Rhea Ripley Achieves Huge First At WrestleMania 39
Rhea Ripley made some incredible WWE history at WrestleMania 39 when she became the Smackdown Women’s Champion for the first time.
As the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble winner, Rhea Ripley had the decision of what champion she wanted to face – the Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair or the Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair.
Even though she was part of the Raw brand, Ripley chose Charlotte Flair. The storyline was that Ripley believes that the other women in WWE fear her, but Flair doesn’t, so Ripley wanted to make Flair fear her. In addition to that, Flair beat Ripley at WrestleMania 36, so Ripley wanted to vindicate that loss.
The Rhea Ripley-Charlotte Flair match at WrestleMania 39 was a 25-minute classic that saw them go back and forth with nearfalls, near submissions and a crowd that stood for most of it because it was so good. In the end, Ripley hit a Riptide slam off the middle ropes for the pinfall win. It was Ripley’s first time winning the Smackdown Women’s Title in her career.
Thanks to that victory, Ripley set a record as the first woman to win five different women’s championships in WWE:
* NXT UK Women’s Championship
* NXT Women’s Championship
* WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
* Raw Women’s Championship
* Smackdown Women’s Championship
Ripley is the fifth woman to win four of those titles after Bayley, Asuka, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair, but none of them were in the NXT UK brand like Ripley was, so that makes Ripley unique for holding a fifth different Women’s Title in WWE.
During a post-WrestleMania 39 press conference, Rhea Ripley talked about wanting to make history in WWE from the time when she was a fan of WWE.
“I’m here to make history. Growing up in Adelaide, South Australia, I always got told that my dream of coming to the WWE would probably not happen. So just making it here is such an accomplishment, but being the first Grand Slam Champion, to have those exact championships, is so satisfying.”
“I am so extremely proud of myself and my journey here to the WWE, and my journey here within the WWE. To be able to accomplish all those historic moments, man — that’s the one thing that I strive for, making history. I want my name etched in the history books forever, and I’ve gone and done that.”
The 26-year-old Ripley has already accomplished a lot and will still have many more years ahead of her.