Ahead of the Money in the Bank event, we spoke with one of the fastest rising stars in the WWE, Rhea Ripley.
Since making her sensational main roster debut, the former NXT Women’s Champion has been impressive.
Ripley has continued a long-running feud with Charlotte Flair, which looks set to come to a head this Sunday.
When asked about her debut run, Ripley said in an exclusive interview with The South African: “Yeah, I mean, I feel like it’s been a pretty good run so far. I didn’t expect it to be so perfect, like from the get go where I just like, arrived in challenge Asuka and won the Raw Women’s championship. But I think that’s pretty cool. And that’s going to be an epic story for me later on, in life to tell. But yeah, my time at Raw has been so insane. It’s just been such a learning curve as well. Like, it’s so different. And I never really realised how different it was until I got there. It’s a lot more busy. And just, I want to say stressful as well. Like, I feel like I’ve got so much pressure on my shoulders, especially because I came in and I was the new girl I know I am rolling and champion. And I really got to live up to that and prove to everyone why I deserve the spotlight. So it’s been a wild ride.”
Ripley said that the return of fans for Money in the Bank is something the entire roster has been working towards and everyone is excited for.
WWE returned to the road for this week’s episode of Smackdown having aired their final Thunderdome programme on Monday Night.
“I’m sort of just taking it day by day, but I am very excited to have a crowd back in attendance. It’s something that we’ve been working towards for a long time now. And having that little taste of a live crowd at WrestleMania was so amazing, we’ve missed them so much. And to go into money in the bank and have the live crowd and know that it’s not gonna stop after that. Like I’m very, very excited to see how it’s all gonna go.
“I’m just I’m super, super excited to pretty much just have the crowd back in and feel that electrifying experience that you get, and all that adrenaline that you get and just connect to people on the different level where they’re actually there. And you can like see them and see their excitement and hear their true excitement. And I’m just, I’m really pumped for it. I really am.”
As for prospective opponents, Ripley said that she has a long list of matches she is eager to put on, but on top of her list is a match against fellow NXT superstar Candice LeRae, while on the Red Brand, she feels Alexa Bliss will offer a different challenge and one that the Nightmare is keen to overcome.
“Yeah, I mean, I have a lot of matches that I want to do. Like I never got to wrestle Candice, which is someone that I wanted to wrestle real badly. So I’m hoping that one day I get to wrestle Candice, I can’t wait for more of my NXT girls to come up so I can have more fights with them. Because it’s always lovely stepping in the ring with them. And we bring out that certain side of each other, we just know each other so well. So it really is a fight to win. That out of the people that have here at the moment like I actually, even though she’s creepy, and you never really know what you’re gonna get from her, I wouldn’t mind stepping in the ring with Alexa Bliss. I know. I might regret what I’m saying right now. But she’s just so different. And I like different. And I like a challenge. And she definitely is a challenge. So Alexa Bliss will be someone that I’m curious of, and I just I wouldn’t mind stepping in the right with.”
WWE had to cancel a planned trip to South Africa in 2020, but they will return to our shores at some point in the future, something Ripley is looking forward to.
“Yeah, of course, I would love to come to South Africa one day, I think it would be incredible. But I’m so excited that we’re starting to travel again because I get to go to all these new places that I haven’t been and meet all these new people that I’ve never seen before and they’ve never met me and I’m just I’m so happy with WWE and my job is I get to connect with people from all around the world. And that’s something that I really missed in the last year and a half. So getting back on the road and travelling and meeting new people I’m very, very excited for.”
Ripley has a heavy entrance music track, and opened up on the process of putting her theme together.
She says that she was thrilled to have Ash Costello of New Years Day fame lay down the vocals for what is one of the hardest rocking entrances in the WWE right now.
“I actually got a fair bit of say, in my music, which was really cool. I chose my last few songs in the Mae Young Classics. I chose both of them. And then I couldn’t keep using Final Straw.
“So the music guys a, they put it all together and they’re like, what do you want in a song I was like, I want something like final straw because it was just such a good song. I really loved it. And it really revved me up I really need a song that revs me up and gets me in my groove and gets me ready to step out on stage. And I asked him to have like sort of the similar beats in it. And they ended up sending me the first copy, which had Ash Costello sing it, and I didn’t even ask for her to sing it. And I thought it was super cool that they got her because I’ve been listening to New Year’s Day for so long now. And she’s just absolutely incredible. So I’m very thankful that they asked her to do my music, but there was a few different like copies that we did.
“And we were sort of back and forth on the process. And I was just like, I think I need like a scream here. So it got to the point where like, I actually had to record myself doing like a hardcore scream, which is awful, because I can’t do it. But I tried my best. And I did it for like the length that I needed to and like the tempo that I wanted. And then I was like, Can you put this in at like, this certain time. So I can do like my stomp here. So I had a fair bit of say, in my music, which was really, really cool. And I’m glad that I did because it really does help me like sort of, you know, get into my groove of things. And it was just it was a fun process. It was really fun. And like I said, I’m very happy that Ash Costello sings my song because she’s just absolutely incredible.”