Now one of the biggest names in women’s wrestling, before her first match Ronda Rousey was known as something completely different.
At one time she was one of the biggest names in MMA, and was the most successful women in UFC history. Her penchant for quick knockouts drew in huge crowds and she was scouted by WWE for many years before her eventual signing. She even appeared with The Rock at Wrestlemania 31, 3 years prior to her WWE debut.
While the plan was originally to see The Rock team up with Ronda Rousey to take on the husband-wife duo of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, that was never took place, presumably due to scheduling conflicts due to The Rock’s Hollywood commitments and Rousey’s UFC career.
A match between Triple H and The Rock was teased in 2014 and hinted towards a Wrestlemania match (“name the Wrestlemania time and place”) a final encounter between the two Attitude Era stars never materialised.
However, Ronda Rousey would finally step into a WWE ring properly three years later with one of the best debut matches in Wrestlemania history.
Ronda Rousey Debut
After years of teasing joining WWE and even appearing in the crowd and attacking a wrestler in PWG, Ronda Rousey’s debut in WWE came at the 2018 Royal Rumble. It was the maiden year for the Women’s Royal Rumble, which featured women from the past, present and future of women’s wrestling in WWE.
Legends of the ring like Trish Stratus and Lita made appearance in the Royal Rumble match, as well a number of NXT Superstars and current women’s wrestlers like Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Ronda Rousey made her WWE debut at the Royal Rumble on January 8th, 2018. While Japanese star Asuka became the first winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble, she was overshadowed when Ronda Rousey made her debut and interrupted the celebrations after the match.
While Asuka and the two women’s champions in WWE (Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss) were stood in the ring, “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett blared throughout the arena, and the former UFC bantamweight champion made her entrance into WWE.
She stared down the three women before pointing up the Wrestlemania sign, signalling were Ronda Rousey’s first match in WWE would be – at the biggest stage of them all, Wrestlemania 34.
Ronda Rousey’s first match
Even though she could not team with The Rock in her debut match, some parts of the original planned match three years ago still remained in tact.
Ronda Rousey’s first match in WWE had her team with Kurt Angle to take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at Wrestlemania 34. As she was already a big star with her work in the UFC and in Hollywood movies like The Expendables and the Fast and Furious, her debut was on the biggest stage possible, which meant that if it went well, it would be amazing.
However, if it went badly then it would never be forgotten.
Luckily for “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, her debut match at Wrestlemania went as well as anyone could have hoped for. In fact, it could be argued to be the best debut match of all time. This was not just her first match wrestling in WWE. It was Ronda Rousey’s first match in professional wrestling.
Rousey showed talent beyond her years with an incredible, instant star-making performance alongside one of the all time greats. In fact, her performance drew comparisons to her partner Kurt Angle, who himself picked up wrestling like a natural and showed incredible ability inside the ring despite his lack of experience.
The Rowdy one was the exact same. She picked up wrestling immediately, with it being clear she was a huge fan before she stepped foot inside the ring. She threw Stephanie McMahon around the ring with ease and even attacked Triple H at one point, nearly breaking his arm with a submission.
Clad in tartan to pay homage to her idol Roddy Piper and even sporting his actual leather jacket during her entrance, Ronda did Roddy proud with her performance.
Ronda Rousey won her first WWE match, when she and Kurt Angle defeated Triple H and Stephanie in the match of the night and one of the most entertaining matches of the year. It kicked off a bumper year for Rousey, who soon won the WWE Raw Women’s Championship for nearly a year before dropping the belt to Royal Rumble winner Becky Lynch at the following years Wrestlemania.