One of the least celebrated WrestleMania moments from this past weekend was Charlotte Flair’s victory over ‘The Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley in the opening contest of night 2. The 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble winner made history by challenging for the NXT Women’s Championship for the first time on a WrestleMania card. This was absolutely huge for the NXT brand, putting one of their biggest stars in the biggest spotlight possible, lending to her credibility as a future megastar in women’s wrestling. Unfortunately, Ripley didn’t quite live up to that stardom, as she tapped to Flair’s Figure 8 after a gruelling 15 minute contest.
Obviously Ripley hasn’t been totally buried in the process. She’s still considered one of the most popular performers on the black and gold brand, but nevertheless suffered because of this defeat. Having only held onto the NXT Women’s title for just over three months, Ripley will now have to return seeming like a second-rate talent to that of the almighty main roster.
Naturally, Charlotte was WWE’s mercenary to once again sweep the carpet from underneath a hot product. This certainly wasn’t the first time ‘The Queen’ has been used to rid of a hot streak of momentum generated by an NXT talent. At WrestleMania 34, Charlotte was chosen to be the superstar to end Asuka’s historic undefeated streak, snatching away her chance to become SmackDown Women’s Champion on such a grand stage. Flair has started to develop a bit of a reputation with the fans, who are slowly but surely turning on arguably the biggest female star since Trish Stratus.
With Charlotte now a two-time NXT Women’s Champion, what exactly does this mean for NXT going forward? Will it be somewhat of an undoing of the progress made by the NXT Women’s divison? Or will this only improve the already high standards of their roster?
Of course this isn’t the first time a main roster superstar has made the jump back down to Full Sail University. Mainstays like Finn Balor, Tyler Breeze and Fandango have all made a ballsy career move to take their services back to the black and gold brand, and more power to them. So far, all three of the aforementioned stars have regained stock, competing in hot, fresh feuds that have renewed fan’s investment in their characters. Charlotte could be another superstar to reap the benefits of freshening up her act and competing in a new field of competition.
There is a wide variety of talent that have yet to tangle with ‘The Queen’. Io Shirai, Candice LaRae, Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai have all been putting in the work as part of the Women’s roster, with little in the way of championship recognition to their name just yet. Some have been producing some strong match of the night candidates, proving that they are all individually capable of stepping up into championship calibre matches.
Bringing an experienced veteran like Charlotte Flair back to Full Sail to perform in these championship matches will do nothing but favours for her opponents. Even in defeat, they’ll get a huge rub just for sharing a ring with a decorated superstar like Charlotte. Vice versa, Flair will also reap the benefits of having her very best self brought out once again by superstars willing to go the extra mile to put on a great match. Flair might have been guilty of becoming a little too comfortable with her main-roster style, which evidently neuters a performer with very limiting match structures.
You can already see the effect performing in NXT again has done on the likes of ‘Prince’ Finn Balor, his matches with Matt Riddle, Ilja Dragunov and Johnny Gargano have been some of his best of recent memory. Charlotte could certainly achieve the same level of success by bringing her services back home.
On the flip side though, Charlotte could hinder the momentum of even more female superstars than just Rhea Ripley. With Ripley supposedly forced to return to her home of Australia due to work visa issues, Flair will return without a strong contender to her title. As of writing, the NXT Women’s ladder match has yet to take place, but presumably whoever walks away with the number one contenders spot will be a viable option for Charlotte’s first opponent.
Someone like Io Shirai could definitely hold a candle to ‘The Queen’. Ever a popular star with the NXT audience and potentially their biggest babyface star now that Bianca Belair has been called up to the main roster, ‘The Joshi Judas’ could easily start to ride with the popularity and pose a threat to Flair’s newfound reign.
Where this would likely be an incredible first match back for Charlotte Flair, if Flair did once again walk away with the victory, this would kill off any momentum Io would have to her name, halting the star-making process for yet another female star. This could be an ongoing issue while Charlotte holds onto the NXT Women’s Championship, and something which could be the undoing of a very strongly build division.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens with ‘The Queen’ now taking up residence in NXT. Whether this is a good business move or not, it could very well be a reason behind plenty of new eyes being brought to the product and a spike in TV ratings in the war against AEW’s Dynamite.
What are your thoughts on Charlotte Flair as NXT Women’s Champion? Let us know in the comments section.
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