On Sunday, August 19, 2018, professional wrestling and sports entertainment fans were treated to the WWE’s summertime pay-per-view, SummerSlam 2018. As has been the habit with the WWE lately, the show was overlong and overloaded, with a total of nine WWE championships on the line.
Our match-by-match recap of SummerSlam 2018 can be found here, but in this column, we will focus on fan reactions to Ronda Rousey’s first WWE Women’s World Title.
As most wrestling fans probably know by now, last night, we saw Ronda Rousey easily defeat Alexa Bliss for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. While Bliss has a way with words and is a great heel character, she was obviously out-muscled and over-matched by a true world-class athlete.
Ronda Rousey was the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo when she won the bronze medal in Beijing in 2008, and she was the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion in Mixed Martial Arts. While she has progressed at a remarkable rate in the WWE, Ronda must remember that this is not the UFC and care must be taken not to injure your opponent when you brutally toss a fellow superstar around the ring.
Bliss is on the small side at 101 pounds, and Rosey absolutely rag-dolled her last night. This has always been one of the major issues with the entire sports entertainment concept. We witnessed a match between a once-in-a-generation athlete and a talented entertainer, and as a result, Bliss was the victim of a brutal beating in a squash match. While we do realize that match results are pre-determined, it was quite hard to suspend disbelief watching Ronda stomp the stuffing out of “Little Miss Bliss.”
As Rousey’s fans celebrated her victory, pro wrestling smarks and critics were not as appreciative. Many of the comments on Twitter accused the WWE of giving Rousey the title much too soon and claimed she lacked professional wrestling experience. The match only lasted four minutes, and Rousey performed very few actual wrestling moves in her victory.
An armbar, a botched suplex and an overrated angry stare. That’s great “real women’s wrestling.”
— Dean Winchester fan.? (@snotty22) August 20, 2018
Nope. Wonder if WWE noticed the complete lack of cheers when this happened. Funny how people were shocked that you would let one of your top heels lose in such a manner. Should have invested more in Rousey the person than Rousey the name.
— HiFiveBaker (@baker_five) August 20, 2018
There was also a general feeling that by giving Rousey the title so quickly, the WWE has done a great disservice to the many talented women in their organization. Fans were particularly upset that Becky Lynch was denied the women’s title yet again, and other talented performers like Natalya, Asuka, and Sasha Banks are still begging for a title shot.
WWE puts a title on someone who has around 60 minutes of in ring experience, can’t do more than 3 or 4 moves or even do them well, is a terrible promo, yet Becky Lynch is going on 600 days without a PPV win? Does anyone else see a major problem with that?
— Johnny Wrestling V2 (@JWrestlingV2) August 20, 2018
WWE westlers humiliated for UFC again, Nice Job WWE, Who’s Next? Charlotte?
— Jackson Honorato Nunes (@JacksonHonorat1) August 20, 2018
In all likelihood, Rousey’s victory at SummerSlam 2018 is part of the rumored buildup to Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 35, with two women in the main event at WrestleMania for the first time ever. Many well-respected wrestling writer’s and critics have been kicking this rumor around, and it seems to be gaining steam with every passing week.
While it is obvious that Rousey has WWE management’s backing, raw talent and athletic ability, and the desire to become one of the all-time great women wrestlers, we do question the wisdom of putting the title belt on her so quickly. Vince McMahon obviously sees dollar signs every time he looks at Ronda Rousey, and while we do understand the WWE is a business, we are also aware that many of the fans are not pleased with the WWE’s decision to push Rousey to the moon after a handful of matches.
Hopefully, WWE will dial back the tempo a bit with Rousey and give her a chance to develop her in-ring skills. Vince and Triple H are high on Rousey, but they need to get her out of the spotlight and back in the Performance Center to gain more polish and wrestling experience.
It remains to be seen if the WWE will slow things down a bit with the new Raw Women’s World Champion, but judging by recent experience, I wouldn’t hold my breath. It certainly won’t be good for professional wrestling if the fans turn on Ronda Rousey the way they have on Roman Reigns.