With WrestleMania 34 just days away, Monday was the time to ratchet up the tensions some more between Ronda Rousey and her WWE nemeses, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. It was also time to give the former UFC champion her first major bump, apparently, and McMahon did the honors by putting Rousey though a table on Monday’s “Raw.”
Of course, wrestling fans could have assumed that someone’s body would be used to destroy furniture, given the Chekhov-ian rule that if a table is set up in a wrestling ring for any reason, it must eventually be cleaved by a falling human. With two tables placed on the canvas Monday, there was no way both would survive the show’s opening segment, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before one saw its demise as hostilities flared anew.
Actually, for some wrestling fans critical of Rousey’s still-developing microphone skills, or lack thereof, the WWE forced them to wait far too long for the action to break out. The trio, plus Kurt Angle, Rousey’s WrestleMania partner, sat at their respective tables as emcee Jonathan Coachman led them through questions submitted via Twitter, as well as some menacing repartee.
Finally, it was time for a photo op and a handshake, except that Rousey would not make nice, even temporarily, with McMahon. As the two got face-to-face and Angle moved in to separate them, Triple H took the opportunity to attack Angle from behind, leading to Rousey grabbing Triple H by the throat.
At February’s Elimination Chamber event, Rousey threw Triple H through a table (or held him as he leaped backward, but let’s go with the narrative), but on Monday, she was on the receiving end of the bump, courtesy of McMahon. Presumably, the latter — who also gave Rousey a very real slap in a previous encounter — is now in for a world of pain at Sunday’s WrestleMania, not that there was much doubt about that to begin with.
Rousey may be (okay, is) painfully inexperienced in terms of selling an angle, but as a former Olympic judo medalist and UFC champ, she can be counted on to be a force in the ring, and McMahon said recently that she has been training furiously for their showdown.
“I’ve never trained harder in my life than I have for this match. I’ve been training twice a day now for quite some time,” McMahon, who at 41 is 10 years older than Rousey, told ESPN. “Not only that, I’ve been boxing. I’ve been in the ring three to four days every week just trying to get my reps and get the feel back.”
Oddly enough, for someone who has been involved in so many WWE story lines for so long, this will be McMahon’s first WrestleMania match. In fact, it will only be her second match anywhere since 2003, but as she said in an interview last week, McMahon is working to be a credible “Joker to Ronda’s Batman.”
“I think it is important to be the biggest bad guy that you possibly can be in order to make for a really good fight,” McMahon added. “People want to see her get her hands on me … and she is going to.”
At least McMahon landed a good lick Monday, and she’ll undoubtedly be allowed to throw some solid shots Sunday before getting her inevitable comeuppance. As for Rousey, she has now completed something of a pro wrestling rite of passage, one that passes right through a table, as she attempts to get up to speed before trying to put it all together at the WWE’s biggest event.
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