The Rowdy Rewind looks back at Ronda Rousey’s first year of matches and segments in WWE, the ones that have yet to be covered by RondaRousey.com.
On April 9, 2018, Ronda Rousey made her first—and so far only—“RAW after WrestleMania” appearance, the night after her WWE in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34. Ronda actually opened the show in a segment with Stephanie McMahon, the woman she’d tapped out the night before in their show-stealing mixed tag team match (with their respective tag team partners, Kurt Angle and Triple H).
Stephanie (the then-Monday Night RAW Commissioner) came to the ring with a limp and her left arm in a brace, “looking extremely humbled,” according to Michael Cole’s commentary. Regarding the previous night’s mixed tag team match, Corey Graves noted that “Ronda brought her A-game and then some,” while Jonathan “Coach” Coachman called Ronda “an in-ring natural.”
As for Stephanie, the New Orleans crowd certainly didn’t feel bad for her decisive loss against Ronda, booing her and even chanting “YOU TAPPED OUT” before she even got a chance to speak in the center of the ring. But then she did speak, first saying that she “expected a little bit more from” this crowd (a point they, of course, booed)… despite their having a “certain [RAW after Mania] international flavor” (insulting how they smelled, in addition to the inherent xenophobia). According to Stephanie, “any other crowd would at least have some sympathy.” Uh…
More “YOU TAPPED OUT” chants followed before Stephanie told the crowd they “have to admit” that last night at WrestleMania they were “surprised.” Surprised by “the performance of one woman in particular,” since there was a lot of speculation. (And no, she wasn’t talking about the in-ring natural you’d think.)
“‘Could she do it? Could she make that transition’? And by god, I did make that transition, I was amazing, and I do deserve your accolades. Thank you. Thank you for your accolades. I deserve them. Thank you. Because I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew if I challenged Ronda Rousey in my world that I could bring out the best in her, that I could show the world what she was really made of. And that’s exactly what I did last night. And I deserve that pat on the back, so thank you.”
Seemingly finally done showboating—and taking all the credit for Ronda’s in-ring success—for the night, Stephanie supposedly decided to hand the spotlight off to someone else and introduced Ronda. “I couldn’t be more proud of this woman and what she accomplished last night,” she said, before calling for “WWE’snewest Superstar, ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey.”
Out came Ronda—all smiles, of course—and her reaction from the 14r,821 in attendance was pretty much the opposite reaction of Stephanie’s. Once in the ring together, Stephanie pointed out that last night, “the better woman won” when Ronda made her tap out. (See? She wasn’t completely detached from reality.)
“You were spectacular. You showed all of these people that everything you do, you do with heart, you do with passion. I mean, you truly are a role model for young girls and, really, for people everywhere. I got beat by the best in the world and I certainly don’t feel bad about that.”
But then Stephanie said that with her talent and Ronda’s spotlight combined, they could “blaze new trails that the world has never seen before.” With that, the boos returned. And then the corporate B.S. truly began:
“We can do it together. We really can. I can put the entire WWE machine behind you. All of that muscle. All of that reach. All of these people. With me in your corner, they will all support you, and follow you, and our message.”
Seriously, the crowd even chanted“BULLSHIT” at that. Stephanie said that because Ronda was “a business person,” she was definitely smarter than the booing crowd and knew that she’d need The Authority’s support to make it in WWE. She added that Ronda taught her “a valuable lesson” last night and she “paid the price,” clearly assuming that they were officially on the same page now. So Stephanie just had “one more thing” to say: “Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for my friend, WWE’s ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey.” Sure, the crowd cheered at that and Ronda still even had a smile on her face. In fact, she even accepted Stephanie’s handshake and then hugged to punctuate their friendship.
But after the hug, Ronda stopped smiling, grabbed Stephanie, and prepared to armbar her (already injured left arm) once more. Stephanie kept screaming “MY ARM,” but that didn’t stop Ronda from removing the brace and armbarring said arm for the second night in a row. Stephanie, of course, tapped, and Ronda eventually let go, with WWE officials coming out to check on Stephanie way too late to actually help her. As Ronda left the ring, her Joan Jett entrance music blaring, Michael Cole suggested that “‘Rowdy’ Ronda should change her name to ‘Rebel’ Ronda.” That attempted nickname clearly didn’t stick, but it honestly wasn’t a bad idea.
As officials tended to Stephanie’s left arm, she sobbed, screaming for them to stop touching it, all while the crowd chanted “YOU DESERVE IT.” Then in one of the most surreal moments in WWE history, ring announcer JoJo even stepped in on the mic to defend Stephanie McMahon’s honor post-Ronda Rousey attack:
“Ladies and gentlemen, may we please have a little respect for Stephanie McMahon.”
The crowd’s response to that? Deafening, defiant boos.