Triple H: Vince McMahon chose Ripley v Charlotte despite ratings
During NXT TakeOver: Portland, Charlotte Flair appeared out of nowhere and attacked NXT Champion Rhea Ripley from behind. After laying out Ripley, Charlotte said she had thought about her challenge and would see her at WrestleMania 36.
With that, the second match at The Showcase Of The Immortals was booked as Charlotte Flair will go one on one with Rhea Ripley for the NXT Championship, setting a precedent for future Royal Rumble matches.
Flair choosing to challenge for the NXT Championship seemed like an odd choice to many, but Dave Meltzer revealed on Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE was “blindsided” by NXT’s January ratings and they are wanting to use the allure of Charlotte on the black and gold brand to improve ratings.
WWE COO Triple H denied this during the post-NXT TakeOver: Portland media call. The Game instead said Vince McMahon decided upon the match because they wanted Charlotte in a “big, epic role” at Mania, but also have a fresh storyline. As Flair has repeatedly faced Becky Lynch and Bayley in recent years, this left The Queen with Rhea Ripley.
The 14-time world champion said: “Actually, USA had no involvement in it really at all. To be honest it was shocking to me when it was first mentioned to me. I believe that this was really just a decision on Vince’s part on understanding where the other stories are going for the women.
“To me, you have opportunities where you look at a moment in time and you go well, does Charlotte go after Bayley and Sasha Banks on that side, does she come after Becky Lynch. All these things that you have sort of seen before and you’re looking to get fresh and building something new, and I think you’ve seen 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 of Charlotte Flair needing to be in that big, epic role. I think it really had nothing more to do with that…Its good storytelling and that’s what the goal is here, its just really good storytelling across the board.”
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