‘The Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley has opened up about her WrestleMania 36 bout against Charlotte Flair and how the eventual loss dented her confidence.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36 was one of the best matches on the entire two night card.
Fought for the NXT Women’s Championship after Rumble winner Flair chose Ripley as her target, both women went tooth and nail to create that WrestleMania moment, giving the Australian a stellar showing in her first ‘Mania outing and arguably one of her greatest WWE bouts to date.
However, there was a downside. The loss to Flair, while many believed it was unnecessary, set Ripley on a downward spiral in the post-WrestleMania season. Her push halted and NXT seemed to have nothing for their top female star.
Instead of enjoying a glorious sovereignty at the top of the mountain, Ripley was forced to make-do with looking at the lights for Io Shirai, tread water in a mid-card rivalry with Raque Gonzalez and be extracted from television when nothing could be found for her to do.
Now, the imposing talent has sat down with Lilian Garcia on her Chasing Glory Podcast to talk about her WrestleMania 36 bout with ‘The Queen’ and why her golden ticket turned into an albatross around her neck:
“It’s funny because I was on Watch Along and I was watching the Royal Rumble and Charlotte won, and they turned to me, and they were like, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘Well, she gets to challenge for any title, so I’d like to see her try me. That’s all I said. I didn’t think that anything was going to happen. Then all of a sudden, it was happening. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, did I speak this into existence? Did I make this happen?’
It was exciting. I got my golden ticket pretty much from that, and man, even the WrestleMania [event] wasn’t what we expected it to be. It’s still WrestleMania, and it’s still a massive deal. Like yeah, there were no people in attendance, which sorta sucked, and my parents couldn’t be there, which sucked ’cause I wanted to share that with them. But it’s still WrestleMania, and I got to step in the ring with someone like Charlotte Flair, and we had an amazing match; I don’t care what anyone says.”
However, greatness comes at a price. The price for Rhea Ripley was a step down the pecking order in the eyes of management who didn’t seem to have anything for the talent to do after she tapped to her rival and the loss of self confidence:
“I definitely have gone through a stage where I started losing confidence in myself because I wasn’t being portrayed the same way that I was. I’m still slowly building myself back up from it. But my confidence was definitely tainted a little bit, which sucks ’cause I try to keep it up [so I can] do my best all the time. I don’t know if it was just something inside my head that wasn’t getting the picture. I don’t know. I got a bit lost after that. But right now, I feel like I’m getting back on track.”
Countless others would lose heart and transfer that disappointment to their performances. But Rhea Ripley is made of sterner stuff and instead of hanging her head and feeling sorry for herself, she decided to do something about it:
“It might sound weird, but I’ve been going back and watching some of my matches. I’ll watch [my] matches from NXT UK. I’ll watch matches from me and Shayna’s buildup. And I just gotta remember who I am, pretty much, ’cause I forgot who I was for a little bit, and I hate forgetting who I was. I like being me and portraying myself in a certain way that makes me feel comfortable and confident. So, I’ve definitely been going back and watching my old stuff and being like, ‘This is how I used to act. This is what I need to do no.’ And it’s been helping me a bit.”
As she continues to search for who she really is, ‘The Nightmare’ finds herself in a war with Candice LeRae and company after an ambush on the November 26 edition of NXT and will partner Ember Moon and Shotzi Blackheart at NXT TakeOver: WarGames on December 6.
Credit for the interview: Chasing Glory
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.