Ronda Rousey's appearance at last weekend's blockbuster Wrestlemania event seemed like any other appearance the UFC women's bantamweight champion makes on a routine basis. Then, WWE chief brand officer, Stephanie MacMahon had a verbal showdown with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the ring. MacMahon slung insults and hemmed and hawed until Johnson brought out his secret weapon, the UFC women's bantamweight champion. From there, the entertainment went full tilt, and by the time Rousey was done, Triple H had been hip tossed and MacMahon got her arm twisted up.
To wrestling fans, the incident might have seemed happenstance, but MMA Fighting's Dave Meltzer reports that was not the case. The appearance was planned months in advance, and stemmed from Rousey's appearance at last year's Summer Slam with the rest of the Four Horsewomen, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.
It was there that the ladies met up with longtime WWE talking head, Paul Heyman. Heyman got the ball rolling by taking the ladies backstage to meet Stephanie and her father, WWE CEO and founder, Vince MacMahon. Before the event was over, Ronda had dumped a bucket of ice over Stephanie's head for the ALS ice bucket challenge, and the wheels were in motion for another appearance.
Rousey's drawing power is growing exponentially, and now, everywhere you look, there she is. Jimmy Fallon, the host of the Tonight Show, is known for almost exclusively streamlining his guest list to A-listers, so for Rousey to show up there is a pretty impressive occurrence. Just a few hours ago, the LA Kings tweeted out a video clip of Rousey up on the Jumbotron with movie star, Drew Barrymore. She's in the Number 1 movie right now (FYI, Fast & Furious 7 has grossed $143 million over the weekend). She has a book coming out. She's campaigning to legalize MMA in New York. She's everywhere, and that's a good thing for the UFC, especially after reports of an economic decline surfaced late last year.
To put this in more basic terms, UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones is the only other athlete in the organization that comes close to matching her drawing power, and allegedly, when his management tried to set up an appearance for him with the WWE, nothing happened.
As a matter of fact, Rousey's appearance at Wrestlemania led to her being searched over 100,000 times in the last few hours of the event, eclipsing the searches of The Rock, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, all of which were considered the show's headliners.
While Ronda's management has stated that her WWE spot was a one-time thing, Meltzer reports that inside sources confirmed that this is not what they're seeking. We'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. One thing is certain, everyone will be watching.