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WWE Should Tread Lightly with Ronda Rousey Headed Toward WrestleMania 34

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WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view is a couple of days away and there is still a buzz circling the company’s headquarters after Monday night’s iron-man performance by Seth Rollins in a Gauntlet Match featuring all seven competitors in the main event.

The red brand will make history with seven competitors in the men’s elimination match to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34 and will host the first-ever women’s Elimination Chamber match. I like the idea WWE is taking more chances since the beginning of the new year, putting the women’s division back at the forefront of programming while Alexa Bliss bides her time until a date with Asuka in New Orleans.

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“One night after a critically acclaimed NXT Takeover show and just moments following an historic 30-women Royal Rumble, Rousey stepped into a brand new world, making the official transition from MMA to professional wrestling,” Mike Mooneyham wrote in his Feb. 3 column that appears on postandcourier.com.

If Mooneyham writes about it being a big deal, it’s a big deal.

“Once the queen of UFC, the trailblazing women’s bantamweight champion has found a new sport and a new audience. She’s also found a profitable new revenue stream after signing a full-time contract with McMahon’s wrestling juggernaut,” he added

Sunday night will also signal the night Ronda Rousey officially signs her WWE contract and makes her claim for a spotlight at the April event as well. The news of Rousey signing on the dotted line has lost some of its appeal in my opinion, mainly because she walked out of the back at the end of the Royal Rumble, stepped into the ring, pointed at the WrestleMania 34 sign in Philadelphia and hasn’t been heard from since.

Rousey’s new-found home in professional wrestling is still creating a buzz, but it’s not as dramatic as I had thought it might be. Given she has taken on a Lesnar-like persona of being talked about and not seen since the opening pay-per-view of 2018, what will WWE have in store for her once the Raw brand of performers leave the state of Pennsylvania?

The former UFC women’s champion moving to the McMahon family circus does leave me with a few questions, like wouldn’t it have been better if Rousey had made her initial appearance the night after WrestleMania? Wouldn’t it have been more dramatic? Where does she fit into Raw or SmackDown? How does she fit in a locker room of women who may be making substantially less money than her?

Initially, I believed a confrontation with Charlotte Flair with the SmackDown Women’s Title in the balance was the perfect way to usher he into the company. That changed after seeing the push by the Riott Squad and Ruby Riott challenging Flair to a title match at Fastlane in March.

Would the company put the strap on Riott to face Rousey in New Orleans? Is match with Flair still viable? Are there others to consider in this scenario?

Would WWE have Rousey face Nia Jax at WrestleMania after Jax loses to Asuka this weekend? How would the company book the two women given Jax has been booked poorly and Asuka has a winning streak to protect? Is Rousey a solid consolation prize?

At some point, Bayley and Sasha Banks are going to travel opposite paths again. Does “The Boss” and Rousey make for an interesting tango? How much would Banks sell for someone so green and does Bayley have enough brutality in her to act more aggressive against a born fighter?

WWE must find a way to keep fans engaged about Rousey’s transformation. At the same time, the company cannot stop the hamster wheel and change course. There are too many good things within the women’s division. As long as the contract signing does not upstage the Women’s Elimination Chamber match, there should be nothing to worry about.

If WWE makes Sunday night about her and not the other eight women on the card, then there will be issues moving forward. The company worked to bring the newcomer to the kingdom has to find a balance where everyone in the castle is happy.

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