Rhea Ripley recalls first coming across Asuka when she was 17 years old on a show in Japan.
At WrestleMania 37, Rhea Ripley will try to dethrone Asuka as the WWE Raw Women's Champion and what will be her first singles match on the brand, although she would not mind if that changes to a Triple Threat in order to include Charlotte Flair.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Ripley recalls first meeting Asuka and how at the time, Ripley wanted to pattern herself after the woman she will face at WrestleMania.
“I was on a show in Japan when I was 17 years old when I first saw Asuka,” Ripley says. “I wanted to be just like her. Now I get the chance to wrestle her. We’re going to build something special in the weeks to come, and I am excited to get my hands on her.
“It started out of nowhere. I went from sitting in catering to a WrestleMania match against Asuka. Luckily, I’ve stayed prepared. I’ve watched Asuka for years. She is someone I can’t wait to get in the ring with. This is my golden ticket, and it’s going to be a hard-hitting match.”
Rhea Ripley, who got her first taste of WrestleMania during the most unique WrestleMania in 2020, is hoping to walk away with a championship after walking out of WrestleMania without one i last year.
“I want to be the top of the food chain,” Ripley says. “There is so much opportunity for me here. I’ve dipped my toes into the main roster before, but the Raw roster is so deep, and this is the first time for so many new matches. Now I have the chance to wrestle Asuka, who is the best in the world at what she does.
“My first goal on Monday Night Raw is to be champion, and that’s the chance I have at WrestleMania.”
Before they can determine who is the better competitor in the ring, Rhea Ripley and Asuka will try to coexist on the final Raw before WrestleMania 37 when they take on the WWE Tag Team Champions, Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax. Learn more here.