Is Ronda Rousey Ready for Wrestlemania?

Sunday night at the WWE's “Elimination Chamber,” former MMA star Ronda Rousey signed her WWE contract, and like all such staged contract signing sequences, it was a little pokey as we waited for the inevitable. There was no question that she was going to sign the contract since she really signed one long before she appeared on WWE television. The question in those scenes is usually how they’re going to end, or more specifically, who is going to get physically punished.

The WWE's Top "Smackdown" Story is Great and a Mess

As Smackdown Live approaches “Fastlane,” its best story is also its dumbest. The ongoing drama between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan is incomprehensible as they manipulate the careers of A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. At the same time, Styles, Owens, and Zayn are three of the best performers on Smackdown Live—reliably creative on the mic and in the ring.

Jason Jordan's Angle Got Real in the WWE

Maybe the WWE always intended for Jason Jordan to become a heel. Maybe when Kurt Angle announced that then-member of American Alpha was his illegitimate son, WWE writers knew that crowds wouldn’t buy it or him. They certainly reacted to him with suspicious indifference, then wariness. Theoretically, he was a babyface, but once he became Seth Rollins’ tag team partner, Jordan got real heel heat, particularly as his serial bumbling cost them the tag team belt.

The WWE's MMC Makes FB Must-See TV

The WWE Mixed Match Challenge sounds like a gimmicky way for the WWE to get in on a gimmicky platform, Facebook’s new Facebook Live. Instead, it has been a pleasant surprise and a reminder of what the WWE does well. The series is a tournament of male-female tag team matches, each wrestling for a charity, and while such tag matches are often frustrating because they present non-committal wrestling, here they succeed because they’re all about personas.

WWE Brings in New Women Rather than Write for the Ones it Has

Last week, two teams of newcomers shook up up the Raw and Smackdown Live women’s divisions. Monday night on Raw, Paige returned and brought with her Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The next night, Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan interrupted a Smackdown Live Women’s Championship rematch between Charlotte Flair and Natalya. The impact of Riot, Morgan and Logan’s move from NXT to the WWE main roster was muted by doing the same thing that Paige, Rose and Deville did the night before—shitkick the other women on the roster.

Did Jinder Mahal, WWE Go "Too Far"?

The WWE’s efforts to build Jinder Mahal look remarkably like flying a plane into the side of a mountain. I keep waiting for the company to treat its champion like a champion, but the top story on Smackdown Live is Kevin Owens versus Shane McMahon, where no titles are on the line. Mahal currently holds the most prestigious belt on the show, but he remains mired in angles that are unconvincing if not demeaning. Tuesday, he cut a promo on Shinsuke Nakamura that was too complicated as well as racially problematic.

Raw, Smackdown Take the Week Off

WWE "superstars" all stress that wrestling is storytelling, and that a good match tells a good story. This week, little storytelling took place in the ring on Raw. Samoa Joe’s unmotivated feud with Brock Lesnar took place on the mic and the entrance ramp, where Joe put his Coquina Clutch on Lesnar and almost choked him out before officials from the back could separate the two.

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