SmackDown Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley is a force that the WWE has not seen in a while. Ripley is aggressive and dominant in the ring, and tells it like it is on the mic. Full of agility and charisma, Ripley is running through the WWE women’s roster with ease. Whoever the next challenger is should Ripley overcome Zelina Vega at Backlash should be on the lookout for the most physical, intense match of their life.
A Career of Dominance
Ripley has been in the WWE promotion since 2017 under the NXT brand. She participated in the 2017 inaugural Mae Young Classic and reached the semi-finals before moving to the NXT UK brand. She went on to become the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion in 2018 before heading to NXT in 2019. While there, she quickly moved up the ladder into title contention. Ripley captured the NXT Women’s Title from former champion Shayna Baszler on December 18, 2019. This was her first major title since arriving in development with NXT. Ripley would go on to hold the title for 108 days before eventually losing to Charlotte Flair on April 5, 2020. Ripley has dominated a women’s division before and now that she is again a women’s champion, she can do so once more.
Ripley put the WWE and the main roster on notice as part of an invasion angle from NXT on both Raw and SmackDown. On the November 22, 2019, edition of Smackdown, she defeated Raw Women’s champion Charlotte Flair and SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks in a triple threat match. From there, her WWE career began to truly take off. This would not be the last time she would meet Banks, either. As part of WWE Survivor Series, NXT, RAW, and SmackDown all had teams of women competing for bragging rights. Rhea Ripley and NXT won, pinning Banks to win the match for the NXT brand.
At her final NXT match, she defeated Raquel Rodriguez in a last woman standing match. Three weeks later, she participated in the WWE Royal Rumble. She was number 14 and did quite well, eliminating seven, and was one of the final two before being eliminated by Bianca Belair.
Main Roster Run
Rhea Ripley made her main roster debut on March 22, 2022 and instantly challenged Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship. The 5-foot-9 and 170-pound female from Adelaide, South Australia won the title on the second night of WrestleMania 37, winning the title three weeks after her main roster debut. This put the main roster on notice that she had arrived and was poised to be the most dominant female wrestler in WWE.
She has teamed with Nikki A.S.H. to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship, defeating Natalya and Tamina. After losing the tag team titles 63 days later, she was then on par to find her next calling and she found it with the Edge version of the Judgment Day on May 8, 2022, some time after splitting with Nikki A.S.H. Although the faction has a new leader, Ripley is still a dominant, aggressive female in the squared circle and arguably the most over member of the group. She proved her dominance as she once again was champion after WrestleMania 39. She defeated Charlotte Flair to become the Smackdown Women’s Champion, her second world championship on the WWE main roster. With this win, Ripley became the seventh women’s triple crown champion, the fifth grand slam women’s champion, and is the youngest grand slam women’s champion in WWE history at the age of 26.
Regardless of which brand she ends up on after the WWE draft, she will continue to dominate. Rhea Ripley has the size, mic skills, and ring ability to continue to have success in the ring. As she hinted before, this does not apply to females only. She could very well take on any male WWE superstar. Rhea Ripley has come a long way in a short amount of time and her career is just beginning.
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