As accomplished as she is in the world of MMA, where she dominated the UFC for several years, the WWE world is currently one of firsts for Ronda Rousey. Sunday night at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in Chicago brought several of them, including a Raw Women’s Championship title shot in her first ever singles match.
Among them was her first taste of the screwy endings that can make pro wrestling so unpredictable.
The difference in size between Rousey and Jax was played up both before the bout and in the early going, as the champ manhandled the former UFC champion in a way some fans were probably shocked to see. Even when she managed to get her legs under her a bit, it seemed like Rousey was searching for ideas on how to get any momentum.
She found it in unexpected fashion, thrilling the crowd by going to the top rope for a big cross body, but that didn’t work as Jax easily kicked out.
All that did was seem to fire Rousey up, as she surged with a series of strikes and a big judo throw that earned her a two count.
After rolling into an armbar attempt almost ended up backfiring, Rousey used a variation of the Rock Bottom to get Jax back down to the canvas and looked for the armbar again. Despite Jax’s best efforts, it appeared she would get her signature submission hold locked in, but Alexa Bliss, the winner of the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match earlier in the night, appeared suddenly, wielding the briefcase as a weapon.
Bliss assaulted both women with the case before cashing in the title shot contract that came with it, pinning Jax to become Raw Women’s Champion. One imagines that’ll leave her pretty squarely in Rousey’s sights for the next few months, perhaps leading to a title match at SummerSlam. That might not be a horrible idea since Bliss is one of the WWE’s best heels, making her a much more appropriate foil for Rousey than Jax ever was.
In the end, she got something perhaps even more valuable than a big victory in her debut as a WWE singles competitor: an introduction to the wackiness of title match booking. If Rousey is in this business for the long run, it won’t be the last time.