After much speculation and anticipation, former UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey made her official WWE debut at the conclusion of the Royal Rumble event. Three years ago at WrestleMania 31, Rousey was hand-picked by The Rock to level the playing field during his segment with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Not only did Rousey level the playing field, but she twisted Stephanie’s arm, as well as gave Triple H a hip toss which received a resounding ovation from the Santa Clara crowd.
Following this event, Rousey returned to training for UFC in hopes of continuing to dominate her division. Although she would knock out Bethe Correia in a little over 30 seconds at UFC 190 on August 1, 2015, her MMA career would take a sharp turn for the worse. She would suffer her first professional MMA loss three months later at UFC 193 November 14 against Holly Holm, and take over a year off to clear her head from this devastating defeat. This would prove to be ineffective, as she would lose to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30, 2016.
Now, Rousey is devoted to a career in pro wrestling, and showed this by pointing to the WrestleMania sign after her face-offs with women’s Royal Rumble winner Asuka, along with Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Another way that Rousey showed her devotion to WWE was donning the jacket of her wrestling idol, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. WWE also had a photo shoot following the Royal Rumble, and showed her returning the jacket back to Piper’s son, Colt Toombs.
Toombs was able to share this moment during a recent interview with the Pancakes and Powerslams Show. Toombs stated that WWE contacted him regarding using the jacket for Rousey’s debut, and for him to make sure that he keeps her Royal Rumble appearance on the hush. In addition, Toombs also shared his thoughts on the criticisms of Rousey from the WWE Universe.
“It is really easy to criticize ‘arm-chair Quarterback’ style. Put yourself in her shoes. She just had an amazing career in the UFC; doing movies now, and now she is coming to WWE where they ask her to be part of WrestleMania. Is she going to say no and start at the bottom and work her way up? Not many human beings are going to do that. She has put so much work in. Usually they put guys in NXT and build them up because they need to build their names and develop their characters, that is what they do.
“Fortunately she already has all that including adding fans from the UFC who weren’t watching WWE, so she already has that star power so she doesn’t need the build up. The only way I can see it as a problem is whether or not she has been training. It is really hard to not have a lot of matches and hone your craft and what works and doesn’t. That is the only flaw that I see, but she is an incredible athlete and really does put 100% in everything she does. I believe she will kill it and totally be phenomenal.”
During her contract signing at Elimination Chamber, Rousey shared how Piper inspired her to grow a fondness for the pro wrestling business. The segment ended with Rousey suplexing Triple H, getting slapped by Stephanie McMahon, followed by signing the contract and throwing it on Triple H.