Few people known the professional wrestling industry better than Paul Heyman.
The former founder of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) as well as previously handling bookings at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Heyman had made professional wrestling his business for his entire adult life.
It’s one of the reasons Heyman was able to identify early on that Brock Lesnar would end up becoming a superstar and it’s why he always felt like former UFC champion Ronda Rousey would be a perfect fit to join the WWE.
Last year, Heyman appeared on the Fight Society podcast to discuss Rousey’s potential if she decided to explore a career with WWE after it seemed like her fighting career was finished. Rousey just recently inked a multi-year deal with WWE where she will be a full time performer in the company after first appearing at the Royal Rumble event this past Sunday night.
“I think the WWE audience would embrace Ronda Rousey with open arms,” Heyman told the Fight Society. “Just her name recognition alone is huge. It doesn’t matter her past two experiences in UFC. All that matters is if she got involved in a story that people could relate to and could sink their teeth into and get excited about.”
Rousey’s last two fights in the UFC both ended in defeats — a subject she still struggles to talk about — but professional wrestling can many times wash away the past when fans are invested in a superstar.
Lesnar suffered through a similar fate at the end of his first stint with the UFC when he fell to both Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem in back-to-back fights, but then was billed as the ultimate wrecking machine when he returned to WWE in 2012.
It’s been more than a year since Rousey fought in the UFC but her arrival in WWE was met with shock and awe as the company landed one of the biggest superstars in all of sports to an exclusive contract.
Rousey has only made the one appearance thus far in WWE due to her current filming schedule on the movie “Mile 22” where she stars alongside Mark Wahlberg but after that is completed, she is going to focus on professional wrestling full time.
WWE hasn’t made any decisions regarding Rousey’s storyline once she arrives in the promotion but Heyman said last year that there are any number of potential matchups that would make sense for her that would get fans invested in her immediately.
“I would personally pay to see Charlotte [Flair] (real name Ashley Fliehr) versus Ronda Rousey. I would personally pay to see Stephanie McMahon versus Ronda Rousey for a completely different reason but why digress,” Heyman explained. “I think Ronda Rousey doing anything in WWE is a natural fit.
“I’d love to see it and would be happy to discuss with her all of the benefits that she could inure by being a Paul Heyman girl.”
Heyman already acts as a mouth piece and “advocate” for Lesnar, who barely says two words whenever he’s on television for WWE but instead just looks menacing on camera before unleashing hell whenever he actually steps into the ring.
Rousey might employ the same strategy as a former six-time defending UFC women’s champion with all the credentials to back up her claim as the toughest “fighter” on the entire WWE roster.
Whether it’s Charlotte Flair, Stephanie McMahon or another member of the WWE roster, Heyman always believed that Rousey would have a bright future if she turned to professional wrestling.
“I tell you what, there are women in WWE, it’s not just Charlotte, that could probably provide a compelling main event against Ronda Rousey,” Heyman said. “Look at Nia Jax (real name Savelina Fanene). I mean you talk about someone that could truly make you believe she could kick Ronda Rousey’s ass, Nia Jax is an impressive performer and a hell of an athlete as well.
“It’s not like Charlotte is the only one who could be paired up with Ronda Rousey. There are others as well. The women’s roster in WWE right now is unparalleled. In the history of pro wrestling or sports entertainment, there’s never been a women’s roster like this.”