Last night’s WWE Royal Rumble was a historic event for a number of reasons, not least because the rumors that former UFC champion Ronda Rousey was defecting to WWE wrestling were finally confirmed. When Rousey was battered to defeat by Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, almost exactly a year ago, many believed that her UFC career was over. Rousey lasted just 48 seconds against Nunes and she appeared to have lost the will to fight in the most brutal of combat sports.
In recent weeks the WWE rumor mill had been suggesting that “Rowdy” Rousey was set to sign a contract with WWE wrestling. At last night’s Royal Rumble, those rumors were finally confirmed. As reported by the official WWE website, Rousey entered the ring after the historic headline women’s Royal Rumble match where she faced down women’s Royal Rumble match winner Asuka, SmackDown women’s Champion Charlotte and Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. Rousey made it clear that she had arrived, and that she was aiming for a title at WrestleMania 34.
Many had expected Rousey to make her debut in the Royal Rumble women’s match, but that didn’t happen. Yet, Rousey could not have picked a bigger stage to announce her WWE arrival.
As reported by ESPN, Rousey insists that she is deadly serious about her move to WWE wrestling. She says that she told Triple H she could make more money elsewhere, but that she wouldn’t “enjoy it nearly as much.” Rousey is adamant that her move to WWE is “no publicity stunt.”
“This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt.”
Ronda Rousey’s Move Proves That WWE is Deadly Serious About Women’s Wrestling
There can be little doubt that signing Ronda Rousey is a major coup for the WWE network. Rumors are now flying suggesting that Rousey will raise her WWE profile with appearances on both Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live. As reported by Cageside Seats, it is already being claimed that Rousey will challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship at WrestleMania 34.
However, the Wrestling Observer reports that Rousey with team up with The Rock to challenge Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag match at WrestleMania. Either way, it appears that WWE has big plans for Ronda Rousey as we head towards the “show of shows.”
Of course, Rousey’s defection to WWE wrestling means that the UFC has now lost two major stars to the WWE. Brock Lesnar, who retained his Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble, seems set to remain with WWE wrestling for the foreseeable future. The loss of both stars is certain to be a blow to the UFC.
Rousey’s reign as a UFC champion, and her experience as an Olympic judo medalist, arguably make her uniquely qualified to be a huge success as a WWE superstar. Rousey’s WWE contract shows just how far WWE women’s wrestling has come from the days when female wrestlers were seen as little more than “eye-candy.” By featuring the women’s Royal Rumble match as the headliner for one of the year’s most important PPV events, the WWE network showed they are serious about women’s wrestling. Ronda Rousey has all the assets required to make her signing to WWE a “game changer” for women’s wrestling.