Ronda Rousey's WWE Money in the Bank Debut Will End in Bizarre Fashion

Kevin Wong@@kevinjameswongFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2018

Credit: WWE.com

While the majority of WWE's roster headed to Europe, Ronda Rousey, Nia Jax and Charlotte Flair stayed in New York on Monday for NBCUniversal's Upfront campaign. And it was during a red carpet interview with Rousey that Raw women's champion Jax interrupted and challenged Rousey to a title match at Money in the Bank.

It was as awkward as it sounds; since when does a reigning champion challenge a challenger? That's not the way this is supposed to work.

Rousey expressed reluctance at first, saying that she didn't want to cut in line and take another woman's spot. But Jax insisted, and Rousey accepted. This match is going to happen on June 17, and it's important that it ends in some unconventional, screwy manner. To give the match a clean finish, this early in Rousey's career, would be a hindrance to her long-term prospects, regardless of whether she wins or loses.

First, Rousey doesn't deserve to win the title. This is not to minimize Rousey's precocious talent in the squared circle; the Baddest Woman on the Planet stole the show during the best match of WrestleMania 34. It may have been her first televised performance, but she had been training in secret with Hart Dungeon graduate Natalya for months beforehand, and it showed.

But although she's mastered the fundamentals of how to move, position her body and sell, it doesn't appear she's experienced enough to improvise and call a match on the fly. Her WrestleMania 34 match appeared extensively choreographed, as did her recent appearance on a house show in Switzerland.

In other words, as impressive as she looks, she's still learning and relying on other, more experienced women on the roster to carry her. This is not unheard of—lots of inexperienced wrestlers have been champions in the past—but it's not ideal either. A few more months of working house shows and wrestling matches on Raw will do her a world of good.

WWE, though, appears impatient to cash in on its newest employee. Perhaps the electric, positive reactions from the WWE Universe have encouraged the company. But that could change, very quickly, as it did for Roman Reigns three years ago. And Rousey is the type of performer who feeds off the crowd's reactions; she wears her emotions on her sleeve and on her face. WWE cannot take that dynamic for granted. How will Rousey respond to a sudden negative backlash, which can take its toll on even the most experienced, weathered WWE Superstar?

Credit: WWE.com

But just as Rousey doesn't deserve to win the title, she doesn't deserve to lose this match cleanly either. Rousey is that rare talent who the audience believes is a legitimate badass, and Jax is not a strong champion who deserves such a massive win.

Jax is still very early in her first reign; she struggled against Alexa Bliss, who's much smaller than she is, and over the past two years, she's emerged on the losing end of feuds with Sasha Banks, Asuka, and Bayley. Jax needs more high-profile wins under her belt to make a clean victory over Rousey believable. As it is, the fans would turn on Jax, and the loss would kill Rousey's momentum. WWE should be building up Rousey for a marquee match at SummerSlam or at next year's WrestleMania against Flair. A Rousey loss, so early in her career, will hamper those plans.

EKO @eko_wrestling

Rousey/Jax is a very interesting matchup for #MITB. I'm looking forward to it but I feel like it's a bit too soon...if they didn't want Rousey in the Ladder Match, why didn't they just do Rousey/Natalya vs. James/Bliss at MITB? #RAW

The only finish that makes sense—that keeps Rousey's undefeated streak intact while also keeping the belt on Jax, is a screwy finish. Thus, Rousey will win or at least draw, but it'll be through unconventional means—like a count-out, a disqualification or a no-contest—so the belt doesn't change hands. Maybe Stephanie McMahon, who's still looking for revenge over her post-'Mania beatdown, will be involved. Maybe Jax will turn heel and start playing dirty when she's about to lose.

Just Jeff @El_Jefe_Loco95

In my opinion, Rousey getting a shot at the title is disrespectful to the women who have been there and have made the women’s division into what it is. I’m not saying she should never get one, but it’s too soon. Waaaay too soon. https://t.co/of0dC6TWW9

The alternative is bewildering. If this is really a straightforward booking, and Rousey squashes Jax before locking in the armbar to clinch the title, it'll be an appalling mistake. No one needs or wants to see this. Fans want to see Rousey struggle and earn her way to the top; no doubt, the women's roster, which has been breaking its collective back for the Women's Evolution, feels the same.

For WWE to loudly proclaim that Rousey has had nothing handed to her, and then make her champion less than three months since her debut, is disingenuous. It's going to lead to the biggest backlash since Reigns won the 2015 Royal Rumble. And just as Reigns never recovered from that evening, Rousey might not either.

Please, just don't.


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