SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey doesn’t mince words when it comes to her views on pro wrestling being “fake” and a lot less pressure than MMA.
After showing success as both an Olympic bronze medalist in judo and a UFC standout, Ronda Rousey made her transition to professional wrestling when she stormed her way on the scene at the 2018 Royal Rumble. She went on to reign as Raw Women’s Champion following her defeat of Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam. Ronda Rousey lost her championship at WrestleMania 35 when she fell victim to a controversial pin by Becky Lynch, and wasn’t seen again in WWE until her post-pregnancy return in the 2022 Royal Rumble.
After winning the Royal Rumble, Ronda Rousey went on to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 38, but she was unsuccessful in the bout. However, at WrestleMania Backlash, Ronda Rousey defeated Flair and is the current reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion.
Speaking to her WrestleMania 34 teammate on an episode of The Kurt Angle Show (available early via AdFreeShows), Ronda Rousey spoke about making the transition from judo and MMA to WWE, noting that professional wrestling was far less pressure.
“I got to say that pro-wrestling is a lot less pressure guys.”
No stranger from making the move from combat to WWE, Angle brought up the topic of pre-determined winners in professional wrestling, and Ronda Rousey detailed the reasons having a set outcome is incredibly helpful to her performance, particularly because she isn’t focused on the anxiety of the results of the match.
“It really does help a lot. And I think like pro wrestlers don’t understand how much that it helps, because a lot of times, you know, I’ll hear people be so offended that are like ‘How dare you call this fake? There’s no fake way to, you know, go through a table or, you know, this injury is real and…’
“I’m like you guys, it’s not like the physical toll that like, makes something real, okay. Like, for example, I had a match where I, you know, busted my hand up and broke my thumb. Like, my knuckle exploded and all this stuff. It was a 16 second match in which my hand was destroyed. And I walked out giving everybody high fives. It wasn’t like, I never thought to myself, like, if you told me before a match, you are going to win this match, but we’re going to have to take your arm off. And I’d be like, okay, all right, fair trade, fair play.
“And it’s just you don’t care, like the injuries don’t enter your mind, it is the anxiety and the uncertainty of the results.”
When Kurt Angle asked her to clarify whether this philosophy held true whether she won or lost, Ronda Rousey emphatically stated that despite the outcome, the anxiety of a bout that’s not pre-determined is what makes it real to her.
“Yes, and how much it means to you, you know, and allowing something to mean that much to you is like allowing yourself the opportunity to like be devastated, you know, like, imagine if you didn’t win that Olympic gold medal Kurt? What that has done to you for the rest of your life.
“And that is what makes it real to me, you know, like injuries, I don’t care, you know, people get injured all the time playing Pirates of Penzance, you know. Like, there’s a lot of difficult physical things out there that the realism to me is like that extreme anxiety. And I remember leading up to the Bethe Correia fight I was like, every single time I go into a fight I’m like Why do I do this? Why do I do this to myself? This is the absolute worst, I hate it.
“And then like, afterward, I was, you know, giving everybody high fives all the way out. This is Rocky 4 man! That those highs and lows and this, you know, peaks and valleys and the crazy anxiety with a huge payoff or you know, the huge not payoff is what really makes it real for me, not like injuries and stuff like that. I don’t know how I got down that path.”
Ronda Rousey continued, saying that actual competition is much more difficult than pre-determined bouts.
“But yeah, it’s much more difficult to doing actual competition than staged competition, which I absolutely love. Because we get to do all of the fun parts of like, what’s the coolest way this fight could possibly go? Like I remember always thinking to myself that I wanted to do a Sode Tsurikomi Goshi, which is a throw that I didn’t do all the time in MMA. Now think of all the different ways that I would get to do it, and it just never came up, you know.”
In the end, Ronda Rousey thinks professional wrestling matches are more fun because she gets to do the things she wants to try out, and loves making the fights as entertaining as she can.
“But like in wrestling, I get to do it all the time. I get to do all the matches that like yeah, you know what I mean? You can make the fight as entertaining as possible. Instead of like, what? It just ends. And fun. Why is it bad to say it’s like fun? If people ask like, easy I’m like, yeah, it’s physically difficult. But everyone’s working together to make sure it works out. It’s not like everybody is conspiring against you to stop you from reaching your goal, you know, in that moment.”
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