Apr 11, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Randy Orton (white trunks) faces Bray Wyatt (striped pants) along with Alexa Bliss during WrestleMania 37 at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Ronda Rousey has been away from a WWE ring since WrestleMania 35 but she has since kept tabs on the industry. Rousey also isn’t afraid of going after WWE fans and whether that’s due to her maintaining a heel persona or she actually feels this way, she’s willing to say some things others in the industry probably wouldn’t say publicly.

When Bray Wyatt was released from WWE on Saturday, it sent shockwaves throughout the pro wrestling industry. A mix of confusion, anger, and hope at what his next move will be whisked through fans and wrestlers.

Many fans were upset at WWE for letting a creative top star go but Ronda didn’t let the fanbase get away with looking like they were innocent in all this. Rousey made the point that if it wasn’t for crowds booing and chanting “We want beach balls” during Bray’s matches, that WWE may not have found him to be expendable in the first place.

Obviously, this resulted in many fans either disagreeing with Ronda or admitting that she’s got a point. Honestly, the right answer is somewhere in the middle.

Rousey does make a great point that fan reaction to Wyatt’s matches, both live and on social media, was overly negative but was that negativity due to Bray as a performer or because of WWE’s booking of The Fiend? People were all about The Fiend at first and he was made to be this unstoppable supernatural entity that could have been our generation’s version of The Undertaker. Then he wrestled under a red light that made things difficult to see. Then the ref stopped The Fiend’s Hell in a Cell match against Seth Rollins even though it’s a Hell in a Cell match. Then The Fiend lost to then 53-year-old Goldberg in three minutes so he could be Universal Champion entering WrestleMania. I kind of get the booing if that’s what I’m seeing knowing it could be so much more.

Ronda’s case also falls flat when WWE has released so many people throughout the COVID era due to budgetary concerns. All indications point to WWE, more specifically WWE president and chief revenue officer Nick Khan, going line-by-line on employee salaries and releasing those he feels is overpaid. It has nothing to do with how fans feel about a wrestler because if that was the case, Baron Corbin would’ve been let go last year.

I get what Rousey is saying, but after describing all that, Bray Wyatt didn’t get released because fans were booing him or preferring beach balls. In fact, some fans probably appreciated him for trying to make his gimmick work with so much stacked against him.

That being said, a sizable portion of the pro wrestling fanbase is horrible and disrespectful and deserves to be called out. In January 2020, Wyatt himself posted an out-of-character message on Instagram about how fan negativity affected his mental health and thanked his family for saving his life in spite of fan vitriol. Others, like Japanese wrestler Hana Kimura, wasn’t so fortunate and she killed herself due to fan bullying. And even though it’s been a year since Kimura’s death, many wrestling fans failed to learn a lesson as a result.

Ronda Rousey may have been right to call out the fans for their behavior but she missed the mark in terms of what it is they’re guilty of.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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