Ronda Rousey's signing scored WWE more mainstream attention than almost anyone else since Brock Lesnar's comeback to the company in 2012, and that's no coincidence. Both are the real deal.
Legitimacy is a rarity in WWE nowadays when you consider how scripted and how phony most promos and segments come across. It's important to note that it is hardly the fault of the performers; they are merely doing the best they can with what they're given.
With Lesnar, however, officials have been extra motivated over the years to ensure he remains a special attraction for the organization, and surely they will take a similar approach with Rousey.
Tim Fiorvanti of ESPN reported immediately following the conclusion of the Rumble event that Rousey had signed on with WWE as a "full-time professional wrestler."
Conspicuous by her absence on the next night's Raw was, in fact, the former UFC Women's Bantamweight champion. This raised questions as to how often she will appear in the future, though Triple H confirmed (h/t USA Today) she will be back on programming once she is finished filming Mile 22.
At this point, there really isn't much of a need for her to show up unless she will be involved in either the Raw or SmackDown Women's Championship pictures heading into WrestleMania. A mixed tag team match against The Authority would be a better use of her right now.
Beyond that, she should be as much of a regular on Raw as Asuka and Alexa Bliss are.
Lesnar has an incredible aura about him because he never wrestles on Raw and is largely saved for significant pay-per-views. On the other hand, Rousey can't take part in the ongoing "women's evolution" if she isn't around every week.
That said, much like Lesnar when he initially re-signed with WWE six years ago, a slow-burn build with her to the title on Raw would be in the company's best interest. Everyone is aware of how huge of a star she is, but she'll first need to prove herself to the WWE masses through her work in the squared circle.
At the Rumble, we weren't given an indication of how well she can talk. After all, she just pointed to the WrestleMania sign, shook hands with each of the women in the ring and made her exit.
Until that becomes clear, building her up via vignettes and video packages would be effective in establishing a character for her. That is the type of setting that Lesnar has thrived in before, and Rousey could be no different.
Above all else, keeping her dominant for many months to come (i.e., not losing in her first official WWE match, a la Lesnar against John Cena in 2012) and booking her in a similar fashion to The Beast Incarnate should be WWE's top priority.
Safe to say, the @WWEUniverse would get positively ROWDY over these FIVE @RondaRousey @WWE DREAM MATCHES! @MsCharlotteWWE @QoSBaszler @WWEAsuka https://t.co/Vps4lv5sSk2018-2-3 23:00:14
For several years, Lesnar has stood above the rest of the roster as an untouchable entity of sorts. His short-lived stint in the UFC further helped legitimatize him as an exceptional athlete upon his return to WWE, despite his shortcomings prior to his retirement from the Octagon.
For Rousey, WWE must follow the same formula that worked for Lesnar without making the other women look weak.
Having her squash the likes of Alicia Fox and Dana Brooke in her first few outings would be logical in positioning her as a threat, but pushing Rousey at the expense of more credible Superstars such as Asuka and Charlotte Flair would be damaging in the long-term.
The Rowdy One can be a valuable asset for WWE moving forward if the company can avoid the same mistakes they have made with Lesnar throughout his latest run.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.