Ronda Rousey, a pioneer in women’s combat sports, bid farewell to WWE a few months ago, leaving fans and pundits alike speculating about her next move. Recent reports not only quashed rumors of a UFC return but also surprised the wrestling community with the revelation that she had taken an unexpected leap to All Elite Wrestling (AEW). In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the details of Ronda Rousey’s surprising journey post-WWE departure.
Ronda Rousey’s AEW Debut
The wrestling world was sent into a frenzy as Ronda Rousey made an unannounced appearance at the AEW/ROH tapings, turning heads and sparking intense discussions. The UFC Hall of Famer, clad in her distinctive ring gear, was spotted backstage at the AEW tapings in Los Angeles. To the astonishment of fans, Rousey teamed up with Marina Shafir in a match against ROH Women’s Champion Athena and Billie Starkz during the ROH taping immediately following a live AEW Rampage.
Ring of Honor TV Debut
Anticipation is building as reports indicate that Ronda Rousey is poised to make her Ring of Honor TV debut in the upcoming “ROH on HonorClub” episode scheduled for Thanksgiving Day. Despite the buzz surrounding her appearance, concrete details about her contractual arrangement and her official standing with “All Elite Athlete” remain elusive. The speculation is further fueled by ongoing rumors hinting at a potential major free agent announcement at Full Gear, according to Tony Khan.
AEW as a Viable Alternative to WWE
In recent years, All Elite Wrestling has emerged as a credible and attractive alternative to WWE, luring several stars from the Stamford-based promotion. Ronda Rousey’s unexpected appearance at the Ring of Honor tapings adds another noteworthy chapter to the growing narrative of former WWE talents making the switch to Tony Khan’s rapidly rising company. Many insiders and fans alike are speculating that the former Women’s Champion may have officially inked a deal with AEW, given the ongoing trend of high-profile talents crossing over.
PW Insider’s Response
Amidst the widespread speculation, a Q&A session with Mike Johnson from PW Insider provided a dose of reality, revealing that there is currently no confirmation of Ronda Rousey signing a contract with AEW. Johnson emphatically stated, “We have not heard that is the case,” injecting an element of uncertainty regarding Rousey’s official status with the promotion.
Konnan’s Insightful Commentary
Adding another layer to the discourse, WWE veteran Konnan, on his Keepin’ It 100 podcast, shared his insights into Ronda Rousey’s potential move to AEW. Konnan contemplated the challenges of the rigorous year-round WWE schedule and suggested that Rousey’s departure might be attributed to the mental toll it takes. While acknowledging the possibility of her joining AEW, Konnan expressed reservations, pointing to Rousey’s current financial comfort and strong bond with Shayna Baszler.
Ronda Rousey: A Trailblazer Across Sports and Entertainment
Ronda Jean Rousey, born on February 1, 1987, is a multifaceted American professional wrestler, actress, former judoka, and mixed martial artist. Her remarkable journey spans various sports and entertainment realms, leaving an indelible mark on the history of women’s combat sports.
Early Achievements in Judo and MMA
Rousey’s sporting prowess first came to the forefront when she became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo, securing the bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics. This achievement marked the beginning of a groundbreaking career that would extend into mixed martial arts (MMA).
In 2011, Rousey entered the MMA scene with King of the Cage, later joining Strikeforce. She emerged as the last Women’s Bantamweight Champion under Strikeforce before its acquisition by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Rousey’s UFC journey included historic milestones, such as being part of the first-ever female fight at UFC 157, becoming the inaugural Women’s Bantamweight Champion, and holding the record for most UFC title defenses (6) by a female until 2022.
Rousey retired from MMA in 2016, leaving an enduring legacy that led to her induction as the first female fighter into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.
Transition to Professional Wrestling
In 2018, Rousey embarked on a new chapter in her career, transitioning to professional wrestling by signing with WWE. Her debut at WrestleMania 34 marked the beginning of a noteworthy tenure within the squared circle. Rousey swiftly rose to prominence, securing the Raw Women’s Championship at SummerSlam and headlining WWE’s groundbreaking all-women’s pay-per-view, Evolution.
Her journey in WWE included highs and lows, from winning the women’s Royal Rumble match at the 2022 Royal Rumble to losing the Raw Women’s Championship in the first-ever women’s WrestleMania main event at WrestleMania 35. Notably, she clinched the SmackDown Women’s Championship twice and achieved the Women’s Triple Crown by winning the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship with Shayna Baszler, unifying both WWE and NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Beyond the Ring: A Cultural Icon
Rousey’s impact transcends the boundaries of sports, earning her a place as the only woman to be a champion in both the UFC and WWE. Her historic feat of headlining pay-per-view events in both organizations solidifies her as a trailblazer in women’s sports and entertainment.
Recognized by fans and media alike, Rousey was voted the best female athlete of all time in a 2015 ESPN fan poll. Fox Sports described her as “one of the defining athletes of the 21st century.” Beyond the ring, Rousey showcased her versatility by appearing in films such as The Expendables 3 (2014), Furious 7 (2015), and Mile 22 (2018). Her autobiography, My Fight / Your Fight (2015), provides an intimate look into her remarkable journey.
The Independent Circuit and Legacy
After parting ways with WWE in October 2023, Rousey continued her wrestling journey on the independent circuit. Her legacy, however, remains etched in history as a transformative figure who not only excelled in various combat sports but also left an enduring impact on the cultural landscape.
The unexpected shift of Ronda Rousey from WWE to AEW has sent shockwaves through the wrestling community. As fans eagerly await her Ring of Honor TV debut, the uncertainty surrounding her contractual ties with AEW continues to keep the anticipation at a fever pitch. Whether Rousey’s move signals a paradigm shift in the wrestling landscape remains uncertain, but her presence undeniably marks a significant moment in the ongoing evolution of the industry.