Can you believe we are approaching a year since current Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey’s first match in WWE? Few would’ve thought going in to the show she would have the starring role in what was somehow the match of the night (on a card that included AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura I should add). From walking out after the first Women’s Royal Rumble Match it was clear that Rousey would play a leading role in WWE going forward, but it has certainly been a rocky road that has led her to the main event of WrestleMANia all within a year of her debut match. So in this blog I’ll be running through how her first year has gone by reminding you all of how she has done in her big PPV matches. I don’t recall off the top of my head a BAD Ronda PPV match (and DPMO that Australia show does not count as a proper PPV) when you discount the ones that were almost-intentionally bad when she squashed someone… so fingers crossed in what could be her final WWE PPV match for a little while she can keep up her good run of form on the grandest stage of them all… so here’s rundown and a reminder of Ronda’s WWE PPV matches so far…
Wrestlemania 34: Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle defeated Stephanie McMahon & Triple H in a Mixed Tag Team Match
Imagine saying before Wrestlemania a match made up of a guy that hadn’t had a Wrestlemania match in 12 years, the guy who runs the company, a woman in her VERY FIRST MATCH and STEPHANIE MCMAHON would somehow have the best match on a card that included AJ Styles v Shinsuke Nakamura… But the mixed tag match at Wrestlemania was EVERYTHING we wanted it to be, and so much more. Ronda Rousey produced the most breathtaking debut performance in WWE history, we had inter-gender spots in WWE which I thought we may not ever see again, and the crowd and everyone watching thought the match was exceptional for what it was and surpassed all expectations. I lost my voice watching it from screaming so loud, so that’s a sign of how good it was surely? Be it Ronda finally getting her hands on Stephanie, Rousey beating up TRIPLE H, Kurt Angle putting STEPHANIE in the Ankle Lock or the look of fear at her impending doom seconds before McMahon tapped frantically out to Ronda’s Armbar… whatever your highlight of this match was there was no denying that on her first night in WWE on the biggest stage possible that Ronda Rousey absolutely smashed this ball way out of the park. Arguably the best main roster WWE match of 2018. FANTASTIC!
Money In The Bank 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey defeated Nia Jax (C) by Disqualification
This was where I first realized how good Ronda was. She got NIA JAX to a half decent match. Yes she sold an awful lot but my god didn’t she do it well? And when Rousey did get offence in it looked great. This really came across as a big time match and at one stage I think was going to be the main event of that PPV, in hindsight if it had of been I don’t think many would have minded. The match itself was a set up of course, as Alexa Bliss came out and hit Ronda with her recently acquired MITB briefcase for the DQ. She then hit Nia with the case, then Rousey again and again… teased a cash in… then hit Ronda with the case again for good measure. Then… indeed ALEXA BLISS CASHED IN! DDT to Nia, slammed her injured arm to the floor, to the top rope, Twisted Bliss, 123, ALEXA BLISS WON THE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Great post match angle that fed into the Nia – Bliss story and protected Ronda, and the match itself was a real surprise in that I and most others expected it to be terrible and it ended up being not too bad. Ronda played babyface in peril to Jax really well and when she did get offence in it looked great. Another triumph for Rousey on WWE PPV.
