“Rowdy” Roddy Piper thought Ronda Rousey was the “baddest woman alive” before he died in 2015, according to Diamond Dallas Page.
DDP spoke with UPI recently about WWE’s newest talent and his old friend. He thinks the new “Rowdy” has the potential to be a “huge star in the business.”
“I think she’ll put the work in,” DDP told UPI. “She’ll have to. Because it’s completely different from UFC. I think Ronda brings a lot. She really put women’s sports at the top of the list. She’s the main event. If you look back…there is no way there is ever going to be women’s fighting in UFC. She had a whole different vision. Not too many years after that she was headlining the main event. It really put her in a huge spot. And she had a great career. And I’m sure she’s pretty much moved on from that and she’s on to the next one.”
“Now is it going to happen right away? Is she going to go out there and be unbelievable? That will remain to be seen. But I think she’s going to hold her own…”
Rousey, 31, signed her WWE Raw contract Sunday at WWE’s Elimination chamber. That happened after she threw Triple H through a table, which the contract had been sitting on. She tossed the WWE executive vice president of talent, live events and creative after she heard that WWE chief brand officer — and Triple H’s wife — Stephanie McMahon insulted her. After the table toss, McMahon slapped Rousey in the face. Rousey heard that McMahon was talking about her behind her back from Kurt Angle. But Angle later fessed up that he lied about the insults.
The appearance followed Rousey’s showing in January at the women’s Royal Rumble match, where she walked into the ring and confronted Asuka, Charlotte and Alexa Bliss before pointing at the WrestleMania sign.
DDP says Rousey’s “history speaks for itself.”
“Again, wrestling is all about believability,” he said. “Believing in the character.”
“That’s why I think she’ll be successful. Do I think it’s going to take some time? You know I do. If you go back to her run in the UFC, it was almost Tyson-esque. It’s the same thing that Mike did coming in and boxing. She did it with tapouts.”
The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion posted a 12-2 record in UFC, losing her last two bouts to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, respectively.
The Big Show has met Rousey a few times and says she has a great backstage attitude.
“You can tell she’s excited about our business and what we do and that’s before I even knew she was coming on board,” the Big Show said. “When she was coming in to do the whole thing, she was somebody that was already at that stage.”
He also said he thinks Rousey joining WWE is an “incredible” opportunity for fans from both parties.
“As far as the brand the notoriety she brings to our industry, I think it’s an incredible opportunity for WWE and WWE fans as well as Ronda Rousey fans. Now we are going to see her in an environment that will be able to really see Ronda showcase her athletic ability, her entertainment skills and also the presence that she has. She’s just going to be overwhelming. It’s going to raise the bar a little bit in our women’s division. Our women’s division is the strongest it has ever been. It’s so strong, it has actually attracted the talent like Ronda Rousey to want to come and be a part of it….I think it’s absolutely amazing. I can’t wait to see what she does in the ring.”
Rousey’s charter is developing quickly in the ring. In Monday’s Raw, Rousey demanded an apology from McMahon for her Sunday slap. McMahon did apologize, before her husband punched Rousey’s friend Angle in the face. Rousey attended to Angle while glaring at McMahon and Triple H as they left the ring.
“She comes with a rep and it’s a good one,” DDP said. “Look what women’s sports are doing today. We’d probably never see any of these amazing fighters in the UFC. WWE, the girls there are serious. She has some great talent there and they aren’t there to hurt her.”
WWE, the XFL and who’s next?
With consistent celebrity appearances, Ronda Rousey’s arrival and the reemergence of the XFL, WWE is being promoted everywhere.
But the Big Show says that is nothing new.
“It may look like on the outside like it’s a new thing that WWE is doing, but since I hit the ground running in 1999, that has always been the attitude…Onward and upward,” said the Big Show, who had hip surgery in September, but said he’ll definitely be back by WrestleMania.
DDP said top athletes from other sports turn to WWE to get a longer shelf life, if they have already built a name.
“Like when Goldberg came out,” he said. “He played seven years in the NFL, but he didn’t really hit the status because of injuries. He had put the work in on the gridiron for many years and coming in he had the athletic prowess. He wasn’t at the end of it like a lot of guys when they try to come in. And then they realize, wow this [expletives] real out there. You can’t fake gravity bro. If they haven’t beaten themselves up too much they can get a pretty decent run.”
One name being rumored for a WWE career is Rob Gronkowski, who wouldn’t commit to a return to the NFL in 2018 after losing the Super Bowl. DDP thinks ‘Gronk’ could be a great fit in the ring.
“Someone asked me about Gronkowski the other day….I’m like, if Gronk wanted to, he could be amazing,” DDP said. “He’s a bigger than life character. He loves what we do. You gotta love it, you just can’t come in and go, you know I think I’m going to wrestle now and be successful. Fans will see through it and [expletive] on it. But the people that WWE normally go to, rather it be Ronda or I don’t know if they are talking to Gronkowski or not, I don’t know. But if they are, these are people who love it. Ronda showed up at Mania a couple years back and the rumor mill started then.”
“Football is awesome, you are wearing a helmet though. You can hear the fans, but you can really hear the fans when you are in the ring, because they are like the third person in the match. It’s all about how they react and if they buy you or not. Usually if you watch, and you throw somebody down somebody’s throat, push them down the fans’ throat, sometimes the fans will [expletive] on it, like Rocky. The Rock is the biggest star in the world now.”
DDP also stands behind Vince McMahon‘s decision to revive the XFL.
“People are always grateful for their accomplishments,” DDP said. “You gotta be grateful for your [expletive] ups too. Because that’s how you learn.”
“When you watch the 30-for-30, the reason why there is a camera in the middle of the field [in the NFL], that’s Vince McMahon. Why there are fire works and all the spectacle of Monday Night Football, the Super Bowl…that’s wrestling. We were kicking their [expletive] in the Monday Night Raw. They stepped up their games. They were like ‘what’s working over there? Let’s use that.'”