Another Loss To Charlotte Flair Could Mean The End For Rhea Ripley


Three years ago, Rhea Ripley seemed destined for greatness, having just dethroned Shayna Baszler of the NXT Women’s Championship and being on the winning side of the 5-on-5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Triple Threat Elimination match. The then-21-year-old Australian wrestler earned herself a place amongst the top brash of the black and gold brand and had won the respect of fans and other talents on the roster. With momentum on her side, Ripley traveled to Monday Night Raw and challenged the sure-fire Hall of Famer, Charlotte Flair, for a match at WrestleMania 36. Ripley wasn’t just putting her newly won championship on the line but also the goodwill she earned after years of grinding on NXT.

While she wouldn’t know it then, this would ultimately be the start of the young wrestler’s downfall.


Inside an eerie empty WWE Performance Center devoid of any magnificence, pageantry, or spectacle most fans come to expect from the “biggest event of live entertainment,” Ripley would tap out to Flair’s Figure-Eight Leglock submission and lose her championship to the already multi-time world champion. The loss drained any momentum the young wrestler managed to build and left her stranded in a sea of uncertainty. Despite landing on the main roster and defeating Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship a year later at WrestleMania 37, Ripley struggled to recapture the magic she had during her feud with Baszler on NXT. That is until she started hanging out with a little group called Judgement Day.


Rhea Ripley along with Finn Balor and Damien Priest Credit: WWE

Dressed in all black and with the swagger of the devil who knows no consequences, Ripley took back control of her career and pulled her old self out of a sinking hole. She stood as the eradicator for Raw’s sinister faction, responsible for one of last year’s most heinous acts when she stood between Edge and his wife Beth Phoenix and delivered a vicious ConChairTo onto the fallen Glamazon. The act cemented Ripley as the biggest threat on the women’s roster on Raw and put her in many fans’ minds as the clear favorite to win the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble match.

Fast forward to today, and Ripley has a date with destiny again when she faces Flair at WrestleMania 39. Unfortunately for “mami,” Flair is just as much a threat to her momentum as she was three years ago. The Queen made her shocking return on the Dec. 30th edition of Friday Night Smackdown and quickly knocked off Ronda Rousey to earn her 14th women’s championship. As Ripley put it during her promo segment on the Raw after Royal Rumble, Flair has a knack for holding titles and always being in the main event picture throughout the calendar year, which has irked many fans who wish for new talent to step up.

Charlotte Flair as SmackDown Women’s Champion Credit WWE

Ripley has all the tools to be one of the top stars in WWE, but another significant loss to Flair could be the end for her. Triple H has brought back numerous talents on the main roster, and new prospects are coming up from developmental each year. Although Ripley has undoubtedly risen from the ashes these last several months, there’s always the chance of her being forgotten amongst a crowd of new and hungry competitors. What’s worse is that as Flair continues to hold down the women’s division on SmackDown, Bianca Belair is chosen to be the focal point of the women’s division on Raw, leaving Ripley to gnaw at the top spot constantly.

There’s something to be said about winning “the big one” in WWE. While many wrestlers have come and gone, those who managed to win “the big one” are always labeled the best. Over these past several months, Ripley has proven that she has what it takes to be the best, but she has yet won “the big one.” Unlike Belair, Ripley has yet to score a major win over one of the Four Horsewomen in a major match on one of the big four PPVs. Additionally, Ripley will always be another note in Flair’s career, not the other way around.

Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 36 Credit WWE

Of course, this could all change at WrestleMania if Ripley rips the championship away from Flair and become THE dominant woman on SmackDown, but that’s a big if. One thing most fans have learned is never to count out Flair. When it comes to big matches, Flair somehow manages to flip the script and be the one with her arm raised in the end. If Flair forces Ripley to eat another loss on the “grandest stage of them all,” it would add to Flair’s already impressive resume and leave quite a black mark on Ripley’s.



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