Throughout his over 40 years of being in the pro wrestling business, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has seen thousands of names make an indelible mark, as well as the same amount flounder and never make a successful career out of it. Throughout the infancy of Raw, and lasting nearly 15 years, J.R. was instrumental in adding a much-needed emotional element in matches that not only assisted with the storyline and kept the fan interest, but also successfully win the Monday Night War against their WCW rival. In addition, J.R. has called numerous memorable WrestleMania matches, adding an extra level of fondness to them.
Despite all the legendary names who J.R. has seen debut, there is one on the top of that list. That person is Ronda Rousey.
During a recent interview with MMA Junkie Radio, Ross elaborated on his thoughts of Rousey’s pro wrestling debut at WrestleMania.
“I thought that Ronda’s debut was the most impactful pro wrestling debut that I have seen in my 40-plus year career. If you look at her skill set, experience-wise, from this genre in pro wrestling, it was almost non-existent,” said Ross. “But she had so much pressure on her. The hype was amazing. The expectations were mixed. Some die-hard wrestling fans don’t even like her being there, which is absolutely insane. They are [sic] and goofy, no doubt about that. So, I was absolutely blown away by what she did and how she executed. She looked like an athlete; we knew she is an athlete. She’s a winner.”
J.R. also had a message for those who use Rousey’s two straight UFC losses as leverage to prove a point.
“Now look, some say, well, she lost her last two fights. Kiss my a**,” said Ross. “How’s that? C’mon. She won a lot of fights, guys. You know what I mean? She’s a winner. She goes to the Olympics and medals. She’s a winner. So I knew that she was not going to drop the ball.”
Despite the circumstances and criticisms, Ross felt that Rousey was very impressive at WrestleMania 34, and handled the pressure of having over 70 thousand fans at the stadium, and millions more at home, watch her compete in a WWE ring for the very first time.
“It’s WrestleMania, guys. If you’re an MMA fan, then you say, ‘Well, what does it matter? It’s still pro wrestling.’ There was almost 80,000 people there,” Ross said. “She had so much pressure at this massive event, it would’ve been very easy for her to slip the bit and not have a great outing. If she continues to train as diligently and as ferociously as she has been, the sky’s the limit for her. She can be really, really good.”