Rhea Ripley will put her title on the line for the first time next week as she faces off with Isla Dawn. Sid Scala, the assistant to NXT UK General Manager Johnny Saint, announced the match in the second hour of this week’s double bill.
Rhea Ripley claimed the NXT UK Women’s title two weeks ago after defeating Toni Storm in a tournament to crown the inaugural champion. Isla Dawn also competed in the tournament, losing to Storm in the first round. But their clash was close-fought, with Dawn dominating Storm for most of the match. Dawn continued to build momentum in recent weeks, with impressive wins over Nina Samuels and Killer Kelly, before calling out Ripley.
Ripley and Dawn both participated in the Mae Young Classic earlier this year. Toni Storm won the tournament in an acclaimed match with Io Shirai at WWE’s first-ever all-women’s pay-per-view, Evolution. Former Shimmer Champion Nicole Matthews eliminated Dawn in the first round. Ripley advanced to the semi-finals after her quarter-final opponent, fellow NXT UK competitor Tegan Nox, suffered a devastating injury to her knee. Nox had been heavily tipped to win the tournament. Ripley was subsequently eliminated by Shirai.
The announcement was received with some confusion on social media. NXT UK has aired two episodes per week for the past several weeks, due to delays in bringing the show to air. Usually, the second hour describes events in the first as having taken place “last week”, reflecting the original planned airing order. Ripley and Dawn had a verbal confrontation in this week’s first hour, just after Dawn’s victory over Killer Kelly. But when the moment was replayed in this week’s second hour, the overlay graphic read “three weeks ago”.
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