Ronda Rousey has been fully focused on her professional wrestling career as she gets set for her big match at WrestleMania 34 next month, but she apparently has not completely closed the book on mixed martial arts. At least, that’s what we gathered from an incredibly awkward interview on Tuesday morning.
While appearing as a guest on “Golic and Wingo,” Rousey was asked about the moment when she finally decided she was finished with her MMA career. She sternly replied that she never said anything of the sort, and things got tense in a hurry. Here’s the exchange:
Well this is painfully awkward. Ronda Rousey misunderstands question, gets annoyed. pic.twitter.com/Pt7XwVRazh
— Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) March 27, 2018
Golic may have worded his question poorly, but Rousey knew exactly what he was asking. She obviously took advantage of the poor phrasing by acting like she thought Golic was talking about time travel, when it was clear he was asking if she would ever fight in the UFC again.
Rousey is trying to carve out an identity for herself as a no-nonsense enforcer in the WWE, so it’s possible she was also just staying in character during her interview with Golic. Whatever the case, she’s clearly not yet ready to call herself retired from the octagon.
WWE made it clear during Elimination Chamber 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday night that Ronda Rousey will be facing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a tag team match at WrestleMania 34.
Rousey appeared in the ring at Elimination Chamber to sign her contract with WWE. Before doing so, she slammed Triple H through a table and got slapped in the face by McMahon.
— WWE (@WWE) February 26, 2018
Rousey is expected to team up with Kurt Angle in the WrestleMania match, but The Rock was previously reported as a potential partner for her.
Oh, and to all those saying wrestling is fake? That slap Rousey received was legit.
Btw. That was a legit slap by Stephanie McMahon. Heard from some folks backstage that Ronda Rousey has a handprint welt on her face
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 26, 2018
Another interesting note is that the site of Elimination Chamber — T-Mobile Arena — is where Rousey lost at UFC 207. She has not fought in the UFC since then.
Though many rumors about Ronda Rousey potentially joining the WWE persisted, her appearance at the Royal Rumble on Sunday night came as a surprise to many. WWE and Rousey went to great lengths to keep things a secret. In fact, they were so good at keeping things quiet that her appearance at the show even shocked her stepkids.
Rousey shared this video on Instagram that shows a recording of the reaction her stepkids had while watching the Rumble with their father, Rousey’s husband Travis Browne. Their reaction was awesome:
A post shared by rondarousey (@rondarousey) on
The WWE was serious about keeping things a surprise, which is why her stepkids clearly had no idea. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne says that Rousey traveled via charter jet and mostly alone to avoid being spotted in Philly to spoil the surprise.
A few extra fun tidbits for the late night WWE crowd. Ronda DID indeed go to Colombia to shoot Mile 22, but she came back to the States via a charter jet, then basically stayed out of sight for 24 hours. There was one chance to spot her: At customs in Miami.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 29, 2018
Ronda did not travel back from Colombia with any of her usual entourage so there was no chance of them being recognized anywhere. Her husband Travis Browne stayed home. Too big a risk of being recognized.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 29, 2018
Clearly it worked. And now we can look forward to seeing Rousey at WrestleMania, potentially against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Ronda Rousey was one of the biggest draws for the UFC at the height of her mixed martial arts career, but she officially began a new chapter on Sunday. While UFC president Dana White must be disappointed to lose Rousey, he says he is excited for the former bantamweight champion.
In a text message to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal, White said Rousey has always been enamored with pro wrestling and is accomplishing another goal by signing with the WWE.
Text from Dana White via text on Rousey's wrestling career: "I'm very happy for her. She loves pro wrestling and has always been a big fan so I know how much his means to her. She keeps accomplishing everything she's ever wanted." #RJNow
— Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) January 29, 2018
While she technically has not retired from the UFC, Rousey made it clear that her WWE career is a full-time thing and not just some publicity stunt. White said he does not expect her to fight in the UFC again.
Rousey made a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble on Sunday night, and it looks like her first fight is going to be at WrestleMania on April 8.
The WWE seems to have plans for Ronda Rousey to make her in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Better yet, they may have a tag team match in mind for her.
Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer reported on Sunday night that the current plan is for Rousey to be in a tag team match against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
Meltzer says the company’s ideal match would pair Rousey with The Rock, but it’s unknown whether they could make that happen.
Rousey’s publicized deal with the WWE will make her a full-time wrestler. A tag team match for her debut would make sense because it would allow more experienced wrestlers to handle a lot of the action and do the so-called “heavy lifting.”
Ronda Rousey is making some business moves as she transitions into her post-MMA wrestling career.
Rousey appeared at WWE’s Royal Rumble in Philadelphia on Sunday night to tease her debut as a full-time wrestler for the company. She was wearing a leather jacket and had a T-shirt on underneath that said “Hot Ronda!” on it. That was all part of some very conscious marketing from the WWE, as well as Rousey.
Rousey, who went by the “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey name during her MMA career, has filed for three trademarks relating to the “Rowdy Ronda Rousey” name, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
Ronda Rousey has filed for three trademarks to "Rowdy Ronda Rousey."
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 29, 2018
The WWE was well prepared for Rousey’s debut and is already offering two different T-shirts for her at their online shop.
— Mike Dyce (@mikedyce) January 29, 2018
The shirt is in the exact same style as the late Rowdy Roddy Piper. Rousey was a huge fan of Piper and asked for his permission to use his nickname, which he granted to her. Her merchandise is a clear takeoff from that.
Rousey also said in an interview with WWE that Piper’s son had flown out to give her the leather jacket to wear for Sunday night. The jacket used to belong to Piper.
— WWE (@WWE) January 29, 2018
All those rumors you heard about Ronda Rousey potentially joining the WWE finally came true.
Rousey appeared at the WWE’s Royal Rumble on Sunday night in Philadelphia, entering the ring after Asuka won the event. She confronted Asuka, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair, and then pointed to the WrestleMania sign as if to hint at a match at the major event in April.
Here’s video of her entrance to the event:
Welcome to WWE, Ronda Rousey. pic.twitter.com/ka18kw2iyn
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2018
Rousey, the former Olympian and UFC women’s bantamweight champion, was long rumored to be joining the WWE. After starting her MMA career 12-0, Rousey shockingly lost to Holly Holm in 2015 and then later to Amanda Nunes at the end of 2016. She mostly avoided the spotlight after that, with reports creeping up here and there tying Rousey to the WWE.
The 30-year-old isn’t just joining the WWE temporarily or on a one-time basis. She agreed to a full-time deal with WWE and told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that this is her top priority.
“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,” Rousey told ESPN’s 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.'”
The WWE appears to be building towards having Rousey make her first appearance in the ring at WrestleMania on April 8.