As noted, Charlotte Flair vs. WWE NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley is now official for WrestleMania 36 after Flair attacked Ripley at “Takeover: Portland” on Sunday night and accepted her challenge. Ripley had just retained her title over Bianca Belair.
Triple H hosted a call after Takeover and indicated that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was behind the Flair vs. Ripley idea, and said he was shocked the first time he heard the idea. He was asked if the USA Network had any involvement in Flair vs. Ripley as a way to help NXT on Wednesday nights.
“Actually, USA had no involvement in it, really at all,” Triple H answered. “I believe that this was, to be honest, it was shocking to me when it was first mentioned to me. I believe that this was really just a decision from Vince’s part on understanding where the other stories are going for the women.
As you build forward on these things, you have opportunities where you look in a moment of time, and you go, does Charlotte go after [SmackDown Women’s Champion] Bayley and Sasha Banks on that side? Does she move into that realm? Does she come after [RAW Women’s Champion] Becky Lynch? All the things that you have sort of seen before, and you’re looking to get fresh, and build and new. And I think you see that with Shayna Baszler going after Becky Lynch, and you see that in different ways on SmackDown with where they’re going so this was a way of Charlotte Flair needing to be in that big epic role. I think it really had nothing more to do with that. I think people put too much stock into building up other things. It’s easy to put your tinfoil hat on and start to talk about stuff, and I’m sure just even saying that, everybody will be like, ‘Oh my God, there’s no way they didn’t…’ Whatever, you believe what you want. It really comes down to that, this is good storytelling and that’s what the goal is here, it’s just really good storytelling across the board.”
He continued and praised all three women, indicating big things to come for their futures.
“I think when you look at that, you have Charlotte in that position, Rhea Ripley having an incredible year and just getting to where she’s at. And then Bianca Belair as well, having an incredible year,” Triple H said. “If you would’ve gone six months backwards in time and said Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair… you know, Bianca, I was just speaking to in the back. In 2016 she stepped through the ropes with us for the first time to start training, and when you consider the fact that in just that short, probably less than 4 year window, she’s become one of the absolute best in the world, and it’s her time.
“With kind of where she [Belair] is now, and I know they’re gonna be a lot of people that are gonna go, ‘Well, why didn’t you pull the trigger?’ Well, watch. It’s incredible to see how both of those, how far both of them have come, Rhea and Bianca. I’m thrilled for both of them, and the opportunity that, you know, having that moment in time with Charlotte at WrestleMania for Rhea is going to be incredible, and it’s all gonna play out for everybody. So, it’s awesome.”
The full audio from Triple H’s post-Takeover media call was included as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon: by clicking here. The full interview can be heard via the embedded audio player below: