Rhea Ripley Announces Which Champion She’ll Challenge at WrestleMania 39

Rhea Ripley announced on this week’s Monday Night Raw that she’ll challenge Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 39. Ripley won the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble on Saturday in San Antonio from the No. 1 spot, earning her a championship match of her choosing at WWE’s biggest event of the year. Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair seemed like the obvious choice given the rivalry she and Ripley had back in NXT, but Ripley was quick to point out her history with “The Queen.”

Back in 2020, Flair won the Women’s Royal Rumble. But instead of taking on either the Raw or SmackDown Women’s Champion, Ripley (then the NXT Women’s Champion) stepped forward and called out “The Queen.” Flair would go on to beat Ripley at WrestleMania 36 and her brief return to NXT would see her drop the Women’s Championship without Ripley ever getting her revenge.

Ripley hinted at her decision during the post-show press conference after the Royal Rumble — “I’m going to have a lot of thinking to do before WrestleMania. I’m very, very torn by this decision. I’ve stepped in the ring with Bianca many times and I’ve absolutely loved every second in the ring with her. I think we bring out a side in each other that not many people see and we really take each other to the absolute limit. But then again, it’s the same with Charlotte. She also holds the SmackDown Women’s Championship, so if I choose her I can not only beat her for the first time in a singles match which is something I really, really want to do, but I also become a Grand Slam Champion if I do.


“So I have a lot of thinking to do. I’ve got Bianca, someone I came up with in NXT and I have a lot to prove because she’s beaten me a lot of the time and I’ve beaten her. And we really want to prove who ‘The EST’ of WWE really is,” she added.