How WWE Can Fix Its Ronda Rousey Problem In 3 Steps

Ronda Rousey and Shotzi Blackheart’s match at the newly reformatted Survivor Series was not good. I’m sorry for being so blunt about it, but for the purposes of this conversation, we all just need to be honest. It did not go well, even compared to the UFC legend’s other recent bouts. The crowd was The Rock vs The Sultan at WrestleMania 13 levels of not into it. There were several awkward moves/ outright botches, and somehow both characters left looking weaker than when they came into the ring. Even without the embarrassing Sasha Banks chants from the crowd, it was a pretty obvious mess to anyone watching.

Now, whether it was bad because Ronda Rousey is a historically bad professional wrestler or it was bad because it was poorly designed and set up for failure depends on who you’re talking to. Certainly there are plenty of people on Twitter who think the match is the latest and most glaring piece of evidence that WWE should move on from Rousey, but full disclosure, I’m not one of those people. I think she still can make it long-term as a professional wrestler, but Triple H and company need to make some immediate changes and start putting her in positions to succeed.

I’m not ready to give up on Ronda Rousey. She brings a ton of MMA credibility. There are times in which she looks really intimidating and fluid in the ring, and there are a lot of fans who still really do want to see her or at least the idea of her, which is why she still gets a little pop when her music hits. Some of the ingredients are there for her to win the crowd, but change needs to happen ASAP. At some point she’s going to run out of chances. Here’s how WWE can turn her back into a legitimate main event character in 3 easy steps…

1. Ronda Needs A Manager Who Isn’t Shayna Baszler 

I like Shayna Baszler. I think she’s a good fit with Ronda. They look like they belong together and would believably hang out, but Rousey needs a manager on the microphone who can generate real heat from the crowd. She needs an A+ talker who can rile people up in the stands and get them to actively root against her. She needs to be hated and aggressively booed. Shayna isn’t going to be able to accomplish that. She’s essentially playing the role of Ronda’s sidekick right now, and while she’s capable enough on the microphone, she doesn’t have the vocal skill level needed to turn this around. 

WWE has a long history of letting managers speak for some of its heels. Bobby Heenan was arguably one of the most important people in the entire company in the late 1980s, as he worked with Andre The Giant, Rick Rude and way more. Brock Lesnar was mostly paired with Paul Heyman until recently when his mic work took a huge step forward during the Roman Reigns story arc. JBL recently returned to manage Baron Corbin and has been coming out every week to basically just insult the crowd for a few minutes (which I love). 

And the story with Ronda here is so easy. All the manager needs to do is talk about how he or she knows the crowd wants someone else to be champion, but tough shit. They’re stuck with Ronda because she’s the baddest woman on the planet and can’t be beaten. You want her gone? Beat her. You know who could infuriate the crowd every week with that message? William Regal, who apparently might be on his way to WWE.

2. After Getting A Manager, Ronda Should Hold Open Challenges Every Week And Destroy The Entire Mid-Card

With the exception of Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey should be destroying every other woman on the roster. WWE should be feeding her opponents every week on television to prove how unstoppable she is. One week, Natalya should come out and get manhandled in 45 seconds. The following week, Ronda should get Lacey Evans and make her tap out in ugly fashion. You don’t risk long-term harm to a midcard character when they lose to one of the most dominant mixed martial artist fighters in UFC history. 

I  would repeat this process for the next two months or so. Every week, Triple H should bring out William Regal (or The Miz or Kurt Angle or Jim Cornette or whoever) and have them scream at the crowd about how Ronda is here to stay and unless someone beats her, there’s not a damn thing they can do about it. Then maybe one out of every four opponents, I’d trot someone out who feels like they could actually win. Maybe an Asuka or Liv Morgan or Bayley, I’d give them maybe one or two hope spots but still have Ronda roll in about 4 or 5 minutes. No commercial break needed.

3. Her Next Premium Live Event Should Be Elimination Chamber, Not Royal Rumble

I wouldn’t use Ronda Rousey at the Royal Rumble. If she’s holding the title, she doesn’t need to enter the Rumble, and I don’t think there’s enough time to rehab Ronda’s image by having her destroy the mid-card and then still build a program with an A-level talent before Royal Rumble. And the absolute last thing she needs is to have another 10 minute match with some random woman on the card who isn’t over or is only vaguely over with the fans. So, I would hold her off premium live events until Elimination Chamber, which is, I think, an event that should play to her skill set.

I would leave her in the last pod and have her come out like a wrecking ball at the end of the match. If she’s had two months of dominating victories and is getting over as a heel thanks to her manager, the audience should care enough to aggressively boo her and/ or root for one of the other main event performers in the elimination chamber. Then, at that point, WWE should have all the information it needs to make a long-term decision about Rousey. If all of the above hasn’t moved things in the right direction enough and fans still aren’t fully on board, then they can cut bait and have her lose the belt. If, however, the manager is working, and people are booing the hell out of her, she’s going to be an amazing choice to walk into WrestleMania as champion and face someone like Becky Lynch who is all kinds of over with the crowd. Or even better, bring Sasha Banks back to win the Rumble and lean into their alleged history. The crowd would be Attitude Era levels of hot.

To Sum Up

Ronda Rousey is not some random scrub on WWE’s roster. She still has incredible name recognition and a storied MMA background. Despite things not going as well as she would have liked since she came back for The Royal Rumble, there are still people in every arena who are there specifically for her. That is more than most wrestlers will ever have, and WWE clearly gets that given she keeps winning key matches. But something needs to change. Someone at the main event level should be able to carry a seven minute match with basically anyone on the roster, whether they’re over or not.

So, change is definitely needed, and there are certain long-term fixes Rousey needs to commit to. She needs to improve on the microphone. She needs to work on her transitions in the ring. She needs to develop a wider range of moves. That stuff is going to take years if she sticks around and works at it. But some of that change can also come from WWE being smarter about how she’s presented. 

She needs a veteran heel manager who can generate real anger and heat from the crowd like William Regal. That manager needs to lean into how frustrated people are with her. She needs to be fed low level opponents in squash matches. And then if she’s able to generate that momentum, she needs to pay it off at Elimination Chamber. If all goes perfectly, she could be in a match fans really care about at WrestleMania, which would be a huge win for everyone involved given where she's at right now. 

Editor In Chief

Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.