So, WWE went ahead and mucked it up again by pushing Ronda Rousey into a Raw Women’s Title match with Nia Jax she is nowhere near ready for, all for the sake of a cash grab.
In what was one of the strangest challenges in recent memory, Rousey and Jax met up at NBCUniversal Upfront in New York on Monday. Jax held her recently won championship in front of Rousey’s face and challenged her to a title bout. The former UFC star hesitated but eventually accepted. She had a little help as Charlotte Flair was there as well, encouraging the rookie to accept the chance at the brass ring.
Rousey now faces Jax one month from now at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view on June 17. If anyone has noticed, Jax hasn’t participated in another pay-per-view event since WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Despite her solid showing, and given she is over with the wrestling fans, she is still inexperienced and not worthy of a title shot.
What is WWE thinking? Rousey is still inexperienced and has been protected so far in her matches since joining the main roster. It’s evident she still needs work on her in-ring skills. She also needs development of her character and her promotions skills as well.
This has the makings of a colossal error by the McMahons. The remainder of 2018 should be about building Rousey up as a potential WWE champion, a star who is transitioning from one medium to another. The groundwork should be set for a big 2019 with a potential title match (against either the Raw or SmackDown women’s champion at WrestleMania 35.
The Royal Rumble should be Rousey’s coronation as the future of the company. Now, things are muddled and both Jax and the former UFC champion could take a major hit for this error in judgment.
Now that Shinsuke Nakamura has won the right to determine the stipulation of the WWE Title match he will have with AJ Styles, is it finally time to put the company strap on the King of Smooth Style?
The only thing bad about this match, which is a bit of sarcasm on my part, is the fact it is the final chapter of one of the better stories told by WWE this year. I’m sure there are many more verses to be compiled, but the Nakamura-Style conflict will come to an end and both will move on, or forward.
As Daniel Bryan said on Tuesday night, he is ready to become “the guy” once again for the blue brand. Samoa Joe is waiting, biding his time for a real program following his return to the ring. It looks like the next month will plant seeds for two major feuds heading to SummerSlam.
Then there is The Miz, who is patiently waiting to claim another Intercontinental Title and possibly move to the main event picture. Bravo, WWE. A series of chess moves that will likely pay off in terms of fan interest and interest.
For now, SmackDown Live is winning the post-shakeup war with better booking and a lot more forethought.
The idea of Nakamura and Bryan in a three-match series is as good as it gets. Joe deserves a shot at the main event. Styles continues to be the best the company has to offer. It’s these kinds of moves that make wrestling great for older fans like myself.
Reigns Reign Ends
I like the idea of the Roman Reigns-JInder Mahal feud. I think I am more excited about Reigns not being part of the main event program on Monday nights. What WWE decides to do with the Universal Title is still a mystery, with Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley joining forces instead of becoming bitter rivals.
Brock Lesnar is once again counting his cash and laughing at the chaotic scene.
Reigns and Mahal make a solid mid-card feud that should be better than advertised. It remains to be seen how soon WWE will promote Reigns to the main event again, but this is Mahal’s chance to shine once again. If there is a character on WWE roster that is as close to a throwback heel, it’s Mahal and his heat from the fans and his work in and out of the ring.
WWE has shifted its focus a bit, making this more about Mahal and his success in facing the “Big Dog.” Mahal doesn’t need to win the match at Money in the Bank, he just needs to look strong in losing to the company’s favorite son.