The Ronda Rousey Effect is Already Taking Hold in WWE
Leading up to her debut match at WrestleMania, many questioned Rousey’s transition in the WWE. Many speculated that she wasn't a good enough actor to pull it off, that it was a sad cry away from the elite level of athletic demand she faced in MMA, and that she might crack under the pressure of the many hecklers present in the WWE universe.
However, she rose to the occasion and surpassed almost all expectations. Her performance against Stephanie McMahon was called “match of the night” by WWE mainstay Nikki Bella and celebrated by many across the entertainment and sports worlds. “Ronda was able to not only prove a lot of people wrong, but, I mean, she stole the show,” her tag team partner Kurt Angle told USA today in an interview about their performance at WrestleMania 34. “She acted like she was a seasoned veteran, and she’s not.”
It was clear that Rousey’s presence in the WWE was riveting and that she was going to be one of the main superstars putting asses in chairs for the near future.
In fact, WWE has already seen massive effects on their business since signing Rousey in January. They’ve seen big increases in ticket sales and certainly a new surge of fans tuning into their programming (myself included, I must admit).
Many have cited what’s called the Rousey effect with her dominance, audience fascination, and quick rise to the top. We saw this happen in mixed martial arts and this same phenomenon seems to have translated to her role in WWE. With a powerful first match that saw her taking on a man and woman no less, she’s been given a lot of expectation, but has clearly delivered. She’s now going to be going on a welcome tour in Europe, to further promote her status as a WWE superstar.
After all of the criticism and doubt of her ability to wrestle, entertain, and perform live in the ring, she delivered in a big, big way. And it’s not just Rousey that is enjoying this success, but all women in professional wrestling.
In 2018, we saw the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, where Rousey made her WWE debut. There’s no doubt this company is invested in the women’s divisions, but would they be spending so much time, money, and promotional effort on women’s matches if it wasn’t for Rousey? Would there have even been a Women’s Royal Rumble if it didn’t culminate with her presence? Probably not.
Rousey is once again out to prove that women can draw big money, ratings, and fans into a male dominated sport. There’s no doubt she’s quickly succeeding and we can and should expect to see women’s wrestling being brought to heights we could only dream of before, thanks to Rousey’s involvement.