Since her appearance at Wrestlemania 31, talk has been rife that Ronda Rousey will be leaving the Octagon and heading for the squared circle. Rousey jumped the barrier to provide The Rock with some female assistance after “The People’s Champion” had run into trouble in the form of WWE’s power couple, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The crowd that night were rabid for Rousey. They gave her a huge cheer for jumping the rail, an even bigger one for taking Trips to the ground, and blew the roof off the roofless Levi’s Stadium after blocking Stephanie’s slap and threatening to break her arm.
Rousey is a childhood fan of the WWE and when asked during her cameo appearance at Summerslam 2014 on whether she would like to emulate Brock Lesnar and make the crossover from MMA to wrestling, she responded with a cryptic “you never know.”
Her appearance alongside The Rock, her Fast & Furious 7 co-star, at Mania looked like it would be the beginning of a 12-month program involving all four participants. However, that plan right now seems to be scuppered. In the online wrestling community it is widely believed that The Rock will be facing off against Triple H in a singles match at Wrestlemania 32, squashing rumors of any mixed tag team match.
Moreover, Dana White, the owner of UFC, has categorically ruled out another WWE appearance for Rousey. When asked about his female bantamweight’s successful appearance at Wrestlemania, White was quick to compliment his star but also pointed out that it was a “one and done” deal. So is Rousey really “one and done” with the UFC or is it possible that Wrestlemania 32 will be graced with her ass-kicking presence?
This August, Rousey will square off against Bethe Correia in a fight that she is expected to win easily – betfair have her priced at just 1.06 to win when this article was produced. Although not assured, victory will see Rousey stretch her record to a hugely impressive 12-0. Rousey is clearly head and shoulders over the competition. How many more opponents are there for her to face? She will surely soon tire of the UFC and seek pastures new. However, if this is the only way that Rousey moves across to WWE then the chances are it won’t be in time for Wrestlemania 32.
If Rousey wanted to appear at Wrestlemania, she could use her considerable star power as leverage. The past 12 months have been pretty rocky for the UFC with fighters failing to pull in decent PPV figures. This has been made all the worse by the arrest of then champion Jon “Bones” Jones for hit and run. However, there has been a star to emerge from all this turbulence and that is Rousey. Figures for UFC 184 showed that more than 1.4 million people tuned in to watch the Rousey fight. A year ago people knew her as this bad-ass chick who competed in the UFC. Now Rousey is UFC. The point is, if she pressed hard enough she could surely force Dana White to let her compete at Wrestlemania. He needs her more than she needs him.
Finally, with appearances in Furious 7, The Expendables 3, and Entourage, Rousey is going further into the mainstream, which is good news for UFC. The more people that recognize her name are more likely to pay to watch her fight. This year’s Wrestlemania had nearly 300,000 PPV sales whilst a further 1.3 million WWE network accounts were actively watching the event. A liberal estimate would suggest that at least ten million people were watching Mania, making it a very good piece of marketing for Rousey and UFC as a whole. Therefore it seems illogical that White wouldn’t want that to happen again. Perhaps by saying no he is trying to make the story bigger than it already is, increasing media coverage in the hope that it will have the same impact on viewing figures.
Although the official line is that Ronda Rousey will not be in a WWE ring for the considerable future, it seems likely that she will. WWE wouldn’t have implemented her in a potential storyline with Stephanie McMahon if not.