How Ronda Rousey is the UFC’s Version of the WWE’s John Cena

November 28, 2015

What do Ronda Rousey and John Cena have in common? Turns out, a lot. And it’s more than great abs, a nice tan and late-night talk show appearances.

Many parallels undoubtedly exist between the WWE and the UFC. Both involve half-naked men and women grappling for superiority. Both organizations are run by egomaniacs who thrive on power. And both of the sport’s top stars are absolutely loved — and hated — by the fans.

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In taking a whooping of epic proportions at the hands of Holly Holm, Rousey recently reminded us of three things: No one is unbeatable, UFC fans are more fair-weathered than Colin Kaepernick fans, and that armbars don’t work when you are eating fists for five minutes straight.

But she’s not alone in her journey. She actually has a male doppelganger in the form of WWE star Cena, also a polarizing individual that everyone loves to hate on. And there’s good reason. These two have a lot in common.

Both lack great standup

Have you ever seen John Cena thrown a right hand? He resembles a fat kid swinging a stick at a piñata at a birthday party. But without the stick. Cena has a milli0n dollar-body and a 10-cent right hand. If I had a nickel for every real-looking, right-handed punch Cena ever threw, well, I’d have a nickel, because I am sure there was at least one time when he was going for a clothesline and accidentally hit someone in the face. Suspension of disbelief goes out the window when Cena swings, but at least he doesn’t fall down when he throws a punch like our beloved Bronze medalist. Rousey doesn’t really have bad stand-up compared to every other female MMA fighter not raised by a preacher. She’s knocked out some girls and done it impressively. But her standup, like Cena’s, needs some work.

Both got killed against better fighters

Everyone from Lady Gaga to a pinhead running for president knows about Rousey’s beatdown in Brisbane. No one saw that coming. Well Cena, at Summerslam 2014, was the recipient of his own stunning spanking — against Brock Lesnar. Typically PPV main events go this way (well if you have a good booker in charge): The bad guy gets the upper-hand early, getting the crowed riled up, slowly building up to the good guy turning the tables and fighting back against the odds. Just when you think your fan favorite might pull off the victory, the bad guy pulls hair, gouges eyes, or throws salt in the other guy’s face while the referee isn’t looking. It looks like the bad guy is going to win and prevail unethically, but the good guy, feeding off the positive energy and cheers from the fans, rallies and somehow pulls out the victory, sending the crowd home happy and the TV viewers wanting to order the next PPV.

But on Aug. 17, 2014, it didn’t go down that way. Lesnar DESTROYED CENA, breaking the formula for how to book PPV main events. It was a total squash. It was like Vince McMahon said “I don’t care about the little children in the audience going home happy. I am going to ruin your day just because I can.”

Lesnar whipped Cena in 16:14, in a one-sided squash match that buried Cena and turned Lesnar into an even bigger star. It’s one of the stiffest matches you will ever seen in professional wrestling, at least in the United States. Cena got in about as much offense as Peyton Manning did in the Super Bowl that year. The world was stunned. Sound familiar?

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Both were overpushed

Anyone who has watched a WWE event live or on television knows this to be true: women and children cheer Cena like he’s Justin Bieber. Adult men boo Cena like he’s Justin Bieber. Why would anyone boo a hard-working, in-shape, decent guy who loves professional wrestling? Well, because wrestling fans have had no choice for much of the last decade.

You see, Cena sells T-Shirts. LOTS OF THEM. Try walking around a mall in any major city in America. You will see some little kid wearing a “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect,” “Never Give Up,” “Rise Above Hate” or any other of the 632 multi-colored Cena T-shirts that the WWE markets. Cena is a CASH-COW, which means he’s been shoved down our throats for more than a decade, leading to a backlash among fans who carry signs that say “Cena-Nuff” at live events. So Cena will always be in the main angles on WWE television because he moves merchandise. Just like Rousey.

Rousey sells PPVs. So when UFC President Dana White figured that out, he’s focused the entire company around Rousey, and treated her like she’s the greatest thing since Chael Sonnen. Rousey fought SEVEN times in less than three years, from 2013 to 2015. Her loss to Holm was her third fight in 2015.

Rousey needed a break, but she didn’t get one because White wanted to squeeze one more fight out of her before she went off to make some movies. So it’s only natural that fans are going to jump off the Rousey bandwagon after her first loss. Everyone, Rousey included, made us think she was invincible, and when the “invincible” fall, people are going to cheer.

Both Will Rise Again

Cena is on the shelf right now because the WWE is trying to shove a different wrestler, Roman Reigns, down our throats. Only problem is Reigns lacks charisma, promo skills, wrestling ability and catch-phrases to put on T-Shirts. Unless there’s a sex tape out there where he is hurling racial slurs, Cena is, and always will be, the man in the WWE. Expect him to main event next year’s WrestleMania, and at 38 years old, be around for a long, long time. Just like Rousey.

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Once Rousey pulls herself out of her rut and wakes up again, she is going to come after Holm like Charles Bronson after the bad guys. Just like Holm studied and prepared for Rousey, Rousey can study and prepare for Holm. Make no mistake about it; if ,and when, Rousey gets Holm to the mat, Rousey will try to snap that arm like a Slim Jim. Now that Rousey knows that Holm owns her in the stand-up, expect Ronda to pull out the Chael Sonnen playbook and take Holm down at the waist and grind her way to a victory. If Rousey gets ahold of that arm, the shards of bone will fly into the cheap seats of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Can Rousey come back? Yes. Holm has been knocked out before and looked less than impressive in her two prior UFC wins before Rousey. Rousey is where the money is, and there’s no doubt she’ll have a newfound hunger to be the best again.

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