Nikki Bella: Ronda Rousey's WWE Debut Was 'Slap in the Face' to Female Wrestlers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2020

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

Former WWE wrestler Nikki Bella wrote in her new book, Incomparable, she disagreed with the company's decision to debut UFC star Ronda Rousey following the 2018 Royal Rumble main event, which featured the first women's Royal Rumble match in history.

E News provided an excerpt from the book, which was co-written with twin sister Brie Bella, about bringing Rousey out for a brief cameo after Asuka eliminated Nikki to win the groundbreaking match.

"It was nothing against Ronda—it is thrilling that she is at WWE—but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all the historic women wrestlers who had come out for the match, the main event, only to have the moment upstaged by the Ronda announcement," Nikki wrote. "It just didn't need to happen like that."

She later got in a storyline feud with Rousey, which ended with a match at Evolution, the first WWE to feature all women's matches in October 2018.

"That night was career-justifying," Nikki wrote, per E News. "That night was worth breaking my neck for."

Rousey's WWE run, which has been on hold while she attempts to start of a family with husband Travis Browne, has come under scrutiny after she made negative comments about the fanbase on the Wild Ride podcast (via CBS Sports' Jack Crosby) in April:

"So it's just like ... what am I doing it for if I'm not being able to spend my time and energy on my family, but instead spending my time and my energy on a bunch of f--king ungrateful fans that don't even appreciate me? I love performing. I love the girls. I love being out there ... but, at the end of the day, I was just like, 'f--k these fans, dude.' My family loves me and they appreciate me, and I want all my energy to go into them. So that was my decision at the end of the day. It's like, 'Hey girls. Love what you're doing. I'm gonna try and take all my momentum and push you guys as far as I can. Fly little birds, fly! I'm going f--king home!' And that was basically it."

Although the remarks had the feel of a worked shoot—Rousey combining her desire to no longer be a full-time wrestler while also trying to generate massive heel heat whenever she returns to WWE—they generated mainstream attention and led to feedback from some of her fellow female Superstars.

CJ “Lana” Perry @LanaWWE

I have NO WORDS for her audacity to save “fake fighting” !!!!!! If it’s fake why can’t @RealPaigeWWE & @TJWilson can’t wrestle anymore ?? If it is fake why couldn’t @EdgeRatedR wrestle for 11 years ???? This is a contact sport where REAL things happen! https://t.co/cYvGpTjmci

Rousey helped bring additional fans to WWE in the same manner Brock Lesnar did when he returned from the UFC in 2012. Vince McMahon has always made an effort to bring in well-known names for marquee shows to help create buzz. That's why NFL star Rob Gronkowski hosted this year's WrestleMania.

Now the question is what type of draw the former Raw women's champion will be moving forward following a series of negative headlines.


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