Within a matter of months, Ronda Rousey has gone from being one of WWE's hottest acts to just another woman on the roster, largely thanks to her recent rivalry with Nia Jax.
There is no doubt that Rousey has seen her stock skyrocket in the company due to how much mainstream publicity she brings to the table. In fact, she'll be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next month, which could explain why she is getting a crack at the Raw Women's Championship so soon.
Regardless of the result of her match with Jax at Money in the Bank 2018, the build-up to the bout has left a lot to be desired. It remains to be seen how well they'll jell inside the ring, but what is certain is that the booking of Rousey lately has done more to hurt her growth as a performer than help her.
As has been said before, WWE fast-tracking Rousey to the Raw Women's title picture is a major question mark. If she leaves Chicago with the gold around her waist, she could very well thrive in the role, but her promo skills up to this point have not been befitting of a champion.
Look no further than her last two segments on Raw. When she sat in on commentary during Jax's outing against Natalya, she came across as extremely awkward and had a tough time saying anything original or compelling, though the scripted nature of WWE promos nowadays could be to blame for that.
That was also the case this past Monday night when Rousey and Jax came face-to-face in the middle of the ring, where their mediocre verbal exchange was salvaged by the physical interaction they had afterward.
For all intents and purposes, Rousey should be positioned as the female Brock Lesnar in that they are both mega attractions for the casual audience. Despite his lackluster reign as Universal champion, Lesnar still has an aura about him that separates him from the rest of the roster and Rousey should ideally be his equivalent in that respect.
That said, Rousey making regular appearances on Raw is not an issue as long as she is limited in what she does. After all, when she does inevitably capture the Raw Women's Championship, she shouldn't be showing up once a month because of how much it would devalue the division and the title.
However, her first title win should mean something, and as of now, it doesn't appear fans are clamoring for her to unseat Jax as Raw Women's champion because of how confusing their feud has been.
Lest we forget, it was no more than a month ago that Jax was being portrayed as the spokesperson for anti-bullying in the Raw Women's division. She organically got over with the audience during her program with Alexa Bliss, yet WWE apparently lost their way with her soon after Backlash.
If Rousey was chasing Bliss for the belt after she had held it for so long, it would be a different story. Rousey's success story shouldn't be rushed, but it looks like that is what WWE is planning on doing with her heading into Money in the Bank.
Her storyline with Jax has had no real juice or animosity whatsoever, ruining Rousey's appeal with the audience in the process.
As overexposed as The Authority has been on WWE TV since 2013, they were the perfect rivals for Rousey in time for WrestleMania 34. It was because of them (and Kurt Angle, of course) that her debut WWE match went off without a hitch and was arguably the best bout of the night.
Sadly, the poor character development with Rousey and Jax will likely cause their match at Money in the Bank to be a bust. It is possible they exceed expectations and produce an instant classic, but Chicago crowds tend to be rowdy and won't hesitate to let them how they feel if the action isn't up to par.
No matter what Rousey's immediate future holds, WWE is doing her no favors with how it has handled her in recent weeks and instead should be doing everything imaginable to allow her to maintain her mystique.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.