Rhea Ripley, aka ‘The Nightmare,’ on Winning the WWE ‘Raw’ Women’s Title
Rhea Ripley has had her revenge. After losing to Charlotte Flair at WWE‘s WrestleMania 36 back in March 2020, the 24-year-old Aussie, nicknamed “The Nightmare,” now proudly wears the Raw women’s title. It came after dethroning “The Empress of Tomorrow” Asuka at WrestleMania 37 before 25,000-plus socially distanced fans on April 11 (Night 2).
TV Insider checked in with the new champ soon after her victory to talk about her journey to the top, and what the future holds.
Congratulations on WrestleMania! How did it feel to be back in front of a live crowd?
Rhea Ripley: It was really special. Just being able to connect with the crowd and hearing what they like and don’t like, seeing their faces. It was the highlight of my career for sure.
What are your thoughts on working with Asuka and taking the proverbial torch from her?
Asuka is someone I’ve watched for a long time. When I was 17, I went to Japan and was actually on one of the same shows as Asuka. I thought she was absolutely amazing. At WrestleMania, it was finally my time to step in the ring with her. I think it showed I deserve to be here as a performer and a person.
Have you talked to your family back home in Australia about your win?
I haven’t been able to call them yet. I’ve seen their messages and heard their voice recordings. I know they’re super proud of me. I actually had my boyfriend there and a few people from NXT. They’re my extended family, so I’m so excited they were with me.
Is there anything you did to mark the occasion?
I got a sweet Triple H photo again. I got a sweet Triple H and Stephanie McMahon photo. I spent time with Ash Costello of New Years Day and the band who performed my entrance, and seeing their reaction, knowing how excited they were, it was so epic. After, I went back to my hotel and was so emotional, excited, and happy.
During Night 1 of WrestleMania, you were visibly emotional as Vince McMahon welcomed everyone to the show. What were you feeling?
It was crazy walking through the curtain and seeing the crowd and how excited they were. All my dreams were coming true. It was something I worked toward for a long time. I was trying to hold it all together, telling myself, “Don’t cry.” Then I looked over to Edge near me, and he had tears in his eyes. He nodded at me and winked. I just lost it. I could not hold it together. Then I saw this fan in the front saying, “Hey Rhea! You got this. You’re going to kill it” — giving me this pep talk. Next thing I know, I’m being shown on the big screen.
Is there any congratulatory message that stands out?
One of the big ones was talking to Vince McMahon afterward, hearing him say “well done” and that I did great. It was so surreal. It’s a dream, and I’m living it. To have the big bossman say well done was pretty insane to me.
A photo is making the rounds of you, Bianca Belair, and Raquel González. You all struck gold during WrestleMania week.
I found that photo and just posted it. Raquel had already won the NXT championship [at TakeOver on April 7] and thought, “Why don’t we make it a trifecta.” And it ended up happening. We’re here now and taking over. I actually got teary watching Bianca wrestle and become SmackDown women’s champion. I knew I had to bring it for my match. I was the only one without a championship out of us three, and then I won. We’re definitely going to have to get an updated photo now.
Now that you’re on Raw, what’s your mindset?
I’m just excited about who wants to step up to the plate. I’m ready to fight anyone. I love a good challenge. Even if someone from SmackDown wants to come on down, I’d wrestle them too. I’m going to bring the brutality to Monday Night Raw.
In closing, tell me the best piece of advice you’ve received recently?
It was Paul Heyman who said to me, “You can stay humble, but don’t stay silent.” That really hit me because I’m a very humble person. I do my job and do what I’m told. Sometimes that isn’t the best way to do things. I will take that advice with me as I keep working.
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