The final SmackDown of 2022 was an interesting show for WWE as John Cena returned to the ring and Charlotte Flair also defeated Ronda Rousey to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship immediately after Rousey defended the belt against Raquel Rodriguez.
Fightful Select reports that the Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez match that took place on the December 30 episode of SmackDown was actually supposed to take place later. The report notes that they’ve gained information that indicates the match was supposed to originally take place at the Royal Rumble. However, WWE decided to add more to the final SmackDown of 2022, so the decision was made to move the title match and Charlotte Flair’s return.
It was noted that several plans changed as a result as Charlotte Flair was tentatively scheduled to wrestle Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. There was also a plan for Rhea Ripley to take on Ronda Rousey when Rousey was still the champion.
People familiar with the situation have said that Ronda Rousey was presented with several creative options, but they didn’t work out. WWE ended up moving the title match with Raquel up and putting the belt on Charlotte Flair.
Ronda Rousey is not expected to be part of the Royal Rumble premium live event this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.