WWE Royal Rumble 2021: Making the case for Rhea Ripley

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

Rhea Ripley is the definition of a pro wrestling phenom. Here’s her case for winning WWE Royal Rumble 2021 on Jan. 31.

There are a handful of great candidates to win the Women’s Royal Rumble match at WWE Royal Rumble 2021, and one of the most-discussed options in Rhea Ripley. The Nightmare was one of the company’s biggest stars last year at this time, having stolen the show at Survivor Series and won the NXT Title a month later in one of the best babyface victories in the brand’s storied history.

We all know what came next. Charlotte Flair won the Royal Rumble and challenged Ripley to an NXT Title match at WrestleMania, putting over both Ripley and the brand itself in terms of importance within the company. But after all the excitement, we were left deflated in the end when Flair defeated Ripley and the Nightmare didn’t have much to say about it.

Ripley has accomplished so much in WWE already as an NXT and NXT UK Champion, in addition to a WrestleMania title match competitor, that it’s easy for us to forget she is just 24 years old. She is one of the fastest-rising stars in WWE of this era, to be quite honest. The way she has quickly gotten fans behind her and put on instant classics is nothing short of remarkable.

There is a door open for her to move up to the main roster and win WWE Royal Rumble 2021. Ripley has accomplished everything there is to accomplish in NXT, and her defeat to another rising star in Raquel Gonzalez was a sign that she is headed to the main roster. Even her colleague Shotzi Blackheart hinted at a main roster call-up for Ripley.

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A Royal Rumble victory would make so much sense for both Ripley and WWE. The company needs to shake things up on the main roster, specifically on Monday Night Raw. And doubly so in the Women’s Division, which has potential but is currently bogged down by unimaginative booking. Charlotte Flair has subtly helped things, but it’s clear that a new star is needed to help force the issue. Ripley can be that star.

I mentioned Charlotte, so let’s go “there”. A Royal Rumble victory additionally has the chance to help bring Ripley’s story full circle, tying up the loose ends WWE created when they callously took the title off a rising star and hurt her confidence by then having her lose a bunch of matches for no reason. (Ripley’s career winning percentage in NXT is just 50.91 following the loss to Gonzalez!) And with respect to Charlotte, there’s a real chance she ends up with the Raw Women’s Title before WrestleMania, mirroring what we saw in 2019, so we could even get a direct Charlotte vs. Rhea rematch.

Either way, WWE has the opportunity to right some serious wrongs by going full-force with Rhea Ripley’s push to start 2021. Her performance at Survivor Series 2019 and huge win against the dominant “Shayna 2 Time” were already crowning moments, and the win over Charlotte at WrestleMania 36 was the follow-through that Vince and WWE completely botched.

Ripley has taken enough lumps, paid enough dues, and had the carpet pulled under her. It would only be right for the Nightmare, who, again, has already shown she is ready to be a major star, to get a Rumble victory and a title win at WrestleMania 36.

WWE need to show the audience that they are invested in their rising stars and are ready to deliver something different each week, building their shows around the best wrestlers instead of the wrestlers the company tries to tell us are the best or the biggest names.

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Ripley’s talent is clear to see, her potential is boundless, and her drive to be the best has led to ever-improving character work and top-drawer matches. She is ready for the big time, and her Rumble victory would be a serious statement of intent from WWE.