Triple H, godfather of NXT, has spoken out about the change in plans for Rhea Ripley following WrestleMania 36 and defended his booking of the Australian sensation.
Following the loss of her NXT Women’s Championship to Charlotte Flair, ‘The Nightmare’ seemed to decline in both stature and confidence. Returning to the brand after several weeks away, Ripley was a shadow of her former self as she became embroiled in the title picture alongside Flair and Io Shirai.
After she failed to re-capture the gold at NXT TakeOver: In Your House this summer, Ripley seemed to drop down the pecking order even further, occupying her time with the likes of Raquel Gonzalez until something better came along.
Now, Triple H has spoken about his booking of the star during a media call and stated that one of his tope female performers is stronger for her struggle and why original plans changed:
“For me, that loss almost helps her as a character get to where she needs to be for the long-term arc of who she is. None of that plan exists….or was able….everything changed. I don’t think anybody in that moment could have predicted. You go back to March and it seems like, in some ways, forever ago. If anyone would have said in March, ‘In December, you’re still going to be in lockdown and [COVID] will ramp up again and be arguably worse.’ Everything is changing on a daily basis and it’s hard to plan for next week, let alone next year or next month.”
When quizzed about the huge impact on her confidence, something Rhea Ripley herself has commented on, Triple H stated that his belief was that in the long-term it was good for her:
“The one thing about Rhea, and her honesty is great, when you’re young, it doesn’t take much to rack your confidence. It doesn’t take much to go from an incredible high to an incredible low and begin to question yourself and those things. That’s part of maturing in any sport. It’s all part of the process. I truly believe, long-term, it’s all valuable things. Everyone wants immediate success and for things to go very smoothly to the end. There are no lessons in that or long-term value. There’s no struggle or difficulties. You don’t grow as a performer, it’s just easy. It’s all learning experiences. It’s horrifying at the time, but you look back and go, ‘Thank God that happened because if that didn’t happen, this wouldn’t have happened.’ It’s all part of the journey. When you’re young, it’s hard to say, ‘think long-term.’ You’re young, long-term is the spring or three months from now. Long-term is five to ten years from now and when you think of things in that manner, those setbacks are valuable in getting you to places you need to go. The Rhea Ripley that I’m watching now is better than when she was on the high. She’s a better performer, more mature, all of it, and it came through that process.”
In a way, Rhea Ripley’s NXT story is similar to that of a young wrestler named Hunter Hearst Helmsley in 1996. Both of them were on top of the world. Both of them were destined for greater things and both of them had the rug pulled out from under them though for very different reasons.
However, like Helmsley, Ripley possesses the determination and skill to turn her career around after a lull and that begins at NXT TakeOver: WarGames on December 6, the event where she first showed the world what she was made made of in 2019.
On December 6, Rhea Ripley will team with Shotzi Blackheart, Io Shirai and Ember Moon to battle Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez and Toni Storm inside WarGames.
h/t for the transcription: Fightful