A Chat With Mami – The Rhea Ripley Interview

A Chat With Mami - The Rhea Ripley Interview

This games journalism gig, it comes with its perks. Sure the money is terrible (non-existent) and the hours are massive, but some days it is all worth it. One of those days just happened to be last week when I sat down with none other than the baddest, toughest woman in the world of Wrestling, Rhea Ripley.  As a long-time fan of the WWE, it was an absolute treat to find out that not only is Rhea immensely talented and a genuine superstar (I mean we all knew that already) but she is also a genuinely lovely person to talk to (I hope I don’t ruin her reputation by saying that.) So how do you start a chat with the biggest star in the WWE? Well with Vegemite of course.

Rhea Ripley

Matt Hewson: I have to ask this first, because what Aussie wouldn’t but being so far from home all the time, do you bring a bit of Australia with you wherever you go? Is there a Jar of Vegemite that follows you around?

Rhea Ripley: yeah absolutely, I love my Veggie.  I do. It’s my number one favourite. I have it in the cupboard. I mean don’t get to eat it as much because I try to not eat too much bread but I actually have a bag tag on my suitcase, and it’s in the shape of the vegemite, my container.

Matt: So do you inflict it on everyone in the locker room?

Rhea: I certainly have done a few times while I was in NXT  Dom (Mysterio) did try when we went to Australia, and he did like it so he gets props. 

Matt: One thing I am always curious about with any, shall we say, abnormal career choice, how did the conversation with your family go when you said “Hey Mum, and Dad, I want to be a wrestler”

Rhea: I mean to start with, it wasn’t a great conversation. I was a very sporty kid, so I played every single sport you could think of, and I was really good at soccer. I played soccer for 9 years, and I really thought I had a future in that. But then I had my last well, one of my last years, for under 15s and I just fell out of love with it, and I had been watching WWE for a while, and I was like, I wanna try Riot City and Adelaide and I was like they have tryouts coming up. I wanna do it. Mom made me do an extra year of soccer because she bought some soccer boots too early. And she didn’t want to waste money.

So I had this thought when I was 16 and just doing the tryout, and my parents were like, Are you sure you wanna do this? it’s not gonna lead anywhere. It’ll be good for a sporting thing just trying it out. But, you still have to do school, you still have to put all these things first. They just didn’t think that there was any end game to it.

Once I had my first match, and even my second match, my mom and dad, slowly came around, they just saw how into it I was, how passionate I was about what I was doing, and how excited I got while doing it. So they slowly got more and more on board, and of course, they’re very supportive parents. So they came to my matches, and they watched everything, and they cheered me on, and then I went to Japan, and they were like, Oh, that’s a cool step, and I think that made them believe a little bit more that things could happen.

I got a tryout when I was 17, and unfortunately, I was too young, so they (WWE) were like, oh, we’d realize you were 17 years old, maybe contact us when you’re a little bit older. And then the WWE came back when I was 20, and I got another tryout, and my parents at this point were so supportive they’d seen me accomplish so much within Riot City and just the Australian scene in general, and grows pretty much as a performer and as an athlete that they were like, Yeah, I think you’ve got this. So I went in pretty, not confident because it’s a big step, but I went in with the will to show everyone exactly what I got, and show them the passion and the potential that I held, and, luckily for me, they signed me 4 days later.  They sent me an email, and as soon as I told my parents they were ecstatic. They were just glad that all those years of training and waiting for me late at night to leave training so they could drive me home, all paid off. So they’re there for me. And they’re super ecstatic to see where my career is going.

Matt: Do they get out to America to see your matches often? 

Rhea: Every now and then. They were at Wrestlemania last year, and it was such a special moment. It was, and there was a moment in the match where I spotted them in the crowd, and it sort of gave me that little bit of adrenaline and energy to keep going. My mom was crying. My dad was crying. I had never seen my dad cry ever, and he was crying. He was just saying how proud he was, and that made me really emotional. So it was. It was a really special day.

Matt: With you leading the way in the WWE all of a sudden Wrestling is big news in Australia. How does it feel to carry the weight of Aussie wrestling fan expectations?

Rhea: It makes me feel really proud. It makes me feel like all the struggles that I had to endure on my way to this point. They were all so worth it, and I’m so glad I never gave up, and I just persevered and stayed determined, and stayed on the course backed myself and believed in myself. Now I go out there, and I feel so confident and comfortable, and I’m honestly just going out there doing my thing. So it’s really cool to see the support that I get from Australia especially. It’s just me being authentic to myself and having fun, and everyone’s getting behind it. I get to do all these cool things while helping put the Australian wrestling scene on the map

Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley

Matt: So it is fair to say you are excited about Elimination Chamber coming to Perth on February 24?

Rhea: Oh it’s highlighted on my calendar.  I’m counting down. I’m so excited it’s gonna be crazy. I feel like the crowd there in Perth is gonna be so ecstatic and so electrifying and loud I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.  I’m waiting for the moment when my music hits so I can hear the crowd. I am just so excited.

Matt: So I guess we should talk about the reason we are here, how was your experience in regards to working with the team at 2K for the release of WWE 2K24?

Rhea: So I obviously did like my scans, and when we went there and did the shoot for the cover, that’s when I did a lot of in-ring sort of stuff, but I didn’t do any motion capture things. I think I’m not entirely sure how they do it. To be honest, I don’t. I think they might have people come in and do it for us, because with our schedule, like, it’s very hard to get time to do anything But it is so spot on like every single year, watching my entrance, watching me compete in the ring, watching my facial expressions and my moves, I feel like it gets more and more spot on, so I don’t know exactly how they do it. It’s low-key a little bit terrifying because it looks like a straight-up video of me in the room.

Matt: Finally, before we go and I am sure you have been asked this a million times but your Dream match. If you could battle anyone, past or present, who would it be?

Rhea: So I say, this person all the time, and I know I got to step in the ring with them, but it was a tag match, so it doesn’t count. My person is Beth Phoenix. and I don’t know if it’s possible, but I really hope that one day we can make that possible.

Matt: Thank you so much for your time, it has been an absolute pleasure and I have to say that my kids are insanely jealous that I got the chance to chat with you. 

Rhea: That’s fantastic, thank you. 

So there you have it, not only is Rhea the baddest and toughest in town, she is also possibly the nicest. I have to say it was an absolute pleasure to chat and I wish her the best for Elimination Chamber, all of Australia will be behind her.

Make sure you check out my hands-on preview of WWE 2K 24 and you can watch some fresh gameplay footage in the video below. WWE 2K24 is coming to PS4/5, Xbox One/Series and PC on the 5th of March 2024. 

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Get 5% off these great Arcade Machines and help support Player 2

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts