Report: Major Changes Made To WWE's Royal Rumble Plans For SmackDown Women's Title
WWE’s plans for the SmackDown Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble were reportedly changed
Charlotte Flair heads into the 2023 Royal Rumble PPV as the reigning WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion, having defeated Ronda Rousey for the title on the December 30 edition of SmackDown.
Whilst Flair’s opponent for a Rumble title defence hasn’t yet been announced, it looks as though WWE are going with Flair vs. Sonya Deville at the show. However, a report from Fightful Select suggests that wildly different plans were originally in place for the Rumble, with it believed that Ronda Rousey vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the title was set for the January event, per internal notes in early December.
Eventually, that match was bumped to December 30, with WWE promoting a title match to lead into Flair’s subsequent surprise return in order to add more to the show.
The report continues, suggesting that this change of plans had a knock-on effect, with Flair potentially set to face Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair as part of a list of ‘suggested’ matches in December, whilst there were discussions to have Rhea Ripley face Rousey for the title at some point.