1. Rhea Ripley
Talk about adding a much needed “oomph” to the division.
Like with LeGargano, what else does Ripley have left to do on Wednesday nights? She is not only a former Women’s Champion, but she won the title from arguably the most dominant champion (regardless of gender) in NXT history when she defeated Baszler last December; Asuka is the only other person who can be thought of as most dominant.
Ripley’s also been involved in many memorable matches, capped by the triple threat against Io Shirai and Charlotte Flair at TakeOver: In Your House. She left her mark, and then some, after shifting from the UK brand, where she was the first NXT UK Women’s Champion.
Ripley is a bit unique for any brand’s women’s division in that she’s larger than most of the other women on the roster. This presents intriguing possibilities because while Ripley is bigger, the differential isn’t as noticeable as, say, Drew McIntyre vs. anyone under 6’2″ or under 200 pounds.
Ripley vs. Riott, James, Liv Morgan, and Zelina Vega would be great showcases for Ripley. She could highlight her strength, but also wow newer viewers with her wrestling ability. It’s a sad truth that most fans will see a larger wrestler and assume they’re a stiff project lacking technical or mat skills, so think of how they’ll react when they see Ripley going hold-for-hold with the best of them?
If you want to play off having two larger women feud, then Ripley vs. Jax seems apt for a feud. If Raquel Gonzalez makes the jump along with Ripley, pitting the former Coconut Loop tag team together in a singles could be a great way to introduce both to the larger viewing audience.
There’s that ever-enticing reigniting of her feud with Flair, who ended Ripley’s reign at WrestleMania. Should Flair return to the same brand as Ripley, I can see the former targeting the latter as an “I’m still better than you” heel bully move.
Of course, nothing is more intriguing than Ripley vs. a returning Lynch. Ripley is good on promos, still improving, but just thinking about potential promo battles with Lynch, who will undoubtedly force Ripley to raise her game, has me wanting this feud to happen immediately upon Lynch’s return.
Hopefully, by that point, Ripley will be firmly entrenched as one of the top acts on Raw.
With the 2020 WWE Draft beginning on Friday’s SmackDown and culminating in next week’s Raw, it will be interesting to see just how this draft plays out, and who ends up being drafted where. The last iteration was widely seen as a debacle, so let’s be optimistic for some needed changes.
Who do you want to see Raw draft?