Tag Archives: Ronda Rousey

Talking about a revolution

It was one year ago – July 13th 2015 – that Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks made their debuts on RAW and – since they were women who could actually wrestle – unlike the useless models that WWE usually hire – fans and the company – called it a revolution*. One year on how has the revolution got on? The answer is mixed to put it mildly.

The revolution started going wrong on its very first night. Let’s look at the definition of the word “revolution”  :

“Revolution (noun) : The forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favour of a new system”.

So who announced the revolution on RAW last year? Stephanie McMahon the daughter of the owner of the company! In effect the establishment of the WWE announced the revolution which is plainly nonsense as revolutions are the overthrow of the establishment! What should have happened was an ex wrestler like Lita should have announced it or just let the three women debut without a ballyhoo. That was the first mistake.

Their next mistake was to merge the three debutants with six of the existing women on the roster and split them into three teams of three. This led to weeks of mind numbingly dull tag matches between various combinations of the teams. Anybody with a knowledge of history would have known that this would be a disaster as it was merely a female version of Vince Russo’s disastrous  “Gang Wars” of 1997 when the Nation of Domination, Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boriculas fought in meaningless tag matches. If it didn’t work for the men why on earth did WWE think it would work for the women 18 years on? What they should have done is either have Banks, Charlotte and Lynch as “invaders” – a female version of invading forces like the NWO, the Nexus or the Shield – but the problem with that idea was they for obvious reasons can only attack other women which lessens the element of surprise after their debut – or do what I would have done. Say that the women’s division is a shambles and needs a reboot strip the then champion Nikki Bella of her title get rid of the title belt and launch a new title** and have a tournament to crown a new champion. Just like WCW did with all their titles in April 2000 when that company was a mess and needed a reboot.

But it didn’t happen. And the reason it didn’t happen was because of a male ego. Nikki Bella is the girlfriend of John Cena the biggest star in the WWE. But unfortunately as an ex model she is a relic of the WWE’s toxic, sexist hiring policy and should have dropped the title. Indeed that was the plan. But unfortunately Cena allegedly lobbied the WWE to let Bella break AJ Lee’s record title reign and they accepted. Cena’s ego and the WWE’s determination to stick it to Lee’s ex husband CM Punk meant that Bella kept the title until October’s Night of Champions Pay per view – a dreadful mistake.

Even when Bella dropped the title to Charlotte the company still kept messing the women’s division up. For some reason best known to themselves the company had Paige mention the death of Charlotte’s brother Reid saying “Your brother didn’t show much fight did he?” which was crass and offensive to put it mildly. Then at the Royal Rumble in January this year they had Charlotte’s legendary father Ric Flair force a kiss on Becky Lynch. Yes they showed sexual assault on TV. Quite how showing an old man forcing a kiss on a young woman ties in with the WWE’s family friendly PG rating is a total mystery (they edited the incident out of repeats of the Rumble which tells you all you need to know).

To be fair, at Wrestlemania they almost got it right. They finally produced the new women’s belt they should have had back in July and the three women that had made their debuts back in July – Lynch, Banks and Charlotte – had one of the best matches of the night. Pity they had to have Ric Flair interfere to help his daughter gain victory but the match was a credit to women’s wrestling and it looked like the WWE were finally getting the women’s division right.

Er…they haven’t. Since Wrestlemania it has been going backwards again. Women’s matches are still far too short and the WWE still have a chronic inability to produce more than one female feud at the same time. For example after losing at Wrestlemania the popular Banks virtually disappeared from TV until the end of last month. This is partly because she suffered a concussion but mainly because WWE wanted to hold back her title bid – presumably to August’s SummerSlam – they had nothing for her to do. Imagine John Cena not being on TV because WWE wanted to keep him out of the title scene until August? You can’t. Because they wouldn’t do that that’s why….

