There were different plans in place for the Women’s Titles in WWE, but they planned as the company headed to the Royal Rumble.
On the final episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown of 2022 that aired on December 30th, there was a surprising title change that took place during a match that was not announced beforehand.
After Ronda Rousey successfully defended her Smackdown Women’s Title against Raquel Rodriguez, Charlotte Flair made her return to WWE after seven months away. Flair challenged Rousey to a match and won the Smackdown Women’s Title back with a rollup to become a 14-time Women’s Champion in WWE.
According to a report from Fightful Select, WWE’s plans changed regarding the women’s division heading into 2023. In early December, the plan was for Rousey to defend the Smackdown Women’s Title against Rodriguez at the Royal Rumble, which is this Saturday, January 28th. Instead, they did it on December 30th and had Flair return to put the title on her.
The report from Fightful also noted that Charlotte Flair’s name appeared on a “suggested matches” list to face Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. It doesn’t say if that would have been at the Royal Rumble or potentially a WrestleMania 39 match.
There were also plans for Rouse to face Rhea Ripley, but that was when Rousey was still the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Once again it’s unknown if that would have been a Royal Rumble match or something saved for WrestleMania 39.
It was also noted that Rousey was presented with a few different creative options, but they didn’t end up happening. Instead, WWE decided to do the Rousey-Rodriguez match on Smackdown as we saw and move the title over to Charlotte Flair going into 2023.
This Saturday, January 28th at the Royal Rumble, Belair defends the Raw Women’s Championship against Alexa Bliss. Charlotte Flair is not currently advertised for a match at the Royal Rumble although she could be part of the Women’s Royal Rumble match or maybe she can be added to the card in a new match since she’s feuding with Sonya Deville.
As for Rousey, it is believed that she will miss the Royal Rumble since she has been off television this month.