It’s safe to say Ronda Rousey started like a house on fire for WWE at WrestleMania 34 earlier this month but her in-ring debut didn’t come without criticism.
Billy Graham was quick to rip into her for using Roddy Piper’s gimmick and when responding to the rumours that Rousey was going to make Triple H tap out, the WWE Hall of Famer lost the plot a little.
“Miss Lousy was going to make H tap out? This would have been received as well as a cement truck full of pig s**t being dumped on the Mania 34 fans,” Graham said shortly after WrestleMania. But it’s clear these comments are completely out of keeping with the general consensus amongst the WWE Universe towards Rousey after a show-stopping performance at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
You only have to look back on the reaction she received in Louisiana on the night as Rousey well and truly whipped up a frenzy in the stands. And if there was any doubt about her value to WWE moving forward, former WWE NXT Champion Drew McIntyre put it all into context in a recent interview as he hit the nail on the head.
On Rousey signing for WWE, McIntyre told wrestlinginc.com: “It is a huge deal. She is such a gigantic name on the mainstream. She is box office in sports and in the Octagon.
“I didn’t watch UFC much, but whenever she had a fight I would want to watch. She is such an attraction. She is such a big fan of our business, and isn’t just here for a payday. She genuinely loves this.
“I remember seeing her at a Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show in Los Angeles, when she was in the crowd. Her rival was on next for a UFC pay per view while our show was going on, and myself along with Trevor Lee were having a match in the crowd.
“A photographer took a picture of us fighting in the crowd with her in the background watching our match instead of watching the UFC fight. That is how much she loves this business, and we saw her in the crowd all the time. She is not taking this lightly, and is doing a great job.”
One of the impressive aspects of Rousey’s performance at WrestleMania 34 was the comfort level she got to in regards to her technique and facials, with McIntyre echoing the recent thoughts of Kurt Angle on the matter.
“This is not an easy job to get,” McIntyre added. “It took me 17 years to get to the point where I am at. It took her two months to get to the point where she is at and I see her looking more and more comfortable in the ring as well.”
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