Raquel Rodriguez is a force to be reckoned with, proven time and time again. With her 6-foot height and superior strength, Rodriguez has brought down anyone in her way with a smile.
Rodriguez was born in La Feria, Texas (near the Mexican border) on January 12, 1991, to Ricky “Desperado” Gonzalez. Standing at a towering height of 6 feet, Rodriquez played basketball throughout her high school and college years, including at Texas A&M and Sam Houston State University.
“When I graduated college, I told myself I can continue to play basketball, continue trying to be on some travelling leagues, or go play overseas, or I can continue with my degree which was in broadcast journalism,” Rodriguez once said on The Zaslow Show. “Part of me was like, if I’m going to try and become a WWE superstar, this is my moment and my time.” (h/t Sportskeeda)
Rodriguez joined with WWE in October 2016 and made her in-ring debut in January 2017 at an NXT Live event. She made her debut TV appearance in May in a Battle Royal to determine the NXT Women’s Championship contender but was eliminated. In 2017 and 2018, she was eliminated in the first round by Nicole Savoy and Kacy Catanzaro.
Rodriguez didn’t have much luck early in her career, but she found an ally in Dakota Kai. In 2020, she sent Tegan Nox through a table at NXT: TakeOver Portland, allowing Kai to pin her. From then on, she became Kai’s bodyguard and helped her rack up wins. Rodriguez and Kai then set their sights on then-NXT Women’s Championship, Io Shirai.
On August 22, Rhea Ripley prevented Rodriguez from interfering with Kai’s championship battle. The conflict raged for months. She defeated Ripley in a Last Woman Standing match at New Year’s Evil 2021.
Rodriguez won her first title with Kai on March 3. Rodriguez won the NXT Women’s Championship from Io Shirai at Stand & Deliver in April. Kai attacked her in July after she went well. She held the title for over 200 days until losing it to Toxic Attraction’s Mandy Rose. Kai ultimately found Rodriguez and they won the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles from Toxic Attraction (but would lose them two days later).
Rodriguez debuted on SmackDown on April 8 after this loss. Later that month, she debuted against a local opponent and contended for the Money In The Bank briefcase. While she lost that match, she won the tournament to crown new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions with Aliyah.