It feels like forever ago, but Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley had one of the very best matches at WrestleMania 36. The booking was a bit maddening though, as Flair won Ripley’s NXT women’s championship by forcing her to tap out.
Instead of Flair taking the fall, Ripley was then pinned at NXT TakeOver: In Your House in a triple threat match. At the time, Triple H dismissed any criticism of that booking decision. More specifically he said the following:
“It was done for a very specific reason, for story-telling purposes. Hopefully, if we get to tell the story the way we want to over the coming months, I think three [or] four months from now you’ll go, ‘I know exactly why they did the finish that they did.”
We are well beyond the four month mark, and of course nothing that Triple H referred to came to fruition. It’s still not clear at all why Ripley was pinned in the TakeOver triple threat match instead of Flair. Even worse, Ripley’s subsequent booking in NXT left a lot to be desired, and she lost her confidence.
She was asked about this situation by Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast.
First, Ripley praised the WrestleMania match with Flair. She was proud to be able to steal the show along with Flair, and she was excited to have that WrestleMania moment, even without any fans or family in attendance. The outcome of the match did not bother her.
But without the NXT championship around her waist, her booking direction in NXT stalled. Garcia asked Ripley why the wind was taken out of her sails, and here is her response:
“I’m not really too sure. It did feel like that though. I definitely have gone through a stage where I did start losing the confidence in myself because I just wasn’t portrayed the same way that I was [before]. You know? Even now, I’m still slowly building myself back up from it. My confidence definitely was tainted a little bit, which sucks...I don’t know if it was just something inside my head that just wasn’t getting the picture. I don’t know. I just got a little bit lost after that. But right now, I feel like I’m getting back on track...Building myself back up has been really really hard. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been very difficult, and I have been very lost at times. But I’ve definitely found my track now and I’m getting back on it.”
Looking back on this entire situation, do you think it’s even more obvious now than it was before that WWE booked the wrong person to go over at WrestleMania 36? And that Ripley should not have taken the fall at TakeOver: In Your House? Or is the bigger issue here more about Ripley’s booking in NXT in the aftermath of that match?