Summerslam 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey defeated Alexa Bliss (C) to become the NEW Raw Women’s Champion
After the pre-match video Natalya came out wearing her Dad’s (who had not long passed away) old jacket and she then took a seat ringside almost like a guest of honor, which given the then recent events was a nice touch. After champion Bliss was in the ring Rousey MARCHED down wearing full-Ronda-Mean-Face so you knew Bliss was fucked. In the early part of the match Bliss ran away from Ronda, until eventually she caught up with her. This was the first time as well we really saw Ronda play up to the crowd way more than she had done before. She squashed Alexa Bliss. Bliss tapped furiously as soon as the Armbar was eventually locked in, which itself came after a series of Judo throws and spinning-Fireman’s carries for the win. Summerslam had a fair few squashes on, this was probably the funnest and most satisfying given Bliss’ character personalities at that time. After the match Natalya came in and hugged Rousey. Then The Bellas came in (and got booed), they joined in the celebrations, and Ronda also went into the crowd to celebrate with her husband. Match was perfect for what it was, a short glorified squash match. But the moment of Ronda becoming the champion really came across as a big moment, even if at the time we had no idea just how big it would end up being…
Hell In A Cell 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey (C) with Natalya defeated Alexa Bliss with Mickie James and Alicia Fox to RETAIN
The match was centered around Ronda’s ribs that she injured on Raw the previous week. I remember wondering if they went too OTT with the references to her hurt ribs but they did have to make it seem an even fight somehow, so they had Rousey come in hurt. Ronda did out wrestle Bliss in the early stages, but Bliss was at most turns helped out by James and Fox. Bliss targeted Ronda’s ribs throughout with some pretty stiff looking strikes, she also had Ronda in an abdominal stretch (the idea Bliss could legit submit Rousey, injured or not, was a little far fetched for me). At one point Ronda and Alexa were perched on the top turnbuckle, Bliss striked her in the injured ribs leaving Ronda hung upside down for Bliss to smash her ribs. This got a nearfall (one of many for both in the match). With the ref’s back turned both Fox and James stretched Ronda around the ringpost onto her ribs, until Natalya made the save laying out Fox. Although this left James to still go after Rousey before Ronda put her away. The finish came with Bliss mocking Ronda thinking she was in control after a double crossbody left Ronda worse off and Bliss followed up with another kick to the ribs. But with Bliss cowered over Ronda it was Rousey who took over, she did her mean face (Alexa sold it perfectly to her credit), she did her flurry of quick punches to Bliss in the corner, she picked Bliss up and slammed her. But this was a slight modification on Ronda’s usual slam, this one looked a lot better and more normal so it looked like she had taken advise from people that were giving her stick for it online around that time, so good job to her for that. She then put in the Armbar and Bliss tapped immediately. This was fine. I felt the rib stuff was played on too much, Ronda sold a lot which I was unsure about but I understand why they had to. The finish and result was the correct one, although the way it was booked was mixed in terms of how good it was. Nonetheless this match did exactly what it had to and should have done.
Evolution 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey (C) defeated Nikki Bella with Brie Bella to RETAIN
This match went on last. It shouldn’t have but it was always going to. It had to follow the best Women’s match on the main roster in WWE history between Becky and Charlotte, but they did just as good as it could be. It later came out they’d been at Nikki’s house laying this match out beforehand and it did look very contrived, but it’s pro wrestling so what do you expect. I’m not your biggest Nikki Bella fan but she was fine here, and Ronda did her stuff and Nikki sold it all. It was… fine… bordering on good.
Survivor Series 2018: Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey defeated Smackdown’s Charlotte Flair by Disqualification
Me and my friends were all very tired before this match started. By the time Rousey made her way to the back again, we were all wide awake and my throat hurt having screamed and shouted so loud at what we had witnessed. The match itself as expected had a real ‘big fight feel’ from the start. From the start it seemed to be more a brawl than a wrestling match and although not completely seamless at the start it almost seemed a part of it, given that you’re not going to have faultless wrestling moves as part of a fight. They did some really good stuff after the initial brawl and striking at the start. Charlotte seemed in charge for most, Rousey got her mouth busted open pretty bad via a stray elbow from Charlotte. The match was an excellent one bell to bell, one of the better women’s matches in WWE and certainly from the main roster women in 2018 (the other 2 also involving Flair), which given it took place on only a few days notice involving 2 women who had never wrestled one another and one that only had her first match in April is all the more remarkable. The match as good as it was though will only be remembered scarcely compared to what took place after. With Ronda on the outside of the ring Charlotte suddenly attacked her with a Kendo stick for the DQ. And when I say attack I should’ve said brutalized, massacred maybe. She hit her so many times and when the first stick was in pieces she hit her with another. And then with Rousey in the ring Charlotte got a steel chair and attacked Ronda Rousey with that too! A whole load of referees came our to try and stop the shocking assault, but Charlotte just pushed them all away (she was in full evil mad face mode by this stage). She finished off by placing a chair around Ronda’s neck and stomping it on the floor. Charlotte made her exit looking like a psychopath. The crowd went absolutely crazy (as did everyone else who saw it unfold) and it was by a long way the biggest babyface pop of the show, despite it appearing to be a Charlotte heel turn. Crowd also chanted “Thank you Charlotte” as the post match beatdown took place and as Rousey (who was absolutely covered in cuts, scratches, grazes and welts all over as well as her earlier bloody mouth and also a bloody ear) left to a chorus of boos and “you deserve it” as she looked devastated and mad at what had unfolded. There were also a huge number of “Becky” chants during this and the earlier women’s match. The match itself as I said was excellent. Ronda and Charlotte were both visibly moved as the crowd showed their appreciation. The babyface run of Charlotte, which looked to be suffering from being up against the ultra-popular Becky had been absolutely saved and then some. People had began at this stage to compare Charlotte to Roman as a babyface pushed strong against people more over than them and so are less liked as a result. They should have just let Roman brutalize people and the crowd would’ve loved it. They let Charlotte loose here and it was incredible. One of the best post match angles WWE have done for some time.
