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Rowdy Ronda Rousey dethrones Charlotte Flair for SmackDown Women’s title

Former MMA star Ronda Rousey was declared SmackDown Women’s champion after beating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 38 Backlash. Photo: WWE

Former MMA star Ronda Rousey was declared SmackDown Women’s champion after beating Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 38 Backlash. Photo: WWE

Published May 11, 2022

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By Glenn Schouw

Johannesburg — The Queen of WWE’s reign is over. Charlotte Flair left the ring in tears and considerable pain with a a broken arm at WrestleMania 38 Backlash held at Providence, Rhode Island, US this past Sunday.

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Ronda Rousey, a former MMA star who has an Olympic bronze medal displayed in her cabinet at home, did the honours in a brutal I Quit bout for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

The SmackDown Championship belt will now join the bronze medal.

The superstars delivered a fantastically brutal contest that put an exclamation point on their feud.

Thousands in attendance and millions of fans worldwide, according to a survey, agreed that they stole the show.

Rousey and Flair were left battered and bruised, with the marks on their bodies reflective of a match that achieved a level of intensity fans and competitors deserved a month earlier on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

It was the first match where The Baddest Woman on the Planet looked comfortable.

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Too often, she has seemed uncertain since her return at the Royal Rumble in January.

Rousey entered the industry via a five-star Match of the Year with Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in 2018, and she went on to have one of the greatest rookie years in pro wrestling history. However, the former UFC fighter became a victim of her own success, and her struggle to live up to the standard she set brought some question marks.

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Those criticisms should be tempered by her performance on Sunday against, arguably, the best female wrestler in the world.

Rousey hung with Flair, delivering a physical match in which she defeated The Queen by getting her to yell “I quit”.

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Where this leaves The Queen is anyone’s guess, but SmackDown belongs to Rousey, and a showdown with the recently returned Lacey Evans feels like the most obvious path for the new champion.

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