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Rhea Ripley on the Mae Young Classic, How She Came Up With Her Name, More

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Rhea Ripley will fly the flag for Australia (along with fellow Aussie, Toni Storm) as part of the Mae Young Classic. The classic is a historic 32-woman elimination tournament, beginning on August 28 on the WWE Network. She spoke to news.au on several topics. Here are a few excerpts:

On The Mae Young Classic:

“It’s great to see people getting behind women’s wrestling, We can go as hard as the guys can. People are realising that now, we have our own tournament, it’s the best news ever.”

On Shawn Michaels being a trainer at the WWE Performance Center:

“It was crazy, I first saw him at the Performance Centre when all the girls finally arrived. I was starstruck, I haven’t been starstruck in a while, but I was standing there, smiling to myself. I was so scared to go say hello, but I obviously had to, because he’s now my boss. It was just crazy to see the guy that basically got me into wrestling, it was a great experience.”

On Australian Talent being signed to WWE:

“It’s good to see more Aussies. You have Emma, Billie Kay and Peyton (Royce), TM61 — we’re making our own little pack, it’s great.”

Ripley was unveiled to the WWE audience for the first time as part of the Mae Young Classic: Parade of Champions. Producers gave each competitor a minute in front of the live audience — with no instruction.

“They pretty much said ‘get yourself over. I did what I did and I think it worked. It’s such a scary thing to go out there and not have any direction on what you’re doing. They just said ‘get out there and get your character over’, so you do what you can. I go out there and headband — so I had that.”

On how she came up with Rhea Ripley:

“I was just looking for strong female names that I could put together and I put those two together and they (WWE) really liked it. Rhea, I really love the name Rhea, I have a friend back home called Rhea and I adore the name. It’s also a name of a Greek goddess. Ripley is the name of the chick from Alien, she’s pretty awesome and badass, so I was pretty pumped to get that name.”

You can read the full interview here.