Nia Jax’s return sets up a great opponent for Rhea Ripley

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - JANUARY 28: Nia Jax is introduced during WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - JANUARY 28: Nia Jax is introduced during WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images) /

Nia Jax’s return creates a big opportunity for Rhea Ripley’s run as WWE Women’s World Champion.

The September 11th Monday Night Raw brought an irresistible force back to meet up with the brand’s immovable object. The Nia Jax return provides a great opponent for Rhea Ripley. The Judgment Day has over-delivered thus far, but Ripley’s early star has faded as her partners have gotten more screen time, better opponents, and actual storylines across all three brands.

Nia Jax is a controversial figure within the WWE Universe, but this couldn’t have come at a better time for Ripley. Rhea has run through a sizeable portion of the roster and needs a new opponent to get some television time. Likewise, the talents that have gone after the women’s world champion have yet to have the pedigree or the size to make the story interesting. Nia Jax does both. And most importantly, Nia can be slotted into some compelling storylines throughout the fall.

A Nia Jax Return Will Get a Buzz and Television Time

With WWE spending so much time on Judgment Day across all three brands, Rhea Ripley’s lack of spotlight seems odd. Once the group’s de facto leader, she has become a part of the Dominik Mysterio act more than anything else. Part of the issue is finding compelling angles for her. Finn and Damian’s miniature rivalry and the heel heat that Dominik gets every week take up a lot of time. Adding a returning major challenger to her run will give Rhea’s story the buzz that her faction mates regularly get.

Even the most talented performers need to move the needle to be featured. A significant return like Jax will usually suffice. Monday Night’s segment has moved the needle and kicked up online engagement. Although not all of it is positive, to be sure, much of it is genuine intrigue. Intrigue is all that Ripley needs to build this into a compelling angle. When Ripley has been given an exciting opponent, and several times she hasn’t, the story has always delivered.

Jax vs. Ripley Feels Like a Colossal Clash

Part of the reason that the Nia Jax return has gotten so much buzz is that the eventual match feels big. Some of that comes down to physical largeness. Rhea Ripley works an incredibly powerful style in the ring. Most of the roster, even many of the marquee names, don’t match up to her in that regard. Nia Jax, though, does with relative ease. Since her return, she has put down numerous opponents, including Ripley herself. The Nia that left WWE was more limited than Ripley is, and so are previous opponents like Dana Brooke. She can match up the power, and two larger-than-life wrestlers going at it usually do well with audiences. Look at classic feuds from wrestlings past like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior or the Brothers of Destruction.

There is another aspect of these two’s big-fight feel, which has nothing to do with size. WWE needs more credible former world champions to face Ripley, especially with the separate rosters keeping the main event scene thin. Only a handful have a spot on the Raw roster, and the biggest among them is Becky Lynch, who is in the most of what will likely be a brief run as NXT champion. Nia Jax is a former World Champion and tag team champion as well. By and large, she had a memorable career before her departure, even if some fans felt her size and possible connections awarded her opportunities above her ability. She has built an impressive resume regardless of people’s opinions of her. So, seeing her turn up and challenge the champion isn’t all that shocking. That credibility has been lacking in most of Rhea’s opponents since winning the title. Fixing that issue helps her massively with getting fans reinvested in her.

The Nia Jax Return Can Factor into Faction Warfare

Nia is related to Roman Reigns. At the moment, that doesn’t mean much of anything. However, it could become essential if WWE programming is anything to go off of. The WWE has been making their various factions integral to Raw, Smackdown, and even NXT to some extent. The group that inarguably led the company and kicked off the faction craze is Roman Reigns Bloodline. Since the Bloodline has started its story of decline, Rhea Ripley and Judgment Day have stepped into the top spot. They have been allies and rivals to the Bloodline over the past year. Each time they squared off previously, though, Rhea had to stand aside and act as a background character to the men’s main events.

If WWE wants to give the Bloodline and Rhea a new and exciting direction, then Nia Jax makes perfect sense. As a member of Reign’s “family,” she can easily get inserted into the ongoing Bloodline drama, which can help to reinvigorate a story that is growing a bit stale. It can also set the remnants of Roman’s wrestling empire on a collision course with Rhea and her compatriots in the Judgment Day. Those teams crossing paths would be a big money match with much intrigue, provided Damian Priest still holds the Money in the Bank briefcase. Far from a one-off match, the Nia Jax return opens up multiple storylines across both of WWE’s shows.

The WWE Universe Should Give This Match a Chance

The worry about Nia Jax is that she is an unsafe worker. She has hurt approximately five superstars out of action throughout her WWE run. WWE World Heavy Weight Champion Seth Rollins has legitimately injured three stars, all of whom were significantly more popular than he was at the time. Seth works in a far more explosive and entertaining style, and it is more than coincidental that his high-profile history of injuries is typically ignored online. Those numbers aren’t to say that he should be called out like Nia Jax, but rather that fans should stop following the numbers of people, unfortunately, injured doing a dangerous form of entertainment and look instead at what WWE and the performers can control.

Rhea is a massive star and World Champion who needs another top-tier challenger; Nia perfectly matches her power and pedigree. Rhea has been struggling to get attention as Judgment Day flourishes and gets progressively increased TV time each week. Nia Jax returned to a massive positive and negative reaction after a couple of moves and a one-liner about being back. Rhea Ripley is best known for her faction, and Jax has a faction in waiting with her Bloodline cousins on Smackdown. Nia Jax was a prominent star in WWE for many years, and her return could mean big things for the promotion, specifically its champion, Rhea Ripley.

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