Rhea Ripley just can’t seem to shake Charlotte Flair.
The second-generation star has been breathing down her back since before Ripley even made the main roster.
When she won the Royal Rumble in 2020, Flair made the unprecedented decision of calling Rhea, then NXT Women’s Champion, out to challenge for the yellow brand’s title. Predictably enough, the Queen retook a crown she hadn’t held since 2015, and Ripley found herself on the back foot, her momentum cut, and when Io Shirai dethroned Charlotte, it was Rhea that took the pin.
A Raw nerve
So is it really any surprise that, after she was finally properly called up to Raw, Ripley made a beeline right for the title?
With Charlotte sidelined due to a positive COVID-19 test, the path was clear, and Rhea defeated Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. But Flair wasn’t too far behind, as on the next Raw, the Queen returned and made it known that she had no intent of stepping away from the title scene.
But in two tries, both in the three-way including Asuka at WrestleMania Backlash and in her singles match against Ripley at Hell in a Cell, Flair came up short. In the first, Rhea was able to drop Asuka with Riptide for three, and the second, she intentionally got herself disqualified by hitting Charlotte with the announce desk cover.
I learned it from watching you!
And thus is the crux of this feud— having been suitably put in her place by Flair last year, Ripley has adopted the tactics and style of Charlotte at her worst, in order to keep her grip on the gold at any cost.
Sure sure, Rhea gives lip service to the notion of being a better, fairer, more magnanimous women’s champion than Flair has been when she supports Nikki Cross in her attempts to get a title shot, but it’s clear that more than anything that’s an attempt to shoo Charlotte away from the title scene.
So then, will Rhea becoming a better Charlotte than Charlotte be enough to keep her the title? Short of another intentional disqualification, it’s hard to see it. In their one previous singles encounter that didn’t go to a DQ, Flair beat her handily. Ripley may simply not be at a point in her career where she’s developed enough to beat the Dirtiest Player in the Game’s number one student.
Can Rhea Ripley hang onto the gold or will Charlotte Flair add one more reign to her legacy?
Who will win?
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