SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The one constant in all of WWE programming is that there will always be feuds. Sometimes over titles, sometimes over prestige, and sometimes over coffee. Here, we celebrate the highs and lows of WWE feudage and, hopefully, will only ever focus on a feud once.
I’m Tom Colohue and this is Focus Your Feud.
Follow Tom Colohue at @Colohue for updates.
Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss
Spoiler alert: This feud is just plain terrible.
On paper, Ronda Rousey’s whole WWE career thus far has been as paint-by-numbers as it is possible to get. She walked into the company after a huge draw event in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble. She then marched straight into a feud with what can only be logically described as the most well-built heel in company history: Stephanie McMahon.
Seriously, Stephanie McMahon spent years building up heel heat using the magic of nobody ever getting revenge on her for anything that she did. The only time she ever got hurt was at WrestleMania and that was only ever by former Shield members. This woman is pure evil.
And so we built into WrestleMania with everything perfectly in place. Angle and Triple H were there to deal with all the boring wrestling stuff and meanwhile Ronda and Stephanie would do all the fancy storytelling. Wrestling-wise, the match overall was poor at best. Before and during the match people were very unhappy at how strong Stephanie McMahon was being made to look compared to Ronda Rousey. And yet, in the end, that match is considered the jewel of the WrestleMania crown.
Ronda even came down to the ring wearing Roddy Piper’s signature tartan miniskirt for the occasion.
For actual quality wrestling, another match featuring women won the day in the form of Charlotte vs. Asuka. Further down the card, we had Alexa Bliss closing out the involvement of the women at the event by taking on Nia Jax in the close to their feud. Far from just being at the opposite end of the storytelling spectrum, this particular match couldn’t be much of a polar opposite. Built over months as a way of upgrading the value of Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss’s whole position was very clear. She is evil. She is a bully. She is a hate-filled destructive force.
And, of course, she got beat up, beat down, and lost her title. Just like that, everything was right with the universe.
The job wasn’t done though, and this is where the destinies of these two intertwine so destructively. You see, the job with Ronda Rousey is far from done. It’s barely started, in fact. She’s over, yes, but she can be more over. You have to remember that in order to get Roman Reigns to the level they wanted, they had him main event four WrestleManias in a row. When they want to push someone they push long and they push hard, the kinky buggers.
And so another heel was needed. Someone else to vanquish. Someone else who drew attention in all the right ways so that Rousey can come out of the other side looking as tough, as strong, and as impressive as she possibly can. Alexa Bliss, however, had just come out of a losing streak. She had lost two title matches in a row and had no right to go for a title again. That said, an opportunity at the top was just around the corner. A way to put Alexa Bliss in Rousey’s way. A way to make Alexa Bliss even more hated than Stephanie McMahon.
Really, nobody loses. Alexa Bliss won Money in the Bank, which very few people wanted to see and which still fewer people saw coming. Alexa Bliss cashed in, ruining a match that was developing well in Rousey vs Jax. She attacked an already hurt Rousey. She stole the title from an already hurt Jax. Just like that, the match was set, the feud was made.
We all knew what was coming. Unfortunately, they still had two months before the actual match was due to happen. This is where it gets silly.
Ronda Rousey was supposed to be on Raw week in and week out. She was needed to help maintain ratings. Unfortunately, after one hot segment, she was suspended. In the time that she has been gone, ratings have continued to drop. Alexa had to create a brand new feud with Nia Jax, for a match that was never go to go any other way than a Bliss retention. Even the hype package for that match was entirely built around Ronda Rousey. Jax was treated like an afterthought. All the good work done in the build up to WrestleMania has been undone. Why? Because Ronda Rousey is the pinnacle of the women’s division for the next few years, whether anybody else likes it or not.
And love her or hate her, Alexa Bliss is just a stepping stone to the next level.
Worse still was the nonexistent booking logic for this match up. To be clear, how did Ronda earn this match in the first place? Kurt Angle literally handed it to her, while she was serving suspension, because she violated her suspension. This is after attacking her GM Kurt Angle too. It’s okay, though; I’ve taken her lead and I’m currently planning to beat the hell out of Wade Keller in the middle of his post Summerslam podcast to earn a shot at the ownership of PWTorch. I guarantee you he’ll never see it coming. Don’t tell him.
So what have we been left with? By the numbers again. Rousey supposedly got out of the way so that Bliss vs. Jax could happen, but in reality she was still there looming overhead like a bad thought. Now, with Rousey due to return, all we’re going to get is the exact same game of cat and mouse that we had with Ronda and Stephanie.
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Maybe once Ronda has the title things will be different.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREViOUS ARTICLE: FOCUS YOUR FEUD: Colohue evaluates the Team Hell No vs. Bludgeon Brothers feud, the history and the highs and lows so far