RAW: A Real Champion & A True Friend

LaToya Ferguson
Ronda Rousey, Natalya (source: WWE)

Last night at TLC, Ronda Rousey retained her RAW Women’s Championship against Nia Jax. After moving past the self-proclaimed “Facebreaker,” Rousey made clear that “payback’s a bitch.” No one could have imagined at the time that payback would also come that same night, during the main event of the pay-per-view. That payback came in the form of Rousey costing both the then-champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair the chance at capturing the SmackDown Women’s Championship and providing an opening for Asuka finally winning the big one. Great for “The Empress of Tomorrow,” not so great for “The Man” and “The Queen” (aka “The Woman”).

Tonight on Monday Night RAW, Ronda Rousey explained her (pretty self-explanatory) actions:

“I told Nia Jax she could kiss that right hand she’s so proud of goodbye. I told Charlotte Flair I was going to write the last chapter of our story. And I told Becky Lynch I was the last person she should provoke. I didn’t come here to justify my actions last night. I came here to define what a real champion is.”

According to Rousey, a real champion is more than a title or a referee’s decision: “A real champion represents the limit of human potential. The best of the best. Physically, mentally, morally.”

After what she did to Charlotte and Becky (especially Becky) last night, though, the WWE Universe wasn’t exactly in the mood to hear this. (Evidence? The “BECKY” chants.) But as “a real champion,” Rousey proclaimed she “lives for the challenge” and as such, she suggested “a new tradition” on a Monday Night RAW all supposedly about new traditions: one where the champion shows up to defend their title the night after a pay-per-view defense.

“I came for a fight. That’s an open challenge. Right here, right now. So who wants a shot?”

Backstage, The Riott Squad (including Liv Morgan, whose ribs were definitely worse for wear after TLC), Dana Brooke, Alicia Fox, Mickie James, Sasha Banks, Ember Moon, Natalya, and Bayley were all shouting for someone to play their respective music so they could accept the challenge. But Stephanie McMahon shut them all down, bringing them out to the ramp: Stephanie told Rousey that she’s no longer picking favorites—which tracked with the earlier parts of this week’s RAW—so while one of these women will challenge Ronda—next week—that winner would only be decided by an eight-woman gauntlet match.

The winner of that match? Rousey’s close friend and training partner, Natalya, making her way through three women in the process (Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, and then Sasha Banks). Her final match, against Sasha Banks, was especially grueling and closely-contested; but when all was said and done, “The Boss” fell to the Hart Family Sharpshooter. After that—and after a show of respect from Natalya to Sasha—Rousey came out to celebrate her friend’s hard-fought victory. Rousey raised Natalya’s arm before hugging her, shaking her hand, and then letting her have the spotlight. The two friends then headed backstage together—to Natalya’s music—to close out Monday Night RAW.

Next week on RAW: It will be friend versus friend.

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