Rhea Ripley VS Charlotte Flair VS Sasha Banks Smackdown
For the first time ever, a Royal Rumble winner will use their title opportunity to challenge for an NXT championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All, as 2020 Women’s Rumble Match victor Charlotte Flair will face NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 36.
Flair outlasted 29 other competitors to win the Royal Rumble Match, but decided to take her time in deciding which champion to challenge in Tampa, despite Ripley calling The Queen out shortly after the Rumble. But while all past Rumble winners have chosen to go after a Raw or SmackDown championship, The Queen could not help but once again make history.
In choosing to face Ripley, Flair is heading back to her past. The Queen was the second Superstar to capture the NXT Women’s Championship after defeating Natalya in the finals of a 2015 tournament. She held the title for 258 days, helping to usher in WWE’s Women’s Evolution alongside Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley in the process. After leaving NXT, Charlotte went on to become the most decorated female Superstar in WWE history, becoming a 10-time Women’s Champion.
But to add a second reign to her incredible resume, The Queen will have to topple a Nightmare. Rhea Ripley has been dominant since bursting onto the scene in WWE. The fierce Australian brutalized the competition on her way to the final four in the 2018 Mae Young Classic, then became the first-ever NXT UK Women’s Champion.
In recent months, The Nightmare became undeniable. First, Ripley helped lead the NXT takeover of Raw and SmackDown ahead of Survivor Series, even pinning Flair in a Triple Threat Match. Then, she guided her squad to victory in the first-ever Women’s WarGames Match before captaining Team NXT to victory in the Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Match by planting Sasha Banks into the canvas with a thunderous Riptide to seal the win. The biggest feather in Ripley’s cap, however, came on the final edition of NXT in 2019 when she captured the NXT Women’s Championship by defeating the seemingly unbeatable Shayna Baszler, ending The Submission Magician’s 416-day reign as champion.
Flair continued to tease Ripley and the NXT Universe, even catching a beatdown from Ripley and Bianca Belair in the process. But before Ripley could turn her full attention to Flair, she had to get through her title defense against The EST of NXT at TakeOver: Portland. The Nightmare was successful, but was soon ambushed by Flair, who said she had finally made up her mind, and would see Ripley in Tampa. The Queen then dropped Ripley with Natural Selection, and slammed Belair into the steel ring steps, for good measure.
Who will reign supreme when these two ruthless competitors go head-to-head for the NXT Women’s Championship on The Grandest Stage of Them All? Find out at WrestleMania 36, http://newwrestlingseries.com/smackdownlive/ streaming live Sunday, April 5, at 7 ET/4 PT on the award-winning WWE Network!