Backstage WWE Rumors: Ronda Rousey to SmackDown, Braun Strowman and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2018

Ronda Rousey arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of
Jordan Strauss/Associated Press

Injuries and abrupt booking changes have left the WWE product a mess of disjointed storylines. It has also made it somewhat unpredictable, with the fans never really sure of what to expect from week to week.

The backstage rumor mill, though, continues to pump out reports that give fans a taste of what they can expect from storyline direction.


Ronda Rousey to SmackDown?

Justin LaBar of WrestlingInc.com reported Fox wants Ronda Rousey on the SmackDown brand when it debuts on the network in 2019, stating, "Fox feels that Rousey's MMA background, popularity and credibility as an athlete will be a major selling point to promote the show."

It makes sense the broadcaster would want the former UFC star.

The network has past relations with UFC and recognizes how big a draw Rousey is.

While wrestling fans may be quick to throw around names such as Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan, Rousey is undeniably the biggest star WWE has on its full-time roster. Non-fans know who she is, they know her story and they will be interested to tune in and see what she is up to once the blue brand makes the jump.

It may ruffle feathers with fans who recklessly toss around words like "deserve" and "earned" without taking the bigger picture into consideration, but it is a move WWE should absolutely make and one Fox should be genuinely excited to capitalize on.

Most importantly, such a move would instantly elevate the significance of women's wrestling and, potentially, make it the centerpiece of the broadcast network show.

It would do more for that division of WWE than any Evolution pay-per-view or first-time-ever gimmick match could.

Above all else, the likes of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and any other woman working with Rousey on that stage will only elevate their stars and make them more recognizable now than they already are.

That is the value of Rousey to WWE itself.


Braun Strowman's TLC Status

WrestleVotes reported that it is looking more and more likely that Strowman will be unavailable for his scheduled Tables, Ladders and Chairs match against Baron Corbin on December 16.

WrestleVotes @WrestleVotes

Hearing Braun Strowman may indeed be out past the TLC PPV, and they are preparing to make the TLC match involving Baron Corbin a multi man contest similar to the 2012 TLC PPV.

If WWE does opt to go in the direction of a multi-man match, as the tweet noted, it would be a major blow to the Raw brand's main event offering for the show.

It was just two weeks ago that an entire hour of Raw was devoted to an elimination tag bout pitting Strowman, Elias and Finn Balor against Corbin, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley.

Fans have been conditioned to see those big tag team matches as overhyped television bouts they can watch for free every week on TV. Why should they invest the time and money for a pay-per-view featuring the same match?

Throw in the fact that Strowman, who has been built up to an extent and featured as prominently on television as anyone this side of Reigns over the last two years, will not be participating and you have even less of a reason to care about whatever thrown-together mess the creative team comes up with.

Knowing WWE's booking habits, they will likely sprinkle in a gimmick or two to help sell the match, but that hardly makes up for the fact that stars are being bitten by the injury bug and the writing team has been irresponsible in ensuring there are suitable backup plans in place.


Lars Sullivan Main Roster News

Lars Sullivan will debut on Raw or SmackDown shortly, as evidenced by the vignettes that have aired on television already.

Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported there will be a bidding war of sorts for Sullivan, instantly elevating his status and suggesting to the audience that he is a big deal right out of the gate.

Considering the lack of star power across the brands, particularly on Raw, creating a new one from the get-go is hardly a bad idea.

Yes, Sullivan is a raw product whose in-ring game is not nearly at the level of even a Corbin, but he looks the part of a monster, has been booked as such in NXT and can fill that role and even become an enemy of Strowman when The Monster Among Men returns from injury.

Sometimes, WWE Creative needs to take a leap of faith on a young star and see if he or she can make the most of the opportunity. Too often, NXT stars come in and see their initial push diminish after a few weeks. Their momentum is cut off and the result is a missed chance at a fresh new star.

One can only hope, given the dire status of the roster right now, that is not something Sullivan is forced to endure.