It looks like Ronda Rousey could potentially be returning to the ring, although not for a MMA fight.
According to a report from Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting, Rousey appeared at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tapings at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, last Thursday and Friday to support her longtime friend and training partner, former UFC bantamweight Shayna Baszler.
Things started out calm enough in Thursday evening according to the report, as Baszler won her opening-round match in the Mae Young Classic, a 32-woman tournament. But from that point, the fostering of a feud began, as Rousey sat ringside with Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, the other two members of “Rowdy” and Baszler’s oft-publicized “Four Horsewomen” group.
Of course, the group name stems from the ultra-popular “Four Horsemen” stable of the 1980s consisting of legendary champion Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and several other members. Rousey and her stablemates used their version, but apparently never trademarked it, as WWE soon marketed a stable of women wrestlers including Flair’s daughter Charlotte Flair, whose real name is Ashley Fliehr, Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch as their own version of the “Four Horsewomen.”
So although Rousey and her “Four Horsewomen” group’s role was unclear, it became clear after Baszler won her second-round tournament match over Mia Kim with a MMA-inspired choke and flaunted a four-finger “Four Horsewomen” taunt directed at Flair, Lynch, and Bayley (Banks was in Australia working on a promotional tour for WWE). Both groups of women got into a bit of a smack-talking match, although it remains to be seen just how far this angle will proceed.
Meltzer said a WWE official called it, “foreshadowing in essence, just in case.”
The bit will reportedly not air until this September, but Rousey’s love of and history with pro-wrestling has been well documented. During the height of her popularity, she appeared alongside mega-famous actor and former WWE champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to mix it up with WWE executives and personalities Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at 2015’s WrestleMania, and the WWE has made no effort to hide their infatuation with Rousey, who herself is a longtime professional wrestling fanatic.
The Vince McMahon-owned pro-wrestling juggernaut reportedly wanted Rousey to wrestle Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania in 2016, something that never came to fruition after she lost her long-held UFC title in a shocking knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November 2015. Now that Rousey appears to be done with the UFC for the time being, an opportunity for her to appear in her beloved pro-wrestling, where she would engage in scripted physical activity rather than get punched by the most dangerous 135-pound female fighters on the planet, could be an obvious choice for her next career move post-UFC.
Baszler has been involved with pro-wrestling for quite some time, having trained with several of the WWE’s female wrestlers during the time following her retirement from MMA, and has supposedly been seeking employment with the WWE for quite some time. She was also trained in both pro-wrestling in addition to catch wrestling by former UFC champion Josh Barnett.
Although it was thought that she had not been signed to the promotion, Baszler has now been booked to be one of the performers at the forefront of the Mae Young Classic, where she will wrestle Japan’s Kaire Sane in the finals on September 12, a date during which the storyline involving Rousey is expected to continue.
So nothing is set, but it appears Rousey’s next trip to a ring could potentially be in the WWE. Do you like that direction for her career, or would it better to give MMA and the UFC one last shot?