When Rhea Ripley debuted on the March 22nd edition of Monday Night RAW, the former NXT Women’s Champion made an instant impact.
As RAW Women’s Champion Asuka forced a revitalised Peyton Royce to submit, the Empress Of Tomorrow celebrated a hard-fought win, but not for long.
Ripley’s music hit and she marched to the ring like a woman on a mission. Ripley wasted little time in getting down to business and challenged Asuka to a match at WrestleMania straight off the bat. A fired up women’s champion promptly accepted on the spot, before the match was confirmed by the commentary team.
The Australian star’s debut had been teased for weeks, with vignettes signalling her arrival was imminent. Speaking to The New York Post, Ripley has revealed what it was like waiting to make her debut, and that she found out pretty late, that March 22nd was going to be the big day.
“So, it’s actually kind of funny. My last few weeks have actually just been in catering. I’ve just been going to the Raw shows and I’ve just been chilling in catering, not really knowing what was really going on with me or what they had planned. I just was eating too much (laughs) and that’s pretty much how it went for like weeks and then last week I found out, I want to say around 4 p.m., what was going on. Man, it was a shock to me as much as it is to everyone else. I was super surprised, super excited.
I guess, Asuka has been putting over in few interviews that she wanted to wrestle me for a long time and vice versa. I’ve also been saying she’s someone I’ve watched for a long, long time and always looked up to and thought was amazing at what she did. I’m very happy that this match is being planned because I think it’s gonna be a great one. “
Elsewhere in the interview, Ripley described how much it would mean to her to face Asuka one on one, even recalling being on the same card as the champion in Japan as a teenager.
The Number One Contender, was also asked about Charlotte Flair. Mainly, that Flair doesn’t have a match lined up for WrestleMania but she has a habit of finding herself involved on the big occasion. With that in mind, while a classic match with Asuka is Ripley’s main target, she also says she wouldn’t complain if Charlotte got in the action.
“I’d be down for the match if she got added, but also in a selfish way I really want to have a one-on-one match with Asuka. It’s something that I’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’ve always wanted to step in the ring with Asuka and we haven’t had a one-on-one match ever. So I think there is that it factor that everyone is really excited about. If Charlotte gets added to the match, I’m still not going to complain. It’s still going to be a fantastic match and it’s going to be a fantastic story. So I guess we will just see what happens. She always has her way, like you said, she’ll probably end up in it but that’s not my call to make. So I’ll be happy either way. I’m just happy to have a match at WrestleMania and I think it’s still gonna be great whether it has Charlotte in it or not.”
However, before Ripley and Asuka get to WrestleMania they will join forces on the April 5th episode of RAW to take on the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.