Charlotte Flair insists "there’s bigger things ahead for Rhea Ripley in WWE"

Charlotte Flair says there are 'bigger things ahead' for Rhea Ripley after capturing the NXT women's title from her rival at WrestleMania 36.

Despite the emotional and logistical challenges that this year's Mania faced, the 'Queen of WWE' was able to focus on business as usual.

Flair, 34, defeated 23-year-old Rhea Ripley, and became a two-time NXT women's champion, after more than 20 minutes of hard-hitting and compelling action.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the annual 'Show of Shows' took place inside WWE's Performance Center, in Orlando, Florida on a closed set without the usual passionate audience.

But the lack of a crowd didn't stop the company's talented superstars from delivering – none more so than Flair and Ripley, with their 'match of the weekend' effort.

Speaking to Mirror Sport's Scott Felstead, Flair, from Charlotte, North Carolina, reflected on how she felt going into the match and her thoughts on the overwhelmingly positive reaction that it received.

She said: "I try not to read too much into what people think because one day people are happy, and one day they are not, but in terms of knowing or hearing that people enjoyed what we did, it's such a gratifying feeling, knowing that people were entertained.

"But I think the biggest compliment, and it was my ultimate goal, was when people said 'I forgot' that there wasn't an audience while watching Charlotte versus Rhea. That's exactly what I wanted to do and that's exactly what we did. [Fans] were that captivated by the storytelling and the aggression."

At the 2019 Royal Rumble, Ripley made a surprise appearance and was able to eliminate three opponents, causing fans to sit up and take notice of her talent.

Last August, the young Australian defeated Shayna Baszler and became the first woman to have held both the NXT UK and NXT women's championships.

Re-live night two of WrestleMania 36 with our live blog recap

There's no doubt that Ripley had gathered serious momentum going into her WrestleMania title defence with Charlotte, a competitor considered by many to be the best female wrestler on the planet.

And, while that momentum was halted by a loss last weekend, the new champ still sees big things ahead for her rival.

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She said: "I always thought very highly of Rhea, but I think that watching her perform under pressure is what I took away, because I know that I'm a 'pressure player', meaning I perform probably almost better under pressure, and that's exactly what she did.

"Rhea rose to the occasion and that lets me know that wherever her journey goes, she is going to succeed because she showed up to the occasion and that's sometimes the hardest thing to do.

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