What to Expect of Ronda Rousey in the WWE

After months of speculation, Ronda Rousey has finally debuted in the WWE. Just a little less than two weeks ago, she made her first appearance after Asuka (current WWE wrestler) had won the first ever women’s Royal Rumble. For the most part, this was met with praise, and a ton of mainstream media attention. The WWE got exactly what they wanted out of Rousey’s initial appearance.

Now if you follow WWE and pro wrestling in general, you probably know what to expect of her. However, if you haven’t followed WWE in quite some time, and Ronda debuting had peaked your interest, this may answer some questions for you.

Wrestling and Promo Ability

In terms of her being a great in ring competitor, that’ll take time and a lot of it. That’s why many, including long time pro wrestling journalist, Dave Meltzer, believe she’ll be used in a tag team match at Wrestlemania. As of now, it’s rumoured that she may compete against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon with the Rock (not confirmed) as her partner. Believe it or not, this is the best possible match for the former UFC champion. It gives Triple H the ability to carry the bout with whoever his male counter part will be, and it allows for Rousey to look dominant against non-wrestler, Stephanie McMahon. The option of a tag match ensures that no spotlight is taken from the other full time women on the roster.

Could they throw her in a title picture right away? Sure, but it would be a disaster waiting to happen. Ronda still needs to find her footing when it comes to being comfortable with a WWE script. Even though she’s had exposure to live mic in the past, it doesn’t mean she’ll be great at cutting promos. A lot of the people that are on the current roster still aren’t comfortable with a WWE script, so just imagine how terrible someone not used to that system would do.

Another thing to keep in mind, today’s WWE fan base isn’t very forgiving to performers. If a wrestler can’t connect through a promo or mic, they’re rejected immediately. The WWE shouldn’t risk throwing Ronda into a singles program until she’s fully ready.

How She’s Booked

Ronda Rousey is one of the all time great UFC competitors, which means she knows how to kick ass. With that being said, people that don’t follow the WWE closely will be critical when she doesn’t have the upper hand in a match. That should never be a point of criticism during Ronda’s time with the company. People must keep in mind that in the fictional world of the WWE, the women are just as tough as the women in MMA. Why? It’s because this is still a TV show that’s based on storylines more than anything else. Also, having Rousey beatdown every women with ease takes credibility away from the rest of the women’s roster.

This doesn’t mean she’ll be booked just like every other woman. She’s still a special attraction that deserves to be showcased with the top competitors. The WWE doesn’t have a bad history with booking former MMA fighters. In case some of you may not realize, they booked Brock as an unstoppable monster, and Shayna Bazler as a dominant competitor that can hang with the vets of NXT. On a smaller note, they’ve also given Sonya Deville some credibility with her MMA background.

Appearances on Raw/Smackdown

Rousey has signed a “full time” contract, but we have still yet to see how often she’ll be in attendance. I think it’s safe to say she won’t be on TV every week, but she’ll be at every TV taping leading to her next PPV match. Also, we shouldn’t expect her to wrestle on Raw or Smackdown. Exposing her wrestling more often than not will eventually hurt her character, and take away the aura she carries.

In terms of what show they’ll put her on, my guess is Raw. Smackdown has been a big priority for the WWE since it went live, but they still have a tendency for giving the bigger moments to Raw. Along with that, Stephanie McMahon is the commissioner of Raw, so it makes sense for the first feud. It would still be cool for her to have a run on Smackdown eventually, just to keep the stories fresh.

Most of what I’m saying is pure speculation, so things can always go differently. For all we know, the complete opposite can happen. However, I think my expectations and predictions are fair.


Super Bowl Party Etiquette

It’s that time of year again. Everybody is getting ready for the Pats vs Eagles. Even if you’re a casual fan of football, you’re still looking forward to Sunday. Now, some of you may not be looking forward to the game itself, but more the party/gathering for it.

Right now, if you don’t have plans to watch the game on Sunday, you’re probably rushing to make plans with your friends. Whether you’re hosting or attending, there’s always an etiquette to Super Bowl parties, and that’s what this article will cover.

1. Have food and drinks ready for your guests

This rule basically applies for most viewing parties, but it’s a staple for the Super Bowl. The coverage goes on for 4+ hours, and that kind of TV consumption works up an appetite. If you graciously volunteered to use your home as the Super Bowl headquarters, there needs to be food and drinks.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean the host has to break the bank on finger foods and dinner. Having an assortment of chips and dips is always a great default, and it shouldn’t cost more than $30. Also, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, pizza is always perfect for this occasion. If you buy it right before the game, it’ll usually last until the end. If you’re only planning on serving finger foods and apps, let that be known to your guests, so they plan accordingly.

When it comes to alcohol, a case of beer is always a good choice. There’s no need to get any fancy craft beers, as something cheap will go fine with pizza and chips. If alcohol isn’t something your guests will be consuming, there’s no harm in picking some soda.


