WWE once again made a historic announcement on Monday night’s episode of Raw. After months of rumors, Stephanie McMahon confirmed that there will in fact be a women’s Royal Rumble match for the first time ever at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January.
As you can imagine, this set off a flurry of fantasy booking, speculation, and dream scenarios for surprise guests (and heck, speculation on which women from the actual roster will get to compete in the match). There is one persistent rumor going around, and there’s enough smoke to this fire to make me warn everyone reading this that it could very well be a potential SPOILER, so read on at your own risk.
Seriously, stop now if you don’t want to risk reading a POSSIBLE SPOILER, because I’m not about to have y’all get mad at me for spoiling something without protecting myself with like approximately three SPOILER WARNING boldface tags for everyone.
We good? We in the clear here? Okay then.
It’s no secret that WWE has been courting Ronda Rousey for a good long while now, and it’s also no secret that Rousey is currently training for what many believe is an impending pro wrestling debut. Rousey is a lifelong pro wrestling fan, and her fellow MMA Four Horsewoman buddy Shayna Baszler has already made a big splash in pro wrestling, winning titles across the indies and being a finalist in this summer’s Mae Young Classic. Baszler has signed with WWE and is set to debut on NXT soon, and there were initially rumors that the MMA Four Horsewomen vs. WWE’s Four Horsewomen was a match being planned for WrestleMania 34.
Well, the Royal Rumble may have thrown a wrench into those plans. There are conflicting reports about how close Rousey may be to signing with WWE, but pretty much everyone is treating it as an inevitability at this point. And it may just be that WWE will debut Rousey in the women’s Royal Rumble match.
On Wrestling Observer Radio on Monday night, Dave Meltzer noted while talking about the women’s Rumble match that there is “A lot of Ronda Rousey talk. If she’s in it, she’d better win.” He also pointed out that when Asuka’s main roster finisher was changed to the armbar a few weeks ago, it was pretty clearly done to establish that she and Rousey finish their fights the same way, and that this is the dream match the company is trying to build to.
“As soon [Asuka] she did the armbar the second time, I thought that she’s being groomed for Ronda Rousey, and [WWE] really is protecting [Asuka] even more than I expected they would, so [a build to Rousey vs. Asuka] makes sense. So we’ll have to see if that’s what happens.”
There’s one problem, though: if Rousey wins the Rumble match, she wouldn’t currently be facing Asuka, who isn’t the champion, and if Asuka is in the Rumble match along with Rousey, Asuka would need to be eliminated somehow.
Bryan Alvarez brought up the idea that there could be a second women’s match at Royal Rumble, and that Asuka could defeat Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship. That would then clear the way for Rousey to win the Royal Rumble match and challenge Asuka for that title as a true special attraction between the most dominant women’s wrestler in recent memory going up against arguably the most dominant women’s MMA fighter in history.
“It makes perfect sense. And the other thing is that if she is in the Royal Rumble, she can be in the ring for a while and she can be protected, because you can have other people do a lot of the wrestling for her, and all that. So that gives her a couple more months of training, [and WWE] gets to use her name [to promote WrestleMania]. In a singles match, the problem is you don’t want to have her go too long and expose her [as inexperienced], but in a battle royal, you really don’t get exposed … But I think they’ll be really careful with her, they’ll be training her real well, and hopefully it all works out.
“And again, I don’t know [for sure] she’s in the Royal Rumble. I do know that some of the competitors that are in there are under the impression that she’s in. I do know that she’s been training a lot, but that was known for months. Obviously, the original idea was the Four Horsewomen vs. the Four Horsewomen, and that would be the debut. So we’ll see. But it’s certainly a rumor going around, that’s for sure.”
Again, we have no way of knowing if there’s any truth to the rumor that Rousey will be in the women’s Rumble, or that she’s even close to signing with WWE. But everything that we’ve seen makes way too much sense to just discard this rumor out of hand.
The one wrinkle in this perfect plan: Rousey is current filming a movie in Atlanta, and production on the Mark Wahlberg-starring Mile 22 is scheduled to run all the way until February. It’s possible Rousey may not be able to compete in WWE in January, based on the insurance situation with the film’s production company. It’s also possible she wraps her portion of filming before the Rumble rolls around. Just something to keep your eye on.
Either way, I, for one, welcome our new Rousey overlord, and Asuka vs. Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 34 sounds boss as hell to me. Let’s do it.