Indi Hartwell Praises WWE Star As An Inspiration To Both Men And Women

WWE star Indi Hartwell has named the current WWE Women's World Champion, her compatriot Rhea Ripley, as a star she looks up to in the promotion.

Hartwell, like Ripley, is Australian, and both had a similar journey to the world of WWE — from being passionate fans to starting their careers in their home country before joining WWE. The former "WWE NXT" Women's Champion discussed how important Ripley has been for her, as well as for the Australian pro wrestling community, in a recent interview with "The West Sport."

"Yeah, it seems that I'm always a few steps behind her, she's always champion when I'm trying to become champion," said Hartwell. "But having Rhea — even though she's two months younger than me — she's definitely someone I look up to. I think she's someone that a lot of men and women can look up to, especially Australians, to have like a figure like her in WWE. She's one of the top Superstars there and I use her as inspiration. I love to see her journey and hopefully one day win the title off her."

Hartwell trained and wrestled in Australia, much like Ripley, and then wrestled in American promotions like SHIMMER and Rise before joining her fellow countrywoman in WWE in 2019.

Hartwell on the first time she met Ripley

Indi Hartwell also revealed that her friendship with Rhea Ripley began way before they even stepped into the pro wrestling ring, as they met each other during WWE's tour of Australia. 

"Rhea and I actually met each other before we both started wrestling. We met each other as fans, like meeting the WWE Superstars at the airport when they came to Australia," recalled the "WWE Raw" star. "So we met when we were like 15 or 16 and I don't think she had started wrestling then. I certainly hadn't started wrestling yet. But I went to Adelaide to wrestle and we knew each other but she's always been a few steps ahead of me. So when I was really breaking into wrestling in Australia, that's when she was off to WWE so it's not really until now that we've really been in the same place for a while."

Ripley moved stateside in 2017, signing with WWE and debuting in the Mae Young Classic, and went on to dominate the "NXT UK" and "NXT" brands, before being called up to the main roster in 2021. She quickly established herself as one of the most dominant women in WWE, winning the "Raw" Women's Championship a few weeks after debuting on the main roster. Hartwell, on the other hand, was moved to the red brand a little while after she won the "NXT" Women's title in 2023.