Ronda Rousey Lashes Out At WWE’s Casting Couch Culture

Ronda Rousey WWE

Ronda Rousey has taken no prisoners as she accuses WWE of operating a casting couch and says there are scandals she is sure the company has swept under the ring.

Vince McMahon is facing sexual assault and sex trafficking allegations as part of a bombshell lawsuit that has rocked WWE. As a result, Vince McMahon was told to resign from his role as TKO Executive Chairman and the company has done everything it can to distance itself from him.

While rumours of McMahon’s conduct had long been discussed by those in and out of the business, this lawsuit seems to have brought a full stop to his time in the wrestling business with his reputation in tatters whether illegality has taken place or not.

Ronda Rousey Blasts WWE’s Sexist Culture

Writing in her new book, Our Fight – released on April 4th – Ronda Rousey gives her take on the culture in the company in regards to its female athletes over the years and suggests sex was used by management to give some women a leg-up:

WWE loves to do well-produced video segments about the legacy of women within the organization, but the truth is women have largely been footnotes. For the longest time, they were relegated to serving male characters in a valet role, an overly sexualized supporting character that takes cheap shots when the ref isn’t looking. Over time, as the level of female talent grew and society as a whole started to shift, the organization gradually expanded the role of female wrestlers.

WWE bills itself as a sports entertainment organization, and just like in the mainstream entertainment industry, there was, by all accounts, a casting couch culture where men backstage in powerful positions pressured female talent for sexual favors in return for airtime. There were so many public accusations and scandals it’s hard to keep track, and more that I’m sure the WWE managed to sweep under the ring.

Women weren’t just being demeaned backstage, but center stage. Up until 2007, “Bra & Panties Matches,” where female wrestlers won the match by stripping their opponent down to her underwear, were an actual f*cking thing. Even after that gimmick was retired by WWE executives—I’m sure very reluctantly and with a lot of lamenting about political correctness—it was still clear that the organization placed more value on a woman’s physical appearance than her physical ability.

The Divas Era with its pink rhinestone butterfly title belt dawned around the same time. Women, while now portrayed as wrestlers, were still expected to look a certain way—think lots of makeup, little clothing, and huge boobs. It would take almost another decade, years after I proved women could be a huge combat sports attraction, before women truly started to get time in the squared circle (what diehards call a pro wrestling ring). And it was only after WWE was basically armbarred into it, following a global social media backlash to #givedivasachance after Divas were given a total of thirty seconds— less time than it takes most people to read this paragraph—for a nationally televised tag match.

Four women were given less time to collectively wrestle than every single man on the roster got for his intro music alone. Presented this information as a person outside of the wrestling world you might draw the conclusion that there is a troubling foundational sexist, patriarchal culture within the WWE. You would be right. I have nothing but respect for the female wrestlers who paved the way for women wrestlers today. And nothing but disgust for the amount of sexist, degrading bullsh*t they were put through.

Ronda Rousey’s second stint in WWE came to an end after SummerSlam 2023 when she lost a unique MMA Rules match against her old friend and tag team partner Shayna Baszler.

Since leaving WWE Ronda Rousey shocked everyone when she competed in Tony Khan’s ring for ROH where she teamed with another of MMA’s Four Horsewomen, Marina Shafir.