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Feature Article

WWE Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey Knows More About Wrestling Than You'd Think

"[WWE is] definitely much more similar to, I would say, filming a TV show than to being in a fight."

Since debuting at the Royal Rumble back in January, Ronda Rousey's WWE career has been an interesting one to follow. Almost immediately she found herself in a high-profile role at Wrestlemania, followed by title matches against Nia Jax and, at SummerSlam, Alexa Bliss.

Given her quick rise in the women's division, some fans might think this is too much too soon for the UFC Hall of Famer. She knows more about how professional wrestling on the scale of WWE works than you might expect, though. Speaking to GameSpot while promoting her new film, Mile 22, Rousey makes it clear she has an understanding of the business that many fans--and wrestlers, for that matter--have yet to grasp. "[WWE is] definitely much more similar to, I would say, filming a TV show than to being in a fight," she says. "I think a lot more carries over from fight choreography than actual fighting."

For Rousey, her WWE experience has been a crash course in acting, which she says has helped her become a better performer. Coming into WWE essentially as an outsider has given her unique insight into how the process of being a WWE performer works.

"Usually I don't know what's going to happen until the day of, maybe an hour or two before I go out there," she explains. "So they're like, 'Okay, here's a whole fight scene that you need to memorize right now.' The kind of fight scene that you would spend six weeks or so rehearsing for a movie."

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Not only does she have to memorize the choreography she plans to use in the ring, there's also the camera to worry about. While in UFC, finding the camera doesn't matter much, but the same cannot be said of WWE.

"In WWE, I need to know this is the hard [camera] side," she says. "If I'm not facing that side, there isn't already a camera pointed at me. So if I'm doing something that emotionally needs to be registered on my face, I need to hold where I'm at long enough for a handheld person to come over here, and keep my eye on this person, but be aware that this camera came here, and this person got this shot so now I can move on to the next thing."

Then, of course, there's the WWE Universe. When your performing, whether it's a match or a promo, the live audience doesn't bother holding back their opinions. "It really teaches me a lot that I think people wouldn't learn unless performing in front a live audience, [like] how an audience feels about everything that you're doing while you're doing it," she explains. "A lot of times in a movie you just have to guess how the audience will feel in this moment. But when you're out there, it's immediate feedback. I'm out there in front of 30,000 people. And they'll let you know."

With training like what she's getting as a WWE superstar, it's no wonder Rousey is able to rise to the challenge of filming intense action scenes like those in Mile 22. However, it also shows that not everyone is cut out for WWE.

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The moment there were rumblings about Rousey potentially joining WWE, the talk among fans was divided as to whether she would flourish as a professional wrestler. When she immediately debuted on Raw, rather than going through WWE's NXT developmental system, the deck was stacked against her. However, her understanding of the product and how she can add to it has brought her great success. And it shows in the WWE Universe's response to her. Unlike the divided reaction Roman Reigns gets anytime he walks into an arena, Rousey is met with near-universal approval.

Truthfully, Rousey is a template for anyone who wants to turn their outside success into WWE stardom. She's cracked the code and it has not only made her a better performer but a better actor in her film and TV projects.

Mile 22 is in theaters on August 17. You can also see Rousey fight for the Raw Women's Championship against Alexa Bliss at SummerSlam on August 19. Before the show, make sure to check out GameSpot's SummerSlam predictions.

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Chris E. Hayner

Chris E. Hayner was named the Pog King of Stockton, California in 1995.
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