‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey Makes WWE Debut at Royal Rumble, And Wrestlemania Is Next
“This is my life now.”
More than a year since losing her last UFC fight to Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey has resurfaced. But now she’s a professional wrestler.
At Sunday night’s Royal Rumble, the former UFC champion finally made her WWE debut. But it didn’t come in the first ever all-women’s Royal Rumble, like many had speculated. It came right after, with Asuka still celebrating her win.
Once in the squared circle, Rousey didn’t get on the mic. But she did make a dramatic show of pointing to a Wrestlemania sign hanging in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
Asked about the significance of the point after the Rumble, Rousey said, “I think that’s a pretty big fat hint that I’m going to be at WrestleMania, yeah.”
It’s still unclear who she’ll be wrestling there, with rumors suggesting both a match against Charlotte for the SmackDown women’s championship and a tag-team bout that would see her and the Rock take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Whatever happens next, it’s clear at this point that Rousey is in the WWE to stay.
“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,” she told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”
Rousey’s UFC career may be over—although it wouldn’t be unheard of for her to jump back and forth—but she’s brought at least one part of his old self with her to the WWE. Known as “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey in the cage, she’s keeping the connection to old-school WWF wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper alive.
And it’s not just the name or the logo. The leather jacket she wore to Wrestlemania once belonged to Piper. His son brought it Rousey who was eager to honor the man who gave her the blessing to use his nickname back when she was a nobody in the fight world.
“I want every single time that I’m out here for people to remember him and what he’s accomplished. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him,” she said in a post-Rumble interview with the WWE. “He taught me so much from afar that it makes me realize how much I can affect other people from afar and I’m a better person because he lived.”