Nick Schwartz with USA Today’s For The Win column released an interview with Triple H regarding Ronda Rousey.
Regarding signing Rousey in time for the Royal Rumble:
“It’s funny, there wasn’t pressure on the timing of this at all of necessarily the Rumble part. It really just came together. There wasn’t a lot of back-and-forth or like intense negotiations. It kept coming up in the media, and to be honest we had had conversations but we just hadn’t – between her schedule and my schedule – we just hadn’t sat down and said ‘What do we want to do here?’
“She’s been training this whole time, specifically for WWE. She’s been training intensely this whole time, and I knew that and I knew what her intent was, but we had yet to sit down and have that deep conversation about it. Once we did, the timing just worked out. Once we did, it went extremely quick from there.
“She was sending me bits and pieces of training footage along the way, so I knew she was serious. It was just a matter of getting time to sit and talk. Once we did it was really quick, and it was a thing like ‘hey, I’m ready to go now if you want me to do something right away.’ So that changed our thinking, and we went from there.”
In regards to “that deep conversation”:
“Part of it is great because it fuels speculation, fuels conversation which fuels excitement. You just don’t want it to ruin the moment. It’s like trying to pull off a surprise party for your kids or something like that. They might suspect, but they don’t know. You just want it to be a surprise, you want it to be fun.
“The dinner thing in LA, people made such a huge deal out of it…. I was in LA for a totally different reason. Was coming back, I had a series of meetings and my last meeting ended close to LAX. I was taking a red-eye, and I had a couple of hours. I just reached out and said ‘hey if you’re free, I’m going to be there, we can have dinner and chat and catch up on some stuff and see if we can get closer.’
“We were able to make it happen, that’s all it was. I got a private room, and right before we were about to leave the restaurant people came in and said ‘wow there’s a ton of paparazzi and film crews outside.’ So we all tried to go out different doors and I three-quarters made it out unscathed before they caught a distant shot of me getting in a car. But it was all good, speculation creates things. It’s funny, people try to say ‘oh they lied to us,’ or something… we’re trying to create excitement and surprise you! Go with it.”
Regarding the impact Triple H believes Rousey will have:
“Well I think that it’s a huge set of eyeballs, but the thing that I’m most excited about is just the talent. I get it, from a PR standpoint. I get that she’s going to bring in a different level of awareness of WWE on every level, and especially with the Women’s Evolution going on right now in WWE – the Women’s Rumble, the Hell in a Cell match and all the things that are coming down the pike, the timing is perfect.
“But the thing I’m really excited about is the fact that this is not a one-off. It’s not a ‘oh I’m going to teach you to do this, you’re going to do it one time and you’re going to go away.’ She’s here. She’s a talent, and she’s a remarkable athlete, obviously, and a remarkable person.
“She just picks this up. She gets it, she understands it, she’s all in, and that’s a really cool thing. To me, that’s what I’m the most excited about, because to me it’s for delivering for our fans that we already have, let alone showing those new ones. I know there’s a couple of them questioning and all that stuff. They’re going to be thrilled. I’m telling you, she is going to win them over because she is just like them. She’s been a fan since she was a little kid. I think it was probably one of her first things that she loved, was WWE.
“She’s so into it that her passion boils over when you talk to her about it, and she’s going to knock this out of the park.”
Rush’s Analysis: Nothing controversial or surprising jumped out from this interview. Triple H was toeing the company line with a series of safe comments. For as much as he seems in awe of her level of fandom, for me it brought to mind a comment made during the PWTorch Royal Rumble Roundtable on Sunday night.
Rousey has attended and even had some involvement in Pro Wrestling Guerilla shows over the past few years. During the Roundtable, analyst Todd Martin gave his take on Rousey’s level of knowledge and passion for modern pro wrestling:
“I remember asking her in an interview once ‘Who are your favorites in PWG?’ She didn’t give me a name. Now that might be like it wasn’t at the tip of her tongue or whatever reason it was. I thought that was striking. It was a very open question, and that, to me, suggested maybe she enjoyed the atmosphere, but it wasn’t necessarily something that she understood on a higher level.”
To read the full interview, check out For The Win.