It’s been a heck of a year for Rhea Ripley.
After she shockingly joined The Judgment Day in May and helped facilitate Edge’s unceremonious ejection from the group, she’s been the ultimate agent of chaos for the faction. Not afraid to get her hands dirty on Monday Night Raw, she’s become the driving force behind the faction, with many members of the WWE Universe theorizing that it’s not Finn Balor or Damien Priest calling the shots — it’s Rhea Ripley.
With the addition of Dominic Mysterio, The Judgment Day has only gotten stronger over the past few weeks, and so has the influence of Rhea herself over the youngest member of the Mysterio family:
Conventional thinking says that being arguably the most influential member of one of the more aggressive and dominant factions in WWE history would translate into an easy sledding for somebody like Rhea Ripley, but many fans would be surprised to know that outside of the ring she still encounters detractors who seem to exist solely to knock her down a peg or two. At the end of the day, Rhea Ripley — despite being a larger-than-life WWE Superstar — is human, just like everybody else. And sadly, she’s not exempt from vicious online remarks targeting her physical appearance.
Speaking to Fox Sports Australia, Rhea Ripley recently opened up about how hard it is to be a WWE Superstar that doesn’t fit into the conventional mold, especially in the current age of social media where anybody with a username can inflict emotional damage on someone else with just a few keystrokes.
“It’s been a growing experience of just finding out who I am as a person and showing that off to the world,” she said. “Growing up, I looked at people like Beth Phoenix. She was different — she was built different. Big, beefy, she had muscles, and she was going out there and obliterating anyone in her path. That’s someone I looked up to.”
What a lot of fans don’t realize is that Rhea was only 20 years old when she made her NXT debut, participating in the 2017 Mae Young Classic. Looking back, she is nearly unrecognizable compared to the dominant Superstar currently controlling the young mind of Dominic Mysterio on Monday Night Raw.
The Rhea Ripley that the WWE Universe is familiar with today is a result of hard work and a conscious decision to be comfortable with who Rhea is:
“To be put into that role where now I’ve put in the time and effort into the gym and made my body into this weapon of mass destruction… but to not only do that within myself but prove to everyone that they should be comfortable in their own skin – and not care about what people think or say about them as long as they are happy within themselves and surround themselves with the right people – I think that’s really special,” she candidly shared during the interview.
Social media can be a toxic place, and Rhea revealed that she is no stranger to criticism about her “masculine” appearance:
“The whole thing is women should have long hair. I hate that stereotype. I hate when men say ‘grow your hair out’ No — this is my body, this is my choice. I do whatever the hell I want with my body and you can’t tell me what to do because I love myself,” she said. On the flip side, it’s no surprise that Rhea’s supporters massively outshine her hates, as she went on to talk about how she loves when fans reach out and post photos of themselves in Rhea-inspired makeup or hairstyles:
“That’s so strong and I love when I get tagged in photos of women and they’ve cut their hair in the same way because ‘Rhea I found the confidence to cut my hair’ — that’s just insane to me. I’m really proud and happy to be on this platform where I can help people. I get messages, tweets, posts — that I’m tagged in all the time about people and their confidence growing because they’ve seen me, which is absolutely insane.”
It’s no surprise that Rhea Ripley the person is just as strong and confident as Rhea Ripley the WWE Superstar. Not only is Rhea an impact player inside the ring as part of The Judgment Day, she’s a role model outside of the ring — a person that anybody can look up to. While Rhea is a standout member of the Monday Night Raw roster, she’s an even better human being, and the WWE is grateful to have her be part of the family.
Those exact reasons are why we can’t wait to see how far her influence over Dominic Mysterio can go. Has Dominic found the perfect influential and inspirational leader to look up to – filling a void that his father could never fill? We can’t wait to find out, and we’re looking forward to the carnage that Rhea Ripley will cause as Raw rolls into the fall season.
You can catch Rhea Ripley and The Judgment Day's latest matches on Peacock.