At just 25 years old, Rhea Ripley is without doubt one of the most dominant Superstars in WWE. The Australian recently captured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships alongside Nikki A.S.H. having already held both the Raw Women’s Championship and NXT Women’s Championship – competing for those titles in successive WrestleMania events.
However, while Ripley is a larger than life character on TV, by her own admission, she’s rather shy in real life, and somewhat of an enigma. Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy for Issue 12 of Inside The Ropes Magazine, Ripley counted her “worst habit” as “getting a bit punchy” because she “doesn’t know how to human!” A line that may come as a surprise to those who have only witnessed the Australian on WWE television or at a live event.
Off-screen, though, the shy Rhea Ripley enjoys life at home with her boyfriend Demetri Action Jackson and her pet dogs, and is a huge fan of metal music. Ripley has also spoken about some of the weirdest things she’s ever been asked for from fans, but how well do you know Rhea Ripley? Let’s find out…
Rhea Ripley is a huge Dragon Ball Z fan
Born in 1996, Rhea Ripley – real name Demi Bennett – is one of the youngest members of the WWE roster. While many of her interests are clear for the world to see in terms of her favourite band being Motionless In White and her love of tattoos, among other things, Ripley actually loves Dragon Ball Z!
Not only that, the former Raw Women’s Champion has worn Vegeta-inspired ring gear on many occasions – once at Riot City Wrestling in her native Australia at Supernova – a Comic-con style convention, where she got the armour signed by the actor who voiced Vegeta, and another time at WrestleMania!
“My WrestleMania 36 gear. It was inspired by the Prince of all Saiyans, Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z. I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z. I absolutely loved it and I loved Vegeta. He’s like such a bad ass and I love it. I love everything about him.
“I was like, ‘I need to unlock that feeling inside of me.’ I love the way that he acts. I love that he’s just a snob, but he’s a babyface at the same time. You know, like, people love him, but he doesn’t care that people love him and that’s sort of the energy that I wanted to bring. You can love me. You can hate me. I don’t care.”
Ripley said she also “marked out” for New Day wearing Dragon Ball Z inspired attire at WrestleMania 32.
“Dude, I marked out. I was watching it at home and I was like, ‘These guys know. These guys are cool. They’re in my good books.'”
Not only does Ripley love Dragon Ball Z, she’s also a massive fan of Crash Bandicoot, citing it as her favourite game in Issue 12 of Inside The Ropes Magazine.
“I love Crash Bandicoot. That’s been my favorite since I was a kid. It’s the best!”
Rhea Ripley got pranked by a fellow WWE Superstar when she first joined the company
Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy for our very special 20 Questions feature in Issue 12 of Inside The Ropes Magazine, Rhea Ripley was asked who the biggest joker or prankster she’s ever shared the locker room in WWE was, citing herself before quickly naming another former NXT Women’s Champion.
Ripley recalled how she fell for a trick from Shayna Baszler during the infancy of her WWE career.
“I mean, apart from me at times, I would probably say Shayna Baszler. She got me with this one prank when I first got there where she’s like, ‘I bet you’ve got a better worked punch than me’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know, I just end up hitting people really hard.’ She said, ‘Give me one.’
“So I gave her one. She’s like, ‘Oh, that wasn’t bad, this is mine.’ She just punched me as hard as she could in the arm then said, ‘Yeah, yours is better.’ I think she did it to . . . I want to say 15-plus people that day.”
Rhea Ripley changed her look because of Toni Storm
While it’s most definitely a distant memory now, Rhea Ripley looked very different when she first graced our screens during the Mae Young Classic. The Australian was a mere 20 years old and, while still finding her feet, most definitely made a huge impression on the WWE universe.
The then-rookie has obviously matured a lot in every way, but the most obvious is in terms of her character. Now an extremely confident bad-ass clad in leather and piercings with perfectly slicked hair, the Rhea Ripley we were introduced to was smiley and had flowing blonde locks.
Speaking with Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory, Ripley recalled that she actually changed her appearance and, in particular, cut her hair off to differentiate herself from her Australian counterpart, with whom she’s had many battles in NXT and NXT UK.
