Rhea Ripley is set to square off with Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 37.
The bout was made official last Monday on WWE Raw, but a large cloud named Charlotte Flair looms over the bout.
Charlotte announced on social media that she has been off television after testing positive for COVID-19, but prior to her removal, she was being positioned as a potential challenger for Asuka at WrestleMania 37.
Speaking to Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post, Ripley commented on Charlotte potentially being added to the match.
"I’d be down for the match if she got added, but also in a selfish way I really want to have a one-on-one match with Asuka. It’s something that I’ve wanted for a long, long time. I’ve always wanted to step in the ring with Asuka and we haven’t had a one-on-one match ever. So I think there is that it factor that everyone is really excited about. If Charlotte gets added to the match, I’m still not going to complain. It’s still going to be a fantastic match and it’s going to be a fantastic story. So I guess we will just see what happens. She always has her way, like you said, she’ll probably end up in it but that’s not my call to make. So I’ll be happy either way. I’m just happy to have a match at WrestleMania and I think it’s still gonna be great whether it has Charlotte in it or not," she said.
It is unknown when Charlotte will return to WWE television following her positive COVID-19 test. Flair defeated Ripley at WrestleMania 36 to win the NXT Women's Championship.
When asked what intrigues her about the match with Asuka, Ripley replied, "A lot of things really. I remember when I was 17 I went to Japan for a three-month tour and I was actually on one of the same shows as Asuka. I don’t think she remembers me at all from it, but I really do remember her. I thought she was super cool looking and I loved the way that she wrestled. I’ve watched her since she started in NXT since she had that (win) streak going. I wanted to be the one to break it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t (Laughs). I’ve always had that intrigue in wrestling Asuka. I feel like this match is definitely going to be a very hard-hitting match and it’s going to bring things out of me — and hopefully her — that we haven’t seen before because it is a new challenge. We wrestle very differently and somewhat still the same. So I’m very excited to put on a great match for everyone."
Ripley and Asuka are set to sign the contract for their WrestleMania 37 bout on the March 29 episode of WWE Raw.
Fightful will have live coverage of WWE Raw beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday.