Charlotte vs. Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka
Raw Women’s championship match
Everything is better with more Charlotte.
OK, that’s partially tongue in cheek, but in this case, it may actually be true.
Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka at WrestleMania to win the Raw Women’s title. It was a fun moment, but it felt like it was missing something. It was a good, though not spectacular, match. (Our community rating came in at 3.44.) A much rougher follow up match on the following Raw illustrated that right now, Ripley and Asuka don’t have natural chemistry with each other.
The match didn’t have much of a build. They set it up with just three Raws to go until WrestleMania. It was pretty clearly an audible because Charlotte could not participate in WrestleMania due to a positive COVID-19 test, which was announced the same day they set up this match. They did well with the time they had, but it was clearly a rush job and not the original plan.
That all said, it wouldn’t make sense for them to run a straight rematch at WrestleMania Backlash tonight. Which Charlotte back, it is logical to pick up where they were planning to go.
Charlotte returning and getting immediately inserted into the title picture surely upset some fans. But WWE is finally leaning into that angle. For the first time in a long time, she’s clearly a heel. Normally she’s kind of a villain but they don’t want to go all the way with it. Now, the Queen has authority figure Sonya Deville in her corner pulling the strings for her, just like a subset of fans perceive her actual career.
After Charlotte was suspended and fined due to striking an official, Deville brought her back the following week. Sonya then inserted Flair right into the Raw Women’s championship rematch that was already scheduled for Backlash. This was without Charlotte having to do anything to earn it. (This also plays into a developing power struggle between Sonya and Adam Pearce.)
The big question going into tonight is whether or not Rhea Ripley’s reign is going to last longer than a month. She couldn’t get the job done against Flair last year at WrestleMania. Can she survive Charlotte this time? Maybe with Asuka in the match as well, the Nightmare can leave Backlash with her title. But it’s hard to bet against the Queen.
It’s telling that I don’t even give Asuka a chance to retain her gold when mulling over a possible outcome. Even when the champion, she was often an afterthought this last year. With Charlotte back and Rhea having just won the gold, it’s more than likely the Empress of Tomorrow moves on from this program.
The match itself should be fun. Charlotte had good chemistry with Ripley in their last match. She and Asuka have had a bunch of great matches as well. Rhea & Asuka didn’t completely click, but Flair may be the missing piece.
If that’s the case, maybe this will all be better with Charlotte Flair.
Rhea Ripley defends her Raw Women’s championship against both Charlotte and Asuka tonight at WrestleMania Backlash, airing on Peacock (in the US) and WWE Network (elsewhere), starting at 7 pm ET. Keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all of your WrestleMania Backlash coverage.
Who will win this match?
This poll is closed