Although professional ass-kicker Ronda Rousey only officially signed to the WWE at the start of 2018, the build up to this upcoming match at Wrestlemania 34 started years ago at Wrestlemania 31. At that show, special guest The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson as he’s known outside the squared circle) was interrupted mid-promo by Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, with Steph slapping The Rock right across his big dumb chiseled face. Luckily, Rousey was standing in the front row as a regular old audience member, and The Rock invited her into the ring, where she proceeded to get physical (ie placing Steph in an arm bar). And now, after years of will-she-won’t-she speculation about joining the WWE, Rousey is finally set to show the world what she can do inside a wrestling ring in front of a packed house at the Superdome in New Orleans (which you can see on PPV and the WWE Network on April 8 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT).
As a complete wrestling newbie (well, the sports entertainment type at any rate), Rousey is being thrown into a mixed tag-team match for her first bout. This gives her and the WWE the chance to hide her rookie status by pairing her with some experienced stars (Triple H and Kurt Angle) who’ll do the bulk of the actual wrestling, leaving Rousey for some basic moves and the occasional big spots. Rousey has so far been visibly uneven in her promos leading up to Wrestlemania 34, but as a legitimate badass in real life, her area of excellence should be inside the ring, where her years of UFC physical dominance have a chance to shine.
In terms of narrative, this bout is built on the age-old trope WWE has been running since the Attitude Era–tough, take-no-s*** wrestler takes on the corrupt establishment. On the establishment/management side is Steph and Trips, reprising their roles as the overbearing Authority. On the take-no-s*** side is Rousey and current Raw GM Kurt Angle. The rationale as to why someone in middle management like Angle is so willing to put the hurt on his bosses is kinda muddled, but this match is really less about the story leading up to it as it is about the story coming out of it. Rousey is being positioned as a big deal and has the potential to become a dominant WWE star in the same way Brock Lesnar dominated after his own return from the UFC. Will Sunday’s match at Wrestlemania 34 be the start of a long reign, or the first signs of an implosion in the grand Rousey experiment?
Whatever the quality of that actual match, GameSpot is tipping Rousey and Angle to walk away with the W. After all, Rousey can’t lose in her first match, right? We’ll be covering the entire show at it happens this Sunday, April 8, starting from 5 PM ET/2 PM PT (which is when the kickoff show begins, with Wrestlemania 34 itself kicking off at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT), so make sure to check back with our thoughts on this bout after it happens.
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