Rhea Ripley has risen to become one of the most prominent female talents in the WWE, having won gold in NXT UK, NXT, and WWE Raw. Ripley claims she came close to being sacked from WWE NXT multiple times before altering her appearance.
Rhea said, “A lot of things really. It was sort of the whole year between the Mae Young Classic I and II. I went through a lot mentally behind the scenes. I was having trouble at home. I was having trouble at work. I hated myself. I was very mentally weak at that time. I just didn’t feel like I was good enough. I was constantly being told that I wasn’t good enough and I had to do something to improve it.”
“I was on the chopping block a couple of times and nearly got booted,” she continued. “I just had a lot going on and I was very down. I want to say, at that six-month period, I was like, ‘You know what? Stop this. I don’t care what anybody thinks about me. All they’re going to do is judge me anyway.’”
“I had to change my mental game completely. I started going to a gym which is the first gym I’ve ever signed up for. I was terrified. I don’t like being around people, so I was absolutely terrified.”
“We have this thing called car wash where you take photos and videos leading up to the Mae Young Classic so we can get all the footage we need. I rocked up in this new gear. I got my haircut of course. Every one of the coaches was like, ‘What’s this?’ I said, ‘The new Rhea Ripley.’ They were like ‘Okay.’ I knew that okay was like, ‘This is your a**. If it doesn’t work…’ I didn’t care. This was my one shot. This was the one opportunity that I have to take and I have to do it my way. If it works, it works, and I can shove it in their faces. If it doesn’t, then I’ll leave myself.”
Ripley performed in the first two Mae Young Classic tournaments and, throughout the years, has modified her appearance from having long blonde hair and normal wrestling attire to the image that spectators see now. Rhea Ripley spoke on the My Love Letter To Wrestling podcast with Mark Andrews to discuss her time in the WWE up to this point and her future plans.
On the subject of her ideal WrestleMania opponent, Ripley shared her thoughts. As a follow-up, Ripley revealed not just the opponent, but also where she would want the bout to take place and what title she would like to compete in as well.
“I say this all the time, but I want to wrestle Beth Phoenix,” Ripley revealed. “I really do and if it was her that was holding, let’s say the Smackdown Women’s Championship because that’s one that I haven’t got yet. If it was me and Beth Phoenix for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in Adelaide, South Australia, dude, that would be absolutely incredible.
“And then if I were to win like, that would just top it off as well because then I would be the first person to hold the NXT UK, the NXT Women’s Championship, the bloody Raw, the Team Team, and the Smackdown Championships.”
Ripley was asked whether she was proud of becoming the first-ever WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion, and she responded affirmatively, stating that she is very proud of her accomplishment.
“I do, I really, really do,” Ripley said. “And I’m proud that I got to be a part of that brand and like help sort of building it in a way as well. But yeah, being the first person to be the NXT UK Women’s Champion, it was a lot of pressure. But I felt like Hunter and Shawn sort of trusted me with that and that was a different sort of pride that I had in myself as well. And if I could go back and have another crack at it, I would.”
The WWE Women’s Championship, the NXT Women’s Championship, the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships with former partner Nikki A.S.H., and the WWE RAW Women’s Championship have all been won by Rhea Ripley throughout her professional wrestling career. The questioner inquired as to which championship win meant the most to her.
“It’s really tough to choose,” Ripley said. “They’re all so incredible and prestigious and you just, you feel so special when you do hold a championship; like you feel like you’re accomplishing so much. I think that for me, personally, the build of the NXT Women’s Championship was my all-time favorite. Being in the ring with Shayna, like, I can’t top that. Yes, I did win the Raw Women’s Championship from Asuka at WrestleMania and I had the band and everything and all the people and that was really, really cool as it was. But I think that the NXT one and having the crowd come in afterward and have like, my own little mosh pit and everything up to that moment was just so perfect and that makes it probably my top one to be completely honest.”
Could you see Rhea and Beth in a match in the near future at a WrestleMania event?