It was noted that tonight's Royal Rumble will likely set up the angle for their Mania match. Flair is the SmackDown Women's Champion and she is also an entrant in the Women's Rumble match. The story being told by WWE is that if she wins then she can pick who she will defend her title against at Mania. Dave Meltzer added that Rousey's entourage is in St. Louis and there is talk of her appearing on Monday Night Raw.
Meltzer added that this is going to be a "substantial run" for Rousey and she is not back just for the Rumble and WrestleMania. She will be part of the SmackDown roster but may also appear on some Raw shows to help boost the ratings.
Rousey's return as part of the SmackDown brand is seen as WWE throwing a major bone to FOX, which had hoped to have both Rousey and Brock Lesnar as a regular on their shows. Meltzer noted that Rousey's deal is for one year and that includes major matches at this year's WrestleMania in Dallas and next year's WrestleMania at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA.
There had been talk of Rousey vs. Becky Lynch for Mania but it was ultimately decided on Rousey vs. Flair and for Rousey to be part of the SmackDown roster. This would make Rousey vs. Lynch likey for next year's Mania.
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