Becky Lynch: WWE were ‘mishandling’ Ronda Rousey, ‘she couldn’t wrestle’ at first

Ronda Rousey became one of the WWE’s most talked-about stars during her time with the company, but it may have been a case of too much, too soon.

When Rousey made her WWE in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34 in April 2018, she wowed fans and critics alike with an entertaining performance in a match that featured sports entertainment legends Kurt Angle and Triple H, as well as WWE executive and longtime on-screen character Stephanie McMahon. Rousey teamed up with Angle against the power couple of Triple H and McMahon, going on to win the storyline contest when Rousey submitted McMahon with an armbar, the same move that she was her specialty during a wildly successful UFC run.

Rousey went on to become a prominent member of the WWE roster before exiting the company in 2023, and she recently spoke publicly about the problems she experienced with several WWE executives.

Current WWE Superstar Becky Lynch was asked about Rousey’s comments on The MMA Hour, and she first responded by offering her own account of the ups and downs of working for the entertainment giant.

“I have a very different view and a very different experience of WWE,” Lynch said. “I always wanted to do this. This is what I always wanted to do. I love this. I love this, and is it perfect? No, nothing is. Nothing is. I’ve worked in little delis that you’re like, ‘How does this place operate?’ The size of WWE and the amount of talent and people that go into making it go live on TV for five hours a week when you’re just talking about Raw and Smackdown, and then you’ve got pay-per-views and then you’ve got NXT — so there’s so many people that go behind that, so you’re going to be dealing with a lot of people, so you’re going to be having some negative experiences. But this is my dream. I’ve always wanted it to be good, I’ve always looked at myself, how can I be better? How can I make the division better? And I’ve always worked to make it better.

“Stuff like the creative, no, it’s not always great. There’s been a history of it not making sense to me, but nobody’s personally going, ‘How do we make Becky Lynch look awful?’ But they have so much going on, there is so much going on and the fact that we pull everything off the way that we do, and even at a time when notoriously the shows were getting rewritten as we were going live on TV, and we still go them done and we still went out there, we still hit our times and we still made the show work — and no, it was not always great, but a lot of it was all doing the best we can. Nobody wants to go out there and do bad work or make anybody look bad.”

Regarding Rousey specifically, Lynch suggested that the fame Rousey achieved in the UFC might have prompted the WWE decision-makers to push her too quickly. Rousey was the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion and competed in a number of high-profile contests that drew millions of pay-per-view buys, with her time at the top coming to an abrupt end following back-to-back knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.

Lynch and Rousey worked together on several occasions (notably, alongside wrestler Charlotte Flair, Lynch and Rousey competed in the main event of WrestleMania 35, the first time women headlined the WWE’s marquee event), and while Rousey held her own with many of the company’s more experienced performers, Lynch thinks that Rousey’s quick start might have hurt her in the long run.

“She was coming off a different industry,” Lynch said. “She was a star and she should have been handled differently in terms of — I think she had such a great first outing that everybody thought, ‘Oh, she can wrestle.’ I mean this with respect, but she couldn’t wrestle.

“What we do isn’t something that you can just have one good match and then, ‘OK, yeah, I’m off to the races.’ It’s a craft, and you have to learn your craft, and you have to be diligent about learning your craft. But everybody treated Ronda like she already knew it because when she first came in, she was good in that first bout, but she was also working with Kurt Angle, she was working with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon. It was a well-rehearsed match because everybody wanted her to succeed. And then it was, ‘OK, she can do this, off to the races,’ and that was mishandling her because she was a star in her own right and she’d done so much for MMA.

“So in terms of that and booking, that wasn’t done well, but my experience coming from nobody thinking that I was going to be worth anything and making myself very valuable to the company and very valuable to wrestling in general, it’s because I loved it. Because I loved it and I sought out to do it. She came in and I think she found a place that she enjoyed, she liked, but she never sought to do it from a young age, and I think that changes the experience you have when you go into a place.”

Lynch, who is in the midst of a media tour to promote her autobiography Becky Lynch: The Man: Not Your Average Average Girl, was also asked to comment on the recent sex trafficking allegations levied at former WWE boss Vince McMahon. She spoke highly of her working relationship with McMahon and his contributions to the wrestling business, but called the allegations “horrible,” and said that while she didn’t experience mistreatment, “I hate that anybody experienced it.”

As for Rousey specifically mentioning WWE executives John Laurinaitis and Bruce Prichard in her complaints, Lynch declined to speak on that matter, as Rousey has not said specifically how the two crossed her. More details about Rousey’s time in the WWE are expected to be revealed in her own upcoming memoir, Our Fight.

“I’ve not read the book, so anything that I’m hearing, it’s hearing it out of context, so you don’t know what’s a headline grab and what gets more contextualized if you read the book,” Lynch said.

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