How Ronda Rousey got into pro wrestling
Once upon a time, Ronda Rousey was a world-class Judoka; her best friend was fellow Judoka Marina Shafir. Then Rousey entered MMA and became the most famous person in it. The 'Supernova from Moldova' Shafir followed, going 1-2. The two bonded with fellow MMA fighters Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke. The four eventually dubbed themselves The Four Horsewomen, an homage to pro wrestling's famed Four Horsemen, which originally consisted of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard.
Rousey retired from MMA and is now the biggest draw in the WWE. She took her friends with her. But Baszler was originally a catchwrestler, trained by Josh Barnett and Billy Robinson. She's the real pro wrestler. In a recent interview with Graham Caygill for N Sport, Baszler told the story of how Rousey got into 'Rasslin.
"It is an awesome story and Ronda will tell you the same thing so this isn’t me taking credit by any means," said Baszler. "When we moved in, the four of us, in Venice we were in a house. I’ve been watching wrestling non-stop since I was a kid and the other three girls, like a lot of wrestling fans, would watch it, get out of it, and watch it in different periods of time.
"But because I moved in I reserved the main TV every Monday for Raw and I think SmackDown was on Fridays at the time. I reserved the TV. It was on and they got sucked back in.
"There was a time when I was watching Raw I believe and Ronda’s mother had come over. You know, there is a big commotion and everyone goes to the door to say hi and I didn’t move. I was still watching wrestling. And her mum comes in the room and she goes ‘you’re not watching this’. And I looked at her like what are you talking about and yeah I am watching it. But she said ‘you’re studying it and this is different’ and she just walked away.
"She’ll take full credit for planting that seed and now we are all here."
On Sunday the WWE will promote the first all-women's pay-per-view, Evolution, at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night inside the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
"It is crazy. I never would have imagined an all women’s pay per view," said Baszler. "I never would have imagined a lot of things. There is a strong chance by the end of tomorrow night myself and one of my closest friends are going to be champions at the end of the night. So it is crazy to think that we are on the same pay per view, both in featured title fights, so it is pretty cool.”
Would Baszler do a match vs. Rousey?
"Way back when we were all fighting, Ronda and I were in the same weight class," Baszler began. "Before I had met Ronda, just an abridged version of MMA history, I was ranked in the top five for a long time, while Ronda was on TV and making waves and getting all this attention.
"So people had talked about this in MMA for a while. So when we started training together and became teammates it was like you know what we will do if the time comes, and if it is the right time for the title. People always ask about that, and I always say if a linebacker in the NFL has a quarterback friend on the other team he is going to try and hit him even harder.
"I don’t think it will be any different if her and I do meet up, out of respect for each other, and it would be gnarly."