Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair both had star-making performances at Royal Rumble 2021. Belair went on to win that match and earn a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 37. Meanwhile, Ripley continues to sit on the sidelines, without an appearance on Raw or SmackDown.
Early in January, there were reports that Damian Priest and Ripley were both already called up to the main roster. It looks like WWE didn’t have trouble coming up with a plan for Priest. He’s doing very well as
Kevin Owens’ Bad Bunny’s close friend, and their partnership began at the Royal Rumble. In contrast, it looks like there was no plan at all for Ripley beyond the Royal Rumble. The rumor mill suggests that WWE simply can’t figure out what to do with her.
Elimination Chamber 2021 is coming up this Sunday, Feb. 21. One might argue that Ripley doesn’t have a match on the pay-per-view, so this week was too late for her to start a program on Raw. I’m not really buying that notion, because Priest and Belair don’t necessarily have something lined up for the pay-per-view either, yet creative still found something for them.
The landscape of the Raw women’s division changed this week when Lacey Evans announced that she’s pregnant. That should theoretically open up an obvious spot for Ripley to finally debut. Elimination Chamber will also be out of the way by next Monday, Feb. 22. That looks to me like the night where WWE needs to make their decision on Ripley.
Then again, WWE’s web site still lists Asuka vs. Lacey Evans as a match that is happening at Elimination Chamber, so this is probably a case where more than one decision needs to be straightened out.