Rhea Ripley defeated Toni Storm at the WWE Worlds Collide event in Houston on Saturday night to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Ripley and Storm have been rivals for much of their time together in WWE, so it was only fitting that they clashed at an event meant to pit the best of NXT and NXT UK against each other.
Both Ripley and Storm reached the semifinals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic, which Storm went on to win with a victory over Io Shirai in the finals. Storm was seemingly on the fast track to the top at that point, but Ripley stood in her way.
Ripley and Storm met in the finals of a tournament to crown the first-ever NXT UK Women’s champion, and while Storm was the favorite to win, her Aussie rival prevailed.
Following a 139-day reign, Storm finally got revenge on Ripley when she defeated her at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool in January 2019 to win the title.
After dropping the championship to Storm, Ripley started to transition to NXT, and she slowly worked her way to the top of the brand. The past few months have been especially crucial in launching Ripley to superstardom.
During Survivor Series weekend, Ripley and her team beat the team of Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Kay Lee Ray and Shirai in the first-ever women’s WarGames match despite the fact that Ripley and Candice LeRae faced a four-on-two disadvantage. The next night, Ripley captained the NXT team to a win over Raw and SmackDown in the five-on-five-on-five elimination match at Survivor Series.
That set Ripley up to challenge Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship, and she ended Baszler’s 416-day reign on Dec. 18.
On a recent episode of NXT, Storm interrupted a Ripley promo and challenged her to a title match at Worlds Collide. The New Zealand native vowed to bring the NXT UK Women’s title with her as well, but she fell short in a Triple Threat match against Ray and Piper Niven at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II.
The match still went on as scheduled Saturday, and Ripley put another feather in her cap by managing to retain against one of her greatest rivals.
With Ripley still holding the NXT Women’s Championship, it paves the way for her to face Belair next month at NXT TakeOver: Portland after Belair recently won a Battle Royal to become the No. 1 contender.