That’ll do

Now, I understand this can be costly for the person hosting, but don’t worry, there’s options on how to cover this. Just because you’re hosting, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase everything. There’s absolutely no harm in assigning food/drink duties to your guests. After all, the host is giving up his/her home on a Sunday night. This brings me to my next point.

2. Ask your host what he or she needs

Like I mentioned before, someone is giving up their home on a Sunday night for a party, so bring something with you. Not everybody is swimming in pools of cash, so as friends we should all chip in. Also, this allows for more variety in snacks and drinks.

If you’re someone that’s only an acquaintance to the host, this rule applies to you more than anybody else. Nobody likes seeing someone they barely know mooch off the party they threw.

3. Don’t invite people without the host’s permission

There’s not much to this rule, because it’s common courtesy. Your host may be looking to keep the party low key, and they have the right to do so. Also, if your host  hasn’t extended an invite to people outside of the guests that are already confirmed, you probably shouldn’t ask this question.


Not everybody wants their living room to look like this

4. Respect the game!

There’s two parts to this rule, and first is to keep the talking to a minimum while the game is on. The whole purpose of this party is to watch football, and it can’t be enjoyed if others are screaming about topics that are unrelated. With that being said, adding bits of your own game commentary is usually welcomed. If you and some others want to have an off topic discussion, there’s nothing wrong with getting up and walking to another part of the house/apartment to have it. In this case, if you’re fortunate enough to have a large house and multiple TVs, you may want to consider having the game on in multiple rooms.

The second part to this rule is all about keeping the insults about football away from the party. Chances are, most people are hear to enjoy a football game, and that’s not easy if someone continues to crap on the sport. Even if you’ve been dragged to a party by your spouse or friend, keep your negative comments to yourself. As someone that’s had people come over and insult wrestling during Wrestlemania, I can tell you that it’s incredibly irritating.

5. Leave at timely manner

Hey, it’s a Sunday, people have work in the morning, so make sure you leave on time. I get it, people have been drinking and are having a good time, but every party has to come to an end. As someone that’s hosted parties for other events and Super Bowls, there’s nothing more that I hate than having to drop hints for people to leave. It’s an awkward position to put the host in.

If you’re the host and don’t want the party to go on after the game, let that be known to the guests. The party is only going to go on if the host doesn’t say anything. Not everybody at your party is aware of your work schedule, so just be up front about it.

6. Don’t drink and drive

I’d hope this is common sense for most people reading, but make sure you or your friends don’t get behind that wheel intoxicated. Your lives are more important than getting your car home the same night. Always plan ahead, and make sure you have safe transportation to and back from the party.

7. Have Fun!

It may sound like there’s a lot of rules for a Super Bowl party, but that’s with every party ever hosted. As long as mankind has been holding get-togethers, there’s always been an expected etiquette for both guests and hosts. However, this doesn’t mean we have to be robotic when hanging out with our friends.

Make sure you cheer when your team scores a touchdown, or boo when the play is in review. It’s okay to heckle your friends once your team wins, or even throw a small fit when your team loses. Why not make a wager with the others at your party? It’ll sure be fun to win a couple bucks at the end of the night.

Anyways, just make sure having fun is your first priority for this Sunday.


If everything goes right, this will be your party on Sunday

I hope I was able to educate some party throwers and goers for this weekend. If you feel like I’ve missed anything, please share it in the comment section.

Also, I’d like to thank Aaron for giving me this platform to write on. Hopefully this will be the first of many sports articles I’ll contribute to Beards & Banter!

Vince McMahon and The XFL: No Chance In Hell?

If there is one thing Vince McMahon has, it’s balls.  Those who don’t follow wrestling may look at him as a complete joke, but if you take a look at what exactly he’s done in his career, it’s actually really incredible.  By doing this, you get to see exactly when he started growing giant balls.

Without going into too much detail, Vince McMahon grew his wrestling empire by taking insane chances, and breaking every rule in the book to get there.  Back in the early days of pro-wrestling, everything was done in “territories.”  Each area of the United States was run by different wrestling promotions.  Typically, these territories were respected and for decades these rules were never broken.  It was the general understanding among all promoters.  In the 1980’s, this all changed.  McMahon decided to break these rules, running shows in the same towns as other promotions while also signing their talent.

McMahon has never been afraid of competition.  This can also be proven by looking at “The Monday Night Wars,” where he was forced to defend himself when Ted Turner decided to go head to head with him in the mid-90’s.  I was lucky enough to experience all of this at the time it was happening, as this was most likely the highlight of McMahon’s incredible career.  McMahon was the clear underdog during this war, as Ted Turner has an endless stream of capital and his own television networks.  At the time, most fans thought he would lose that war, and for a while he was.  In the end, not only did McMahon win, he bought the company that tried to destroy him and put it down like Old Yeller.