It shows how pathetic the WWE is that the fact there are two women’s matches on the next WWE pay-per-view Battleground- Becky Lynch v Natalya and Charlotte/Dana Brooke v Banks and a partner of her choice – is eye catching and a sign of progress when it really shouldn’t be. The fact is while the WWE women’s division has improved since last year it can be said it is only taking the division back to the 2002-4 era where there was Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Jazz, Gail Kim…the women’s division should have improved since 2004 but until last year it had actually gone backwards.

Women’s wrestling should by all logic be as successful as women’s tennis. After all the women wrestle at the same venues as the men – just like women play tennis on the same Grand Slam stage as the men. But thanks to WWE sexism it is more like women’s football, rugby , cricket and basketball – regarded by fans as inferior to the real male athletes. A few things I would do are :

Sack the models. The likes of Nikki Bella, Eva Marie, Lana and Maryse must be swept away. Women must be wrestlers – not eye candy or pretty valets for their husbands and boyfriends. Those kind of women should be swept into oblivion.

Scrap Total Divas. Total Divas is a crap reality show on the E channel – think “Keeping up with the Kardashians” only worse. Since the women aren’t known as Divas anymore this show must go. If WWE are contractually obliged to produce this garbage pay the E network whatever they want to get this rubbish off our TV. If they want $10 million give them $10 million. You can’t put a price on gender equality….

Sign more women. There are plenty of good women wrestlers WWE could sign. Kharma, Candice LeRae, Sexy Star, Ivelise, Cheerleader Melissa, Jessica Havok to name but six. If you want to improve the women’s division sign good wrestlers. Its not rocket science!

Treat women the same as men. I don’t mean intergender wrestling I mean what Adam Blampied of What Culture said “Book the angle as if it is starring two men. Change their names to Bayley and Sasha Banks***. And you’re done”! Simple! So why can’t WWE do this? Also have the women in the same stipulation matches as men – a Money in the Bank ladder match, a Last Man Standing Match, a TLC match, even a Hell in the Cell match between two women. Why not?

Oh…and sign Ronda Rousey. You know it makes sense.

There are no excuses. So far it has been more a case of “evolution” rather than “revolution”. In fact the so called ” revolution” has had all the revolutionary impact of a used teabag. What the WWE should be aiming for if not women main eventing pay-per-views – which has never happened -is for women to co main event pay-per-views. It happens at Wimbledon at the Olympics and at UFC 200 last Sunday. There is no reason why it should not be possible in the WWE. And if it happens then we will be truly able to talk about a revolution.

*WWE called it a “Diva’s revolution” but I refuse to use the word “Diva”.

**The WWE did introduce a new belt but at Wrestlamania not in July last year. It is a big improvement on that awful pink butterfly belt.

***Or any other women.

 

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Why Rousey v Mayweather must never happen

I have not admitted it here before but I am a big fan of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Yes I know it is fake but it is great entertainment and the wrestlers are great performers and athletes.

However there is something that just might happen at the WWE’s premier annual pay-per-view Wrestlemania that if it did happen would mean that I would never watch WWE again. The event would be a mixed fight between the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight champion the unbeaten (12-0) Ronda Rousey and the unbeaten (48-0) multiaple time World boxing champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather.

Now you might think why would people be even thinking of a male v female fight? A conjunction of circumstances. First Rousey appears unbeatable. She won her last fight against Bethe Cotreia in just 34 SECONDS. And amazingly it was not her shortest fight! So people start looking for competition for her. Also add to this the fact that Mayweather is similar in height to Rousey (5ft 8 in to 5ft 7in) and there is only a few pounds in weight between them and people start thinking.

But there is a more sinister element to this. Mayweather has a history of domestic violence. He has been charged with the offence six times and served two months in prison for attacking the mother of three of his children. Rousey is a feminist. Some women would like to see Rousey take on Mayweather as some sort of revenge for his victims. Rousey has even brought up Mayweather’s past on a couple of occasions. First when she said that she would “never get in the ring with him unless they were dating” and  when she beat him to the Fighter of the Year award at the recent ESPYs she said (July16 2015) “I wonder how Floyd feels about being beaten by a woman for once”.

