How Ronda Rousey wants to make her WWE return

Ronda Rousey’s ideal WWE return wouldn’t be at WrestleMania or another pay-per-view.

The former Raw women’s champion said on WWE’s “After the Bell” podcast with Corey Graves on Thursday that she would just love to “start crashing” house shows.

When she does come back, it likely will be on her terms.

“Probably whenever the hell I feel like it,” Rousey said with a laugh when asked when we’d see her in a WWE ring again. “If they would just let me show up at live events, probably very soon.”

The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion joining the podcast is her first appearance on anything WWE related since breaking her hand and losing to Becky Lynch in a triple-threat match with Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 35 last April. Rousey had stepped away from the company, with which she is signed through April 2021, to try to start a family with husband Travis Browne. To this point, there has been no baby announcement.

Rousey, who is spending her time being a mother to Browne’s two sons from his previous marriage, tending to their California ranch and other projects, said she would love to be “a little easter egg surprise” at WWE house shows.

“I should go pitch that,” she said. ”We’ll see if they let me.”

WWE’s live event business has been in decline in recent years and a Rousey appearance, while unlikely, would add a quality of never knowing who might show up.

What she said she missed the most is the relaxed nature of those shows and the camaraderie in the locker room, adding she never did hair and makeup for those. The 32-year-old even got a kick out of the unique travel to the next show.

“Jump in the car afterward and go to the next town, inevitably not being able to find s–t and just eating beef jerky all night, I miss that,” Rousey said.

During her time away, Rousey said she’s become “a little obsessed with NXT.” She praises friend and two-time NXT women’s champion Shayna Baszler for “kicking ass” right now and notes that the Queen of Spades is the “whole reason” she and the other Four Horsewomen of MMA, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, are wrestling right now.

Rousey does have her eye on another name from NXT, as well.

“Oh, my God. Rhea Ripley, she is doing amazing,” Rousey said. “Like, I would love to be in a match with her some day. She matches up with everybody so differently, and there are so many things that she could really pull out of people that they can’t do with anybody else. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing if we ever get that opportunity, but I’d love to get in the ring with her. She’s fantastic.”

Rousey goes on to say Flair, the women’s Royal Rumble winner, should pick Ripley as the champion she chooses to face at WrestleMania 36 in Tampa on April 5. Flair held off on picking an opponent this week and it’s been rumored she is going to pick the NXT champion and not Raw champion Becky Lynch or SmackDown title holder Bayley, with whom she’s already had programs in the past.

“Charlotte and Becky have great matches, but they’ve had so many of them I feel like it’s time to get some new girls in the situation, and Charlotte and Rhea should… even just body types in general, and the athleticism, and everything like that,” Rousey said. “It’s just a unique match that I think they could put on definitely a WrestleMania level of show.”

Ripley, who tweeted she’d be down to square off against either Flair or Rousey, is scheduled for a face-to-face with NXT TakeOver Portland challenger Bianca Belair next Wednesday. Rousey, whose most logical WrestleMania 36 match if she returned would be a rematch with Lynch, has been impressed with all the “new names” from NXT.

“This has been NXT’s year,” she said.

Rousey said she came to WWE to give the women’s division “as much momentum as possible” and felt she did that. It’s been fun for her to see what they’ve done since then.

“They’re taking it and running with it,” she said. “They are doing better than ever, have more momentum than ever.”

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