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At only 26, Rhea Ripley has shown time and time again that not only is she the future of WWE, but she’s also the present.
From her beginnings participating in the 2017 Mae Young Classic to her unforgettable runs in NXT and NXT UK, she has become a force to be reckoned with on Monday Night RAW. The dominance that Rhea has shown in just five years is apparent when you look at her impressive resume: She has held the NXT Women’s Championship, the NXT UK Women’s Championship, RAW Women’s Title, and one-half of the RAW tag team straps. For the past half-decade, Rhea has proven time and time again that she is one of the best wrestlers on the planet.
But sometimes, accolades just aren’t enough. Today, Rhea Ripley has arguably found her greatest success not on her own but as a part of a group. The Judgment Day has been the focal point of Monday Night RAW, wreaking havoc in ways the WWE Universe hasn’t seen before. Hall of Famers have been beaten down, families have been torn apart, and history has been made.
You simply cannot point at the success of the Judgment Day without first acknowledging that Rhea Ripley is the driving force behind it. Call her the muscle, the brains, the mastermind — or maybe all three — but the Judgment Day would not exist as they are today without her.
USA Insider recently managed to catch up with Rhea on her day off to talk about, well, everything — and she didn’t hold anything back.
Rhea wasted no time addressing the moment that she and WWE RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair shared backstage on Monday, when the two Superstars momentarily crossed paths.
“I want my title back,” Rhea said. “That moment was me saying, ‘I’m coming for you, Bianca.’ Especially because before I got injured, I was the number one contender and then everything slipped out of my grasp. But I’ve got the championship in my sights, that’s the message I was sending on Monday.”
Rhea, of course, was referring to the fact that she was slated to compete against Bianca Belair at June’s Money in the Bank for the RAW Women’s title, but an in-ring injury suffered on RAW caused the match to be canceled. That was the closest Rhea has been to the championship since — but it’s clearly something that’s been motivating her this entire time.
For what it’s worth, a match between the two of them again would be another one for the ages; the two women are no strangers to each other's styles, with one of their best matches against each other taking place in NXT:
Rhea went on to stress that it’s not an either-or situation with going after the title and being involved with rivalries that the Judgment Day becomes embroiled in — because even though the group may seem dastardly at best and straight-up evil at worst, there’s a lot of love within the faction.
“I think with Judgment Day, we’re all there for each other,” she said, echoing a similar sentiment that Finn Balor made to us last month. “We’re really a close-knit family. I’ll be there for the boys, they know that, and they are there for me. I’m just trying to calculate my timing perfectly — but also try to do a million things at once because that’s what I do best.”
With Survivor Series: WarGames just around the corner and the women’s WarGames match starting to take shape, Rhea talked about how she would love to participate this year ... if the invitation came her way.
“There’s always an itch to be in WarGames,” she said. “Especially because I was part of the first-ever women’s WarGames in NXT, I know what that match brings — and I know what you have to bring to that match as well. I’m hoping I can be part of the one at Survivor Series ... to be honest, I don’t know what will happen, but if I get asked to be a part of it, I can’t say no.”
We don’t know about the rest of the WWE Universe, but we’re hoping Rhea can figure out a way to be a part of this huge match, even if it means teaming up with Bianca Belair. (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?)
Throughout the conversation, it became apparent that Rhea Ripley is simply laser-focused on her career — and regaining the RAW Women’s Championship will still be the driving force behind The Judgment Day. Of course, she knows she has people all around the world who support her ventures (“I love my fans, they’re wonderful,” she told us) even if she has to get her hands dirty.
As far as dream matches go, she told us there are two Superstars that she always wanted to get in the ring with, and one of them isn’t even an active wrestler at the moment.
“I’d love to step in the ring with Bayley, I haven’t had the chance to do that yet,” she said, possibly tipping her hand in future involvement in Damage Ctrl’s business. But she also went on to say that she’s been trying to manifest a match with none other than WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, who is one of the all-time greats.
“I’m always going to say her name because I want this match so bad. But me and Beth Phoenix, I’ve always wanted to wrestle her. It’s been a dream match of mine ever since I was a child. We would go out there and absolutely obliterate each other — it would be fantastic,” she told us.
Of course, an easy way to get Beth Phoenix’s attention is for The Judgment Day to go back to attempting to end Edge’s career like they’ve done in the past — and somewhat unsurprisingly, Rhea was all for it, as she admitted that beating up Edge is “one of my favorite hobbies.”
Looking forward past Survivor Series and into 2023, Rhea spoke candidly about her plans for her career, and more specifically, what she would be doing at WrestleMania if she had her way about it.
“I think it would have to be myself and Bianca Belair for the RAW Women’s Championship,” she confessed. “Whenever we step in the ring together, it’s magic. So if we could do it on a bigger scale and have the title on the line, I think it would be absolutely fantastic.”
And with that, our interview ended, leaving Rhea Ripley to continue on with the rest of her day, possibly on her way to find Edge to enjoy one of her favorite hobbies.
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