According to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rhea Ripley was scheduled to make her WWE main roster debut several weeks ago.
On the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Radio, the noted journalist stated that the Australian marvel and former NXT Women’s Champion was due to have been seen on WWE television before now but has been held back potentially for a major spot in the Women’s Royal Rumble:
“Rhea Ripley! She might win the whole thing. Probably not but if she won the whole thing, the one thing I was thinking about when I was thinking about Rhea Ripley today if she shows up and debuts and wins the Royal Rumble, they can turn around and say, ‘see, we planned it all along.’
I got to think Rhea Ripley’s in it. Rhea Ripley is on the main roster. She was going to debut a couple of weeks ago and they put it off for a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks is now. Debuting her as a surprise in the Rumble and winning the Rumble makes sense.”
This isn’t the first time ‘The Nightmare’ has been rumoured to be called-up to either Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown. According to PWInsider, Rhea Ripley, was being called up to the main roster after her Last Woman Standing Match at NXT New Year’s Evil.
As per the report, ‘The Nightmare’ finished up with NXT on January 6, concluding her career on the black and gold brand with a thrilling loss to Raquel Gonzalez. The ending of the bout certainly seemed definitive for Ripley, who honoured the tradition of making a star before moving on.
It has been rumoured since her NXT Women’s Championship loss at WrestleMania 36 that the Australian was moving upwards, however, nothing concrete transpired.
Following the defeat at the hands of Charlotte Flair, Ripley’s NXT career seemed to stall as she regained her confidence. Treading water for the majority of 2020, the star was the fall-guy for Io Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship triumph at NXT TakeOver: In Your House on June 7, 2020, but fell into obscurity soon after.
Television rivalries with Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez lead her back into title contention as the brand entered winter, but yet another loss to Io Shirai seemed to be the writing on the wall with the only thing left to do being conclude her enmity with Gonzalez..
In order to add a full stop to the rivalry which never seemed to have a definitive finale following their sterling clash at NXT Halloween Havoc, Rhea Ripley was inserted into the Women’s WarGames Match on December 6, before putting over the fiery powerhouse at New Year’s Evil.
In recent months, NXT superstars such as Shotzi Blackheart have come out in support of a promotion for the superstar and Rhea herself has commented on moving upwards, stating that she was ready when the 2020 WWE Draft came along but didn’t receive a call.
Now it seems that ‘The Nightmare’ will make her official WWE main roster debut on January 31, looking to make amends for WrestleMania 36 but securing herself a women’s championship bout against the champion of her choosing on April 10 or April 11.
Credit for the interview: Wrestling Observer Radio