Rhea Ripley received her big break in WWE when she became the first NXT superstar to defend an NXT Championship at WrestleMania. The Aussie defended her NXT Championship against the Queen, Charlotte Flair, in a hellacious match. In an interview with Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory podcast, Ripley talked about her WrestleMania experience and the aftermath of her match with Flair.
“It’s funny because I was on Watch Along and I was watching the Royal Rumble and Charlotte won. And they turned to me, and they were like, ‘What do you think?‘ I said, ‘Well, she gets to challenge for any title, so I’d like to see her try me,'” said Ripley, who was shocked when she realised she just set her road to WrestleMania.
“It was exciting. I got my golden ticket pretty much from that, and man, even the WrestleMania [event] wasn’t what we expected it to be. It’s still WrestleMania, and it’s still a massive deal. Like yeah, there were no people in attendance, which sorta sucked, and my parents couldn’t be there, which sucked ’cause I wanted to share that with them.” (H/T WrestlingInc)
In spite of the unfortunate circumstances, Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair went on to have an amazing match. It ranks as one of the best women’s matches in the event’s history. Charlotte brutalized Ripley’s knee, while the NXT Champion used her explosive offence to shock the confident Queen.
“I definitely have gone through a stage where I started losing confidence in myself. Because I wasn’t being portrayed the same way that I was”.
Ripley lost the title to Charlotte at WrestleMania. Apparently, losing the title had a pretty adverse effect on her life outside the ring.
“I’m still slowly building myself back up from it. But my confidence was definitely tainted a little bit, which sucks ’cause I try to keep it up [so I can] do my best all the time. I don’t know if it was just something inside my head that wasn’t getting the picture and I got a bit lost after that. But right now, I feel like I’m getting back on track.”
Ripley won the NXT Championship from Shayna Baszler towards the end of 2018. She landed on American soil as the hottest thing in wrestling. Her popularity carried her to the pinnacle of NXT. Ripley is still down in NXT and is now part of Shotzi Blackheart’s team for War Games.