Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on NXT TakeOver: Portland.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Andrew Balaz, Steve Mitchell, Ethan Absler, Bradley Jay, Rob Bonnette, John Scafide, Richard Staple, Steve Cook, Heather Jeannine and Greg DeMarco.
1) “Has Charlotte Flair’s involvement with Rhea Ripley helped, hurt or made no impact at all on your perception of Bianca Belair’s NXT Women’s Championship match and the feud in general?”
MANGO: In some ways, all three. It hurts my perception that Belair has any chance at all in winning that match, as this is almost entirely Flair/Ripley and including her would be strange. However, I didn’t have any faith she’d win, anyway, so that is moot. It’s helped in some ways by bringing more attention to the title match at TakeOver. And, for the most part, it hasn’t changed much about the actual event.
BALAZ: I feel it’s helped Bianca’s profile,since we’ve seen her make bids in NXT and it’s pretty formulaic. Charlotte’s involvement allows Bianca to play a role she’s not used to, Where instead of being the cocky EST, she’s seen as the younger sibling who is just a stepping stone. So it’s done nothing really for the feud with Ripley, but it’s helped to give Bianca a bigger stage to get her personality over and show character depth.
MITCHELL: Charlotte Flair’s involvement with Rhea Ripley has most definitely hurt Bianca Belair’s chances at TakeOver: Portland. As exciting as it might be to do something screwy where it ends up a Triple Threat for the NXT Women’s Championship at either TakeOver: Tampa or WrestleMania 36, that is a very unlikely scenario.
ABSLER: I don’t think Charlotte Flair’s involvement has hurt the feud between Rhipley and Belair. If anything, Flair’s involvement has had a positive impact on the feud because she is a RAW superstar, therefor bringing more eyes on the product. Belair is the final obstacle that Rhipley must overcome to make it to Wrestlemania and she would gain a lot of momentum in doing so.
JAY: With all due respect to the Queen, her involvement has dragged this match down. A match needs drama and suspense. Flair’s involvement means there’s little to no way Belair wins. Bye bye drama. Bye bye suspense.
BONNETTE: Helped. I figured it was a standard first defense for Rhea, and a sendoff for Bianca but now there’s a possibility of what I hope is a WrestleMania match for Rhea and Bianca (obviously Rhea is getting one out of this). After Bianca’s showing in the Rumble it’s time to give her this opportunity on the biggest stage.
SCAFIDE: Listen, I want to say it made no impact, but there’s a slight disadvantage to Belair. This is similar, in my opinion, to Ricochet vs Lesnar at SuperShowDown. Great to have Belair get the semi-main event title match, but if Flair wasn’t involved, I’d state my case for her being champion after Sunday. Unfortunately, unless they have long term plans for Belair to win, and they somehow make a triple threat for NXT title at WrestleMania between the ladies, I doubt she gets the proper matchup this Sunday for the title.
STAPLE: The more exposure Bianca has with the top women in the business today, the better. I understand some may say Flair feuding with Ripley has made Belair an insignificant footnote, but I wouldn’t go that far. Belair has come a long way, and I think this may set the stage for a title run some time down the line.
COOK: It’s helped the feud overall. I can’t say it’s affected my opinion of who’s going to win the match, as I see no reason for Ripley to lose the championship just yet. Belair’s fallen into that Lex Luger-type role of coming up short in big matches, but I wouldn’t end that at the expense of the hot streak that Ripley has been on, and at the expense of seeing Ripley take Charlotte on at WrestleMania. Bianca did benefit from Charlotte’s appearance on NXT two weeks ago, as they had a good back & forth on the microphone and Bianca & Rhea ended up taking Charlotte out at the end before having their staredown. I do think Belair has a bright future ahead of her in 2020, it just doesn’t involve the NXT Women’s Championship.
JEANNINE: Charlotte made no impact for me personally. Rhea and Bianca are the embodiment of the women’s NXT division and their match was something I was looking forward to long before Rhea was even champion.
DEMARCO: To me this is a double-edged sword. Charlotte Flair being involved is always a good thing, especially for NXT. But I think there was a missed opportunity to further cement Bianca Belair. When Charlotte showed up on NXT, Bianca feeling slighted and overlooked should have led to Charlotte vs Bianca, with the latter either getting the win thanks to Rhea, or going to a no contest. So I’d say it’s helped, but could have done more.