TLC 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey (C) defeated Nia Jax with Tamina to RETAIN
I despise Nia and Tamina but to be fair this was a fine match between giant monster heel and valiant but tough babyface. Ronda looked fine and did her best to make the match as good as she could make it. Nia was Nia. Ronda did a step up knee and a step up punch at one stage that looked great, crowd popped big for a Ronda powerbomb off the middle rope on Jax that got a nearfall. Finish came when Nia teased her big punch, but Rousey blocked it and flipped her over to put her in position for the Armbar, she then looked at Tamina and said “this is for you” before kissing Nia’s fist and locking in the submission for the immediate win. Jax was led away by Tamina as a delighted looking Ronda Rousey celebrated. This was very clearly practiced a lot and it was fine, but I’ve little to no interest in Nia Jax matches as she infuriates me how bad she is at her job sometimes. This was fine, majorly down to Ronda (which when you think that Ronda less than a year in the company is able to drag people to a good match really is a massive credit to here). Many people thought this was even better than the first match between these two, I didn’t but didn’t think it was far off either if at all. It was good and better than I thought it’d be going in.
Royal Rumble 2018: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey (C) defeated Sasha Banks to RETAIN
Some said this match was ‘clunky’ in parts and maybe it was and some said it was the best match of the show (I wouldn’t go that far but it was fine in my opinion), but nonetheless the live crowd and the people I was with watching it at the time enjoyed it. Sasha was the more popular of the two with the crowd. One noteworthy spot was Ronda hitting Sasha with the successive vertical suplexes similar to that of Eddie Guerrero of the past, Sasha Banks’ hero. Ronda did all her usual stuff but Sasha coped with it all, Banks later hit a suicide dive to Rousey on the outside but Ronda caught her and locked in the Armbar which led to Sasha tapping but of course they were outside the ring so it didn’t count. Later back in the ring Sasha had a crossface on Ronda, Rousey got to the ropes though but Sasha moved into an Armbar, but Ronda got out of it. The finish was Ronda Rousey hitting her ‘Piper’s Pit’ for the pin. Ronda helped Banks up after the match in a show of respect, and after Rousey went to celebrate with her husband ringside and Sasha walked away, the beaten challenger came back to the champion and they shook hands… but then Sasha threw up the 4 fingers…
Elimination Chamber 2019: Raw Women’s Championship = Ronda Rousey (C) defeated Ruby Riott to RETAIN
I hated this match. The angles around it for the story being told were fine, but they BURIED Ruby Riott here. Sure they gave her a TV match the next night and it was a proper match but for me the damage was done. Ruby opened up on the offensive but Rousey came-back with multiple arm drag takedowns. Ruby went to the outside as Ronda talked shit to her as Riott played the chicken shit heel really well. It was about a minute in and the crowd were chanting “we want Becky”… Riott eventually cameback with some strikes but Ronda quickly regained the advantage and hit the Piper’s Pit. She then pointed at the Mania sign, locked in the armbar and Ruby Riott tapped. The match went under 2 minutes. RIP Ruby’s credibility although she was an afterthought anyway they gave her zero here. Charlotte was at ringside for the whole match and they did the angle after with these two and Becky that was pretty cool, but as a squash match this was definitely that. I was just sad they did this to Ruby for really no reason. This was something people debated but was what it was.
It went 1 Minute and 40 Seconds so you need to behave yourself if you think I’m giving it a rating!
So as you can see Ronda always has decent in-ring showings on PPV for however long they last. Sure she’s been booked to win some squashes but everything she herself has done has always been of a pretty high standard. She’s certainly made the most of the spots and matches she’s been put in. And there’s usually some form of big angle surrounding it to so they are always must see. And now she’s ending her first year in WWE in the MAIN EVENT of WrestleMANia! It really has been a pretty incredible first year for her in WWE, perhaps she’s done after dropping the title to Becky… if she is she will certainly be remembered for maybe the most amazing debut year in WWE when you consider it’s her first year EVER as a professional wrestler! I’ll be booing her during WrestleMANia, but if she comes out and gives some form of farewell speech on Raw the next night I’ll certainly applaud her for her efforts during her WWE run so far…