Ronda Rousey Wins Royal Rumble Match in Return to WWE

by TK Sanders
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“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey returned to the WWE over the weekend with new clothes, new moves, and a new name. She left with a new WWE Royal Rumble Championship belt.

No longer paying homage to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in her costume, Rousey entered the Royal Rumble dressed in her new moniker, “The Baddest Woman on the Planet.” Her appearance was a poorly-kept secret for fans. But her entry at No. 28 came with a huge pop of delight from the crowd nonetheless. Rousey, 34, will now likely face SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 38 from Dallas in April.

How Rousey crushed the competition at the Royal Rumble

The former UFC fighter-turned-wrestler came out to thunderous applause with the word “Baddest” written across her chest in white. She quickly eliminated both Bella Twins before teaming up with fellow MMA star Shayna Baszier for a few moves. Toward the end of the match, only four competitors remained: Rousey, Baszier, Flair, and Bianca Belair.

Rousey hasn’t wrestled in the WWE since 2019, but her star power hasn’t diminished. She lost to a pin by Becky Lynch in that last WrestleMania match and then stepped away from action sports to have a baby. The Baddest Woman on the Plant is also the baddest mother on the planet after she and her husband Travis Brown welcomed their daughter La’akea Makalapuaokalanipo in September.

Rousey’s reputation precedes her

Rumors of the former Raw women’s champion making her return at the Royal Rumble began last week leading up to the event. According to some fan and industry sites, the WWE wanted Rousey back for some time. Star power in the women’s fighting space is still rather limited, but the Rousey brand is still tip-of-the-tongue for casual fans when they think of female fighters. It seemed her return to the WWE was not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Reports within the industry say that WWE officials flew out to California in the weeks leading up to the Rumble to check in with Rousey. They wanted to make sure she was in good enough physical condition to compete at the highest level. Her makeup artist had also been scheduled to attend the Royal Rumble, which tipped fans off even more.

All signs point to at least one more year for Rousey with the WWE. She will most likely perform regularly on “Friday Night SmackDown,” and should appear in a match against Flair at WrestleMania in two months — though that match has not been announced. Rousey should also get her rematch with Lynch next year in Los Angeles, according to early reports.

“I heard a year is the deal,” wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer said. “I don’t know if she will be there every week. But it’s not just the Rumble, a WrestleMania match then gone, it’s more than that.”

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