In the world of professional wrestling, few names have risen as rapidly and impressively as Rhea Ripley. With her imposing presence, undeniable talent, and charismatic personality, Ripley has carved out a place for herself as one of the most promising and beloved WWE Superstars.
Let’s take a closer look at her beginnings in wrestling, her journey through NXT and WWE, what she is doing now, as well as what the future may hold for this remarkable athlete.
Beginnings in Wrestling: From Australia to NXT UK
Rhea Ripley, real name Demi Bennett, was born on October 11, 1996, in Adelaide, Australia. Her passion for wrestling ignited at a young age, after being exposed to the sport on a family holiday, and she began training as a young teenager. In 2013, Ripley made her professional wrestling debut in her hometown with Riot City Wrestling (RCW) under her own name.
Her big break came in 2017 when she joined WWE’s developmental territory, NXT, making her debut under the alias “Rhea Ripley,” and her journey towards stardom began. Her first televised match was during the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament, where she was pinned in the second round. Ripley then made it to the semifinals of the following year’s tournament, where she surprised everyone with a new look. Gone was the long blonde hair and polite smile, this new distinctive look combined punk-rock/metal aesthetics with a fierce and unapologetic attitude.
Soon afterwards, Rhea Ripley moved to the NXT UK brand, quickly catching the attention of fans with her distinctive image and talent in the ring. Her journey through NXT UK saw her compete in the NXT UK Women’s Championship Tournament, beating Toni Storm in the final and making history by being crowned the first ever NXT UK Women’s Champion, setting the stage for her ascent in the wrestling world.
The NXT Ascendancy: Rhea Ripley Takes Centre Stage
In 2019, Rhea Ripley’s career skyrocketed when she made her first appearance in the Women’s Royal Rumble, and then transitioned to the main NXT brand in the United States. Her impact was instant, and she rapidly rose through the ranks. In December of the same year, Ripley faced one of the most significant challenges of her career as she took on Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship. In an epic clash, Ripley emerged victorious, capturing the championship and solidifying her position as a force to be reckoned with as the first person to have won both the NXT Women’s and NXT UK Women’s Championships.
As the NXT Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley continued to impress fans and critics alike with her powerhouse wrestling style, captivating promos, and fierce rivalries. Her feuds with top talents demonstrated her versatility and ability to tell compelling stories in the ring.
Main Roster Debut and Global Stardom
In April 2020, Rhea Ripley made her debut on the main roster, challenging Charlotte Flair to a title match, and the NXT Women’s Championship was contested at WrestleMania for the first time ever. Though she didn’t secure the victory, her appearance on such a grand stage signalled WWE’s confidence in her potential.
Ripley went on to make a huge impact in the 2021 Royal Rumble, finishing in second place to Bianca Belair, and then moved to the Raw roster full time. April 2021 then saw Rhea compete at WrestleMania once again, this time defeating Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship. Charlotte Flair later went on to win the title from Ripley at the Money in the Bank Pay Per View event, but Rhea didn’t stay defeated for long as the following month she teamed up with Nikki A.S.H. to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships.
Rhea Ripley Today: A Rising Star with Boundless Potential
Rhea Ripley remains an active and prominent figure in WWE. She joined the ‘Judgment Day’ faction in 2022, and as part of this alliance, Ripley has continued to display a more ruthless and aggressive side, aligning herself with other formidable Superstars such as Finn Balor and Damian Priest to assert dominance in the WWE landscape.
The 2023 Royal Rumble Pay Per View event saw Ripley become the first ever woman to win a Royal Rumble match after entering at the number one position, beating all the other 29 competitors. She then went on to compete against Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 39, winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship title.
Rhea Ripley’s on-screen relationship with Dominik Mysterio as part of the Judgment Day has added a layer of complexity to her character. The pairing with Dominik, the son of legendary wrestler Rey Mysterio, has led to some intriguing storylines that has showcased Ripley’s versatility as both a competitor and a character, elevating both Ripley and Dominik in the process.
By engaging in diverse storylines and forming alliances, Rhea Ripley continues to demonstrate her adaptability as a performer. These experiences contribute to her overall growth as a wrestler and further solidify her position as a beloved and multifaceted talent within the WWE universe. As her career unfolds, fans eagerly anticipate what exciting chapters Rhea Ripley will add to her already impressive legacy.
The Future of Rhea Ripley: Endless Possibilities
Throughout her career, Rhea Ripley’s popularity has continued to grow, transcending borders and earning her fans from all corners of the globe. Her impact has extended beyond her wrestling prowess; she has become an inspiring figure, especially for young women who see her as a symbol of strength and empowerment.
Looking towards the future, Rhea Ripley’s potential is limitless. With her talent, charisma, and dedication to her craft, she has the potential to become a multiple-time champion across different WWE brands. Moreover, she could potentially venture into other forms of entertainment, such as acting, to expand her reach beyond wrestling.
If she continues her journey with WWE, Ripley could become one of the company’s top stars and potentially be a trailblazer for women’s wrestling, headlining major events and breaking more barriers along the way.
In conclusion, Rhea Ripley’s wrestling journey has been nothing short of remarkable. From her beginnings in Australia to her meteoric rise in WWE, she has proven herself as a dominant force. As she continues to evolve and grow as a performer, her future in the wrestling world and beyond looks incredibly bright. Whether she remains in WWE or explores new opportunities, there’s no doubt that Rhea Ripley will leave an indelible mark on the world of professional wrestling.
Author: Clare Stanley
Photo Credit: WWE