NXT’s women’s division was absolutely ruled by one woman for a long time. Shayna Baszler defeated everyone put in front of her, and you knew that her eventual loss would instantly create a star. The person to knock her off the perch and gain that push was Rhea Ripley, but that apparently wasn’t always the plan. In an appearance on Flash Morgan Webster’s podcast, the Australian star talked about her arrival in American and how that led to her amazing success.
It was supposed to be a one-off thing, I tap out, that’s it. So I went out, and as soon as my music hit, the whole Full Sail just erupted so loud… I went into the ring, cut my promo the best that I have, and people popped so loud for that. Shayna left, I left, I came back and everyone backstage was just like, ‘Oh my God, that was really good.’
Rhea continued that Sara Amata talked to her and Shayna backstage and changed the ending of their match to continue the feud. Thanks to that one moment and the continual fan support, Rhea stepped up and became the top woman in NXT for a time. Whether she can continue that success when crowds return and reclaim her crown from The Queen is a story for another day.
H/T to Andrew Thompson of POST Wrestling for the transcriptions