Whether it was a surprise or not, the deal is done — and now the wait begins for cardboard.
Former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey made her WWE debut on Sunday night at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in Philadelphia. After the main event, the first women’s Royal Rumble match, Rousey marched to the ring wearing a new “Rowdy” Roddy Piper-inspired shirt and a coat given to her by the late WWE icon’s son to make it known she’s headed to WrestleMania.
“This is my life now,” Rousey told ESPN. “First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt. When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”
When it comes to cards, Rousey has been among the most-popular female athletes out there and her autographs are among the most sought-after in UFC, despite her last match being back in 2016. The wait for her new WWE cards, may not be long, though, thanks to one detail seen on Sunday.
The shirt she’s wearing? It’s a “Hot Ronda!” creation in the style of Piper’s most-remembered shirt of the 1980s — an homage to the wrester she shares a nickname with. That’s not a coincidence, either, as she asked the Hall of Famer permission to use it years ago. (It’s also appropriate as she could end up being the most-dominating heel in WWE history sometime soon.) The shirt also means a licensing deal is at least done, in part, as the shirts are now for sale on the WWE Shop website.
Could Topps Now cards be far behind? We should find out later today … (Update: No Rousey cards in today’s Now card lineup.)
Check out the immediate in-arena post-Rumble interview with ESPN below — where you can hear a bit more about the Piper tie-in. It’s an interview where Rousey comes off as anything but heelish, but we’ll see how that evolves once the bell rings.
“This is ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper’s jacket that his son, Colton, brought for me to wear tonight,” she said, “and I promised him that every single day that I’m out here the whole world’s going to be reminded of his father and his achievements and what he’s done for all of us, me included.”
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