NXT New Year’s Evil: Rhea Ripley versus Raquel Gonzalez should main event

WWE, Rhea Ripley Credit: WWE.com
WWE, Rhea Ripley Credit: WWE.com /

Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez are closing out a nasty feud with ramifications that should hit not only the NXT women’s division but SmackDown and Monday Night Raw as well.

There is one week until NXT New Year’s Evil, the first NXT event of 2021. With a stacked card from top to bottom, there is a lot to be interested in for every fan. At first glance, the rematch between Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly looks like the main event, but Raquel Gonzalez and Rhea Ripley would like to have a word. The match between the two is being booked as a colossal showdown that is strong enough to close out the entire show as the main event.

During Wednesday’s edition of NXT, there was a promo to continue the build between Ripley and Gonzalez. The video package leaned into the past that the two women have shared, coming up in NXT together and even a brief run as tag partners. While this is not an entirely original storyline in professional wrestling, that does not make it any less engaging when the story is effectively relayed to viewers. This video package did everything needed to get people to want to watch – delivering the emotion needed to make this feel like a big fight.

Individually, Ripley and Gonzalez could be the face of the NXT women’s division. They have the stature, in-ring performance, and personality that makes them intriguing characters on the show. In many ways, they are more interesting than majority of the biggest male names on the roster as well. If WWE wanted to lean into intergender wrestling seen across the independent scene, Gonzalez and Ripley are just two of the names that could deliver in that space.

What has been interesting about this build is that WWE has done a good job of keeping Ripley and Gonzalez out of the ring together. Other than their involvement in the War Games match at NXT TakeOver, the ladies have not locked up since their singles match in October where Ripley got the pinfall. That is a rarity with WWE booking who has consistently given fans the same matches repeatedly and called that a “build.” When these two battle at New Year’s Evil it should be the last time, we see anything of the like for an extended period.

That brings the focus to the outcome. Ripley was one the ideal name to build the entirety of NXT around. Like so many others, WWE Creative botched that opportunity. Slowly she has been built back up but not in the fashion that would present her as the face of a company. Ripley is needed on the main roster, where her presence would help either of the divisions on SmackDown or Monday Night Raw.  Plus, it gives WWE the opportunity to right that wrong with a clean win over Charlotte Flair. With that in mind, expect Gonzalez to take the win in what will be a brutal match next Wednesday. Gonzalez should already be considered the top contender to face Io Shirai. A clear and dominating win over Ripley further cements that claim.

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NXT New Year’s Evil looks to kick 2021 off with a strong card. There is a lot to be excited for with this show next week. Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez are battling for what should bring closure to their feud. There is a lot at stake her and the ladies should main event the first show of the New Year.