Rhea Ripley def. Shayna Baszler to become the new NXT Women’s Champion
Move over, Shayna Baszler — there’s a new queen atop the NXT Women’s division.
Rhea Ripley showed championship mettle, overcoming severe damage to her arm, outside interference from Baszler’s fellow MMA Four Horsewomen and the throes of the Kirifuda Clutch to defeat Baszler to win the NXT Women’s Title.
An early mistake seemed like it would prove insurmountable for The Nightmare when Baszler viciously stomped Ripley’s left arm on the steel steps, appearing to hyperextend it. From there, The Submission Magician demonstrated the familiar, surgical joint manipulation that has fueled her dominance of the NXT Women’s division for the better part of two years.
Ripley favored the arm more and more as the match progressed, at one point even fighting off a doctor who arrived at ringside to try to administer medical attention.
Then she had to contend with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke briefly attacking on the outside while the official was occupied with Baszler in the ring. Baszler’s henchwomen were ejected but had already inflicted significant damage.
The Nightmare rallied with a dropkick that sent Baszler crashing into the referee — and left him unable to count the champion’s shoulders down after she was dropped with the Riptide. Using the lawless opportunity to introduce a steel chair into the equation, Baszler spiked her opponent into it with a devastating DDT — but Ripley got her shoulder up before the count of three.
That seemingly only delayed the inevitable, though, as Baszler next locked Ripley into the feared Kirifuda Clutch for what seemed like an eternity. Ripley appeared to lose consciousness, prompting the referee to raise her arm — only for The Nightmare to defiantly grab the official’s collar, refusing to fold.
Miraculously rolling backward out of Baszler’s clutches, Ripley found her feet and unleashed a barrage of stomps on Baszler’s face. Even then, The Queen of Spades answered with a step-up knee strike to Ripley in the corner.
But it was Baszler’s hubris — not a physical mistake — that spelled her demise. With Baszler taking far too long to talk trash in Ripley’s face, the challenger struck her with a headbutt and followed with a gargantuan Riptide from the second rope to secure the victory and the NXT Women’s Title
Members of the NXT locker room and the Full Sail audience filled the ring to lift Ripley atop their shoulders, celebrating their new champion.
Having written off her defeat to Ripley at TakeOver: WarGames last month as a fluke, Baszler’s nightmare became a reality — and her 416-day reign was over.