Ronda Rousey had quite a run for WWE from WrestleMania 34 to WrestleMania 35, including a lengthy run as Raw Women’s Champion and two PPV main events (one of which came at WrestleMania). Rousey has been missing from WWE since Becky Lynch pinned her at MetLife Stadium. But what if she comes back?
Rumors have already begun to swirl about The Baddest Woman on the Planet returning at the Royal Rumble, or otherwise coming back in time to haunt Becky Lynch and chase the title that The Man took off of her. Time will tell if those ideas come to fruition. For now, though, this article takes a look back at the best rivalries Rousey had in her original WWE run and five opponents who might be waiting on her if she comes back.
10 Great Rivalry: Alexa Bliss
On paper, it was a pretty significant mismatch to put one of the most decorated women in MMA history in the ring opposite a much smaller wrestler with no real fight credentials to her name. Rousey vs. Bliss represented the first time since her debut that Rousey got to show real fire, though. Rousey pursued The Goddess after she had cashed in Money in the Bank to steal the Raw Women’s Championship, and head off what may have been Rousey’s first WWE title reign.
Besides Rousey having a reason to get violent, Bliss held her own in a surprisingly good rematch at Hell in a Cell, after Rousey had won the title. This rematch saw Rousey very convincingly work a rib injury and Bliss play the remorseless heel nicely in going after her wounded foe.
9 Awaiting Rousey: Asuka
Early in Ronda Rousey’s WWE tenure, there was a great deal of conjecture that WWE may have been setting her on a collision course with Asuka. Indeed, leading up to the debut of The Baddest Woman on the Planet, Asuka was undefeated and often used an arm bar not so different from Rousey’s.
WWE shifted courses, with The Empress largely relegated to more of a supporting role for most of Rousey’s run. In the two never crossing paths and mostly working on different brands, though, WWE left this potentially solid match up untouched. Particularly given Asuka’s championship pedigree and the win she had over Becky Lynch at Royal Rumble 2019, she could be a worthy opponent to clash with Rousey.
8 Great Rivalry: Nia Jax
One of the challenges of Ronda Rousey’s work in WWE was casting her against a believable opponent. After all, she was physically bigger and stronger than most of women’s roster, and her well-established track record from UFC made it difficult to imagine even WWE’s finest having a chance against her.
While Nia Jax may not have been a polished ring general, by sheer virtue of her height and weight, she did offer some intrigue as someone who could overpower Rousey. The rivalry was compelling enough to justify two separate iterations, each one a good story for Rousey, and among the best matches on Jax’s resume.
7 Awaiting Rousey: Shayna Baszler
One of the oddities to Ronda Rousey’s WWE run is that, despite her real-life close friend Shayna Baszler working for the company the whole time, the two never had more than cursory interactions on TV. Their association would make Baszler a natural partner for Rousey, and given how hard WWE has pushed the Queen of Spades in NXT, they’d be an imposing duo. Of course, they might also make for compelling rivals.
Baszler’s long run atop NXT—especially now that it’s a nationally televised brand—would position her as a reasonably credible threat to Rousey. Moreover, their personal history and a built-in story that Baszler kept grinding it out in developmental after Rousey left WWE would invite a kayfabe feud.
6 Great Rivalry: Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair was a rival of happenstance for Ronda Rousey after Becky Lynch got hurt, and The Queen took her place in an Interbrand match at Survivor Series 2018. Flair made the most of the opportunity in delivering one of the best, most heated matches of either woman’s career, ending in a disqualification that invited further interaction. The feud would rage on into WrestleMania 35.
Rousey vs. Flair was a terrific story and, perhaps best of all, left “meat on the bone.” Given neither woman has yet pinned or submitted the other, it still makes complete sense, even after two featured matches, for them to clash again.
5 Awaiting Rousey: Bayley
Bayley was among a large segment of the Raw women’s division that got lost in the shuffle during Ronda Rousey’s tenure. She did face-off with Rousey once one on one, but it was a largely forgettable TV bout –competitive, but with little question as to who would win.
Since Rousey’s departure, Bayley has enjoyed something of a renaissance, first in winning and successfully cashing in Money in the Bank, then with her well-received heel turn. While it might still be tough to imagine her beating Rousey cleanly, it’s not realistic that her heelish tactics and ally Sasha Banks might give her the upper hand.
4 Great Rivalry: Stephanie McMahon
When Ronda Rousey first entered the WWE Universe, it was important that she be cast against a rival of suitable star power, without necessarily having Rousey steamroll a top talent right out of the gate and leave her nowhere to go. Stephanie McMahon posed an ideal foil.
Rousey teamed with Kurt Angle to wrestle her first match in a mixed tag team against McMahon and Triple H. From there, Rousey had off and on tensions with McMahon to reinforce her face status and lend her a bit of Stone Cold-esque anti-hero credibility for taking an authority figure down a notch.
3 Awaiting Rousey: Rhea Ripley
After a stellar run in NXT UK, Rhea Ripley has become a featured player for NXT. Between her big body and technical skill, she’s a unique female talent, destined for big things on the main roster.
In the context of thinking about Ronda Rousey, Ripley has the overall package to be convincingly positioned as a serious rival. She’s still new enough to fans—particularly those who haven’t followed NXT UK—to come across as unstoppable, and could play either a heel or face opposite Rousey convincingly.
2 Great Rivalry: Becky Lynch
Ronda Rousey never worked a one on one match with Becky Lynch, and yet it's hard not to call the issue between The Baddest Woman on the Planet and The Man Rousey's best, most heated WWE feud. The war of words between these two was tremendous. Moreover, their heated build going into their Survivor Series 2018 match that never happened went on to fuel their issue going into WrestleMania 35.
Lynch's super over character and stellar ring and mic work made her the perfect foil for Rousey's act during her original WWE run. Particularly after Lynch pinned Rousey in her last match to date, we can only assume this issue will rage on if Rousey comes back.
1 Awaiting Rousey: Nikki Cross
Ronda Rousey fought her way through most of the women on the main roster in a year's time. She missed out on a confrontation with Nikki Cross, though given that Cross only got called up from NXT in Rousey's final weeks starring for the company.
Cross could replicate with Rousey some of the magic she made with Shayna Baszler in NXT. While Rousey would of course be the favorite going into a match, Cross's unconventional and violent style would make her a wild card and a legitimate threat.