WWE's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view saw Raw women's champion Ronda Rousey defend against former champion Alexa Bliss, but who came out on top? When Rousey - a former UFC women's bantamweight champion and now UFC hall of fame inductee - first appeared on WWE at the end of the Royal Rumble in January, there was no doubt the company had big plans for her. Sure enough, she made her in-ring debut in a high-profile mixed tag team match at WrestleMania, teaming with Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle against married WWE performers/executives Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Rousey's debut singles match - at least on TV, as she'd been gaining experience via matches at non-televised live events - was against then-Raw women's champion Nia Jax at Money in the Bank. That match was thrown into disarray by the interruption of Alexa Bliss, who had won the women's MITB briefcase earlier in the night, and chose to cash in her guaranteed title shot on a wounded Jax. Bliss would then defend her title against Rousey at SummerSlam, losing a one-sided squash match via submission to Rousey's trademark armbar.
It's a long-held tradition in WWE that whenever a champion loses their title, they're then granted a contractually obligated rematch. Naturally, Bliss invoked her rematch clause for the following pay-per-view, Hell in a Cell. Over the past few weeks, Bliss has been going out of her way to provoke Rousey, which really doesn't seem a great strategy against someone that destroyed her a month ago. On last Monday's Raw though, Bliss finally seemed to get the upper hand, appearing to injure Rousey's ribs with the help of friend and partner Mickie James. So, did Rousey overcome her injury, or did Bliss recapture the gold?
In a result unlikely to surprise many, Ronda retained her title, albeit in a much more even exchange than she had with conniving heel Bliss at SummerSlam. Looked at from a perspective outside WWE's storylines, it's likely the company has no intention of taking the belt off Rousey anytime soon, as her run with WWE has generated lots of mainstream news headlines. If there's anything everyone knows for sure about WWE, it's that they love getting talked about by mainstream entertainment and news reporters.
The most obvious route for WWE to go with Rousey's reign seems to be to book her against Charlotte Flair at next year's WrestleMania, after having retained the title all the way up to that show. Charlotte has been the most dominant player in WWE's women's division for awhile now, and is also one of the only other competitors in the division that could logically match size and power with Rousey. While Charlotte is currently on SmackDown, "inter-promotional" matches are often justified onscreen for WrestleMania, as it's WWE's biggest event of the year.