When Rhea Ripley won the Royal Rumble from the number one spot, lasting over an hour and doing something no one else had before her, it seemed clear WWE was strapping the rocket to her back. It wasn’t long until she chose to challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women’s championship at tonight’s (Sat., April 1, 2023) WrestleMania 39 event at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
For her part, Flair only recently made a return to television, immediately winning the title from Ronda Rousey and reestablishing herself as the top of the pecking order. That’s been the case for years, which she showed Ripley herself at WrestleMania in 2020.
History did not repeat itself this time.
These two had themselves one hell of a slugfest. It truly felt like a heavyweight fight, with the two just throwing stiff shots at each other. Ripley landed on her head and neck a time or two, and Flair only barely avoided disaster getting thrown around multiple times. At one point she straight up landed on her face.
They worked HARD.
They did two spots with near referee bumps that led to two incredibly near falls, both getting big pops. Charlotte’s facial expressions really sold the match, especially as it built to a crescendo.
The finish finally came when Ripley hit the Riptide from the second rope. Even going that far, she reacted with pure shock and joy when the three count came.
The new SmackDown women’s champion.
They showed Flair on the outside, blood on her face, looking at Ripley with a smile. She looked downright proud.
They just stole the whole damn show.
Get complete WrestleMania 39 results and coverage of the entire night one card right here.