Rhea Ripley recently spoke with Phillip Martinez of Newsweek to promote tonight’s WWE NXT episode, where she will face Dakota Kai in a #1 contender’s match to determine the “Takeover: XXX” opponent for NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai.

Ripley dropped the NXT Women’s Title to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36 in early April, and Flair then lost it to Shirai in a Triple Threat, with Ripley, at “Takeover: In Your House” in early June. Ripley said she does feel like the spotlight on her has diminished some, but she understands the bigger picture.

“I feel like [the spotlight on me] diminished a little bit, but we all have to share the spotlight,” Ripley said. “I had my time to shine and it will come again, but right now Io is the NXT Women’s Champion and I’m working my way back up to be in that spotlight again. Whether that comes or not, we’ll see. I’ve got to try other things and face other people as well. I had my time and everyone is going to have their time and I’m just happy to be here and wrestling and kicking butt.”

Ripley has recently feuded with The Robert Stone Brand, which includes Stone and Aliyah, and new acquisition Mercedes Martinez. It’s believed that a Ripley vs. Martinez feud will kick off soon, now that Stone has had Martinez take out Shotzi Blackheart for him. Ripley and Martinez previously wrestled each other in Australia during the early days of Ripley’s career, and she hopes that they can revisit that rivalry soon in NXT.

“I would love to step into the ring with Mercedes. I stepped into the ring with her in Australia when I was 17 years old,” Ripley said. “To be able to step into a WWE ring with her would be incredible. She taught me so much back then and she could teach me so much these days as well. She’s got so much knowledge, she’s been in this game for such a long time and it’s incredible that she’s a part of the WWE. And I hope one day I get to step into the ring with her and if my feud continues with the Robert Stone Brand then I hope to throw him into the trash can again.”

While Ripley is always open to a run on RAW or SmackDown, she said that doesn’t mean she’s ready to leave NXT. She said she will stay on the black & yellow brand if she has it her way.

“I don’t think I can ever outgrow NXT. There is always something coming up and I honestly want to be in NXT for a long long time,” Ripley said. “Whether that’s the case or not, I don’t know, I don’t have that call. I feel like I have so much more to do here. Whether that’s singles matches or whatever, I love NXT and I love being a part of it. And I hope I’m here for longer. I guess we’ll see.”

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