I see where Kevin Berge of Bleacher Report is going with his story about this being a defining moment for both Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey, but I am of the opinion WWE dropped the ball on this one.
So much is being made about a confrontation that should never take place, that the resistance to such a confrontation – pitting a Raw Women’s Champion who is decidedly viewed as a heel – and a rookie sensation – who is only being promoted as such based on her UFC success, is doomed to fail. And it’s not a stretch to say it could be as bad as any pay-per-view title match fans have seen in the past decade.
Oh, WWE. You once again break my heart with your cash grabs and hopes of something more prolific. Unless Stephanie McMahon walks out and makes sure Jax wins, taking down Rousey in a Triple H-Kevin Owens type of move, then please make this one of the opening matches at the pay-per-view next Sunday night.
“WWE Money in the Bank 2018 will be a major event for WWE, with the classic ladder matches crowning new stars and Shinsuke Nakamura getting one last shot at WWE champion AJ Styles. However, no match could have a greater impact on the future of the company than Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey,” Berge writes.
He is correct. This is impactful for two neophytes. It could mean we see a shockingly good match. It means Natalya somehow gets involved in the match, possibly costing her BFF Rousey the title. It means this could be slow and plodding and could be booed out of the arena like the last Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns confrontation.
Even Berge has his doubts, like me, over how this will all go down.
“This dynamic has led to one of the most unnecessarily tumultuous situations in WWE, with two women putting their futures at risk,” he writes. “If this match does not go well, both could face serious consequences that would change their careers.”
Because of the magnitude of the event and the circumstances behind the push for Rousey to reach the zenith so quickly, it appears she has more to lose. She has been less than exciting in commentary during Jax’s matches. Her confrontations with her opponent have looked too staged and she certainly has no one to protect her in the ring like there was at WrestleMania 34 in her mixed tag team match.
This is the setup of failure like we may never have seen before.
WWE has a history of worrying about the cash grab more than making sure their performers are ready for the big stage. Some stars have it and gravitate toward the top of the mountain quickly, like Kurt Angle, like The Rock. Others take time and development – where someone like Reigns is still trying to find his footing with the fans and replacing John Cena as the centerpiece of the red brand.
Somewhere, between now and next Sunday, WWE must find a common ground that makes fans want to see such a match. The company did such a great job of building Jax as the hero for the masses, the woman who defied odds of being bullied and put down throughout her struggles toward the women’s title. Now, it is almost a given she will become the bully Alexa Bliss portrayed her to be.
Rousey needs no introduction, she needs no shot of adrenaline. Her name recognition alone is enough o drive tickets sales. But for now, she falls short on all accounts. It almost feels like the roles should be reversed and the former UFC champion should play the role of the heel in this match.
That’s not going to happen. Watching a solid match between these two is not going to happen. What is going to happen is WWE will do what it can to salvage a bad plot and an even worse storyline. Let’s just hope it does not damage either Rousey or Jax for the long haul. It’s a gamble WWE has taken and is about to lose mightily at its worst possible time before SummerSlam becomes the hot topic of conversation.