clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rhea Ripley is NXT Women’s champ, and the Next Big Thing in wrestling

If you watched TakeOver: WarGames and/or Survivor Series last month, you won’t be shocked to learn that NXT strapped Rhea Ripley tonight (Dec. 18). Shayna Baszler’s had a dominate pair of reigns over the brand’s women’s division, and the last thing she really had to do is strongly put over a successor atop it. As most of us predicted, that’s what went down.

Still, it was amazing - and awesome - to see the match Triple H, Sarah Amato, Shawn Michaels, et al put together for this week’s main event. It was meticulously plotted to make the 23 year old Australian the coolest badass on the planet.

Fight off Baszler’s henchwomen Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir single-handedly? Check.

Suffer an injury as a result of being outnumbered, waive off medical staff and insist on continuing? Check.

“Win” while the referee was incapacitated, only to be laid low by the chair the heel introduced while the official was out, but still kick out? Check.

Fall prey to Shayna’s Kirifuda Clutch submission, a move that has finished countless other Superstars in NXT, multiple times? Only to survive, emphatically by grabbing the referee by his shirt and scaring him into not stopping the match? Check, and check.

Get knocked out, baiting the heel into some trash talk to be answered with a headbutt and a Super version of her finisher? Check.

Celebrate in the ring with the locker room and the fans? Check.

Baszler and the announce team of Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix, and Nigel McGuinness also deserve a ton of credit. The former for the work done tonight and for the past couple years to make beating her clean seem like an impossible task. The latter for selling Ripley doing so as the most thrilling thing to happen this year.

It was really, really dope.

Congrats to Rhea, thanks to Shayna and the rest of Team NXT.

See what else happened on tonight’s loaded episode in our live blog here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats