Image: WWE (Design: Theo Dimou)

In Australia’s first WWE Premium Live Event (PLE) since 2018, Adelaide’s Rhea Ripley is the biggest attraction.

The current Women’s World Champion of nearly 330 days has received a hero’s welcome ahead of Elimination Chamber: Perth tonight, as she has transcended into one of WWE’s brightest stars.

Ripley’s rise to the top truly began in the 2023 women’s Royal Rumble, outlasting 29 other superstars as the number one entrant and punching her ticket to a world title match at WrestleMania 39. She then dethroned Charlotte Flair in a classic to become the new champion, embarking on a run of dominance the women’s division has not seen in some time.

She will defend her title tonight in a packed Optus Stadium and potentially in the main event against Sydney-born Nia Jax, stating on this week’s Raw it will be her first time competing in Australia as a WWE superstar and how she last performed in her home country on the independent scene.

Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum, Ripley described it as a full circle moment and discussed how proud she is of her journey.

“It’s absolutely wild,” she said.

“The last time I competed here was seven years ago for Riot City Wrestling and now I’m coming back as a WWE superstar, as your Women’s World Champion.

“So, it’s a very special feeling for me. It’s a historic moment I feel for Australia as well to have such a massive PLE come here. It’s the road to WrestleMania and we are here for Elimination Chamber, and to be the face of that, I feel proud.

“I feel so, so proud and I feel like everything that I’ve done along the road, I’ve just accomplished greatness and that makes me really happy, and I hope that Australia is proud as well.”

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The path Rhea Ripley has taken to achieve superstardom commenced in Adelaide, where she was born and raised. She enjoyed growing up in South Australia and had a passion for professional wrestling, but was told a WWE career was not possible with how limiting the scene was in her home state.

However, Ripley used that as fuel and was dedicated to proving her doubters wrong.

“Growing up in Adelaide was sick,” she said.

“I love Adelaide, Adelaide is my favourite place. The beaches there are sick, the people there are awesome.

“I loved growing up in Adelaide, but like you said, it’s very limited if you want to make it to the big leagues. I remember trying out for Riot City Wrestling and my coach straight out told everyone that you’re probably not going to make it to WWE.

“That lit a fire under my ass. I love proving people wrong, I love proving the doubters wrong.

“Every time someone doubted me, whether it be that moment or teachers from school or friends and family, I just wanted to prove that I was good enough and that was something that really strived me for greatness along the way.

“That’s pushed me to where I am today and I love to shove it back in people’s faces.”

In the last year, WWE has expanded to bringing their PLE’s to international markets and are continuing to do so in 2024. The company have travelled to the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico, and will make their way to Germany and France in the coming months.

Rhea Ripley said that it was only a matter of time before WWE would head to Australia and is excited to see what the future holds for PLE’s outside of the United States.

An inside look into Optus Stadium for Elimination Chamber (Image: Theo Dimou)

“We’ve had so many PLE’s in the states and I think it’s about time that we start venturing out to the other countries for PLE’s,” she said.

“I love that we are pretty much coming to Australia for one of the biggest.

“I can’t wait to see what the future holds, I know we are going to a few other countries along the way this year. I’m excited.”

Watch WWE Elimination Chamber: Perth tonight on BINGE at 6pm AWST (9pm AEDT)

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