Ronda Rousey Reportedly Signed to Boost Stephanie McMahon's Popularity

When former UFC megastar Ronda Rousey made her WWE debut at the Royal Rumble in January, it appeared that WWE had just brought in its next big headliner for WrestleMania 34 and years to come.

But based on a report from Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer, the reason Vince McMahon brought Rousey in is actually for a different reason — to help elevate the public awareness and status of Stephanie McMahon.

“The key to Rousey is more about Stephanie McMahon, which is why they want that super high-profile match (and if they can get (The Rock) Johnson, it makes it even more high-profile,)" Meltzer wrote Stephanie McMahon is a big star in wrestling, but she is not a mainstream star at all. It was explained to me that the key in all this goes back to what made Vince McMahon a big star, which was the program with Steve Austin, and what made Steve Austin a breakthrough star past being a pro wrestling top guy, which was hardly an interview at King of the Ring or the WrestleMania match with Bret Hart, as legend has it, but the angle in Fresno with Mike Tyson.

"Rousey is a major sports star. The idea that she was the single most searched female athlete in the U.S. on the Internet in 2017, a year she never competed and for the most part laid low in, speaks volumes. The idea for the program is to make Stephanie a star outside of just the pro wrestling world.”

Rousey has already been in multiple interactions with Stephanie McMahon, first at WrestleMania 31 where Rousey and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson tossed McMahon and her husband Triple H out of the ring. When she arrived at the Rumble, Rousey briefly interacted with Smackdown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair, Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss and Royal Rumble winner Asuka before shaking hands with McMahon at ringside.

Meltzer had previously reported the tag match between Rousey and Johnson and McMahon and Hunter at WrestleMania 34 in April was the direction the company was going rather than have the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion lock horns with either Flair or Bliss.

McMahon first began appearing on WWE television regularly in 1999, first in a storyline involving the Undertaker and later as Triple H's wife (both on-camera and in real life) in the McMahon-Helmsley Faction. She went on to win the WWF Women's Champion once, but has rarely been used as an in-ring performer. Her last match was at the SummerSlam pay-per-view back in 2014, where she defeated Brie Bella with the help of a heel turn from Nikki Bella.