Triple H had a plan for Rhea Ripley, and even though things changed, he believes Ripley will be stronger for it.
When Rhea Ripley lost the NXT Women's Championship at WrestleMania 36 to Charlotte Flair, many questioned the decision given how "hot" Ripley was at the time coming off 2019.
Triple H defended the decision to have Ripley lose, saying, "For me, that loss almost helps her as a character get to where she needs to be for the long-term arc of who she is."
At NXT TakeOver: In Your House, Io Shirai captured the NXT Women's Title in a triple threat match by pinning Ripley instead of Flair.
Following the show, Triple H said Flair not taking the pinfall was part of "long-term storytelling" and the "finish was done the way it was done for a very specific reason."
Ripley's role on NXT would be seen as lessened following In Your House and Flair never returned to the brand.
Speaking on a media call ahead of TakeOver: WarGames, Triple H was asked about the plans for Ripley and if they played out as expected.
"None of that plan exists....or was able....everything changed. I don't think anybody in that moment could have predicted. You go back to March and it seems like, in some ways, forever ago. If anyone would have said in March, 'In December, you're still going to be in lockdown and [COVID] will ramp up again and be arguably worse.' Everything is changing on a daily basis and it's hard to plan for next week, let alone next year or next month," he said.
Speaking specifically about Rhea and her confidence taking a hit, Triple H commented, "The one thing about Rhea, and her honesty is great, when you're young, it doesn't take much to rack your confidence. It doesn't take much to go from an incredible high to an incredible low and begin to question yourself and those things. That's part of maturing in any sport. It's all part of the process. I truly believe, long-term, it's all valuable things. Everyone wants immediate success and for things to go very smoothly to the end. There are no lessons in that or long-term value. There's no struggle or difficulties. You don't grow as a performer, it's just easy. It's all learning experiences. It's horrifying at the time, but you look back and go, 'Thank God that happened because if that didn't happen, this wouldn't have happened.' It's all part of the journey. When you're young, it's hard to say, 'think long-term.' You're young, long-term is the spring or three months from now. Long-term is five to ten years from now and when you think of things in that manner, those setbacks are valuable in getting you to places you need to go. The Rhea Ripley that I'm watching now is better than when she was on the high. She's a better performer, more mature, all of it, and it came through that process."
Triple H related it to his career, saying he went through his own growing pains early on as a performer, but it was all worth it in the end.
Ripley is back in a prominent spot this Sunday at NXT TakeOver: WarGames as she is part of Team Shotzi in their battle against Team Candice.
Fightful will have live coverage of NXT TakeOver: WarGames beginning at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
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