Ronda Rousey slapped for real in WWE appearance
Ronda Rousey’s second appearance had it all as she made a dramatic return in the WWE’s Elimination Chamber event on Monday (NZT).
The former UFC bantamweight champion was called onto stage during the pay-per-view event to sign her contract with the WWE, before all hell broke loose.
Rousey was first on the verge of tears as she took the microphone from deputy commissioner Stephanie McMahon as the Las Vegas crowd chanted her name.
Standing in the ring with McMahon, WWE legend Kurt Angle and Rousey, WWE chief executive Triple H spoke with glowing praise for Rousey before inviting her to sign her WWE deal in front of the live television audience.
Just minutes later he was pile-driven through the table on which the contract sat.
“We scoured the Earth looking for the greatest athletes,” he said.
“The elite, to come here and take the WWE to that next level. Men and women who can do amazing things in this ring. Men and women who are worthy of your passion. So there might be no greater sighting than what we are about to witness tonight.
“An athlete of this calibre, I cannot recall walking through these doors since an Olympic gold medallist named Kurt Angle. This athlete has broken down every barrier put in front of her. She was a judo champion, an Olympic medallist.
“In MMA, they created entire divisions solely for her. She has paved the way for young women athletes all around the globe and she has earned the right, in my opinion, to be called the baddest woman on the planet.”
He then announced that Rousey will compete at WrestleMania 34 in April, but insisted it will not be in a championship match.
That’s when all hell broke loose.
Angle, 49, interrupted the ceremony to accuse Triple H and McMahon of manipulating Rousey.
“Didn’t you say earlier, three years in the making and now we own the b****,” Angle said, stealing the spotlight.
He also accused McMahon of saying back stage that she believes she could still pin Rousey at the age of 41.
Those comments from Angle prompted an angry Rousey to step up and stare down McMahon before eventually being pulled away by Triple H.
After escorting his wife out of the ring, Triple H returned to try and calm Rousey down before he was picked up by Rousey and driven through the table.
“Oh my god,” WWE commentators said.
“She just buried the CEO in the rubble of a table.”
Awkward and unsure at first, but when Ronda Rousey’s claws came out and she stared down at a fallen Triple H at her feet, we saw what she can become on this stage.
— Ryan Dilbert (@ryandilbert) February 26, 2018
Ronda Rousey is talking on the mic for the first time at a WWE event. She is brought to tears as the crowd chants her name. Cormier, Velasquez, Chiesa are seen in the front row chanting, “Ro-nda Rou-sey!”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 26, 2018
As he was left writhing on the canvass, McMahon stormed back into the ring and slapped the former UFC champ before making a quick exit from the ring.
Rousey eventually picked up the contract and signed the deal, locking her in for a debut match at WrestleMania.
According to a report, McMahon’s slap on Rousey was not staged and left the 31-year-old with a welt on her face.
Rousey’s appearance even overshadowed Brock Lesnar’s bizarre hint at a return to the UFC.
UFC boss Dana White earlier posted a cryptic photo of himself and former champion Brock Lesnar in a message that set tongues wagging.
White has confirmed the photo posted was captured when the pair met ahead of the WWE’s Elimination Chamber event in Las Vegas (Monday AEDT).
The image of Lesnar sporting UFC merchandise while still under contract to the WWE has prompted suggestions Lesnar could be preparing for a return to the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promotion.
However, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani has reported the image is likely an attempt from Lesnar to boost his bargaining position when he next sits down with the WWE to negotiate his next contract.
According to reports, Lesnar’s contract with the WWE expires on April 8 following WrestleMania 34 in Louisiana.
It comes after Lesnar’s WWE agent Paul Heyman told TMZ the door was open for Lesnar to return to the UFC if he chooses that option.
“I think Brock Lesnar does whatever Brock Lesnar wants to do,” he said.
“If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in UFC, Brock Lesnar will fight in UFC. If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in WWE, he will fight in WWE.
“Ask Braun Strowman, ask Randy Orton, ask The Undertaker. Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do.
“Brock Lesnar is probably the healthiest fighter to enter UFC, if he decides to do that. He’s always ready.”
Helwani tweeted Lesnar is a notoriously ruthless negotiator and believes his appearance with White in UFC merchandise may be an attempt to force the WWE to open its cheque book.
The biggest hurdle preventing Lesnar from returning to the UFC is the six-month suspension still hanging over his head from his banned-substance suspension from his return at UFC 200 in July, 2016.
The 40-year-old was handed a 12-month ban by USADA for testing positive to clomiphene ahead of his fight with Mark Hunt at the UFC mega-event.
He was also hit with a $250,000 fine by the Nevada Athletic Commission and his win over the Aussie was overturned to a no contest.
Hunt pulled out of the USADA testing pool six months into his ban, freezing his suspension until he returns to the testing pool.
With six months still to serve on his suspension, Lesnar would not be allowed to return with the UFC until at least August.