On the recent Wrestling Observer Radio broadcast, Dave Meltzer mentioned that former NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley could debut on the main roster during the Royal Rumble PPV broadcast.
Meltzer stated: Rhea Ripley would be on the main roster. She was going to debut a couple of weeks ago and they postponed her debut for Royal Rumble. Rhea could be one of the surprise participants in the women’s battle royal and it would make sense if she won the Rumble.
The rumors of Ripley being promoted to the main roster has been a recurring theme for the past few months. Following her loss to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36, her name has been leaked multiple times as a possible superstar for RAW or SmackDown. On two weekly NXT shows, Rhea signaled a possible farewell: the first was when she lost a match against Io Shirai where both fighters showed mutual respect for each other. Then, on Ember Moon’s return to the black and gold mark, Moon raised Ripley’s arm and tearfully applauded her in the middle of the ring.
The last television appearance of the former NXT champion happened on the New Year’s Evil special where she lost to Raquel Gonzalez in a Last Woman Standing.