In 1999 McMahon and NBC joined forces to create a product that would piggyback off the success of Pro-Wrestling and NFL Football; both were huge at the time.  The plan for the product was to use the same scoring system of the NFL, but rougher, less rules, and combine off-field elements like kayfabe involving sex and violence.  The XFL was going to tout itself as “real football” and feature players and coaches wearing microphones on the field, off the field, and in the locker room.  As ridiculous as this all sounds today in 2018, back then it made perfect sense.  McMahon reached the pinnacle of his success with the “Attitude Era” of wrestling, which was rooted in tasteless storylines, extreme violence, questionably racist dialog, and everything else that would send today’s P.C. cultured youth into cardiac arrest.  It’s clearly what people wanted back then, so he figured it would work with football.  That wasn’t the case.

The ratings for the first game were higher then they ever imagined, but fell sharply once the viewers saw the overall product.  The presentation and the talent on the field differed greatly then what fans were used to seeing in both the NFL and College Football.  The connection to professional wrestling was also turning people off.  It was just not something anyone was willing to take seriously.  Overall, it was a complete joke and was over after the first season.

Fast forward to 2018.  The NFL’s ratings have been declining steadily.  The first week of NFL playoffs this year saw a 16% drop from last year, which is about 5.8 million viewers.  NFL games are still the most watched sports on television, but the trend is still a concern.  So what is the reason for the continued loss of fans?  I don’t think there is a specific reason, but a multitude of reasons that hit a spectrum of people differently.  All of this is causing them to do something else on Sunday.  Whether it’s because of “taking a knee,” or the refusal to penalize those who did, or the increased length of the games due to the gratuitous amount of penalties, or the quality of the officiating, or the inconsistency of the rule enforcement, or Netflix, or simply not liking the fact that we are all watching men destroy their brains.  The list runs on and on, just like that last sentence.  What we could be seeing is a window of opportunity.  But is that window big enough to let in someone with gigantic balls?

On January 25th, Vince McMahon made history by announcing the revival of the XFL, which basically sent the internet into a frenzy.  This time, separating the brand from the WWE, stating that the company will be now owned by McMahon’s “Alpha Entertainment.”  This is an obvious attempt to help distance the product from wrestling.  The problem isn’t going to be the name of the company that owns the XFL, its the man that owns it.  Vince McMahon IS professional wrestling.

This revival of the XFL was presented much differently though.  McMahon was not assuming the role of the circus promoter. He sat there presenting a product that sounded somewhat reasonable if you were able to get past the stench of it’s past failures.  What was promised this time wasn’t football mixed with 90’s wrestling.  What was presented this time was a product that was seeking to capitalize on all the things that currently continue to tarnish the NFL.  McMahon promised more action and fewer rules.  He also stated that the XFL was looking to create a safer product, which I’m not sure is possible to achieve with fewer rules.  Vince stated that fans want shorter games with less interruptions.  He also said that in the XFL, “quality of the human being is going to be as important as the quality of the player.”  A direct shot at the NFL which is riddled with players that have criminal records, guys that hit women, and a league that continued to let a guy play who murdered dogs.  Players with something as simple as a DUI will not be able to play in the league.  He also addressed the current overblown controversy of “taking a knee” and stated that players will be expected to respect the National Anthem.  Vince stressed that this time around would be much different.  With the original XFL, the time wasn’t there to prepare and to get it right.  This time he says he has two years to get it right, getting experts in all areas, and closely listening to the fans.  Most importantly, there will be no crossover between the XFL and the WWE.

As stated earlier, when the announcement was made, the internet was sent into a frenzy.  Can this work?  The consensus amongst most fans is, “No.”  Some fans can’t get over how big of a disaster the first season of the XFL was.  Other fans are skeptical when McMahon states that he’s going to “listen to the fans.”  With wrestling, Vince does the complete opposite of that.  He promotes wrestlers that a majority of fans do not enjoy watching and he continues to have a three hour wrestling show when fans have been begging for two hours.  But after thinking about all of this, and initially mocking the idea, I think it has a shot.

With the continued loss of viewers in the NFL, those fans are still out there.  As Vince stated in the press conference, there is a significant off-season with the NFL which offers room for another product.  Do I think the XFL can go head-to-head with the NFL?  Absolutely not.  Not now anyway.  With the current state of the NFL and the growing list of things that continue to make the game worse, the XFL actually does have an opportunity to try and change the game.  If there truly is a way to simplify the game, to make it safer, and make it more exciting, then he is on to something.

There are so many costly lessons learned from the first XFL season, that it is possible to build on that while also capitalizing on everything the NFL does wrong.  You have to remember, the ratings for the first game were there and I have no doubt they will be there this time as well.  The real challenge though is captivating that audience, presenting them with a strong professional product, and not something that looks like porn.  It is easy to mock Vince McMahon (I do it myself), but one must not forget what the man has built in his career.  As off-the-wall as he is, he is still possibly the greatest promoter of all time.  At a time where technology and social media allow endless opportunities for any idea, anything is possible.  I won’t count out the success of the XFL.

Neither should you.


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