Ronda Rousey’s in-ring WWE debut was a rousing success.
Booked in a match that was designed to showcase all of her strengths, the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion shined at WrestleMania 34, the WWE’s annual blockbuster professional wrestling event.
Rousey was paired up with fellow Olympic medalist turned sports entertainer Kurt Angle to face on-screen authority figures (and real life executives) Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. The bout was a storyline continuation of Rousey’s appearance at WrestleMania 31 back in 2014, when she was involved in a segment opposite McMahon and Triple H again, though that time Rousey teamed with former wrestler and Hollywood megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
She made her return to the promotion this past January at the conclusion of the Royal Rumble event.
On Sunday, Rousey would actually be participating in her first WWE match and she came out dressed in a leather jacket and kilt in honor of wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, from whom she took her nickname.
Angle and Rousey faced off with their opponents, and it was the male wrestlers who would start the show.
After Angle and Triple H worked for a few minutes, Rousey finally managed to get tagged in and the crowd exploded as she dragged her boss into the ring.
McMahon played the dummy to a tee, flailing around as Rousey tossed her from pillar to post and even displayed some striking once she had McMahon trapped in the corner.
All in all, Rousey’s athleticism and physicality was on full display as she teased finishing the match with her signature armbar on several occasions (only for the dastardly bad guys to continually find ways to weasel out of trouble) and did everything short of bashing someone with a steel chair.
Considering Rousey’s lack of professional wrestling experience, it’s hard to imagine how her WrestleMania appearance could have gone any better.
In the main event, former UFC heavyweight titleholder Brock Lesnar retained his WWE Universal Championship by defeating longtime rival Roman Reigns.
He came out to the ring escorted by his on-screen advocate, Paul Heyman.
The match was typical Lesnar fare, as the 40-year-old used his ridiculous strength to push opponent Roman Reigns around the ring and execute some impressive suplexes.
However, the crowd appeared both distracted and disinterested, partially due to their disdain for Reigns and rumors that Lesnar could soon be leaving the WWE to return to MMA competition. The WrestleMania 34 main event also took place approximately seven hours after doors opened at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Lesnar and Reigns went back-and-forth, causing destruction outside of the ring and Reigns was even busted open at one point, giving him a crimson mask that added to the drama.
In the end, Lesnar walked out with his championship after hitting his finishing maneuver, “The F-5” for the sixth time in the match.
It remains to be seen what this means for Lesnar possibly fighting again for the UFC. Company president Dana White recently said that he expects Lesnar to come back to the Octagon, though he did not provide further details.