Last night, Ronda Rousey made her third appearance on WWE TV since debuting at the WWE Royal Rumble. It went a lot like the last two, which is to say that it was a perfectly fine segment despite Rousey’s obvious inability to act.
A wrestler doesn’t have to be a good actor. There’s a reason only one U.S. wrestler, The Rock, has crossed over to being a movie megastar. Also look at the other people in segments with Rousey: Kurt Angle isn’t particularly great at reading his lines. Triple H is good. Stephanie McMahon speaks “entirely in exposition,” as Maffew said on an OSW Review episode, but she’s okay. (Steph and HHH better be decent, with how often they’ve opened Raw with a 20-minute promo.)
But Rousey has been noticeably bad. The person billed as the world’s most dangerous woman, who actually was that for a while in UFC, has twice now come out with a big, goofy grin on her face. She has struggled to put the microphone close enough to her mouth for people to hear what she’s saying. She has not sounded convincing on the mic. As David Bixenspan pointed out last week, she couldn’t even point to the WrestleMania sign correctly.
Last night, Stephanie McMahon gave Rousey an opportunity to select her opponent for WrestleMania. She told the sound guys to play a drumroll so Rousey could announce her choice. Rousey made her choice—“you,” as in Stephanie McMahon—right as the drumroll started. Wait for your cue! How is Ronda Rousey so much worse at this than, say, LaVar Ball? She didn’t seem as wooden in any UFC interviews.
The segment continued, and it turns out the match we’re getting at WrestleMania is Rousey and Angle vs. HHH and Steph. The kicker was Rousey pulling McMahon into the ring by her hair, then hitting her with a Samoan drop.
Rousey’s first wrestling move was not great, but the Samoan drop is also a pretty stupid-looking move. Frank A. Gotch could deliver it and it would still look silly. And you definitely don’t need to be good at wrestling to be a popular, successful wrestler.
(Tommy Dreamer did tweet some advice to Rousey, telling her she could injure herself if she continues to do the move this way. “You are trapping your own arm, causing opponent to land on ur arm & shoulder will mess you up,” he wrote.)
So far it hasn’t really mattered that Rousey can’t act. Her segments have been fine, the crowd has been into them, and HHH and Stephanie vs. Angle and Rousey will probably be an entertaining match. How long can she keep this going, though? She’s going to be on every Raw on the lead-up to WrestleMania, so we’ll get to find out.