If the Road to WrestleMania begins at the Royal Rumble, its itinerary starts after the Survivor Series. And as the wrestling world attempts to figure out what WWE has in store for its Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley at its grand showcase, as of this writing, the chase to Ripley and her crown looks to be a two-horse race between Nia Jax and Becky Lynch.
However, The Irresistible Force and The Man seemed destined to meet sooner rather than later, and it could negatively impact WWE ahead of WrestleMania and also the Elimination Chamber.
In recent weeks, Lynch and Jax have been dancing around each other on-screen, kicking up embers from old flames when Jax shattered Lynch’s nose on Raw five years ago. On WWE’s flagship show this past Monday (Dec. 4), Jax interrupted Lynch’s promo time only to be told that she’s number one on Lynch’s hit list. Jax welcomed the challenge only to walk away from a showdown with Lynch after Jax defeated Shayna Baszler later that night.
But as WWE embarks on a program between two stars who are among the favorites to win the Rumble and challenge Ripley for the gold at WrestleMania, only one may face the champ on wrestling’s biggest stage. Meanwhile, sandwiched in between the Rumble and ‘Mania is the Elimination Chamber, which will be in Ripley’s home country of Australia in February.
And that’s where things get murky.
By giving away Jax and Lynch now, WWE could risk losing a potential headliner for Ripley’s homecoming in 2024. In recent months, Mami has become one of WWE’s hottest acts, arguably second to Roman Reigns and slightly ahead of Cody Rhodes. It would be a missed opportunity to not have Ripley in the main event in her native land.
But to maximize that prospect, WWE needs to put Ripley in the ring with someone fans view as a threat, someone who will give Ms. Rhea a run for her money. And the best person suited for that is Nia Jax.
Since returning to the company earlier this fall, Jax has yet to be pinned or submitted. She has run through everyone she’s come across in singles action, with two of her most notable wins coming over Raquel Rodriguez, who visually matches up well with Ripley in terms of size and strength. Jax appears much improved since her last run in WWE and is the perfect foil for Ripley in her return to Australia.
As for Lynch, she remains a recognizable name and an attraction for WWE. Because of this, she is considered by many fans as the most likely candidate to face Ripley at WrestleMania. As Ripley rises up the card, she’s quietly creeping into a stratosphere that includes names like Hogan, Austin, Cena, and Reigns. Therefore, a match at WWE’s signature event with Lynch, a former WrestleMania headliner, makes the most sense, with Ripley going over to cement her place as wrestling’s next big thing.
And that’s what makes a potential encounter between Lynch and Jax risky. Only one can prevail, leaving one to appear lesser in the eyes of the fans with a defeat. And that could take some cream off the taco for a Ripley-Jax or Lynch-Rhea battle, regardless of where WWE slots either potential clash.
What do you think, Cagesiders? How do you see a Lynch versus Jax program affecting the Road to WrestleMania and, ultimately, the Race to Rhea Ripley?
Give us your best guesses in the comments section.