NIKKI BELLA said Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut was a “slap in the face” for women’s wrestling.
Rousey, 33, left the UFC in 2016 after back-to-back losses and eventually made the switch to WWE before being unveiled at the 2018 Royal Rumble.
It was the first year to feature a women’s rumble match, a landmark occasion for WWE divas.
And while Bella, 36, welcomed the arrival of Rousey, she believes having the rookie steal the headlines at the historic event was unfair.
She wrote in her book: “It was nothing against Ronda — it is thrilling that she is at WWE — but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all the historic women wrestlers who had come out for the match, the main event, only to have the moment upstaged by the Ronda announcement.
“It just didn’t need to happen like that.”
Rousey went on to make her in-ring debut at WrestleMania 34, partnering with Kurt Angle to beat Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
It was nothing against Ronda — it is thrilling that she is at WWE — but it was a bit of a slap in the face to all the historic women wrestlers who had come out for the match, the main event, only to have the moment upstaged by the Ronda announcement.
Nikki Bella on Ronda Rousey’s WWE debut
Within a year Rousey had won the Raw Women’s Championship and main-evented WrestleMania 35 losing her belt to Becky Lynch in a triple threat also involving Charlotte Flair, which was the first women’s match to headline the flagship event.
The former UFC champion quit the WWE in late 2019, and has ruled out returning on a permanent basis due to feeling unappreciated while working a hectic schedule away from home.
Rousey said on the Wild Ride podcast: “What am I doing it for if I’m not being able to spend my time and energy on my family, but instead spending my time and my energy on a bunch of f****** ungrateful fans that don’t even appreciate me?
“The thing is, I love performing. I love the girls. I love being out there. But, at the end of the day, I was just like, ‘F*** these fans, dude.’ My family loves me. They appreciate me. I want all of my energy to go into them.”
“People think you’re only wrestling as much as they see you on TV, but they don’t realize that there’s three or four other days of live shows during the week. If I looked at all the live shows, I was only home a day and a half a week.
“I’ll never be full time again – over 200 days a year on the road like that ever again.”
Rousey’s former rival Bella also left the WWE in 2019, after a cyst had been found on her brain, but announced in January that she is expecting her first child.