WWE gives Ronda Rousey-Shayna Baszler match at SummerSlam a pointless stipulation

Ronda Rousey and Shayna Baszler got a stipulation for their SummerSlam match that feels unneeded and not in line with the story that is being told.

The duo did some of their absolute best promo and storytelling work in the interview package on “Monday Night Raw” to tell the backstory and build hype for their SummerSlam match.

You can see how much this means to them.

It was raw, fierce and grounded in the story of their true friendship – making it a shame if their in-ring feud is shortlived.

With all the good that came from that, some of it was erased by a match stipulation that makes little sense and needs an explanation.

WWE announced the former UFC fighters will partake in an “MMA rules match” at Ford Field in Detroit on Saturday.

WWE

Shayna BaszlerWWE


What? Why?

This story is not about who is the better MMA fighter.

That is pretty clear, well-documented and something Baszler will likely admit. Rousey is a transcendent figure, a dominant champion and a Hall of Famer in the sport – even as Baszler helped pave the way for her as a women’s MMA pioneer. A win at a wrestling event doesn’t erase all that.

What happens at SummerSlam was supposed to be and should be about Baszler proving she is the better pro wrestler than Rousey, about the Queen of Spades refusing to let her real-life best friend from taking that away from her.

“Believe it or not, I love this and you have ruined it for me,” Baszler said of pro wrestling when she first confronted Rousey after turning on her and costing them WWE women’s tag team championship. “I owe you the sobering reality that there is someone here, me, that can finally shut you up.”

Two weeks ago she added: “I think you know, as well as everybody here, that when it comes to being in this ring doing what we do I’m a better Ronda Rousey than you.”

The beauty of pro wrestling is it can still be a “fight” that expresses and proves the toughness of the two competitors even without adding potential real fight rules to a scripted one.

Baszler, who went off as this feud started on building rings in the indies and needing a tryout to join WWE while Rousey debuted at WrestleMania, can prove she is both a better pro wrestler and tougher than her former tag partner by definitively pinning or submitting her in a match – not an MMA rules contest.

“I wasn’t given my opportunity here Shayna, I took it,” Rousey said in a segment two weeks ago. “And just like MMA, it took me a fraction of the time you invested before I eclipsed you yet again.”

This is about pro wrestling and WWE is taking the focus off that.

Also, what exactly do MMA rules mean?

If it’s simply that you have to beat your opponent by knockout or submission, maybe I can get behind it – even if I still it needlessly blurs the lines.

WWE

Ronda RouseyWWE
If we start pulling out timed rounds, judges cards, gloves and an octagon provided by Endeavor merge partner UFC then what were we doing here? But WWE failed to provide any of those details Monday night – likely leaving fans having to tune in Saturday to find out what “MMA rules” are all about.

Making Rousey vs. Baszler a Fight Pit match – if logistically possible – would have made a heck of a lot more sense. It remains a pro wrestling match, has a hint of cage fighting and immediately raises the level of physically you can present.

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