WWE Considered Earlier Debut For Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey WWE

Ronda Rousey made her in-ring WWE debut at WrestleMania 34 but the company had plans for her to compete even earlier than that.

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey made her name in the world of mixed martial arts, climbing to the top of UFC as the company’s first female Bantamweight Champion. That success came following her years as a judoka which led to her winning an Olympic Bronze Medal in Judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A lifelong wrestling fan, Rousey had long been rumoured to be coming to WWE, with the chatter surrounding that increasing after her in-ring appearance with The Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 31.

Rousey finally signalled her intention to compete for WWE when she shocked the world with her surprise appearance at the end of the 2018 Royal Rumble. It was three more months before Ronda Rousey competed in the ring at WrestleMania 34 when she teamed with Kurt Angle to defeat Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.

Now speaking on his Oh You Didn’t Know podcast, WWE executive Road Dogg confirmed that there were original plans for Rousey to compete in that 2018 Royal Rumble match but those plans were scrapped:

“So look, I think there was definitely hesitation in putting her in it and have her just beat everybody. I think there’s also hesitation in does she come out afterwards instead, does she step on that? So look I think there’s always hesitation with every idea you do.”

“However it’s just which one feels the best when you get, you know, what’s the end of the day. And I think they thought that it would probably protect her better to have the thing won and then have her walk out and say I’m coming, you know, whatever. I’m here now whatever so I don’t know man, it’s a business decision that the powers that be make those decisions and you weigh them out.”

“I heard a lot about oh she just came out and stepped on the Rumble pop and then whatever. I heard that or I read that actually on Twitter, I wrote it down and I read it. But I thought man you can’t win for losing with some people. We just had the first-ever women’s Rumble. We crowned this lady, here she is, and then this one holy mackerel showed up. What’s going to happen now? Like I don’t know I thought it was the right thing to do and I thought it worked.”

Ronda Rousey made a surprise appearance when she returned to WWE in the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match where she did defeat the field and booked a title match at WrestleMania 38.

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