As the card for WrestleMania 39 rapidly comes into focus, with a “WrestleMania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match” booked featuring The Street Profits, Braun Strowman/Ricochet, The Viking Raiders, and the Alpha Academy just booked ahead of the penultimate RAW before “The Showcase of the Immortals,” fans are eagerly anticipating which match will fall on which day of the show.
With Cody Rhodes-Roman Reigns widely penciled in as the headliner for Night 2, culminating a weekend of Los Angeles-based bouts at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, fans have begun to wonder who will earn the top spot on Night 1, with Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens vs. The Usos for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships, Bianca Belair vs. Auska, and Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus for the Intercontinental Champion all strong contenders for the match.
But in the opinion of Charlotte Flair, who is scheduled to wrestle Rhea Ripley for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship, the choice is obvious, as she detailed to Alfred Konuwa in an interview for Forbes.
“Well, one, she won the Royal Rumble, so that’s guaranteed a main event spot at WrestleMania,” Flair said. “Not solely relying on that, but I think you have two titans, two athletes who—regardless of their story or who have faced each other prior—are gonna put on a main event match solely on that, knowing that they’re capable of the storytelling. And possibly me retaining or crowning a new SmackDown Women’s Champion. I think when a main title is on the line, it’s always main event worthy.
“So, to me it’s important for that championship to feel that prestigious, to feel that important. But again, like you said, there are a lot of stories that are worthy. So we’re just gonna have to make sure between now and WrestleMania that we give the audience something to sink their teeth into, to feel that the stakes are that high.”
Theoretically, Flair is correct; the winner of each Royal Rumble is supposed to main event one night of WrestleMania, and after Ripley shot her shot at “The Queen of WWE,” that should cement their headliner status right then and there. If, however, Paul “Triple H” Levesque and company opt to take things in another direction, Flair isn’t going to be too disappointed, as she will use the slight as motivation to put on the best show possible in her seventh match at WrestleMania.
“Motivation, you can’t take it as a negative,” Flair said. “It has to just be motivation because at the end of the day no matter where you are on the card, every story is important. Every story means something, means something different to the industry. So no, I won’t take it as a slight, just maybe a little more like ‘all right, we really need to have the best match of the weekend.’ But whoever gets that spot is who the company feels is the best story for it.”
Could WrestleMania 39 mark the first time in Flair’s professional wrestling career that she loses a singles match at “The Showcase of the Immortals,” making Ripley a certified Main Eventer in the process? Or will “The Queen” keep her crown and have her moment after missing most of the back half of 2022? Either way, regardless of where on the card Flair-Ripley II is booked for, the duo sound ready to put on a show for the 70,000-plus fans in attendance and the millions more watching from home.
Rhea Ripley doesn’t want to leave The Judgement Day behind after WrestleMania
On the precipice of winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship for the first time in her career, Ripley should theoretically be focusing all of her attention on her singles run, right? Not necessarily, as, according to “The Eradicator” in an interview with the Checkpoint podcast, she is loving her time in The Judgement Day and actually hopes that group will continue on well into the future.
“It’s really cool (being part of the faction wars). It’s something that I didn’t think I would be a part of,” Ripley said via Fightful. “I thought I was always going to be a singles competitor, maybe in the tag team division for a little bit, but mostly singles. To be a part of a group is so cool, and to know that group started with a legend like Edge is even more insane. Watching him while I was growing up, I cried when he retired. He was one of my favorites. To him, recruiting me and Damian Priest, someone who I’ve come up with in NXT. We both came to the main roster at the exact same time. We’ve both been friends for a long time, we’re very similar in and outside of the ring. We’re very close. To have us three in The Judgment Day, to start it and build it from the ground up, it’s really cool. To see how it’s evolved now where we’ve kicked Edge out because he started telling us what the hell to do. I don’t like being told what to do, if you don’t know, if you haven’t realized. We recruited Finn, we recruited Dom Dom, and it’s been a really fun time. We go out there and we’re having a ball.
“We’re doing whatever the h*ll we want, we’re acting however the h*ll we want, we’re saying what we want. I move the way I want to move, whether it’s creepy one day, seductive the next, you don’t really know what you’re going to get with me. I’m just doing what I feel in that moment and I know the boys are too. It’s been a lot of fun. I hope The Judgment Day sticks around for a long time because this is one of the funnest times of my career. It really does feel like a family. We’re there for each other, we travel with each other, we do everything. We have our own group chat and chat to each other, share memes. It feels like a little family and I’m having the time of my life.”
Would Triple H really allow Ripley to stay put in The Judgement Day if she becomes the SmackDown Women’s Champion? Would the entire quartet move to SmackDown to back up their enforcer? Or would Ripley simply pull double-duty a la The Usos, who have been pulling double-duty for years now, especially as Roman Reigns pulls back on his schedule? Either way, with Flair just three title reigns away from besting her father’s 16-time World Champion record, dropping the strap to the 26-year-old Adelaide native could generate some serious heat worthy of lifting The Judgement Day to new heights that Edge could have never imagined when he formed the crew in 2022.