While Charlotte Flair has yet to officially name her opponent for WWE WrestleMania 36, there’s a good chance she could take a trip to NXT to face Rhea Ripley.
Last Sunday, Charlotte Flair shocked everyone by outlasting 29 other WWE Superstars to win the Royal Rumble. The question then became which champion will she decide to challenge at WrestleMania 36?
Most fans felt as though the choice was narrowed down between Raw’s Becky Lynch and SmackDown’s Bayley, but we have learned of new reports recently stating that neither is penned in to face Charlotte Flair. So that leaves out only one option: NXT Champion Rhea Ripley.
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Multiple sources are starting to confirm this rumor to be true. First, Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer (h/t Fightful) reported on Monday that Ripley vs. Flair was in the cards for the Mania card, while The Man is expected to face Shayna Baszler.
Add to the fact that Mike Johnson of PWInsider is currently reporting that Flair is expected to fly out to Orlando for an appearance at Full Sail University for NXT this Wednesday, and suddenly, Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair is looking like more and more of a reality for WrestleMania.
The idea of Flair challenging for the NXT Championship does not seem totally out of the ordinary or impossible to imagine. Remember, after the Black and Gold brand got a TV deal with USA Network, WWE has been in the process of trying to push NXT as a third main roster brand that is on equal footing to Raw and SmackDown, rather than a developmental show lower than both.
Flair challenging Ripley for the third brand’s title immediately legitimizes both NXT as a brand and Ripley as a World Champion on the same level as Becky Lynch and Bayley. On top of that, this continues the history they had during the NXT invasion, where The Nightmare pinned The Queen last fall.
We’ll have to wait and see if this match truly comes to fruition, but if nothing else, this Wednesday’s episode of NXT, airing 8 p.m. EST on USA Network, suddenly became must see TV if the 10-time World Champion is slated for an appearance.
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