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#1. Ronda Rousey Finally Leaving WWE
It appears that the Ronda Rousey era in WWE is ending sooner than expected. In the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reported that there is a “very good chance” that Rousey could be done with the company after WrestleMania.
According to Meltzer, the working idea is that Rousey will be finishing up at WrestleMania 35 in April. He added on Wrestling Observer Radio that her departure is imminent and everyone in the company is working with the mindset that she’s finishing up within the next couple of months.
Rousey joined WWE last year, appearing at the end of the Royal Rumble PPV. Her first major match was a tag match with Kurt Angle against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34 last April. Even before her debut, Rousey said that she wanted to start having children soon.
“We’re ready to start having kids soon and I was thinking about what I’ve left unfinished in my life because I want to entirely focus on having kids when that time comes,” Rousey told Yahoo Sports in March of 2018. “I took a long look at my life and thought that if I don’t try and take a shot with the WWE, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I want to be an example to my kids about pursuing your dreams and being able to do anything. I guess this is my way of nesting and getting ready for children. I’m trying to prove to my unborn babies that they can accomplish any dream that they want to go after.”
In June of last year, WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair indicated that Rousey’s WWE deal was for one-year and that she “then wants to get out of there.” Flair said that Rousey wanted to have children and that she should be prepared to lose a potential match with his daughter, Charlotte Flair, at WrestleMania 35.
“In my humble opinion, if Rousey wants to elevate her status in the company she needs to go through The Queen and The Queen ain’t afraid of her, I got news for ya,” Flair said during a Q&A in Florida. “I just saw her deadlift 315 lbs and she can bench 205 lbs for 6 reps. She is gifted beyond belief. I’m not involved obviously in any of the thinking but if they’re ever going to put the women where they belong, this is the year because I think Ronda has only signed a one-year deal and then she wants to get out of there. She wants to have kids and all that. She just needs to be be prepared to lose. Not if sure if Ronda likes that.”
Sources with WWE told us at the time that Rousey was signed to a multi-year deal.
Meltzer noted that there is also the case that Rousey ends her WWE run at the PPV after WrestleMania, which would be Backlash in May. As we’ve seen in the past when Brock Lesnar appeared to be leaving the company only to suddenly sign a new deal, there is always a chance that WWE can offer her a great contract to stay at the last minute. It was also noted that WWE could always possibly have her in a role similar to The Undertaker or John Cena where she appears sporadically.
Rousey is currently the RAW Women’s Champion and is scheduled to defend her title against Sasha Banks at the Royal Rumble PPV this Sunday, January 27 inside Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Make sure to check back here this Sunday for our live coverage of the event, as well as the latest breaking news leading to the show. New subscribers can sign up for the WWE Network today by clicking here and get their first month for free, which includes NXT Takeover this Saturday as well as the WWE Royal Rumble.
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#6 Dana Brooke WWE Release
Let’s start out with the good news – Dana Brooke is no longer with Titus Worldwide and is free of the on-and-off statistician gimmick that suited her poorly. The bad news is that it probably won’t lead to a better push – whenever WWE needs someone to put top female babyfaces over, they know whom to turn to.
Unfortunately, Brooke hasn’t improved too much in the ring or on the mic, and unless she’s a heel lackey like she was to Emma and Charlotte Flair, she’s bland and uninteresting as a character. She’s gotten more than her share of chances, but looks to be close to running out of them.
#5 Alicia Fox WWE Release
She’s been a wedding planner, kayfabe clubber DJ Gabriel’s dance partner, been portrayed as crazy on more than one occasion, and now she’s one of Alexa Bliss’ lackeys, seemingly out of WWE’s doghouse after an altercation with Ronda Rousey’s husband, UFC fighter Travis Browne, during WrestleMania weekend. But how much more time does Alicia Fox have in the WWE?
At 32-years-old with over a decade’s experience in the WWE, Fox’s upside is severely limited at this point in her career. And with this year’s Mae Young Classic expected to produce a new batch of full-time WWE hires, Fox may be one of multiple female talents WWE could deem surplus to their needs in the coming weeks.
#4. Mickie James WWE Release
Alexa Bliss might as well start looking for younger women to have her back and do her dirty work as Monday Night Raw’s preeminent female heel, because it’s not just Alicia Fox whom we expect to be due for a pink slip. Mickie James is in a similar boat, but unlike Foxy, who’s more likely to be part of a massive “future endeavors” class, James’ path out of the WWE could come in the form of her retirement.
Trish Stratus’ one-off return at the Evolution PPV notwithstanding, James is the second oldest female wrestler in the WWE and the oldest who still makes regular onscreen appearances. She was evidently brought back to put the younger women over, and that run is very likely to be ending soon.
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#3 Luke Gallows And Karl Anderson WWE Release
They were huge stars in New Japan as two of the earliest members of Bullet Club. That’s why many were expecting great things when Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson signed with WWE in 2016. So far, all we’ve gotten is one unsatisfying run as Raw Tag Team Champions and a few other hope spots. Otherwise, they’ve been booked worse than that word Gallows often uses to describe their rivals — “nerds.”
As Gallows and Anderson’s contracts are reportedly expiring early next year, we’re guessing they’ll be making a return to New Japan soon enough, where they can be booked as legitimate butt-kickers instead of goofy tweeners who often lose when it counts the most.
#2 Big Show WWE Release
For close to two decades, the Big Show has been a loyal employee of the WWE and has had his share of ups (four world titles) and downs (that darned New Year’s baby segment) and many, many turns from heel to face and back. But his occasional in-ring appearances have since screeched to a halt after he underwent hip surgery almost a year ago to this date.
It’s been a colorful career indeed for the World’s Largest Athlete, but it might not be much longer before he heeds the derisive, oftentimes uncalled-for chants for him to “please retire.” At 46, he has nothing more to prove in what has been a Hall of Fame-caliber career in the WWE.
#1 The IIconics WWE Release
The arrival of the onetime Iconic Duo, renamed the IIconics when they were called up to the main roster, hinted that WWE had plans of having a women’s tag team division, and possibly having them feud at one point with the Bella Twins. Fast forward to the present, and the Bellas just made their comeback on Raw, while the IIconics are on SmackDown Live for two reasons only — to annoy the audience with their promos, and for one or both of them to do the job.
At 29 and 25 respectively, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce still have youth on their side, which means it may be better for them to reinvent themselves in the indies instead of counting the lights for the babyface women of SmackDown Live.