FTMF! History makers! #WarGamesA post shared by NXT Superstar, Aussie, 23 (@rhearipley_wwe) on Nov 24, 2019 at 6:32am PSTSN: How different did it feel that first time you had the new look and the new gear and you took a good look at yourself in the mirror? Did it feel right from the get-go?RR: Yeah, definitely. I felt amazing. I felt like I finally accepted myself and I didn’t care if anyone else did or not. I accepted myself. I looked in the mirror and was like this is me. I feel comfortable now. Then I went out there and did what I did. Man, I had one of, if not, the best match of my entire career at the Mae Young Classic 2 against Io (Shirai) and that match wasn’t even supposed to happen. It was absolutely insane how confident I was with that new gimmick even though it’s not a gimmick. I just felt confident within myself and I knew that I could pretty much do anything.SN: I think we see that confidence playing out. In seeing you off-camera, you’re a very nice person. What’s it like to flip the switch when you’re in front of the camera and be able to turn on the intensity the way that you do?RR: (Laughs) It’s actually easier than you think. I am a nice person. I’ll put that out there. I am a nice human, but I’ve also got Italian in my family. My mom’s side is Italian and my mom is a very scary human being. I get a lot of that intensity and snap straight into it from her. She’s legit terrifying. Lovely girl. Lovely mother but when she gets angry, she’s absolutely terrifying. She’s a damn monster. I guess that’s where I get it from mostly. My dad is just chill. He doesn’t have a care in the world, but my mom can snap and go full Italian on you.SN: I know you’re a big fan of The Miz and him being an inspiration of yours. Did you get to spend any time with him when you were on “SmackDown?”RR: No because I was too scared. Oh, man. I feel like the biggest dork saying that. I grew up loving The Miz, absolutely adoring him and then to see him at work, casually, I was like ‘No, I can’t talk to him.’ I actually accidentally ran into him once. He was leaving the medical room and I was going to go in and we did that whole awkward step to the side, like ‘Uh, uh, uh. Oh no.’ I think I went bright red, to be honest. I think I went bright red and was like ‘I’m so sorry.’ I just stepped out of the way and was like I can’t do it. SN: Obviously, you’re a huge metal fan and you’ve gone into your fair share of mosh pits. What have been the roughest ones?RR: To be honest, there’s a lot of random mosh pits that I went into. We used to this music festival called “Download” back home and a lot of bands would come. If I didn’t know anyone who was playing, I’d just go into random mosh pits and some of them were plain out brutal. They were intense. So, I’ve been in quite a few. I think one of the most intense ones that I’ve been in, I want to say it was definitely Motionless in White was one of them and then I went into a Slipknot one. They’re pretty intense. There’s people flying everywhere. SN: Between that and the lead singer yelling at everyone to get up.RR: Legit screaming. And I remember the drummer — he was on this, like, stage that elevated into the air — and I was like ‘What the …? How is he playing right now?’ I’d be so scared. I was so confused. What if he falls? I’m in the mosh pit just trying to survive and you’re up there playing drums ten meters in the air. Crazy..@QoSBaszler beat @itsBayleyWWE & @BeckyLynchWWE this weekend, but she DIDN’T beat @RheaRipley_WWE!Has #ShaynaTwoTime finally met her match? #WWENXT pic.twitter.com/yd72rSy1Se— WWE (@WWE) November 28, 2019SN: You’re building up to facing Shayna Baszler for the NXT women’s championship at some point. It’s one of the most anticipated matches in NXT and all of WWE. What has buildup been like so far? Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearSo, there’s a good reason why the 23-year-old Ripley is being hailed as a breakout star and the future of women’s wrestling. The metal music-loving powerhouse brings with her a brash intensity and she is unafraid to step up to anyone. But behind it all, she swears that she is a nice person who is terrified by, of all people, The Miz who she idolizes.Ripley is on a collision course with Shayna Baszler in her quest to become NXT women’s champion. First things first: She has some business to settle with Dakota Kai, with the two set to square off on Wednesday night’s edition of NXT television, which airs weekly on the USA Network from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET.Sporting News recently spoke with the WWE’s “Mosh Pit Kid” about her busy month, her newfound popularity, the big change she made last year, and growing along with the NXT brand.SPORTING NEWS: I’m sure the last four weeks have been a whirlwind for you. Anything that stands out?RHEA RIPLEY: It’s all such amazing things that have been going on. There’s not really one thing that stands out the most to me. I guess, that whole week where Wednesday night on NXT I got to wrestle Becky (Lynch), that was pretty amazing. