Ronda Rousey has caused uproar and received threats of violence from fighters keen to punish the former champion after she called WWE “fake” and claimed there would be deaths if wrestling matches were not planned in advance.
Rousey fired back by reiterating her stance after a fierce row broke out when she likened wrestling to theater and laughed off the idea of fights being real.
“Anyone who is outraged…has never been in a REAL fight,” she told her following of more than 13 million on Instagram, accusing current fighters Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss and Lana of being among the wrestlers guilty of carrying “huge, soft egos.”
“No-one is thinking about all the REAL fighters you’re insulting when pretending [that] pro wrestling is somehow on the same level of realism.
“Yes, I understand – wrestling 300 days a year for years on end is incredibly tough on the body and a difficult profession. But do you know what would happen if you got in 300 REAL fights in a year? You would be dead.”
Jax, one of Rousey’s predecessors as WWE Raw Women’s champion, pulled no punches in venting her fury after the former UFC title holder spoke of the sacrifices she made after becoming a wrestler in 2014 and insisted that outcomes were pre-planned.
“Even if WWE orders me to make Ronda look good in the ring, which is the ONLY way for Ronda to look good in the ring with me, I’ll risk my job to go down in history as the one from this biz that knocked her the F*CK out,” wrote Jax, reigniting a personal and sporting feud that culminated in a compelling Money in the Bank fight in 2018 from which neither fighter walking away victorious.
Jax’s cousin, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, celebrated in the ring with Rousey in an incident that won the WWE Moment of the Year award in 2015, but the Australian-American said she “couldn’t wait” to silence her resurfaced enemy should Rousey make a mooted part-time return to action.
The unexpected winner of that showdown between Jax and Rousey, Alexa Bliss, has also hit back at her old opponent, pointing to the year-long injury she sustained as proof that fights are not choreographed.
Two-time Tag Team champion Bliss has revisited her row with Rousey of two years ago when she labeled her an “overhyped rookie”, hit her with the Money in the Bank briefcase and launched subsequent attacks on Rousey in and out of the ring on the way to glory.
Rousey had breezily spoken of “fake fights for fun” being “just the best thing” in her interview with former Jackass provocateur Steve-O on his Wild Ride show, calling the contests “live acting” and one of “the last forms of live theater.”
Those comments have been lambasted by Raw regular Lana. “I have NO WORDS for her audacity,” blasted the fighter, singling out neck injuries sustained by seven-time heavyweight champion Edge and former Divas champion Paige and the spinal cord injury that forced Tyson Kidd to stop wrestling as evidence of the authenticity of the discipline.
“If it is fake, why couldn’t Edge wrestle for 11 years? This is a contact sport where REAL things happen.”
Fans who had heard Rousey speak of her disdain for them –“f*ck these fans”, the Californian recalled of her thoughts before she left the sport – expressed excitement at the growing animosity and possibility of future fights between the resentful wrestlers.
The longstanding debate over allegations of fakery in wrestling remains one of high contention. “If it’s fake, why did Triple H’s career almost end when he tore his quad, Steve Austin mess up his neck and Mick Foley…who knows how many injuries he had?” asked one respondent, calling out numerous other fighters who suffered problems. “But it’s all ‘fake’. Whatever.”
Another wrote: “Nobody is saying that it’s as real as ‘real fights’ or anything of the sort. People are just expecting a bit of respect for the people who got bruised injured or even died for pro wrestling. But it is not ‘fake’ just because it’s scripted and not a legit fight where you’re trying to hurt your opponent.”
Actor Varun Dhawan, who has more than 27 million followers, warned Rousey to “check yourself before you wreck yourself”, although one of her supporters retorted: “Oh dear. All the grown men that still watch it are upset. Welcome to the world of no common sense.”
Cynics might question whether Rousey’s words were also part of a prepared drama. “I love all the girls in the locker room,” she said, speaking fondly of fellow fighters whose respect she appears to have now lost.
“I love performing. I love the girls. At the end of the day, I was just like…my family loves me and they appreciate me and I want all my energy to go into them. So that was my decision at the end of the day.
“It’s like, ‘hey girls, love what you’re doing. I’m gonna try to take all my momentum and push you guys as far as I can…fly little birds, fly. I’m going f*cking home. And that was basically it.”
Rousey sustained her first WWE loss last April, ending her 231-day reign as champion. She has since turned her talent to acting, appearing in last year’s film version of Charlie’s Angels.