Backstage News On Major WWE Royal Rumble Changes, Ronda Rousey Update

Ronda Rousey WWE Royal Rumble 2018

WWE’s annual Royal Rumble takes place on January 28th in San Antonio, TX, and a new report sheds light on major changes made to plans for the show.

After being absent from television since the previous May, Charlotte Flair made her sensational return on the December 30th episode of SmackDown, not only surprising the audience in attendance but also unseating Ronda Rousey as SmackDown Women’s Champion after Rousey had just taken on Raquel Rodriguez in a title match. It was recently reported that there were no plans in place for Rousey to appear at the Royal Rumble following her title loss.

WWE Royal Rumble Plans Have Changed Drastically In Recent Weeks Due To Ronda Rousey’s Title Loss

According to a new report from Fightful Select, the match between Rousey and Raquel Rodriguez that took place on December 30th was originally planned for the Rumble on January 28th. However, plans changed when WWE wanted to add more to the December 30th episode of SmackDown, which also featured John Cena’s in-ring return.

The report continues, noting that earlier in December, Charlotte was on a “suggested matches” list that tentatively scheduled her to take on Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, with whom she had a face to face confrontation on the most recent episode of Raw. At that time, Rousey was still the champion and was also scheduled to face Rhea Ripley at one point. It has also been reported that Rhea Ripley may be headed for a clash with Rousey at the upcoming WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles, CA.

Sources close to the situation told Fightful Select that Rousey was presented with numerous creative options ahead of the Rumble, but none of them ended up working out. Therefore, the company decided to have Rousey’s match with Raquel Rodriguez earlier, and also to put the title on Flair. Flair is not currently announced for a match on Saturday.

As of this writing, the following matches have been announced by WWE for Saturday’s event:

  • Men’s Royal Rumble match
  • Women’s Royal Rumble match
  • Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight in a Pitch Black Match
  • Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship
  • Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship