Shayna Baszler defeated Ronda Rousey by submission in their simulated fight at WWE SummerSlam 2023. The match had the tall task of following LA Knight’s emotional win, and the MMA grappling was met with a cool reception by the Detroit crowd.
Fans chanted “LA Knight” and “this is boring” as Rousey’s up-and-down run with WWE looks to have come to an end. Once upon a time, a match like this could have been all the rage with a WWE audience, but unfortunately the UFC-WWE crossover was more of a 2010s thing.
Shayna Baszler shockingly turned on Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank midway through their WWE Women’s Tag Team Title defense. The rushed heel turn set the tone for a hasty, confusing storyline where it was never clear who the babyface actually was. Thankfully, WWE was able to salvage the Rousey-Baszler feud with a pair of masterful video packages on Raw’s go-home show for SummerSlam.
Both Rousey and Baszler borrowed from their real-life history on UFC’s Ultimate Fighter to tell the story of their SummerSlam feud. After Baszler and Rousey’s poignant sit-down interviews, where each became emotional, it still wasn’t crystal clear who the babyface was. This time around, however, it was because both Rousey and Baszler each shined as narrators trying to convince the audience that they were the heroes in this suddenly gripping story.
“She lets us live for free at her house, but it’s so that she could have people to beat up for free,” said Baszler of Rousey. “It’s not because out of the good will of her heart. I was there for every single one of Ronda’s training camps to be the sparring partner that mimicked the people she was fighting so that she could learn to capitalize. Ask Ronda Rousey how many fight camps of mine she showed up to, to be my sparring partner.”
Rousey responded by referencing the harrowing story of how a King’s loyalty led to his downfall at the hands of a stable boy.
“Something I was reading, they were talking about some king or emperor that was saved by a stable boy when he was younger. And in his gratitude, [the king] gave him everything, he promoted him to be his general, he gave him the best accommodations, did everything he possibly could for him because he had someone that was completely loyal to him. Eventually, the stable boy started feeling entitled to all of those gifts. He turned on him and killed the king and took everything. I wanted Shayna to be my friend so badly, that I gave her everything to the point where she hated me for it.”
Rousey’s stint with WWE seems to be at or near its end. Rousey reportedly has a “hard out,” regarding her WWE exit. In addition to suffering an arm injury earlier in the year, this apparent exit date was part of the reason her feud with Baszler (a -800 favorite) felt so rushed. Though the buildup ended well, the same cannot be said for their feud, as an ambitious match largely fell on deaf ears inside Ford Field.