WrestleMania 34: Former UFC star fighter Ronda Rousey eyes new beginning in WWE
When Amanda Nunes knocked out Ronda Rousey in just 48 seconds to retain her Women’s Bantamweight title at UFC 207, it felt like the end of an era.
Rousey, who single-handedly elevated the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s division, looked like a shadow of her former self and was easily defeated by a younger and hungrier opponent.
Although she had tasted defeated against Holly Holm earlier, it looked like the end of the road for the Olympic bronze medallist.
Her UFC career may be over for now, but her fighting career will take a new turn on Sunday as Ronda Rousey makes her World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) debut at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans on Sunday.
She will partner with fellow Olympic medalist Kurt Angle to take on the team of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag-team match at the Mercedes Benz Superdome arena.
This is certainly not the first time that a MMA fighter has joined the company, but Rousey’s signing has brought mainstream media attention to the world of pro-wrestling.
As a result, the WWE are also quite active in promoting their latest recruit and creating a buzz around her debut encounter.
Something that has only enhanced Rousey’s early presentation as a pro-wrestler has been her association with WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
During her time with UFC, Rousey reached out to Piper through their mutual friend, MMA legend Gene LeBell, for permission to use his “Rowdy” nickname and that created an instant connection with the hardcore fanbase of the company.
However, it has not been an easy road for Rousey. She joined the performance center last year and with the help of WWE NXT women’s champion and her former UFC colleague Shayna Baszler, she started training for her pro-wrestling debut.
Although it will be her first stint, he was quite comfortable in learning the skills and her progress earned her praise from WWE superstar Paige.
“When I was training for my comeback back from injury last year, she was at the performance centre every single day putting in the hard work. I have seen how much she has trained for the fight and I believe that she will be an exciting addition to the women’s roster in the WWE,” she said.
The time is finally here for Ronda Rousey to take her first step in the world of pro-wrestling and in many ways, the match on Sunday can be make-or-break for her.
Till now, she has relied on her stardom in the UFC octagon to get cheers from the crowd. But fans will not support her if she fails to perform on the big stage and that can be a huge blow to WWE’s most famous acquisition.