Earlier this year Rhea Ripley made history after becoming the first Australian to win a Royal Rumble match. The former WWE Raw Women’s Champion will now challenge Charlotte Flair for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania. The former Riot City Wrestling Women’s champion (Demi Bennett) spoke with news.com.au about blazing a trail for Australian wrestlers in the WWE, gaining fame and working with John Cena.
“I definitely hope it’s helping put Australian wrestling on the map because there are so many fantastic athletes down in Australia that really deserve the spotlight and deserve to be over here.”
“I’m hoping I can help pave the way a little just like Emma, Buddy Murphy, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay paved the way for me.”
“For me, it’s really special to be able to make Australian wrestling history. That’s really cool.”
Ripley on being recognised in public by fans..
“It’s a little bit crazy sometimes to be honest,” said Ripley, who is dating Bobby Murphy, another pro Australian wrestler.”
“It’s weird because some days no one knows who I am and I love it. I get to walk through the shops and just be myself. But then some days it’s just craziness. I’m like, ‘Wow everyone at this shopping centre knows who I am. I feel like I’ve been stopped six times in the last 10 minutes.”
“It’s really cool to know I’m on this sort of platform that does reach so many people because it helps me get the messages out that I want to get out for everyone. Like being confident in their own skin, loving themselves for themselves and all that stuff I really stand by.”
“It’s just not the wrestling side that’s cool, but having the platform to help people improve their lives as well is the main reason why I love social media.”
Rhea on working with John Cena on a Wrestlemania promotion…
“They were like, ‘Do you want to do Stranger Things?’ Absolutely. I love Stranger Things. I’ll be Eleven, she’s the coolest character ever. Who wouldn’t want to be Eleven?
“Going there on the day and actually getting to do it all. It was such a fun experience. It was so wild and to see it all come together, what we ended up making that day. I love it so much. “It’s definitely a vignette I’ve proudly shown a lot of people because it is so epic.”
“And then to have John Cena’s voice over it was another really cool moment for me. “Watching him growing up and knowing that he knows who I am is cool.”
WWE Wrestlemania is LIVE across Australia this Sunday & Monday on Kayo, Binge and Foxtel. 10am (AEST)