Welcome to the Charlotte Flair show! WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday kicked off with a Triple Threat match for the Raw Women's Championship, with Rhea Ripley defending against Charlotte and Asuka. Charlotte wrestled the match wearing ring gear made from the pelts of 101 cute dalmatian puppies. Asuka and Ripley wore their usual outfits. The expectation from everyone going into this match was that Charlotte would walk out with the title, as she likely would have if Lacey Evans' pregnancy and an ill-timed positive coronavirus test hadn't messed up the original plans for WrestleMania.
Normally, the opening match would be responsible for heating up the crowd and setting the tone for all of WrestleMania Backlash. Luckily for WWE, the crowd noise is piped in, so they were really going wild for this one. In fairness, a real crowd would have enjoyed it too. Flair and Asuka are elite caliber performers and Ripley will likely be one day. Flair was suitable dominant, hitting all of her big spots and even a double Natural Selection and double pin attempt which, unfortunately, was not successful. But in a twist ending, Flair kicked Asuka in the face from the apron then waited patiently outside the ring while Ripley hit the Riptide and pinned Asuka.
It wasn't caught on camera, but the announcers explained that Asuka's face colliding with Charlotte's boot sent Charlotte off the apron. Charlotte looked angry after the match… was it because she lost, or because the timing of the ending was botched and made her look foolish? Either way, it was nice to see Ripley get the win and hold onto that belt a little bit longer. Keep checking back for more PPV coverage of WrestleMania Backlash here on Bleeding Cool.