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Monday, April 20, 2015

Have Ronda Rousey Win Money in the Bank

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
If the episodes of Monday Night Raw post-WrestleMania have proven anything, it's that WWE all too ably slips into tedious routine, with galling willingness. The idea that WrestleMania serves to be a gamechanger, no matter what the results of the event are, is a dead concept. The part-timers go back into hibernation, and Face A has to overcome Roadblock A while Heel A schemes against Face A and maybe Face B, The modern WWE GPS can only track Square One.

If you're excited by Roman Reigns vs. Big Show, then canker sores probably excite you as well. If Rollins banning Orton's RKO and Orton demanding a cage match to ban Rollins' henchmen is a big selling point for you, then you're far less jaded than a Christmas caroler. Great pay-per-views like WrestleMania XXXI are far more damaging than bad ones. That's the modern reality; WWE cannot follow up the stellar efforts of their performers with world-class creative.

Sometimes, the poor follow-up is out of creative's hands. One of the most talked about occurrences of WrestleMania was Ronda Rousey pummeling Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, garnering some desired mainstream press in the process. Rousey maintains a high profile, part of a Mount Rushmore of female sports stars that includes Venus Williams, Danica Patrick, and Hope Solo. All four are guaranteed website clicks, and thus are guaranteed headline fodder (this article is exhibit A).

Apparently, the WrestleMania appearance was set up well in advance, remained a closely guarded secret, and understandably had the blessing of Dana White. It remains to be seen how much leeway/influence/control exists in the White/Rousey relationship, but you can damn well bet he would work to veto anything that would make Rousey look stupid. She's UFC's biggest draw, even with marquee title fights like Bones/Rumble and Aldo/McGregor coming up this summer. Chances are, Bethe Correia will be Rousey's latest victim come August 1, and that sort of potential one-sided fight has a chance of drawing more PPV buys than the prior two examples, even with their high anticipation.

In other words, White has every right to protect Rousey's aura of invincibility. Her last two fights went a combined 30 seconds before she dismantled her hapless opponents. Last thing UFC needs is for WWE to butcher that in some strategic alliance.

But hey, Rousey wants to work with WWE more. She's a diehard fan, kind of a Michelle Beadle-with-muscles. In the company's attempt to fill 'Jerry-World' for WrestleMania next year, booking Rousey to bludgeon Stephanie within an inch of her life will be a delectable attraction.

Until then, what to do with beautiful-but-bombastic UFC Queenpin that has wrestling in her blood, and a dream between the ropes to live out?

Have her obtain the Money in the Bank briefcase.

Now, I'm certain you wouldn't see Rousey in the ladder scramble this June 14, as it seems logistically impossible. She could conceivably take bumps, but you know Dana wouldn't allow that, especially with a title fight seven weeks out. It's possible that, if you get the ball rolling now, you could enter Rousey into the match and she could go relatively bump-free for the duration of the bout before knocking someone off the ladder in the final stages to get the briefcase. Possible, but not likely.

Solution: have Sheamus win it and continue letting him bully others in accordance with his gimmick. After the August 1 match with Correia, Rousey's temporarily freed up to insert herself physically into a WWE storyline. On some episode of Raw post-SummerSlam, perhaps, let Rousey appear in the crowd, have Sheamus taunt her the way he taunts everyone smaller than him, and then she challenges him for his briefcase. You'd probably have to schmozz the ending a bit (no way WWE lets Sheamus lose to the armbar), but somehow, someway, Rousey wins on what would have to be some negotiable, semi-credible fluke. There's a fine line in there, but the ultimate goal is to get Rousey the briefcase.

Then you get the headlines: Could Ronda Rousey Win the WWE Championship?

While the skeptics will just look at it as no, they're just setting up some twist to screw her out of it, the fans that actually do matter (the ones that still scream for The Rock, Sting, and Undertaker) will hopefully be drawn in by it. The idea of a woman, let alone Rousey, succeeding in a male-dominated world is easy headline fodder. This would be especially easy if Rollins were still champion; from a size standpoint, it's a bit more feasible in terms of body size for Rousey to beat Rollins than, say, Rusev.

As for the cash-in, Rousey would have to pull a Cena and announce ahead of time the date of her challenge. If she tries to cash in on a wounded Rollins and loses, even on a screwjob, it only damages her in a way that wouldn't be permitted by UFC. Giving Rollins a week's notice and saying she's going to kick his ass for the title either boosts Network subs (if it's a PPV) or pops a monster Raw rating. I suspect WWE would prefer the former.

Remember, the whole point to Rousey having the briefcase is to create the element of "Will she show up tonight and cash it in?" giddiness among the unjaded fans, something that is sorely lacking in the today's paint-by-numbers product. Excitement and mainstream attention are WWE's favorite marriage. This whole idea may sound convoluted, but hasn't the company done worse? FAR worse? Exploding limo, I'm looking at you!

The match would probably be above standard celebrity fare, even taking male-vs-female into consideration. I think there'd be less uproar over Rollins hitting a high kick on Rousey, given that she's not a damsel in distress and could probably rip off the champion's ballbag and gag him with it in real life. With that in mind, it would probably be an exciting match with its own unique feel.

Naturally, to set up Rousey vs. Stephanie, the Authority has to screw Rousey out of the gold. Rollins keeps the belt, Rousey brings attention to the company, the fans had a fun story to follow for an extended time frame, and you build your big WrestleMania match in one fell swoop.

And even if you think this is a shitty idea, I ask you this: would you rather see this, or the dullness that is your typical Raw these days?

I thought so.

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