Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez would be believable threats to the top men’s titles and could carry the entire brand as an intriguing champion.
The WWE NXT women’s division is widely considered the best in the industry. From top to bottom, this group includes some of the top names in the industry. What is even more pleasing to see is that they are consistently well-booked on the show. Two individuals enjoying such booking are Raquel Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley. The two women stood face-to-face again on Wednesday as this feud seems to continue. Their paths are set to crash into each other again, but what if these women were booked in another way: competing against the men on the roster. Ripley and Gonzalez could both set the wrestling world ablaze in that fashion.
Earlier this year Tessa Blanchard was making history when she carried the Impact world championship. During that time other transgressions came to light that sullied wrestling fans on her place in the industry. But she still holds an important talking point in the history of professional wrestling. Ripley and Gonzalez are two ladies that can reach similar heights as a WWE or Universal Champion, for example.
A vocal, but often wrong contingent of wrestling fans will tell you that Gonzalez and Ripley could not be booked in this way, probably using their size as some sort of diminishing factor. But facts do not support in any way. Gonzalez stands at 6’1 and weighs 176 pounds, as noted by CageMatch. From a “tale of the tape” viewpoint she is taller and of a comparable weight to Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole, and Tommaso Ciampa – four former and uber-popular NXT champions. Ripley is smaller than Gonzalez, but she is presented in such a fashion that makes it feel like her stature is just as dominant. But physical appearance is not the hill to die on when trying to argue against Gonzalez and Ripley.
In the past, women have become singles champions. Look back to Chyna winning the Intercontinental title and Jacqueline as the Cruiserweight champion for example. But back then, those angles were more “freak show”, or “comedy” based. Ripley and Gonzalez would need neither to be viable threats to any man holding a belt. The onus would be on the creative team to present these ladies as believable, which at the end of the day, is their job for every wrestler that steps into the ring. Presenting Ripley and Gonzalez as the badasses they are as they stare down the men’s side of the roster is not a far cry from what they are doing right now in the women’s division. It is in-line with their characters in every way.
Intergender wrestling has a space in the industry. Many fans look to competitors like Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, Jordynne Grace, and others to show that women can hang with their male colleagues in every aspect of the industry. WWE could do something different in a time where different is needed in their promotion. Booking Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez as dangerous threats to the top singles would have people talking and talking even more when they beat their favorite stars to have that belt put around their waist.