After a brief appearance at the 2023 Royal Rumble, Nia Jax returned on Monday Night Raw and made quite a statement. Jax spoiled Raquel Rodriguez's shot at beating Rhea Ripley and then beat down Ripley shortly after the Women's World Champion's victory. Jax seemingly made it clear she's ready to take control of the women's division once again, but I'm worried about the plans to bring her into a feud with Ripley.
While it's exciting to see another former champion return to Monday Night Raw, I do wonder if now is the right time for Nia Jax. Is the WWE making the right call bringing her back so soon, or is it too premature to immediately put her in the mix with a Rhea Ripley feud?
Nia Jax Is The Immovable Object To Rhea's Unstoppable Force, And Should Be Given A Bigger Spotlight
I should start by saying that I don't believe that it's a bad idea to have Nia Jax feud with Rhea Ripley. To this point, Ripley has mowed through a few of the heavy hitters on the WWE roster since her decisive win over Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39. This has led to her latest feud with Raquel Rodriguez, who hasn't proven to be much of a challenge. To be fair, Rodriguez was injured for the bulk of this feud, and Jax interrupted her best chance at beating Ripley to date.
One of the recurring themes in Rhea Ripley's booking is that there are several women superstars talented enough to beat her, but Ripley is just too strong. She can take a punishment, and even when she's on the ropes, she'll find the strength to overpower her opponent and put them down. Ripley has made up for any shortcomings in her wrestling with sheer size and strength.
That won't work with Nia Jax, who, on paper, overpowers Rhea Ripley in those categories. What's more is that Jax, for better or worse, has a reputation with fans for being a "stiff" working wrestler. This reputation was partly gained due to an in-ring altercation with former champion Charlotte Flair that had fans talking, even though Jax later showed they were on good terms. Other incidents included breaking Becky Lynch's nose after an errant punch, as well as injuring former WWE star Kairi Sane during a match in 2020.
Nia Jax likely doesn't appreciate fan suggestions that she's an unsafe worker, but that reputation adds real drama to an impending feud with Rhea Ripley. This is the women's division equivalent to Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant, and a booking like that deserves nothing less than WrestleMania 40. To do this match at an upcoming WWE event in the near future is, in my eyes, a total waste.
Ripley was already sidelined at SummerSlam and deserves a big match that will draw eyes. A showdown against Jax does that and should happen on the grandest stage of them all. Every great superstar should have that match where they're up against an immovable object, and this is the perfect time for Ripley to check that off her list in her career.
What Can The WWE Do With Nia Jax While Waiting For WrestleMania 40?
This might be the plan already, but I think the WWE should work on building Nia Jax back up since she hasn't been around since her release in 2021. Her Monday Night Raw appearance set the stage for a feud with Raquel Rodriguez that would greatly benefit both superstars at this time.
Raquel Rodriguez certainly has superstar potential on the main roster, but I think it's fair to say fans haven't seen much of her character work. For roughly the past year, Rodriguez hasn't done much but show up in the ring, flex her back muscles for the crowd and then win some tough matches. There's no denying she has some skills in the ring, but there's no evidence that she has charisma and can cut a solid promo.
If the plan was for Nia Jax to face Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania, then it wouldn't make much sense for Jax to lose a feud with Rodriguez. With that said, Rodriguez can use the feud to show the WWE powers-that-be that she can be more than the strong supporting character with back muscles, which is what she largely did during her brief tag-team championship runs with Liv Morgan. Since there's still no word on Morgan's status following injury rumors, a feud like this would give Rodriguez the television time to put herself over on Monday Night Raw.
A feud like this could also be a proving ground for Nia Jax, who, as previously mentioned, faced criticism from fans and pundits for being an unsafe performer. While wrestlers like Asuka have openly disputed this claim, at this point, it feels like there are fans who will need to see Jax go through a feud and prove that she's capable of being entertaining in matches while also protecting her opponents behind the scenes. It can be fun when pro wrestling feels real, but I don't think anyone wants to see superstars like Rhea Ripley and Rodriguez seriously injured at the expense of entertainment.
While others may have concerns about the return of Nia Jax to the WWE for other reasons, my only concern is that it's too soon to pit her against Rhea Ripley. The only caveat with that statement is if Ripley is going to lose the title before WrestleMania 40 it makes sense to have Jax feud now. Given we're in an era where everyone is seemingly a long-term champion, I don't see that happening. The Judgment Day is still red hot in the company, and as long as they are, I would expect "Mami" to stay at the top of the women's division for the foreseeable future.
For now, it would appear that Nia Jax is going to be a fixture on Monday Night Raw, which airs on USA Network Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. With WrestleMania season kicking off in January, now is a great time to catch up on anything you've missed with a Peacock Premium subscription, or just to check out Jax's past work before she was released.