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Who will be the first to fall to “Rowdy” Ronda?

After making her big “point at the sign” debut last month at the Royal Rumble, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is ready to grace us with her mainstream media mug at Elimination Chamber, where it was announced she’ll be signing her official contract. Mostly likely, during this in-ring segment, the seeds will be planted for her WrestleMania 34 match – which we’re assuming will be her first actual broadcasted match within the company.

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So what’s going to happen? Will she get into it with Hunter and Steph and rub the “Authority” the wrong way? Will someone else crash the party and challenge her outright? Will she just sign the paper and point at the sign again? What’s the deal? What does WWE have planned for her?

Firstly, let’s address the MMA elephant in the arena. Is she a good pro-wrestler? There’s no doubt Rousey is a fierce and extraordinary athlete, who’s certainly capable of becoming a world class sports entertainer, but where’s she at right now? How much has she been training in the ring for an actual match? What will her first match look like? She’s committed. None of this, apparently, is being treated like a side gig she’s willing to brush off. Also, while she’s a celebrity, she’s not coming in for a one-and done bout where she’ll only have to learn a few basic maneuvers. She’s in this for the haul.

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The rumors currently have Ronda being the one to end Asuka’s mega-streak. What will her road look like getting there? I guess my question is – and yes, all I’m really doing is asking a buttload of questions here – should they “Goldberg” Rousey? Meaning…should she win her matches really quickly with one or two devastating moves right out of the gate? And then just repeat that until she gets to Asuka?

Or, should she learn ALL the fundamentals first and then work her way to Asuka by having actual matches (that last over 5 minutes)? I think, if I may be so bold as a big Asuka fan, is that the consensus among Asuka fans is that they’d/we’d be totally fine with Rousey ending Asuka’s streak, but she needs to look good in there. She needs to look like she can take Asuka from a wrestling standpoint. And I know (I KNOW) Rousey is a legit beast in real life but that’s very different from looking credible as a wrestler. It sounds weird, I get it, but wrestling fans know what I’m talking about. We’re also a bunch of prickly sons-a-bitches when it comes to “paying dues.” Or, in the very least, following a certain “path” in one’s ascension though the ranks.

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Anyhow, let’s slice into this soufflé (do you actually slice a soufflé? asking for someone who’s never eaten a soufflé) and see what Rousey’s more-immediate WrestleMania prospects hold. Let’s assume, to start, that Asuka’s facing Charlotte. Alone. She beats Nia Jax at Elimination Chamber. Jax either goes on to face Alexa Bliss at ‘Mania or…

Rousey vs. Alexa Bliss

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…Rousey gets “The Goddess” one-on-one. Honestly, this doesn’t feel right. No one wants Rousey to get an immediate title shot and Bliss, having already lost clean to Asuka on RAW, won’t look look good in any part of this scenario.

So then how about…?

Rousey vs. Stephanie McMahon

…Ronda vs. Steph, straight up?

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In a slight swerve from The Game’s obligatory ‘Mania appearance (where he almost always loses in an overlong match designed to put over younger talent), Steph takes the hit this year and gets all up on Rousey’s face for not being grateful enough. This leads to Rousey massacring Steph under a minute, which would be perfect if Rousey, at the time, is only able to pull off a few holds. And it works because A: the two clashed before back at ‘Mania 31, and B: it pairs with all those reports out there stating one of the ways WWE is utilizing Ronda Rousey is to help make Steph a bigger star.

Rousay and Braun Strowman vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H

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A spin on that last suggestion, and an option that’s actually being considered, is having Rousey in a mixed tag match with Strowman as her partner. Together they’d face the husband/wife duo of Hunter and Steph. Not only does it build off the in-ring segment from ‘Mania 31 by bringing back the McMahon-Helmsleys, but it puts Hunter in the ‘Mania mix while also finding something big and notable for Braun to do (which always seems to be a challenge given his kayfabe dominance).

The Rock ‘n’ Rousey Connection vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H

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Honestly, the dream here – THE DREAM – is for the entire WrestleMania 31 segment to return as an official match. Which would mean The Rock, schedule permitting, in all his global box office dominating glory, would come back for an actual bell-to-bell encounter. Even though Rock’s never fully abandoned his wrestling roots, getting him in a match, even if he’s free, feels like a long shot. But that’s what we live for as wrestling fans. The longest of shots.

Ronda Rousey vs. E.Z. Pickins

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With Paige on the shelf (perhaps forever) what is Absolution’s role post-Elimination Chamber? Are they going to get the same push as they had when Paige was an active competitor or are they destined to be stepping stones/hurdles for Rousey? It’s not ideal, but one option for WrestleMania is to just feed Rousey a non-established star and have her obliterate them in a blink.

Rousey’s More Horsewomen vs. The Four Horsewomen

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Finally here, this one seems like a no-go right now given how Asuka’s probably squaring off against Charlotte, Sasha’s set to heel off on Bayley, and two of Rousey’s squad (that includes Jessamyn Duke, Marina Shafir, and NXT’s Shayna Baszler) aren’t in WWE in any shape or form. This was the rumored Rousey match from last October, but it just doesn’t seem possible now. Not for ‘Mania. For later on though? Most definitely.

Who would you all like to see Ronda Rousey face on the Grandest Stage of Them All? What would you like to see as her first match? Sound off down below.

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA). Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.





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