Mick Foley Says It's Unlikely Women Would Have Main Evented WWE WrestleMania 35 Without Ronda Rousey

Mick Foley has praised Ronda Rousey’s influence on WWE and WrestleMania 35

Ronda Rousey is seemingly done with WWE, for the time being at least, with the former WWE Raw Women’s Champion going on hiatus following her loss to Shayna Baszler at SummerSlam 2023.

Rousey is certainly a divisive figure amongst wrestling fans, but WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley has come out in support of Rousey, claiming that WrestleMania 35 wouldn’t have been headlined by women if not for the former UFC star in a lengthy Facebook post:

“It would be easy to dismiss Ronda Rousey‘s time in WWE as something of a disappointment. Maybe she never became as beloved as Becky Lynch, as proficient as Charlotte [Flair] or Sasha [Banks], or had a great long term story arc like the one Rhea Ripley is currently enjoying as part of Judgment Day. I haven’t always been watching the product as intently these past few years as I had for the previous 40, but from what I did see – coupled with a pretty good gut feeling - is that Ronda wasn’t quite as invested emotionally for her second WWE run, as she was for her first. Motherhood has a way of redefining priorities, and rightfully so. But I firmly believe that her first run was not only incredibly impressive in the ring, but even more consequential in introducing new eyeballs to the product, and injecting a major dose of credibility into the general public’s perspective of professional wrestling. 

“I was in the crowd in San Jose for WrestleMania when my pal Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson introduced Ronda to the crowd to a thunderous ovation. She was quite simply, the baddest woman on the planet. And while the back-to-back defeats she suffered in UFC may have taken a little shine from her, Ronda was still this incredibly sparkling diamond in the rough when she made her WWE debut at 2018’s WrestleMania. That match, where she teamed with Kurt Angle to take on WWE’s power couple of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon was my personal favourite match of 2018. That’s not to say it was the best match of 2018 - merely my favourite. It was one of those matches I need every once in a while to remind me of why I fell in love with pro-wrestling to begin with. I specifically remember watching the show with friends, and during this incredible moment where she had Triple H rocking and reeling, I just yelled out, “she’s not phoning it in!” She certainly wasn’t. Ronda Rousey took pride in what she did, worked diligently to become really good, really fast, and as she progressed, had good-to-great matches with a variety of opponents. 

“Without Ronda, it’s highly unlikely WWE would have featured a women’s match as its main event at WrestleMania in 2019. I still believe the real marquee match would have been Becky versus Ronda in a singles match - but nonetheless, let the record show that Ronda Rousey main evented WrestleMania with just one year of professional wrestling experience.”

Foley continued, equating Rousey’s rapid rise in WWE to that of ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in the mid-90s.

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.