Akira Tozawa & Rhea Ripley Crack Intergender Wrestling Door Open For WWE – Trending News

Akira Tozawa & Rhea Ripley Crack Intergender Wrestling Door Open For WWE

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WWE didn’t break new ground by having Akira Tozawa & Rhea Ripley wrestle on Raw, but it could be a sign of things to come for the Judgment Day member.


WWE Raw featured a handful of surprises, but none were more significant than Rhea Ripley’s impromptu match against Akira Tozawa. The show opened with a bout between the Street Profits and the tandem of Finn Balor and Damian Priest. Tozawa accompanied Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford to the ring, while Ripley and Dominik Mysterio rounded out the Judgment Day quartet. In the closing moments of that tag-team tilt, Tozawa spits a liquid implied to be a hard liqueur into Mysterio’s eyes, infuriating Ripley. Rhea challenged Akira to a match in response, and WWE, somewhat shockingly, made it official and rang the bell.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

Intergender wrestling isn’t a concept that WWE has worked with extensively. On a base level, that makes sense. WWE is a publicly-traded company, and the optics of a man hitting a woman, wrestling match or not, on live TV aren’t good. Ripley Vs. Tozawa was a rare spot where a match between a guy and a girl made sense, and it could indicate that Triple H is testing the waters for fights like this moving forward. The Game knows better than anyone what a solid intergender match can do to build a star’s credibility. He put Rhonda Rousey over big time at WrestleMania 34 and got a front-row seat to Chyna beating men during the Attitude Era. It’s not a tool that should be used a ton, but intergender bouts have a home in WWE, given the proper booking and matchup. Ripley vs. Tozawa worked in both regards, and The Eradicator looked even stronger after the short match.

Related: John Cena Returning To Tag With Kevin Owens Completes WWE’s Circle Of Life


Rhea Ripley’s Intergender Match Creates Interesting Story Opportunities

Rhea Ripley delivers a crushing blow to Akira Tozawa during their match on WWE Raw in 2022.

Rhea Ripley wrestling and beating men from WWE’s midcard makes Judgment Day look even more formidable. The Australian native has been the faction’s enforcer since Edge founded the group, and that hasn’t changed over the last several months. Whenever Balor, Mysterio, or Damian Priest are in a match, fans know that Rhea will be a factor. However, that “you wouldn’t hit a girl, would you?” angle has played itself out throughout Judgment Day’s feuds with the Mysterios and The OC. Too many of the group’s matches ended with some tomfoolery from Ripley. The storylines weren’t particularly engaging because there was no chance Rhea would face the consequences of her actions until another woman got involved.

The OC went out and got Mia Yim as their solution to the Ripley problem, but that isn’t a long-term solution. Every faction can’t magically add a female to deal with the 5-foot-7 powerhouse when feuding with Judgment Day. The intergender match against Tozawa opens up the possibility for other men on the roster to deal with Ripley physically. Again, those angles need to be approached with care, but suddenly Rhea Ripley taking a backdrop or suplex on the outside from an opposing male doesn’t seem impossible. And that makes Judgment Day’s future feuds infinitely more interesting. The positive reception to a sub-five-minute match could also open the door for other females on WWE’s roster.

Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey & Others Could See Intergender Matches Now

This win made Ripley look like a million bucks, Tozawa’s botches aside. The 26-year-old is far from the only badass woman on WWE’s roster who could have stellar matches with some of the company’s smaller midcard males, however. Professional wrestlers have gotten smaller over the last decade. Every guy signed to the company isn’t a mountain anymore. So what’s preventing WWE from having intergender matches featuring the likes of Johnny Gargano, Chad Gable, or Mustafa Ali against Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, or Shayna Baszler?

To reiterate: the storylines need to make sense, and it’s not a card that WWE should play frequently. There are diminishing returns to consider, as the more fans are exposed to something, the less the impact will be. That’s why Tozawa Vs. Ripley was a massive talking point following a Raw that saw The Bloodline invade, Bronson Reed return, and The Usos lose to Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins. The red brand was loaded with Triple H’s trademark “happenings,” but Tozawa losing to Ripley might be the most important and far-reaching of them all.

How WWE treats Tozawa in storyline following this loss will be incredibly telling. If the Street Profits and other superstars devalue him on television because he “lost to a girl,” it takes away Ripley’s shine and makes this match pointless. Instead, Ford and Dawkins should be telling Akira that there’s nothing wrong with losing to a woman like Ripley. Their backstage promo following the match was a good start. That tone normalizes the loss for both wrestlers backstage and fans at home. It took WWE several years to recondition its audience to take women’s wrestling seriously. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, and Asuka kicked that door down. Ripley might be in the process of doing the same thing for intergender wrestling in WWE following her match against Tozawa on Monday night.

Next: Is WWE Right!? Has Sasha Banks Actually Peaked As A Wrestling Star?

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