A lot has been said, written, and discussed about how cool it would be to see Zelina Vega win a match against Rhea Ripley at Backlash in Puerto Rico to become the new SmackDown Women’s Champion. It would be a full-circle moment from the Superstar of Puerto Rican decent, would legitimize her as a top-tier singles star, and create a new star in WWE’s women’s division, which has been largely headlined by the same half-dozen or so women over the last half-decade.
Unfortunately for Vega, for that to happen, she would actually have to secure a win over Ripley, which is a whole lot easier said than done.
Taking the ring as the middle match of the seven contest card, Vega attempted to stay one step ahead of Ripley during the match, her strategy coming into the show, but unfortunately, as she predicted beforehand, all it takes is one mistake and three seconds for Ripley to retain her championship, and retain she did, falling victim to the Rip-Tide after surviving an attempted 619 from her much smaller opponent.
But hey, just because Vega found herself on the wrong side of the pin doesn’t mean she lost the match per se; the fans cheered Vega on like a national hero before the match and cheered her on to an incredible degree at the end of the match, leaving the long-time manager in tears due to the incredible love displayed from nearly 18,000 of her friends, family members, and countrymen. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a pretty sweet Backlash consolation prize.
The way we see it, @ZelinaVegaWWE is already a winner. #WWEBacklash pic.twitter.com/P8ux3re6HB
— WWE (@WWE) May 7, 2023
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