Last week, Ronda Rousey blasted “ungrateful fans” and referred to pro wrestling as “fake fights for fun.” Many wrestlers like Lana and Alexa Bliss did not take her comments very kindly, and Nia Jax also promised to knock Rousey out if she returns.
Booker T and Christian talked about Rousey’s comments on The Hall of Fame podcast. Christian took offense to the term “fake” due to his retirement caused by the injuries he sustained throughout his career.
“This is my feeling on it when I hear the word ‘fake’ and I get offended when I hear the word ‘fake’ in the sense of, ‘oh, you do that fake stuff,’ but here’s the thing, it’s not fake because the physicality of it is very real. Is it predetermined? I think everybody knows the answer to that. It’s a show, but the punishment our bodies go through on a nightly basis is not fake,” Christian said. “I retired because of injuries, so that shows you how fake it is. It’s a work. It’s not fake. It’s a work. There’s a difference, and that’s my opinion on it.”
Booker T agreed with Christian’s comments and added that Rousey’s comments were a slap in the face of the other women she worked with in her WWE career. Booker T said that Rousey should apologize for her comments.
“Someone like Ronda Rousey, she was great for what she did. She put women on the map as far as UFC goes and women in MMA,” Booker said. ” She really brought that to the forefront, and it was a really great thing, but the exit, the way she left on two dramatic loses. One against Holly Holm [and] one against Amanda Nunes. Be that as it may, it is what it is, and to be accepted into the wrestling world and to have to go out there perform with all of those ladies in the locker room that she performed with, it’s a slap in the face to each and every one of those ladies that had to go out there and work with her.
“I remember winning the title from you, and I knew I couldn’t have looked good winning the championship if you didn’t go out there and make me look as good as I did. That’s what we do for each other, and then to slap all those ladies in the face that made her look so good after receiving that check from this ‘fake business.’ A check that put her in the position to be women’s champion. She was in the main event of WrestleMania. That speaks volumes for the ladies that worked really really hard, worked their asses off like a Nia Jax that never got that kind of praise since she’s been there, and then someone walked from the outside to the inside to get it. It really is a slap in the face, and I think Ronda needs to apologize first and foremost because my momma said to me, ‘if you ain’t got something good to say to somebody, don’t say nothing at all.'”
Christian suggested that Rousey may have chose the wrong words to express her feelings on pro wrestling and the fans. He says that she is perhaps playing into a heel character since she is a fan of WWE and took it seriously.
“I’m gonna try to play a different side of it. I do have the problem with the word ‘fake’ like we talked about. I think it’s, like you said, degrading to the people in the locker room that she’s working with. This is their livelihood. This is all they ever wanted to do. I don’t know Ronda. I met her a couple of times, and she was very pleasant the couple of times that I’ve met her, but maybe it was one of those things where it was a poor choice of words. I know she was a fan of the wrestling business, which is why she came in. She took it seriously. I never got the sense when she was in the ring she showed up just to get a paycheck. I always felt she was always trying to be the top performer,” Christian said. “Maybe it was a bad choice of words. Maybe something in the lingo where she could have chosen something better to say other than fake. She was a lightning rod at times in MMA as well. She kind of played that heel-type role where people didn’t like her for a long time, and she knew, in a sense, that was good publicity. [It was] good PR that people were gonna see her fight whether she won or lost. Maybe it’s the same thing here. Who knows? I don’t know if she’s coming back, but maybe it’s a way to ruffle feathers. Maybe a way to get people talking. She was kind of playing the heel character when she stepped away, so she’s just adding fuel to that fire and kind of setting the table in that sense reminding people that she’s still here.”
Booker T said that while that may be true, other MMA fighters that have been in the pro wrestling business have not used the tactic of calling pro wrestling fake. He also think that Rousey could have chosen a different platform to say what she said if it was something that she was doing as a heel character.
“People may look at it that way. Since the beginning of time, I don’t think this is how we created angles. I don’t think that’s how we tried to get back in the game. I don’t think Ronda Rousey is the type to go outside of the framework of picking up the phone and saying, ‘hey guys, put me back in, and we’ll create something.’ I don’t think she had to go on Opie and Anthony to say professional wrestling is fake,” Booker T said. “We got a term in the business called ‘putting yourself over.’ Maybe it was one of those things. There’s been a lot of guys in this business from Josh Barnett, Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn that have come and made money off it, and I don’t think publicly they’re gonna go out there and bash it saying pro wrestling is fake.”
Brad Gilmore asked the two about Rousey’s comment on “ungrateful fans”. That led Christian to talk about the idea of Rousey’s comments being in character. Hulk Hogan’s response was similar to that saying that people were working themselves into a shoot.
“I think, to me, that’s made it feel like a character thing talking about the ungrateful fan something a heel character would do, and I think we’ve seen it before with wrestlers who are so passionate,” Christian said. “Like Booker said, we’re protective, we’re passionate with what we do [and] we care about what we do. We love it so much that we get offended when people try to bash it or hurt it in anyway.”
Christian talked about how UFC fighters like Conor McGregor and Chael Sonnen have used pro wrestling tropes to help promote their fights. However, Booker T said that the difference is that Rousey was in the pro wrestling business and made a profit off of it. He acknowledged that if what Rousey said was a work, then it was successful since he was sucked in.
“For Ronda Rousey, the way I see it, to come in here and collect a check and talk about us like that, that’s what makes it a little bit different. If it’s a work, that’s one thing. Normally I can smell work. Normally I can, and this just does not feel like a work to. If Ronda Rousey got me, more power to her. It just doesn’t feel like a work. For many many years, the MMA world shunned on the pro wrestling world. They shunned on us for getting action figures and whatnot.
“Maybe she’s working a worker,” Booker laughingly said. “She’s working a worker man. I mean damn man. She’s better than I thought she was because she definitely got me on the edge of my seat. It was something that I wanted to weigh in on. Where is this thing going? We’ll find out, I’m sure, in the weeks to come.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit The Hall of Fame with Booker T & Brad Gilmore with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.