Raquel Gonzalez has delved into her transformation from Reina Gonzalez and her history with Rhea Ripley from partners to enemies.
Making her WWE debut in the 2017 Mae Young Classic under the moniker, Reina Gonzalez, the Texan has been on quite the journey in three years going from enhancement talent who only worked live events to a crucial member of the NXT women’s division.
Portraying a country girl, in many ways the female version of Stan Hansen in how she performed, the talent was first partnered with Rhea Ripley in a makeshift tag team on NXT house shows while the Australian was still part of the NXT UK roster.
Though the partnership didn’t last beyond a few months – the powerhouse did make an appearance on NXT UK television when the brand recorded in the states and fell to Piper Niven in an enjoyable and hard hitting scrap – the pair would come together again in 2020 as enemies at NXT Halloween Havoc.
Now, Gonzalez has spoken to WWE’s The Bump about her match with ‘The Nightmare’ as well as her transformation from live event enhancement talent to a valued member of the black and gold brand’s female division:
“It’s rare when I get these types of matchups because I am the biggest girl here in NXT. And Rhea is one of the other biggest girls, as well. She’s not as tall as me, but that girl is strong,” she complimented. “Coming into that match, I had to rewire my mindset because as much as I love throwing small people around, I knew that wasn’t going to be the case with Rhea. I think what we both did in there really opened up my eyes to hard-hitting matches. But our story is far from over.”
The overhaul Gonzalez went through wasn’t dramatic, but it was vital in making her stand-out among the competition. Slimming down and altering her attire slightly, the colossus made people sit-up and take notice when she made her NXT debut at TakeOver: Portland in February.
When asked about the process of altering who she was to receive her opportunity, the talent was more than happy to talk about her transition and what it involved:
“I definitely have changed a lot. At that time, I was trying to embrace who I thought was going to be me. But changing into Raquel really pushed me to become this woman who’s strong, dominating, and controlling, and knows what she wants, and goes for it. I think that really helped elevate my skills in the ring as well as my personality. It was me stepping out of my comfort zone that really helped me embrace her.”
Raquel Gonzalez will team with Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Toni Storm to battle Shotzi Blackheart, Rhea Ripley, Ember Moon and Io Shirai at NXT TakeOver: WarGames on December 6.
Inside the Ropes will have live coverage of NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
Credit for the interview: WWE’s The Bump
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.