How she became NXT UK Women’s champion, Tegan Nox’s awful injury and much more

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How she became NXT UK Women's champion, Tegan Nox's awful injury and much more

The champ

TalkSPORT caught up with the NXT UK Women’s champion ahead of her big showdown with Toni Storm at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool

Rhea Ripley stands atop of the women’s division in NXT UK as the inaugural NXT UK Women’s champion with the biggest night of her young career in front of her.

At the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool tonight, NXT UK will perform their first TakeOver show with a card stacked full of talent. Without question, one of the most anticipated bouts of the night sees Ripley defend her title against Mae Young Classic winner Toni Storm.

Australian sensation Rhea Ripley

Incredibly, Adelaide-born Ripley (which she is very proud of) is just 22-years-old. After losing to Dakota Kai in the second round of the first-ever Mae Young Classic in 2017, Ripley came back the following year an entirely different proposition.

TalkSPORT caught up with the champ ahead of NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool and Ripley revealed that one trainer in Orlando really helped her find herself.

“I was in Scotty 2 Hotty’s class for two months and he really helped me with my confidence. Because the first Mae Young [Classic], I was just a young girl that got moved to a different country, I couldn’t fit it, I just wanted to please people sort of thing.. and my confidence was really, really lacking. I could see it in the ring and when I watch myself back I hate it. I absolutely hate it. I have to hit myself like ‘wake up to yourself! You know what you’re doing!’

Ripley as NXT UK champ at the first-ever all-women’s PPV, Evolution

Ripley as NXT UK champ at the first-ever all-women’s PPV, Evolution

“So, he definitely pulled the confidence out of me with like, constructive criticism and helping me out and he’s like ‘just be you. Go out there and be yourself.’ So that’s exactly what I have done. And how I act in the ring is exactly how I act in a moshpit. I’m not even joking! I’m the scariest person in a moshpit. I’ve been in moshpits and come out and I’ve been high-fived by random dudes who have been like ‘you’re fully sick, oh my god I’ve never seen a girl go that hard! Oh my god, you scared us, bro!’ and I’m like ‘thanks man, just next time don’t try and punch me because I will fly kick you!’”

While Ripley was extremely impressive during her run to the semi-finals of the 2018 Mae Young Classic, tragedy struck in the quarters when opponent Tegan Nox suffered an awful injury.

Nox suffered a dislocated kneecap, tore all the ligaments in her knee and fractured her left tibia following a suicide dive to the floor – and she tried to continue! The Welsh star was clearly in agony, but Ripley did tremendously well to keep her composure and preserve her character during the incident.

Opening up to TalkSPORT, Ripley revealed just how terrible the whole ordeal truly was.

The suicide dive that saw Tegan Nox terribly injured Vs Rhea Ripley

The suicide dive that saw Tegan Nox terribly injured Vs Rhea Ripley

“It was terrifying. As soon as she [Nox] did the suicide dive, she knew and I knew that something had happened. I was really, really surprised and proud of her to see her keep going. She’s so, so, so strong mentally and physically it’s unbelievable.

“I was heartbroken for her. Going through the rest of that match I was just trying to hold back tears and there was one point where the camera did get me and I just looked so terrified. But, the show must go on and I just pepped up my confidence, stood up straight and pulled my faces that I know I pull (laughs) and kept going. And then I went backstage and I was like ‘Oh my god, I have to wrestle again! This is my third match of the day now!’”

TalkSPORT’s full chat with Ripley – as well as all WWE stars we talk to – can be found in full on our wrestling podcast The Pro Wrestle Show, which you can find and subscribe to HERE.

Ripley is one of the brightest stars in the industry today and you can see her face off against Toni Storm at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool on the WWE Network tonight (Saturday) with the preshow kicking off at 6pm.




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