IF you are a huge fan of professional wrestling, particularly the brand the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) sells, you will know that it is much like Greek Theatre. The plot basically revolves around a tragedy; a hero who suddenly finds himself down on his luck. Facing enormous odds and a villain bent on burying him six-feet deep, the hero is cheered on by his followers and inexplicably musters the energy to get back on his feet. He completes his improbable return by vanquishing the villain.
In the world of pro wrestling, the image that immediately comes to mind is a battered Hulk Hogan getting back on his feet while the crowd hysterically cheers him on. Hogan rips his shirt and completes his comeback by slamming his foe hard on the canvas. Victory is sealed and the Hulkster savors the cheers of his Hulkamaniacs.
Fast forward to the case of former mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey, who recently made an appearance in the WWE’s Royal Rumble. Wearing an oversized jacket previously owned by his idol, the late WWE superstar ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper (Piper and Rousey were good friends and had the same judo coach, Gene LeBell), Rousey closed the event by joining Royal Rumble winner Asuka, RAW women’s champion Alexa Bliss and Smackdown champion Charlotte in the ring. Rousey concluded his appearance by pointing to the Wrestlemania sign dangling above the ring and challenging all three female wrestlers.
It was subsequently disclosed that Rousey has signed a contract with the WWE to compete as a full-time wrestler. As she told ESPN, the WWE is her life now and her appearance in the Royal Rumble was not a cameo. The WWE offers a grueling schedule which includes live shows and TV tapings, but Rousey apparently cannot wait to get the show on the road.
While opinions are mixed on her entry into pro wrestling, with some quarters harping that Rousey demoted herself by agreeing to take part in choreographed matches, it cannot be denied that the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) star needs an endeavor that will help keep her mind off the tragedy that befell her in the world of mixed martial arts.
A bronze medalist in judo in the 2008 Olympics, Californian Rousey won the UFC bantamweight title and became a huge star in the world of mixed martial arts by winning matches in devastating fashion. There was a time when she was the most recognizable face in the UFC and she parlayed the fame with appearances in several television shows and a role in the popular movie franchise Fast and Furious.
Rousey’s career, however, came to a screeching halt when she was battered by former boxing champion Holly Holm in 2015. Rousey retreated from the public eye, but a comeback attempt in the Octagon in 2016 ended in another devastating defeat, this time at the hands of Amanda Nunes.
Rousey battled depression after her glory run in the UFC came to an end. At one point, she contemplated taking her own life after realizing that his career was over at age 29. Herein lies the importance of Rousey’s sojourn to pro wrestling: Rousey is in no position to return to the UFC as her cloak of invincibility had been torn into shreds and another jarring defeat might be fatal. By moving to pro wrestling, she gets to remain in the public eye and still be physically competitive.
The world of pro wrestling will provide Rousey that atmosphere where she has loyal followers ready to cheer her on as she makes a run for the women’s title. Rousey can even be initially packaged as a villain; one who hates the world because of the misfortune she went through but in the end redeems herself by becoming the hero she is destined to be. It sure sounds like a Greek drama storyline, but Rousey needs to be rescued, choreographed the rescue may be.
Rousey’s father killed himself when she was barely eight years old and before that her grandfather did the same thing. Right now, the last thing we want to see is Rousey isolated in a dark room wallowing in self-pity. The bright lights of the WWE figure to remind Rousey that her future is far from being totally bleak.
Heck, she could even end up having a lot of fun in the WWE.