Rhea Ripley has discussed the influence and help she received from Scotty 2 Hotty during the early days of her NXT career at the Performance Center.
Ripley recently climbed to the top of the wrestling ranks by defeating Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. This title marks an incredible progression for Ripley through the company as she is also a former NXT UK and NXT Women’s Champion.
For a seventeen-year-old on the other side of the world in Australia, just making it to WWE seemed a dim and distant prospect. Speaking to Renée Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast, Ripley recalled her early experiences trying to get a foot in the door with the company.
“When I was 17 – I had only been wrestling for a year – WWE went to Australia for a show. I think Hartley Jackson put my name down. They were like, ‘Hey, you’ve got a tryout. Can you send over all of your information?’ I was like, ‘What?’ I was, like, a child – I was so excited, I was crying.”
“So I was trying to write this message, and I think because I was so immature, I wrote it in a very immature way. They wrote me back and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you were that young. Maybe contact us when you’re 21.’ I was like, ‘Damn.’ I still went to my tryout, anyway, just to say hi to everyone and to be respectful and get my name in their minds so they’d remember me. And then, when I was 20, they came back for another show. They had another tryout and told me, ‘Ok, you can be in this one.’”
That tryout sent Ripley on to the path of arriving at the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. As Ripley adjusted to life overseas while attempting to make it in the tough world of professional wrestling she found a father figure in one cool former WWE star.
Rhea Ripley explained:
“I want to say that Scotty 2 Hotty was a massive impact in my career. There was a time at the PC where I felt like many people didn’t believe in me, and no one really gave me the time of day or helped me much. But Scotty 2 Hotty was one that was always there for me.”
“Scotty was definitely the one who helped me mentally get through the games that are in wrestling. Every time that I was down or got told that I was crap and I wasn’t learning and that I was dangerous and sucked at everything, he was the one that would grab me straight after and [say], ‘No, you’re doing great. I see you every day, and I know that you’re improving. If you keep on this track, you will be big.’ I love Scotty 2 Hotty.”
Scotty 2 Hotty was a star in the Attitude Era as a member of Too Cool with Grandmaster Sexay AKA Brian Lawler. Along with Rikishi, the trio memorably stopped the 2000 Royal Rumble so they could show off their trademark dance moves. Scotty has been a coach at the Performance Center since 2016.
‘The Nightmare’ Rhea Ripley made an emotional return to NXT on their inaugural Tuesday night broadcast. Ripley shared the ring with the new NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez before also being joined by the new SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair.