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Ronda Rousey returns to WWE, wins women’s Royal Rumble match

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Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Ronda Rousey celebrates after winning the women’s Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Ronda Rousey celebrates after winning the women’s Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America’s Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

After nearly three years away from professional wrestling, Ronda Rousey returned to WWE on Saturday night.

Rousey, a former Raw women’s champion, made her surprise comeback during the women’s Royal Rumble match, entering 28th and eventually winning to secure a spot in the main event of WrestleMania 38 in April. 

Rousey was dominant in the ring during her return, donning all black with “Baddest” written across her gear. The 34-year-old scored the final elimination of the match, tossing Charlotte Flair over the top rope. In total, Rousey eliminated four competitors, Nikki A.S.H., Brie Bella and Shotzi in addition to Flair.

The former UFC superstar debuted at the Royal Rumble event in 2018, surprising fans before embarking on a successful, 14-month run with WWE. Rousey headlined WrestleMania 35 at MetLife Stadium in 2019 alongside Becky Lynch and Flair. 

The triple-threat match, which was for both the Raw and Smackdown women’s championships, marked the first time women performed in the main event of WWE’s signature pay-per-view event.

Rousey, who suffered the pinfall to Lynch in her last WWE match before her hiatus, suffered a broken hand in the match and had already planned to take a break from wrestling and start a family with her husband, Travis Browne. Rousey and Browne welcomed a baby girl, La’akea Makalapuaokalanipō Browne, last September.

Rousey’s return had been the subject of speculation in recent weeks, with PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reporting that a WWE official met with Rousey in California in the lead up to Saturday’s event in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Ronda Rousey battles competitors during the women’s Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America's Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 29, 2022; St. Louis, MO, USA; Ronda Rousey battles competitors during the women’s Royal Rumble match during the Royal Rumble at The Dome at America’s Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As far as future plans for Rousey now that she has returned to WWE, there’s a natural rivalry with either Flair or Lynch on the table. Rousey’s elimination of Flair could put the two on a path to face one another at WrestleMania 38 in Dallas, Texas — a match Dave Meltzer of Wrestling News Observer reported is planned. Rousey could also opt to challenge Lynch, who also returned to action recently after having a daughter and retained her Raw women’s championship on Saturday as well.

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