Rhea Ripley Beats Raquel Rodriguez to Retain WWE Women’s World Title at Payback 2023

Rhea Ripley Beats Raquel Rodriguez to Retain WWE Women’s World Title at Payback 2023
Mike Chiari@@mikechiariTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 3, 2023

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MAY 06: Rhea Ripley enters the ring during the WWE Backlash at Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot on May 06, 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.(Photo by Gladys Vega/ Getty Images)

Gladys Vega/ Getty Images

Rhea Ripley defeated Raquel Rodriguez to retain the Women’s World Championship at WWE Payback on Saturday.

The Australian hit Rodriguez with a Riptide for the win after her opponent had struck an interfering Dominik Mysterio with a powerslam.

Ripley was ready in waiting, though, and later used her finisher to retain her title.

For nearly two months, Ripley and Rodriguez have been embroiled in a bitter rivalry, stemming from the Judgment Day member essentially costing Rodriguez and Liv Morgan the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.

Prior to a title defense against Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville in July, Rodriguez and Morgan were attacked by Ripley. Raquel suffered a knee injury, and it led directly to Green and Deville winning the belts.

With Ripley on the shelf due to a knee ailment, Ripley focused her attention on Morgan and sent her to the injured list as well by trapping her arm inside a steel chair and stomping on it.

Despite not being cleared for in-ring competition, a furious Rodriguez tried to get revenge on Ripley in the weeks that followed, leading to multiple brawls between them.

A couple of weeks ago on Raw, Rodriguez emerged following a match between Ripley and Candice LeRae. She limped out on a crutch, but it was a ruse, as she tossed it away and took the fight to the Aussie.

Rodriguez revealed that she was officially cleared to wrestle again, and a title match between the two was booked for Payback.

While Ripley and Rodriguez are close friends in real life, they have had their fair share of intense in-ring battles against each other, dating back to their time together in NXT.

Both were NXT women’s champions, but individual success from NXT to the main roster translated more quickly for Ripley, who has been the dominant force in the women’s division.

Rodriguez is a multi-time tag team champion, but Payback represented one of her first major opportunities to win singles gold on the main roster.

Rodriguez became one of the first women to match the champion’s strength and physicality at Payback, but Ripley still found a way to continue her run as women’s world champion.

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