There are now two official matches announced for WrestleMania 36 on April 5th. We already knew about Men’s Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.
Last night at NXT Takeover Portland, Women’s Royal Rumble winner Charlotte attacked Rhea Ripley with a forearm to the back. Ripley was down selling. Flair said she thought about it and told Ripley: “I’ll see you at WrestleMania.” Flair hit the Natural Selection neckbreaker on Ripley to follow that. When Flair left the ring, she whipped Belair into the steel steps.
Who came up with the idea to do the Flair/Ripley match? Apparently it was Vince McMahon according to Triple H, who talked about it on a post-show media conference call. Thanks to Fightful for the transcript:
“Actually, USA Network had no involvement in it at all. To be honest, it was shocking to me when it was first mentioned to me. I believe that this was just a decision from Vince’s part on understanding the other stories for the women. To me, you have opportunities where you look in a moment in time and ask is Charlotte going after Bayley and Sasha Banks [on SmackDown], does she come after Becky Lynch [on Raw]. You’ve seen that before and we’re looking into something fresh and you see that with Shayna Baszler going after Becky Lynch and you see that in different ways on SmackDown with where they’re going. So this was a way for Charlotte Flair needing to be in that big, epic role. I think it really had nothing more to do with that. It’s good storytelling and that’s what the goal is here, good storytelling across the board.”
Flair and Ripley tweeted about it after Takeover.
— Charlotte Flair (@MsCharlotteWWE) February 17, 2020
1. Thank you @BiancaBelairWWE! Going to war with you is always brutal!
2. @MsCharlotteWWE you just gave me exactly what I wanted. See you at #WrestleMania36#NXTTakeOverPortland#TheNightmare 👹 https://t.co/o6DQ9eL2rg
— RheaRipley_WWE (@RheaRipley_WWE) February 17, 2020
It wouldn’t surprise me if we get a Flair vs. Belair match before WrestleMania too. Perhaps they’ll do it on NXT TV or the Elimination Chamber PPV and maybe do a stipulation that Belair could be added to the WrestleMania match if she wins. The way Triple H talked about it on the NXT Takeover post-show on WWE’s Youtube channel, he made it seem like Belair is still going to be involved in things.
TJR Thoughts: I think Ripley vs. Flair should be great. I think Ripley should win too because really, Flair doesn’t need to win and the whole point of the match should be to have Ripley win to elevate her as a woman that’s ten years younger than Flair. By having Ripley win, you can continue the rivalry if Rhea is on Raw/Smackdown in the future. A Flair win would be fine too, but I think Ripley should win.