WWE just got a little “Rowdy.”
Ronda Rousey made her highly anticipated appearance at the WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday night in Philadelphia. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion confronted three of WWE’s top women’s wrestlers. Then she shook the hand of WWE exec Stephanie McMahon, who was sitting ringside.
Rousey came out at the very end of the major show to a huge pop from the crowd, which chanted “Holy sh*t!” After sizing up the three women in the ring, she looked up and pointed toward the WrestleMania sign high above Wells Fargo Center.
In an interview with ESPN, Rousey said she has signed with WWE to be a full-time performer.
”This is my life now,” Rousey told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt. 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.’”
There had been rumors for weeks about Rousey being in the actual women’s Rumble match, but that did not happen. Thirty women entered, but Rousey was not one of them.
Instead, with Rumble winner Asuka, and WWE champions Charlotte and Alexa Bliss in the ring, Rousey’s trademark entrance music hit: Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.” Rousey came out in a t-shirt reminiscent of wrestling legend Roddy Piper’s “Hot Rod” shirts of old. The late Piper’s nickname was “Rowdy” and he granted Rousey the use of the name years ago for her MMA career.
Rousey, 30, was the most dominant women’s fighter in the history of mixed martial arts up until 2015 when she was shockingly knocked out by Holly Holm at UFC 193 in Australia. Rousey returned for a title fight against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016, but was knocked out in the first round.
UFC president Dana White has said that he doesn’t think Rousey will ever return to the Octagon. But it appears she has found a new stage for her future performances.