Yea, sue me, but I hate the b*tch. She's more annoying than even Sakura or the "hime" character in Flame of Recca (which I consider the series most like Bleach) was. She's arrogant, useless, and a nag, how much worse can you get? Her getting stronger merely amplifies her irritating qualities, since generally these characters are allowed to fade into the background and just take up space and look cute. Oh, did I mention that her self-loathing really got on my nerves during the Soul Society arc?I can't believe you put Rukia's status that low. She is the closest to him than anybody else, she is the only one Ichigo has spoken to about what happen with his mother. He didn't even tell Tatsuki who he's known longer than anybody else. Tatsuki told Orihime. YOu can't deny that Rukia is BLEACH's first lady. It's only fitting that she gets stronger. Bleach world revolves around Ichigo and Rukia. she has to get stronger, at least stronger than any other Ichigo's friends.
Besides, as far as Ichigo's friends go, Ishida is by far the strongest, and Orihime probably has the second highest potential if foreshadowing is any indicator. After that would come Rukia/Chad, order unknown.