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. And then going on “SmackDown” and wrestling Charlotte (Flair) and Sasha (Banks) and actually pulling out the victory was just absolutely insane to me. I wasn’t expecting that at all. Then at WarGames, I’ve always wanted to be in a match where I could use weapons and (laughs) to have that in that week of, like, things that I was doing were just insane. I was so just happy and so ecstatic and I just wanted to hit people with things, you know? (laughs) Then the next day at Survivor Series, that was insane in itself being on Survivor Series. I didn’t think that was going to be coming any time soon. SN: Has it really kicked in yet how big of a deal that period has been for you and your career?RR: It’s sort of kicked in a little bit but then, at the same time, I don’t think it’s fully kicked in because it happened so fast and it all happened at once. I didn’t really have time to take it in too much. Yes, I did really appreciate everything and love what was happening but, at the same time, I haven’t been able to sit down and be the little kid that I used to be and just mark out for myself. SN: At the same time, is that maybe a good thing because then you don’t dwell on it too much and you live more in the moment?RR: Yeah, I think so. As much as I do want to mark out for all that stuff, I know that there are bigger things that are going to be coming. I don’t know exactly when. I don’t know exactly what, but I need to know that I need to grow up sometime. (Laughs)Former @WWENXT Women’s Champion @RealPaigeWWE was highly impressed with former @NXTUK Women’s Champion @RheaRipley_WWE’s performance during #SurvivorSeries weekend. #WWEBackstage pic.twitter.com/xlTa6e57F7— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) November 29, 2019SN: There are plenty of people that are marking out for you, including Triple H, Paige, and Trish Stratus who have all said that Rhea Ripley is the breakout star of NXT and the future of women’s wrestling. What’s it like to hear those people heap that kind of praise on you?RR: Man, it’s absolutely insane. Every day for, like, the last week, I’ve legit gone online and seen someone else say something positive about me. And coming from those superstars and those people, it’s just … I don’t even know how to put it into words. It makes me feel so special. It makes me feel like I’ve achieved something and I’ve proved to everyone exactly what I can do and who I am. Even Triple H, man — I know he’s my boss and all that, but that’s so bloody cool. Triple H! He’s the guy that got me into wrestling. Watching him was the reason why I wanted to start wrestling let alone watch it. So, to hear him, even my name come out of his mouth is pretty cool. (Laughs)SN: What’s it like being around Triple H on a regular basis and having him as a mentor?RR: It’s super, super cool and he’s so smart. He knows so much about the business. I do try to soak up as much as I can and listen to as much as I can, even when he’s not talking to me. It’s such an amazing feeling knowing that he’s there and he has all of our backs. He’s there to help all of us succeed in what we want to do and what we’re doing at the moment. He’s one of our biggest cheerleaders and it’s amazing.SN: You mentioned all of the positive comments about you online, but you are somebody who has notoriously fed off negativity. What’s it been like to flip it around and have so many positive vibes coming your way?RR: It makes me feel really special. It’s really, really cool. It’s lovely to see people getting behind me and supporting me in what I love to do. I’m just glad that I can make people proud and make people want to watch this product because wrestling is such a big part of my life and a lot of people’s lives and it gets a lot of crap from people. I’m out here to prove to people that wrestling is great. