The Forgotten Champion

Photo Credit: WWE

Remember the name, Indi Hartwell.

Last Monday morning, I got to work and put the TV in my office on to ABC News Breakfast. I do this every morning, but this morning it was different.

You see, Wrestlemania 39 Night 1 was on the day before, and Australian wrestler Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s championship. The national broadcaster thought the story was big enough to talk about.

I was very excited; something that I watched as a kid that was teased mercilessly about because it was ‘Fake’ was having its time in the sun. Rhea Ripley has worked hard to get into the position she is in, and she is deservedly getting accolades in the media here at home. However, another Aussie wrestler, Indi Hartwell, also became a champion in the WWE.

Like they do every year, the day before Wrestlemania, the WWE’s developmental brand NXT held a show called Stand and Deliver. That night, Hartwell was one of six women in a ladder match for the NXT women’s championship.

In the lead-up to Stand and Deliver, if you watched NXT, you wouldn’t have thought they would keep the belt on the Champion Roxanne Perez or Tiffany Stratton. Hartwell didn’t look bad in the lead-up, but she lost to Stratton a few weeks before, her second loss to the former gymnast.

Hartwell had some help from her ‘ex-husband’ Dexter Lumis; she struggled to climb the ladder after a gruelling match, but I was over the moon when I saw that. The title win was the second time Hartwell had won a Championship in the brand; she was one-half of the NXT tag team Champions with Candice LaRae.

It is nice to see Triple H and the WWE brass put their faith in another Aussie, and even if she has it only for a short time, no one can take away the fact that she held the title in the world’s biggest wrestling promotion.

Hartwell successfully defended her title against Zoey Stark, another woman who had beaten her, this past week on NXT.




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