“Growing up in Australia, I always had the long, beachy hair. That was just who I was. But then when I got here and Toni Storm was also here, people kept saying we looked the same because we’re both rockers, as well. I was like, ‘I’ve got to steer away from Toni,’ and a few people mentioned that I should cut my hair and I thought about it as well so I just did it. I actually like it now. When I first did it, I was really, really nervous. The hair kept getting cut shorter and shorter where I slick it back now.”
Rhea Ripley had some surprising idols growing up
There’s no doubt about it, Rhea Ripley is a unique talent! While obvious comparisons can be drawn to the likes of Beth Phoenix, Chyna and Charlotte Flair, the WWE Universe has seen nothing and no-one like the Nightmare before. While a large part of that is obviously because of her look and personality, Ripley’s performance has been shaped by looking up to an eclectic mix of stars.
Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy for our very special 20 Questions feature in Issue 12 of Inside The Ropes Magazine, Rhea Ripley was asked about her dream match, and opened up about Beth Phoenix and how she looked up to The Glamazon as a youngster.
“Beth Phoenix. She’s so bad-ass and so different. Growing up watching wrestling, I knew that my body type didn’t fit the same mold as everyone else’s and she was sort of in the same boat as me, so it was great having someone like her to look up to as well.”
Okay, so Beth Phoenix may have been an obvious guess, but Ripley added three more, very surprising, names to the list.
“Apart from the guys in Australia, I always looked up to Triple H, CM Punk and The Miz. I thought Triple H was a badass and he was so good at what he did, whereas The Miz and CM Punk, they’re just SO good on the mic. I really loved listening to them talk – I was always captivated, and I always listened to their whole promo until the very end. I really looked up to them, I wanted to be able to do that one day.”
I asked @RheaRipley_WWE who her dream opponent is:
“@TheBethPhoenix. She’s so bad-ass & so different. Growing up watching wrestling, I knew my body type didn’t fit the same mold as everyone else’s. She was in the same boat, so it was great having someone like her to look up to.” pic.twitter.com/8TsyTNn7gV
— Gary Cassidy (@TheGaryCassidy) September 24, 2021
Rhea Ripley is a survivor of self harm
Not only is Rhea Ripley a role model for how much success she’s managed to achieve on-screen, she’s definitely an inspirational figure off it too. While many people may think WWE Superstars are their characters, and are invincible and immune to mental health issues, Rhea Ripley has very candidly spoken about how she used to self-harm. The Australian opened up to Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory about the struggles she went through, and revealed that a large part of her survival was the drive and determination to make it to WWE.
“I abused myself [cutting]. I used to do that when I was younger and even think about it now when I’m really beating myself up. It sort of made me feel more alive than I felt on the inside. I felt very dead on the inside and broken. When you rip the skin, you know you’re still alive and the blood is still pumping because it’s coming out.
“That’s how I felt, at least. I’m not too sure if everyone feels that way because everyone’s story is different and everyone feels differently, but that’s how I felt. I used to do that when I was younger and I still have scars to show.
“I’ve got them on my thigh. The ones on my wrist aren’t very visible because they’ve healed, but the one thing that really kept me going was that I wanted to make it here.
“There’s so many keyboard warriors that just love to pick on wrestlers. They just absolutely love it. I don’t get why they love it, but at the same time, I’m like, ‘Give me more.’ Pick on me, please. It’s only going to light a fire and I’m going to prove you wrong.”
Speaking to the New York Post, Ripley was admirably honest in revealing how the struggles aren’t completely gone, and that she feels herself “slipping” from time to time, but says her scars motivate her to know she can overcome anything.
“I still feel myself slipping there from time to time, but I find that if I do look at the scars that I have from that time it helps me to remind myself that I’ve been through all of this and I was able to overcome it. And I think that that’s really special in the way that I know that I can keep going and keep doing what I love and I have people in my life that are going to help me overcome whatever I need to overcome at that point in time.
“I have fans there for me and I’m legitimately working the job I dreamt about since being a child and I have to remember that sometimes.”