Ronda Rousey’s appearance at WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event wasn’t a total surprise. The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion had been mentioned in the weeks leading up to the event as a potential entrant into, and winner of, the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble.
Rousey didn’t enter the Rumble itself. She emerged afterwards to confront Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and Asuka—the two champions of the WWE women’s division and the Royal Rumble winner. Rousey’s entrance may not have been a shock in an era when news leaks regularly onto the internet ahead of pay-per-views but it still elicited a chant of, “Holy s***” from the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night.
"This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years,” Rousey told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. “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.'" Rousey appeared in a cameo role at WrestleMania 31 alongside The Rock in a segment involving Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, his real and storyline wife.
Rousey came out to Joan Jett’s "Bad Reputation" as her entrance music, the same song that she used in UFC. The jacket she was wearing once belonged to WWE icon ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, according to Shelburne. Piper passed away in July 2015 aged 61; his son presented her with the jacket.
“He [Piper] was my inspiration for everything I did in MMA”, Rousey told Shelburne. “Anything theatrical that I ever did in MMA, he was the inspiration for it. I was an Olympic judoka—what did I know about promoting a fight or anything? I watched him; I studied him."
Rousey pointed to the WrestleMania sign at the end of the pay-per-view segment, indicating that she will have a major role to play in the build-up to WWE’s biggest annual event on April 8 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.