WWE

WWE Is Ronda Rousey's Key to Reigniting Career

Ronda Rousey poses for photographers during an event for UFC 207, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Las Vegas. Rousey is scheduled to fight Amanda Nunes in a mixed martial arts women's bantamweight championship bout Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press
Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 9, 2017

The WWE spotlight can heal a broken Ronda Rousey

The former UFC women's bantamweight champion suddenly doesn't look like she belongs in the Octagon anymore. The fighter Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim once called "the world's most dominant athlete" ended her last battle teetering toward the cage, her face reddened, her legs lifeless.

Against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, Rousey looked lost, a rudderless ship adrift on a stormy sea.

Ronda Rousey was in trouble early against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207.
Ronda Rousey was in trouble early against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Nunes charged at her, tagging her with hammering punches. Rousey couldn't respond. She retreated; she winced; she fell apart.

This was not the warrior we had seen steamroll her competition, wrenching her foes' arms en route to megastardom in the UFC. That Rousey is gone. 

A comeback from her second consecutive overwhelming defeat looks unlikely.

But another world awaits her, one where she can rebuild herself, remain a pop culture sensation and write new chapters to her legacy: WWE.

Rousey's charisma and "it" factor would assure her success in that realm. Her name power makes her a valuable asset, losing streak and all. The squared circle offers her a place to thrive again, to be reborn.

The wrestling world is one she's long admired.

Rousey has often made it known that her Rowdy nickname was taken from WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper. She tried out some wrestling moves with fellow MMA fighter Shayna Baszler. She's expressed a desire to win WWE gold, too.

In 2015, Rousey told reporters during media day"I'd love to have the chance to be the Divas world champion and just be the best of everything at one point." 

And WWE has been happy to open its doors for her. 

At WrestleMania 31, the longtime fan became a part of the show. The Rock called Rousey in the ring to help him deal with the nefarious Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Rousey flipped The Game over before snaking her arm around McMahon's.

Ronda Rousey puts Stephanie McMahon on notice at WrestleMania 31.
Ronda Rousey puts Stephanie McMahon on notice at WrestleMania 31.Don Feria/Associated Press

This could be a recurring scene now.

She could be a major part of the WWE's trailblazing women's division as a part-time star. Rather than continue to tailspin as an MMA fighter, she can emulate the proverbial phoenix in a fresh setting.

A WrestleMania battle with Charlotte Flair, a SummerSlam tango with Becky Lynch or another collision with McMahon are all on the table. Rousey could find herself on magazine covers and pay-per-view posters.

And a WWE run would highlight her showmanship skills while allowing her to flourish in a more controlled environment.

Some will argue, though, that her recent losses will scare off WWE. She's not the phenomenon she was during her untouchable stretch, but she's still a star.

Ronda Rousey with some of the cast from 'Entourage.'
Ronda Rousey with some of the cast from 'Entourage.'Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Casual WWE fans know who she is. Holly Holm and Nunes proved to be superior fighters but won't ever generate the kind of buzz Rousey has.

As Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful pointed out, her value has changed, but she's still plenty valuable to WWE:

History is rewritten in pro wrestling, anyway.

Brock Lesnar returned to WWE in 2012 fresh off two UFC losses where his foes battered him into the mat. It didn't matter. The company sold him as a conquering beast who successfully navigated the MMA landscape.

WWE can show footage of her judo career, including two trips to the Olympics. It can focus on her 12 MMA wins, not her two losses. It can paint her as the force of nature she once was.

That's the beauty of pro wrestling. Narratives can be shaped to suit the situation. 

Her UFC story is one of heartache and bloody noses. A new tale could be hers for the taking with WWE, one where she is a marquee act again, a gladiator with a movie-star smile.

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