(WFXR) — One WWE Superstar has a message for fans. Its Women’s Division will soon take over the wrestling industry.
WFXR News spoke with Rhea Ripley last week to discuss the world of sports entertainment and she says she is excited about the future.
Wrestling has long been popular in southwest and central Virginia, but women’s matches were historically considered a novelty in the middle of the card. The conventional wisdom was no one would pay money to see women in the main event.
That began to change in recent years as the WWE featured more women. It did not take long for fans to embrace the athleticism of the new generation.
By 2019, three women headlined the WWE’s Wrestlemania for the first time as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Ronda Rousey closed out the biggest event of the year.
“I’m excited to see where women’s wrestling is going to go in the next five years, the next 10 years because we are only growing. We are only going to get better. It’s just going to skyrocket. We are going to take over the WWE and wrestling in general,” said Ripley.
“It’s really proved to everyone that the women are just as good as the males. It’s not a gender thing in wrestling. It really isn’t. We can put on fantastic matches just like them. We can hit just as hard as them. We are just as athletic as them. So I think that it’s finally getting the eyes on it that it deserves,” Ripley added.
Those words could be prophetic for the 25-year-old wrestler from Australia. Even at her young age, she already has nine years in the business.
“I started when I was 16 in Australia. I didn’t think I would make it as far as I have. Of course, I believed in myself and I wanted to strive for greatness. I was determined to make it here. But being in Australia, you just don’t know if the WWE is going to come and look your way. But it’s been a crazy nine years. Just the evolution of Rhea Ripley has been insane,” said Ripley.
She says the last few years have been “crazy” as her career has taken off and she has practically lived on the road.
When asked if she had ever been in the Roanoke Valley before, she replied, “To be honest, probably. I don’t know where I’ve been in America anymore. I feel like I’ve been everywhere. I’ve probably been there. I just haven’t had time to look around.”
While it hasn’t been a secret for a long time that professional wrestling is scripted and its outcomes predetermined, it does take a toll on the body.
As Ripley spoke with us, fresh-faced and without the makeup that makes her look like the harsh villain she plays on television, it couldn’t go unnoticed that she had a large bruise on her arm.
“It’s actually pretty healed as well. I took a nice steel post to the arm. So it’s definitely taxing on the body. But we love it, so we do it,” Ripley said with a smile.