s it for Tiffany’s Belated NXT Takes! Tune in Monday for Monday Night RAW!