After returning to Raw last night (April 12) and cutting a great promo that clearly made her a heel for the first time in a long time, Charlotte Flair crashed the WrestleMania 37 rematch between Rhea Ripley and Asuka.
The Queen’s attack flowed logically from her speech. She was angry she wasn’t on the ‘Mania card, that Asuka didn’t answer her challenge (issued before she tested positive for COVID and was falsely informed by WWE that she was pregnant, but villains don’t pay attention to details like those!), and vowed to stop apologizing for “stealing” opportunities, because she “is” the opportunity.
Doesn’t mean the new Raw Women’s champ just has to sit back and take it, though. Ripley went on Raw Talk and took verbal aim right at Flair:
“She’s so mad that I took my opportunity. I planned my strategy and I took my opportunity. She’s mad at me for that? Cause she would have done the exact same thing. She would have done the same. She wants to call me names, and just put me down in so many different ways, but the thing about Charlotte is she’s jealous. She’s jealous of Rhea Ripley, cause Rhea Ripley is an up-and-comer. I’m making my name in this business and she doesn’t like that. She doesn’t want to be second fiddle to Rhea Ripley. She’s scared that she’s getting old. She’s scared that she’s gonna be replaced one day. And that’s why Charlotte feels threatened enough to ruin my match with Asuka.
“I am sick and tired of Charlotte. I’m over her. She can run her mouth all she wants, hit us from behind - but at the end of the day, I’m here, I’m the Raw Women’s champion, and I am here to stay. I might be an up-and-comer, I might not have been here for as long as she has. But at the end of the day, I love this business, this is what I do, I have trained for this moment my entire life. And she doesn’t get to put me down. Not anymore. I am sick and tired of Charlotte Flair. And I’m done with this interview. I’m done. I don’t want to talk about Charlotte anymore, I am sick and tired of her, I don’t want to hear her name anymore.”
A couple things jump out at me from Rhea’s appearance as the final guest on this week’s red brand post-show, and her obviously impending program with the 13 time Women’s champ.
- If you saw The Nightmare’s backstage interview on Raw and thought “why is she reading off the teleprompter?”, Raw Talk is a nice corrective. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s great, but it’s night and day from what aired on USA.
- They’re finally leaning into both the fact Charlotte is a Flair, and the perception a lot of the online fan base has of her as someone who takes other talent’s screen time, big match spots, and championships. It’s a much better fit than what they’ve been doing for years now - making her walk a tightrope as a babyface who’s arrogant but backs it up.
Both of these things set up a nice conflict between Ripley & Flair (and makes me wonder if this pre-WrestleMania interview from the young Aussie wasn’t intentionally planting the seed for this feud). Combine it with their unfinished history from WrestleMania 36 and NXT TakeOver: In Your House, and Raw’s got a hot Women’s title feud for the first time in a long while.
That they didn’t choose to do any of this with Asuka during her long reign, using her in the Tag title scene or as an extra in Alexa Bliss & Charlotte’s stories instead? That’s not great!
It’s the kind of thing that will get The Queen heat, though. And now that’s actually what WWE wants.