The WWE made another bit of wrestling history this week when they announced that there would be a all-female Royal Rumble match at the annual January event. While details are still sparse, we assume it will function exactly like the men’s version, with superstars from both Raw and Smackdown competing in an over-the-top-rope battle royal, with the last remaining survivor getting a title shot at the champion of their respective brand at WrestleMania.
We don’t know if the WWE will attempt to have the female Rumble include the traditional 30 wrestlers, or if they’ll dial it down to something like 20 competitors. Either way, any Royal Rumble match opens up the possibility of surprise entrants, something that is always hugely anticipated before the men’s version of the match every year.
WARNING: Possible SPOILERS ahead.
Seriously, don’t keep reading if you like potential surprises in your wrestling consumption.
We’ve previously reported that former UFC golden girl Ronda Rousey is close to signing a deal to appear in the WWE. The Royal Rumble might be the perfect place for a surprise debut. Think about it. In a match with so many other superstars, Ronda’s role wouldn’t have to be very big. Which is good, considering her limited training as a pro wrestler. Rousey’s friend Shayna Baszler is also an up and coming wrestler, having recently been a finalist in the Mae Young Classic and is expected to make her NXT debut in the coming weeks.
Dave Meltzer gave the rumors a little bit of gasoline on the Wrestling Observer Radio show on Monday night, noting that the WWE changed Asuka’s finisher to the arm bar when she moved to the main roster for a reason.
“As soon [Asuka] she did the armbar the second time, I thought that she’s being groomed for Ronda Rousey, and [WWE] really is protecting [Asuka] even more than I expected they would, so [a build to Rousey vs. Asuka] makes sense. So we’ll have to see if that’s what happens.”
Of course, Asuka isn’t currently a champion, so that would have to change to set up an Arm Bar vs. Arm Bar match at WrestleMania.
“It makes perfect sense. And the other thing is that if she is in the Royal Rumble, she can be in the ring for a while and she can be protected, because you can have other people do a lot of the wrestling for her, and all that. So that gives her a couple more months of training, [and WWE] gets to use her name [to promote WrestleMania]. In a singles match, the problem is you don’t want to have her go too long and expose her [as inexperienced], but in a battle royal, you really don’t get exposed … But I think they’ll be really careful with her, they’ll be training her real well, and hopefully it all works out.
“And again, I don’t know [for sure] she’s in the Royal Rumble. I do know that some of the competitors that are in there are under the impression that she’s in. I do know that she’s been training a lot, but that was known for months. Obviously, the original idea was the Four Horsewomen vs. the Four Horsewomen, and that would be the debut. So we’ll see. But it’s certainly a rumor going around, that’s for sure.”
All of this is just in the rumor stage for now, especially since Rousey is currently filming a movie that doesn’t wrap until February, so the timing may not line up for her to make her WWE debut at the Rumble. If Rousey doesn’t show up, there’s always this intriguing backup plan: