Ronda Rousey's Absence Has Significantly Damaged WWE Women's Division

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2019

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, left, Ronda Rousey, center, and WWE EVP of Talent, Live Events and Creative Paul
Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Associated Press

Ronda Rousey's dominance of the WWE Raw women's division throughout 2018 certainly managed to split opinion among fans about whether she was a positive or negative influence on the company.

However, with the former UFC star now away from TV and her future uncertain, there's no doubting her absence has had a detrimental impact on the company. 

Rousey's long run with the Raw Women's Championship, as well as a huge undefeated streak in WWE, created a storyline that eventually reached its conclusion at WrestleMania 35.

It worked perfectly for Becky Lynch's rise to stardom, because it created a target for The Irish Lass Kicker as she aimed to ascend to the top of the company. 

Without Rousey now, though, the entire division is in a real state of flux. 

So much emphasis was placed on the 32-year-old throughout her run that it resulted in a lot of the focus moving away from other wrestlers. For example, Asuka's star faded while Rousey dominated. 

That means that with Rowdy now gone, WWE has to push unproven or unused talent into the main event scene as quickly as possible. Lacey Evans and Bayley, who have both wrestled for or won titles since WrestleMania, are further examples. 

They will both become top stars again before too long, but it won't happen overnight. WWE has lost its top attraction in Rousey, who could have held the entire division together while the company built up its next top female stars. 

Her absence also created a huge buzz around WWE given her credibility and profile in another sport. That sort of reputation is priceless for a company like WWE, and it was obvious by the way it instantly pushed Rousey that she brought significant interest with her. 

That interest has probably now completely gone. With Charlotte Flair feuding for a world title again as the main attraction, it feels the company has reverted to type with its women's division. That can't be a good thing for WWE, which now has a major rival on the scene in the shape of All Elite Wrestling. 

How WWE fixes this in the short term will be interesting. There is an abundance of talent on the women's roster, but the same nameslike Flairkeep feuding for the belts over and over again.

Without its top draw anymore, the company would be wise to start investing time in competitors such as Kairi Sane and Ember Moon, both of whom could become bonafide top stars of the future. 

Rousey will perhaps return at some point, and WWE may believe her doing so makes all of its problems go away. But if she leaves again, the company has to make sure it is better prepared to deal with her absence. 

This time around, Rousey not being on TV has had a damaging impact on the entire division. How WWE fixes that will be fascinating to observe.