Australia’s first ever WWE women’s world champion Rhea Ripley is stranded in the United States, unable to return home as a result of Covid-19 border restrictions.
The 24-year-old from Adelaide admits she has previously burst into tears when being told she is locked out of Australia after more than two years overseas.
That anguish, however, is nothing compared to the one regret “The Nightmare” has about how her career was almost done before it even began.
In a wide-ranging interview with news.com.au, Ripley also spilt the beans on secrets within the WWE locker room and opened up on her heartbreak from Australia’s Covid-19 situation.
Ripley — whose real name is Demi Bennett — earlier this year made history and shocked the world at WrestleMania when she defeated veteran Asuka to become the first Aussie to ever hold the Raw women’s championship belt.
On Sunday morning (AEST), Ripley has the chance to get it back when she co-headlines the SummerSlam blockbuster in Las Vegas — one of the biggest events on the WWE calendar
Watch WWE SummerSlam live on Main Event, available on Foxtel and Kayo on Sunday 22 August at 10am AEST. ORDER NOW >
How she made it to the biggest stage in wrestling entertainment reveals her greatest career decision and the call that still haunts her.
Speaking after she defeated championship rival Nikki A.S.H in a non-championship match before Sunday’s triple threat match with legend Charlotte Flair, Ripley revealed she hated wrestling as a result of her attempts to be somebody else.
Self-doubt, homesickness and depression left Ripley on the verge of quitting to come back to Australia. Her year leading up to the 2018 Mae Young Classic took her to a dark place too.
It is her biggest regret that it took her so long to pull herself out of that spiral — and is also the best career decision she has ever made.
“My biggest regret is not believing in myself. And just trying to listen to everyone. I was only 20-years-old, so I was just trying to please everyone,” she said.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing and I got really depressed, and I just started hating everything about wrestling.
“I didn’t want to be here anymore. I just wanted to go home, I just wanted it to be done. So I regret feeling that way. And I probably lashed out at a few people because I was in such a dark place. But at the same time, if that didn’t happen then we wouldn’t be here.”
Changing her look to the Rhea Ripley persona that has become one of the most popular in wrestling entertainment was one of the key decisions in Ripley’s meteoric rise through the WWE ranks and made sure her personal happiness was put first.