Ronda Rousey will challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 38, but before that the pair will feature in a tag team match at Elimination Chamber
WWE bosses were left relieved that their latest SmackDown episode was pre-taped after Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair botched the contract signing for their title match at Wrestlemania.
Rousey, 35, ended a three-year hiatus from WWE by returning at January’s Royal Rumble, and after her and Flair were left as the last two competitors, the former UFC star hurled ‘The Queen’ over the top rope to be declared the winner.
Many expected ‘Rowdy’ to then utilise her title shot, traditionally granted to the winner of the Rumble, to gain revenge on Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch – who won the Triple Threat match between the pair, and Flair, at Wrestlemania 35.
The event signified the first time in history that a female match had formed the main event of WWE’s most famous pay-per-view [PPV].
However, in a surprising twist, Rousey instead announced she would be challenging 13-time world champion Flair, also 35, for her SmackDown belt.
As part of the build-up to that fight, Rousey will team up with Naomi to take on Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville at the Elimination Chamber PPV in Saudi Arabia this Saturday, and the two teams will be shown feuding in a tempestuous contract signing for that match on Friday.
With WWE crew members heading to the middle east this week the SmackDown edition was pre-taped, and as it turned out just as well, after Rousey and Flair contrived to botch one of the key moments.
During the segment, Rousey grabs Flair by the hair and shapes to slam her head onto the table. The champion however, appeared to miss her cue, failing to sell the move properly in what turned out to be an awkward exchange.
WWE cameramen are no strangers to improvising when it comes to covering up glitches, but wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has predicted this particular clip could be cut all together.
Speaking on Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer said “I didn’t see the clip, I heard it was terrible. I heard they’re gonna edit it out, though.”
When it was put to Meltzer that the moment was critical to the segment, he responded “they’ll figure out a way,” to amend things.
Back in October, Flair came under fire for another apparent botch, appearing to drop Lynch’s title belt on the floor when the ‘The Man’ and preventing ‘The Man’ from raising it in the air as planned.