Roddy Piper's influence on Ronda Rousey is well-documented. Whether it's adopting the "Rowdy" nickname, donning the kilt, or being spoken to by the ghost of Piper in a recent WWE 2K19 commercial; Rousey and Piper have a connection that hasn't gone unnoticed by fans.
Speaking to Aubrey Sitterson on RondaRousey.com, Rousey elaborated on how Piper has influenced her wrestling career and character.
“Roddy taught me that I don’t have to conform to what’s expected of someone in terms of how they speak,” Rousey explained. “He spoke in a way that was natural to him and he made it work. My wrestling career is still in its infancy but I try my best to emulate him by being more of myself if that makes sense. I emulate him by not emulating him, finding what works for me and doing the best version of it possible.”
Rousey's work on the microphone recently came under criticism following her promo aimed at Nikki Bella on Monday's Raw. Former WWE writer Tom Casiello called the promo "lazy" as Rousey attacked the low hanging fruit of Bella's relationship with John Cena.
In terms of in-ring work, Piper was never known for his athletic or technical ability. He was a fighter who got people to buy-in to what he was selling with a keen understanding of psychology and the ability to manipulate the audience with facial reactions.
“In the ring he was an example of just how important selling is. Not selling things isn’t the way to look tough,” Rousey said. “Piper could make anyone look amazing and super, super strong. By watching him, I learned to elevate my opponents and not be so self-centered and focused on myself. In that regard, it’s the opposite of mixed martial arts.”
Rousey has impressed viewers and her peers with how quickly she's been able to take to wrestling. Her tag team bout with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon was arguably the best match at WrestleMania 34. Since then, she's held her own in the ring with a variety of opponents including Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, and Ruby Riott.
Rousey ended the interview by stating just how important Piper is to wrestling history.
“Without Piper wrestling would look very formulaic, with a single mold for how every match should be promoted and performed. Without him, there wouldn’t be anywhere near as much variety as we see today.”
The current Raw Women's Champion is scheduled to defend her title on Oct. 28 at WWE Evolution against Nikki Bella.