WWE Executive Confirms Ongoing Talks with Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey’s career transformation from mixed martial artist to professional wrestler may be closer than ever before.
The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion has been nearing a deal to join World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) for several weeks with hopes that Rousey would make appearances at some of the company’s marquee events such as WrestleMania in April.
Now Paul Levesque — better known by his pro wrestling name Triple H — has confirmed that ongoing talks are happening with Rousey, who he sat down with at dinner this week to further their discussions.
“We are talking to Ronda, as we’ve been for a while,” Levesque told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “She has a lot of things going on. We have a lot of things going on. But we have a great relationship with her, a very friendly standpoint for a long period of time now. It was great to catch up with her.”
While there were rumors that Rousey may be joining the WWE in a full time role, that was never the plan according to sources close to the former Olympic bronze medalist. Instead, Rousey would be expected to make several appearances on WWE programming with a schedule similar to Brock Lesnar, who performs at most of the company’s biggest events while making sporadic promotional appearances on television shows such as RAW on Monday nights leading up to those shows.
Rousey has shown interest in crossing over into professional wrestling for years and she even made an in ring appearance at WWE WrestleMania alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Rousey then made an appearance at a WWE event supporting her friend and fellow UFC veteran Shayna Baszler, who is now competing in the WWE developmental league known as NXT.
Add to that, Rousey has all but closed the book on her professional fighting career following a loss to Amanda Nunes at the close of 2016 that marked her second defeat in a row.
Right now, Rousey is in production for the film “Mile 22” where she’s starring alongside Mark Wahlberg and “Walking Dead” star Lauren Cohan in an action movie expected out either later this year or in early 2019. Filming for that movie could interfere with Rousey making any appearances for WWE in the near future but then again there have been rampant rumors that she could pop up at the “Royal Rumble” event on Jan. 28.
That event will mark the first time WWE has done a 30-woman Royal Rumble match, which is basically an over the top battle royal to determine the performer who will then go onto compete at WrestleMania in April. Rousey participating in that match would be a huge moment for WWE and it could secure her place for WrestleMania later this year.
“We have nothing to announce at this time,” Levesque said. “But she’s a huge fan of what we do and she’s incredibly interested in what we do and the opportunities that lie there. We’re fans of hers and incredibly interested in what those opportunities could be with us. But there’s a lot of things to walk through. We’re talking. We’re having conversations.”
For now, speculation will continue as Rousey and WWE are still flirting with a deal but it’s not likely anyone will make an announcement until she appears on their programming.