And add to this the race element.  Rousey is a white blonde while Mayweather is black. It is  too easy – especially in the US of 2015 – to see this becoming a case of the white hero v the black villain.  Every racist crackpot in the US – and there are a LOT of them – would support Rousey. You could have bizarre alliances forming where racists and feminists would support Rousey and sexists and blacks would support Mayweather.  Not a desirable scenario to put it mildly.

And amazingly people are taking this seriously. In the last week two articles have been published advocating the fight. One by Clay Travis on Fox Sports.com (August 3rd) was entitled “Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather need to fight”. The next day David Whitely in the “Orlando Sentinel” wrote that “Rousey v Mayweather must happen”.

And Twitter has also mentioned the possibility of the fight happening. Two examples:

I would pay a large amount of money to see @RondaRousey kick Floyd Mayweather’s ass in the ring. She’s a beast. (Brittaney Phelps (@brittaneyphelps) July 28 2015).

When Rousey-Mayweather happens at Wrestlemania 5 years from now I want credit. Favourite this tweet. (Robert Littal (@BSO) August 2 2015).

And this is where the WWE comes in. Even taking gender out of the equation if one fighter is a boxer and the other is an ultimate fighter they can’t meet in the ring or in the octagon as that would be to the advantage of one or other of the competitors. They need a neutral venue. Like the WWE. And as luck would have it both Mayweather and Rousey have appeared at Wrestlemania. Mayweather at Wrestlemania 24 when he fought and beat the Big Show and Rousey at Wrestlemania 31 this year in a cameo with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and the Rock. So a boxing/mixed martial arts hybrid match at a future Wrestlemania would seem ideal.

There is one big drawback in my opinion. The very idea of a man and woman fighting each other is to me morally repugnant. What message would it send out to men who beat their wives/girlfriends if they saw a man hit a woman in a fight on TV? Remember WWE fans know it is fake but those who don’t normally watch WWE who are drawn to WWE because of a Rousey v Mayweather fight would not know it was fake and think it is real. Would a wife beater justify beating his wife by saying “I saw Mayweather do this to Rousey on TV”? Even if only one man used the fight as an excuse it would be one too many. And I think Rousey knows this as she says she would not fight Mayweather.

But in sport money talks and there is a historical precedent. On September 28th 1973 female tennis player Billie Jean King took on male player Bobby Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in the “Battle of the Sexes” – a $100000 winner-take-all match. Amazingly more than 30,000 people turned up to see King win and over 50 million watched on US TV – proving that a market for this kind of event existed during a period of strong feminist activity (another similarity with today).

The big difference of course is that tennis is not a physical contact sport and there was no risk of injury to King and no risk of glorifying male violence towards women. So that event was a harmless little publicity stunt – quite unlike a potential Rousey-Mayweather fight.

Ironically if these two were from the UK this fight would be easily nipped in the bud as the authorities could easily ban it because of the “average woman” law in the UK. This prohibits mixed sport in events where the average woman is at a physical disadvantage to the average man (my emphasis).It is clear that fight sports would fall into this category. The fact that Rousey is not the “average woman” would be totally irrelevant. Now when this law is applied to say football and cricket it is wrong but in the case of a man fighting a woman it is a perfectly justifiable way to stop it.

And that is what the US authorities must do. They must pass an “average woman” law – provided it only applies to fight sports – and for the purpose of this law the WWE – which calls itself “sports entertainment” would count as a sport.

If they don’t do this they are relying on the morals of the competitors and promoters of sport overcoming their desire to make money – a very unlikely scenario. People will say the fight will never happen but no one thought the Conservatives would get a majority in the UK General Election or that the Astros and the Mets would be top of their divisions or women’s football fever would sweep the UK and the US. Funny things happen in sport – and life.

So the US authorities must step in and make sure the sick spectacle of a Rousey-Mayweather fight can never happen. The UK Government can help by banning the WWE and UFC from coming to the UK if it ever happens (both brands see the UK as a key growth market).

One thing is certain. If Rousey v Mayweather happens I won’t be watching. And if it is held at a future Wrestlemania the WWE will have lost themselves at least one fan forever.