What to make of Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank

Money in the Bank is five weeks away, and entering Monday, we were certain of a few things. We knew that half of the Men’s MITB field was set, so is a quarter of the Women’s MITB field. Now, as Monday afternoon proceeds, we know something else that’s happening at the upcoming event in the suburbs of Chicago.

At the NBC Upfronts on Monday in New York City, we learned who RAW Women’s Champion Nia Jax would face at MITB. That woman, to the surprise of just about everyone, is none other than Ronda Rousey. Rousey, who has competed in just one match so far in her WWE career, in which she and Kurt Angle defeated Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, was challenged by Jax while the Upfronts event was going on, according to WWE.com.

From WWE.com’s article:

The Irresistible Force revealed she wants to put her title on the line against Rousey at WWE Money in the Bank, much to the surprise of The Baddest Woman on the Planet. Never one to back down from either a challenge or an opportunity, a bewildered Rousey agreed to the match.”

If this sounds like it’s out of nowhere, well, that’s because it is. Let’s digest a few quick reactions, which may or may not turn into overreactions, about this match.

  • First and foremost… putting Ronda Rousey in a Women’s championship match a hearty four months into her WWE career is quite the bold take. Even bolder is that this is the second match of her entire career.
  • Ronda proved a lot of doubters wrong in her WrestleMania match, as it pertains to her in-ring skills and how far along she is. That being said, I do wonder about this match with Nia Jax. While she’s obviously a terrific athlete, she’s still green at this point. That can’t be doubted. There are ways that they can protect her and not expose her, but none of those ideas don’t involve completely nerfing Nia.
  • On the flip side, while Nia is good in some aspects, she’s not an experienced worker or a ring general. Her best matches have involved someone else to carry her (Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks). Expecting Ronda to do that at this point in her career would be foolhardy. Nia’s feud with Alexa, from an in-ring standpoint, exposed her a little bit, as the two never quite clicked.
  • From an in-ring standpoint, this match could suffer greatly if they decide to drag it out. If they make it short, and have Ronda win within a few minutes, that would nerf Nia into oblivion and make it look like they completely gave up on her. Based on past proceedings, that would unfortunately not be too surprising.
  • That’s another thing here: They’ve invested a great deal in Nia, but they’ve also invested a great deal in Ronda. Could you really have Ronda lose her second match? Do you want to really sink Nia further down? There’s no real good that comes out of this match for either party that would have it look good.
  • Now, there’s the possibility of Natalya, Ronda’s first “ally” in her WWE career, turning on her and costing her the match. This would set up Ronda vs. Natalya as a feud, likely happening at SummerSlam. This would protect both parties in the match and put the heat back on Nattie. But if you were going to do this match anyway… why have this title match be the thing to set it up?
  • Would there be a fan revolt if Ronda shows up and wins the Women’s Title in her second match? Charlotte’s nonsense, “go over everyone and get everything” booking that’s been going on for three years hasn’t affected her, so I’m not sure it really affects Ronda, to be honest. Unless they go completely overboard with it. I’m not leaving it out of the realm of possibility.

The pros of this match are simply that Nia gets a high-profile opponent, Ronda gets on a PPV card again, and WWE probably makes a great deal of money and exposure from it (though MITB tickets were, already, by and large sold out at Allstate Arena and she wasn’t announced for a match before Monday).

There are quite a few negatives that come from this match as well. So, the quick reaction is simply this: This feels like a match that shouldn’t be happening at this stage of the game and could hurt both parties in the short and long run.