Is Rhea Ripley Leaving NXT?

Rhea Ripley fell short of winning back the NXT Women's Championship on this week's NXT, and speculation is starting to pop up that she might be moving on from the Black & Gold Brand. NXT has built up a tradition of sending off its biggest stars with one last great match, usually a loss. Ripley's potential exit fit that bill, as she lost an excellent championship match against Io Shirai and closed out by embracing her opponent.

Ripley started 2020 as NXT Women's Champion and became the first woman to defend the title at WrestleMania, taking on Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36. Unfortunately for her, "The Queen" wound up winning. Ripley never got a one-on-one rematch and Flair was quickly moved back to Raw after dropping the title to Shirai at NXT TakeOver: In Your House (where Shirai pinned Ripley in a triple threat). She then spent the bulk of the year in smaller feuds, first with Mercedes Martinez and the Robert Stone Brand and later with Raquel Gonzalez.

The latest Wrestling Observer Radio featured Dave Meltzer speculating over the idea of her going to either Raw or SmackDown.

"My impression is from watching [the match] is that Rhea is going to the main roster," Meltzer said (via WrestlingNews.co).

An easy way for Ripley to make the jump would be in one of the Survivor Series elimination tag matches. The women's match still hasn't been finalized, as SmackDown's team still has two opening. Given the talent currently on The Blue Brand — Sasha Banks, Bayley, Bianca Belair, Carmella — Ripley would fit right in with their division.

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Below is the full card for Survivor Series, as of Thursday afternoon:

  • WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
  • Men's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match: Team Raw (AJ Styles, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, Riddle) vs. Team SmackDown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins, TBD)
  • Women's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Lana, Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce) vs. Team SmackDown (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, TBD)
  • Raw Women's Champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks
  • United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
  • Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
  • The Undertaker's "Final Farewell" segment