Ronda Rousey: Five possible challengers after WWE SmackDown Women's title win

  • Ash Rose

On last week’s Friday Night SmackDown Ronda Rousey defeated Raquel Rodriguez in the first defence of her SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Rousey beat Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Title earlier this month at WrestleMania Backlash, in a I Quit match that has since ruled Flair out of action ‘indefinitely’.  Therefore, a new challenger needs to be found for The Baddest Woman on the Planet and her blue brand crown.

GiveMeSport looks at five possible candidates to be Ronda Rousey’s next opponent. 

Bayley 

The most credible challenger to Rousey’s title is someone who isn’t even on the roster right now. Bayley has been out of action since last July with her torn ACL injury, however reports suggest she is ready to return imminently. That return needs to be big – especially given the constant teases we’ve been getting across social media from Bayley herself – and what bigger way is there then for her to challenge the current champ?

Rousey and Bayley have never worked a proper programme opposite each other, with their only clash coming on an episode of Monday Night Raw during Ronda’s first run, where Rousey successfully defended her Raw Women’s Championship against the hugger face version of Bayley. A return for SmackDown’s longest reigning women’s champion in a big money feud with The Baddest Women on the Planet is exactly what the blue brand needs right now. 


Shayna Baszler 

Here’s an interesting twist, why not play into the real friendship of Rousey and Baszler and turn Shayna into a legit threat to Ronda’s championship. Baszler has spent far too long in the tag team ranks on the main roster and it’s time we saw the kind of displays that made her such a dominant force on NXT, where she reigned as champion on two different occasions. 

We haven’t seen enough of that Baszler on the main roster, and she hasn’t been involved in a major singles title feud since losing to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36. Ronda Rousey could be the perfect partner to bring that Queen of Spades back to the party, in what would be a hard-hitting MMA inspired match pitting two of WWE’s biggest bad asses against each other. Sounds good to us. 


Naomi  

Ignoring all the shenanigans that has happened overnight on Monday Night Raw, there’s a very good reason we think Naomi could be an ideal contender for Rousey and that’s because it could be her gateway into The Bloodline.

Jimmy Uso recently confirmed that it’s ‘very likely’ that wife Naomi will at some point join his brother Jey and WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns in SmackDown’s all-dominating group and having do it with the gold round her waist seems the ideal scenario to finally pull the trigger on it. Ditching Sasha Banks and The Glow would give a new edge and a new side to Naomi we haven’t seen before, so should get ready to throw those ones in the air. 


Xia Li 

WWE made a big noise when debuting Xia on SmackDown, giving her weeks on vignettes and then an entrance that’s visually as good as anyone on the roster. However, so far, they’ve failed to follow through on that presentation. 

In a women’s division that is lacking in depth – especially on SmackDown – moving Xia up to that next level would be beneficial to all. It would give fans something fresh to see at the top of the card on Friday nights, allow Li to establish herself and the character in a meaningful programme, and give Ronda Rousey a credible opponent before she’s put with one of WWE’s heavyweights once again. In a match where the contrasting styles would be an entertaining mix. 


Mandy Rose 

Yes, she’s far too busy running the women’s division on NXT, but it’s a run that has really added some credibility to Mandy that she lacked in her previous run on the main roster. Since joining 2.0, her presentation, promo work and in-ring displays have all improved and it can’t have gone unnoticed at WWE.

Moving her to a big programme with Ronda Rousey might seem like a massive leap, but it’s one she’s earned with her work on Tuesday nights. Add in the rest of Toxic Attraction, then there’s plenty of obstacles for the champion to overcome before she gets to Rose. Therefore, prolonging the rivalry and allowing Rousey to flex her own acting chops in a feud that would rely on her to take on the wronged babyface role. 

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