Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey denied rumors that she’ll be participating in Sunday’s women’s Royal Rumble match as she’ll be filming a movie out of the country.
“I’m actually leaving to Colombia right now to finish shooting Mile 22 and I won’t be back until mid-February,” Rousey told TMZ.
The former Women’s bantamweight champion added that she still hasn’t signed a contract with WWE.
Earlier this week, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (per subscription) reported that Rousey would “likely” win the first ever female Royal Rumble match if she participated.
On Jan. 9, the former MMA champion was captured alongside Paul “Triple H” Levesque — WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative — for what was presumed to be a business meeting.
Levesque also acknowledged the mutual interest between WWE and former Rousey in bringing in the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion during an interview with Good Morning Britain in November.
“She is very interested in our business, always has been. Huge fan, that’s where the ‘Rowdy’ Ronda came from. I think she’s interested in the opportunity and I’m interested in offering the opportunity, so we have some talking to do.”
In October, the Wrestling Observer reported that a match between Rousey’s UFC Four Horsewomen (Shayna Bazler — who is already a full-time competitor in NXT, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir) and WWE’s Four Horsewomen (Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Becky Lynch) was “set” for WrestleMania, which was a change after original plans called for Rousey and Co. to show up at Survivor Series never took place.
WWE posted an exclusive interview with former UFC champion Rousey, Duke and Shafir at Full Sail University following friend and fellow “Four Horsewomen” Baszler’s win over Mia Yim during the second-round of the Mae Young Classic.
In the video, the group is confronted by WWE “Four Horsewomen” members Bayley, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.
Rousey throws down her bag and tells the group to “name the time and place,” before they retreat.
Footage from the event’s taping showed Rousey, Duke and Shafir sitting in the front row interacting with Bayley, Flair and Lynch after Baszler’s victory emerged during the tournament, which created speculation that the two groups would eventually work an angle together.
Baszler, who is currently set to face Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s championship at TakeOver: Philadelphia, has already made a successful transition to the squared circle while the other three Horsewomen, including Rousey, have been rumored to follow suit.
In August, an employee backstage in WWE told Fightful.com that Rousey has expressed interest in making a pro wrestling run and spoke with Triple H to set up her appearance at the Mae Young Classic tapings.
According to their sources, WWE has referred Rousey, Duke and Shafir — the fiancée of current NXT competitor Roderick Strong — to current 205 Live competitor Brian Kendrick’s wrestling school in Southern California. The company had previously referred former Total Divas star Eva Marie — who was officially released last month — to Kendrick.
WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who called the Mae Young Classic, told TMZ in August that Rousey’s transition to professional wrestling is “inevitable”.
“It’s just a matter of time before Ronda Rousey officially signs with Vince McMahon — so says WWE legend, Jim Ross, who says it’s a “match made in heaven,” Ross said. “Oh, she’s gonna be a big star,” the WWE Hall of Famer told us at LAX … “It’s inevitable. I see her in a WrestleMania someday. It’s too great an opportunity for her to pass up and WWE to pass up … it’s a match made in heaven.”
Rousey, a lifelong wrestling fan, has worked with the company in the past, including an in-ring segment with The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 31.
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