It’s been over a month since Ronda appeared on WWE programming, and while she hasn’t been involved in a match, she has appeared on RAW more times than Brock Lesnar has this year! Lesnar is a hot commodity, and if rumors are to be believed, Brock, who has been openly courting UFC and Dana White – almost sending them a ‘come and get me’ plea, might be on his way out of WWE after WrestleMania.
Brock has received criticism from all fronts during his WWE tenure, considering he rarely appears on WWE programming. Lesnar signed a lucrative deal with WWE couple of years ago, which reportedly guaranteed him $5 million downpayment for a handful of appearances. The Universal Champion is generally saved for pay – per – views and go – home shows to build the excitement, and other than that, we rarely see Lesnar on WWE TV.
Which brings us to the question: How will the company book Ronda Rousey? Ronda, much like Lesnar, is a former UFC champion. In fact, Rousey at one point was the biggest name in the sporting world, and her mere appearance was a big deal. However, Rousey has kept a very low profile since her loss to Holly Holm, which severely dented her popularity as an athlete – and a Superstar.
WWE, for years, have had their sights set on bringing Ronda to the WWE. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have previously gone out of their way to talk about wanting Ronda to become a WWE Superstar, and now that she has finally taken the leap of faith, a lot of how the fans perceive Rousey will depend on how the company books her. And if history tells us anything, it is to retain healthy skepticism while talking about how WWE books its talent.
Brock Lesnar’s booking a recipe for success
There is an allure to the term ‘champions’. One of the major reasons why the WWE Superstars constantly lose their appeal, is because of their over – exposure, and the fans getting to see them multiple times in a week. Back in the 80’s, when wrestling promotions had a couple of shows a month, the promoters would often protect their big – ticket performers by putting them on larger shows, and not giving them a lot of ring time for each show.
The fans used to turn out in large numbers because of the interest a wrestler generated when they rolled into town. But with the explosion of the wrestling business, and the constant pressure on the promoters to draw big numbers and keep their companies afloat, the intrigue surrounding the wrestlers has been lost.
However, with Lesnar, it was as if the old territorial system had been brought back. Not only was Lesnar protected by not booking him for every show, but he was also saved for the big occasions – the PPV matches and a handful of house shows. Brock was booked as a prize fighter, something that hasn’t been done with anyone else for the past two decades.
The conundrum with Rousey is a bit different. Unlike Brock, who rejected the idea of traveling on the road every week for the TV tapings, Ronda might have to be constantly on the road, which could expose her weaknesses. The other factor that played a major part in accentuating Lesnar’s strengths and his aura as a Superstar was the fact that he had a manager – a mouth piece, leaving Brock to be the destroyer, while Heyman did his bidding.
WWE should follow the blueprint laid for Brock Lesnar with Rousey
Previously, Paul Heyman toyed with the idea of managing Ronda Rousey. Given the similarities between Rousey and Lesnar, managing Ronda would be right up Heyman’s alley. Heyman previously managed Curtis Axel and Cesaro, albeit their association being one of the very few times Paul couldn’t save his associates from the catastrophic booking.
With Ronda, WWE wouldn’t drop the ball. Ronda’s pedigree as an athlete, and her history as a performer already gives her the impetus she needs to become a force to be reckoned with in the company. WWE also reportedly wants Rousey to be the first Superstar to beat Asuka, thus reemphasizing on their stance to make Ronda the biggest women’s wrestler in the company.
However, one would have to believe that the company needs to take a cautious approach with the Superstar, and replicate what they did with Lesnar. The fact that both the Superstars share similar past, and have achieved similar degree of success in the combat sports world should nudge WWE in the right direction, and book Ronda the way they have booked Lesnar over the past few years.