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. That’s fair, but you don’t have to talk crap about it because wrestling legit saves so many people’s lives and I’m out here to prove to everyone why it’s amazing again. And I’m glad that people are getting behind it. SN: It feels like you are a much different performer from even just a year ago. What’s it been like during that time to be a part of the NXT system and see it grow and you with it?RR: Man, there was so much that happened in that little space of time. To be honest, I have a lot of mental demons in life and wrestling has definitely helped me out with that. Yeah, to see where I was a year ago let alone two years ago … I don’t want to say I’m a different person. I’m the same person; I just take a lot less crap these days. I’ve finally come into my own and I know what I deserve and I know what I want. I’m here to take it. SN: What did it take for you to get to that point? Was there a particular moment or a breaking point where you knew you had to stand up for yourself and do what you felt was right for yourself?RR: Yeah, before the second Mae Young Classic I went through a breakup with my partner who I was with for a few years and he moved here with me. Him moving back to Australia and us fighting, of course, just made me not really care about too much and I was, just like, salty at the world. I guess it sort of made me sit down and realize exactly what I want in life and exactly how I’m going to do it. It made me start figuring out what I’m going to do and something in my brain just snapped and I was like ‘I don’t care. I don’t care. I’m going to do it. I’m going to do what I want. I don’t care.’I guess I just stopped caring about what everyone thought because I had so many negative things coming my way. I just started blocking it and was like I don’t care. Then I went out in the Mae Young Classic, the second one, and had that “I don’t care attitude” and everyone seemed to really get behind it, you know? I kept with it. I don’t like calling it a character or a gimmick because it is 110% me. It’s just the side of me that I don’t like showing on a daily basis because, you know, I’m a bit snarky. (laughs) It is me. It’s me when I got to a concert and I’m in a mosh pit. That’s how I act. I turn into a whole different human, an animal to be honest. I just go out there and I do what I want and I take what I want, and I don’t care. SN: When the NXT audience first got to know you, we saw you as a shy, smiley blonde and you’ve totally transformed your look into this grudge, metal, in your face look. What was it during this time that made you decide to change your look?RR: I guess before when I was like, I was the beachy little Australian that everyone loved and I was trying to be that smiley character that everyone would love and get behind. But I learned real quick that you shouldn’t be doing what other people want you to do. You have to be yourself 110 percent of the time because who really cares what people think of you?I started, like I said before, not caring and I changed into this demeanor that I have now. That was one of the reasons. I had so many reasons. Another reason is so many people kept comparing me to Charlotte and Toni Storm and I didn’t want to be compared to anyone. I just wanted to be myself. I wanted to be Rhea Ripley. The only way that I knew how to do that was to make myself look completely different from them because that’s the only reason why people were comparing me to them. Because I had the long blonde hair and the color of my gear and all that stuff. I had to get my hair cut passed and they finally cleared it. So, I went and got my hair chopped off and I was like whatever. It will grow back if it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t matter. It’s just hair. So, I did that and then I got all of this new gear. A lot of my inspiration for the gear and stuff is from bands. I’ve noticed that I look a lot like Chris Motionless from Motionless in White and I didn’t mean for that to happen (laughs), but I do look like him a lot which is very hilarious because he’s one of my favorite singers. I look a lot like him these days. I was just trying something and it worked. I put my ass on the line and it worked. View this post on Instagram Rhea Ripley isn’t being nice about it anymore. And she’s not willing to just sit back and take things as they come. The Australian-born NXT superstar is in take-charge mode and it’s working. The past month has seen her invade both WWE “Raw” and “SmackDown” along with fellow NXT stars, captain her squad to victory in a weapons-infused WarGames match at NXT Takeover and then lead Team NXT to a huge win against both WWE brands at Survivor Series. RR: It’s been a whirlwind of emotions, to be honest. It’s been absolutely insane and so intense, but I’m loving every second of it and I’m soaking it in. I don’t care. I’m living for it. Every Wednesday that comes around, I’m like “Ooohhh, what am I going to do today?” I’m so pumped and I can’t wait to face Shayna again. I think it’s definitely going to be a match that no one is going to want to miss. I can’t wait for it. I don’t know if Shayna can wait for it, but I can’t wait for it.SN: Considering that you like getting physical in the ring and Shayna likes getting physical, that will probably be a pretty physical match whenever it happens.RR: Oh, definitely. I think it’s going to be an all-out brawl, to be honest. And I love a fight. I absolutely love a fight so I can’t wait to see how it all goes.