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Backstage Update On WWE's Plans For Ronda Rousey At The Royal Rumble

WWE fans haven’t seen Ronda Rousey since she lost the SmackDown Women’s Championship to Charlotte Flair on December 30. The Queen was making her surprise return after seven months away and challenged The Baddest Woman on the Planet to an impromptu match. Flair won, setting her up for the first legit babyface champion run of her already historic career. However, that victory has left Ronda Rousey in a state of limbo. She hasn’t been seen on the blue brand since and hasn’t worked any dark matches or live events. After spending a few weeks away, could WWE be planning to book her for the women’s Royal Rumble match?

With only a few confirmed women for that bout, including Rousey might make sense. However, in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer writes she’s not in the company’s plans for the premium live event. “Ronda Rousey will not be in the Rumble (or at least that was the decision as of midweek) because of the feeling that they didn’t want to marginalize her star power by being just someone in the match since she wasn’t going to win it or be the focal point…” This comes just one year after Ronda won the women’s Royal Rumble, much to the chagrin of some WWE fans.

Related: 6 Major X-Factors For WWE At The Royal Rumble

If WWE is sticking to not booking Ronda Rousey for the Royal Rumble, then this could be a star-making performance for Rhea Ripley. Becky Lynch will likely be in the over-the-top-rope battle royal and would be a safe pick for Triple H and Co. Yet Las Vegas, and a large majority of the WWE Universe seem to believe that 2023 will be the year Ripley finally receives her big singles push. Charlotte Flair isn’t thought to be in the match either, eliminating yet another one of the company’s usual go-to female superstars.

She’s been front and center on Raw since joining Judgment Day. As prominent as she’s been on television, she’s seldom been used for singles matches. The faction has allowed her to evolve into a bona fide powerhouse, and she’s squaring off with men seemingly on a weekly basis. Ripley even goaded Akira Tozawa into a rare intergender match several weeks back, winning handily. However, there’s way more to this character than being a Chyna- type heater for Finn Balor’s faction, and that could come to fruition starting on January 28.

Ripley is the betting favorite heading into the event for a reason. She is one of the company’s top-rising stars and the only top-end heel announced for the Royal Rumble match. As it stands, entering this weekend, both Raw and SmackDown have face champions. That could change if Bianca Belair loses to Alexa Bliss on Saturday, but it’s tough to imagine things playing out that way. Without Rousey or Flair there to win the Rumble, the time might be right for Ripley to seize her spot at WrestleMania 39. The WWE Royal Rumble will occur on January 28 and begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Next: Sami Zayn Wins & 5 More Shocking WWE Royal Rumble Predictions

Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter

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