After making her debut on NXT this past February, Raquel González is out to prove her dominance, whether as Dakota Kai’s ally or on her lonesome. Back in October, González had a one-on-one match with the “Nightmare” Rhea Ripley in her first singles match at NXT: Halloween Havoc. Although she did not pick up the victory, she said that match alone was her perfect opportunity to showcase just how hard she’s been working since arriving at WWE four years ago.
“Well, going into it was really surreal because being here at the Performance Center on Wednesdays are always a stressful day for everyone. For that day, it felt calmer than usual,” Raquel González noted in her interview on WWE’s The Bump. “I was very, very happy, and proud of myself for doing it because it was my first singles match, and being out there without Dakota [Kai], like you said, I’m pretty proud that I opened a lot of eyes and showed people that I’ve been here for four years, and I’m learning my craft, and honing who I am.”
González complimented Ripley for her strength in their match this past October. She’s hopeful that their rivalry will continue after their four-on-four bout this Sunday at NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
“It’s rare when I get these types of matchups because I am the biggest girl here in NXT. And Rhea is one of the other biggest girls, as well. She’s not as tall as me, but that girl is strong,” she complimented. “Coming into that match, I had to rewire my mindset because as much as I love throwing small people around, I knew that wasn’t going to be the case with Rhea. I think what we both did in there really opened up my eyes to hard-hitting matches. But our story is far from over.”
As a second-generation wrestler, Raquel recalls what led her to follow in her father, Ricky González’s footsteps. She tells the panel that she caught the “wrestling bug” the moment she was born.
“So, I can remember the exact moment, but I can remember the feeling. But let me start at the beginning – it all started when my mom went into labor with me,” she began. “So, I was a little bit late. The doctors told her to come into the hospital so they could induce the labor. That same day, my dad actually had a tag match, and his tag partner was there at the hospital with us. He said, ‘Look, Rick, you have time. We can go have our match and come back; you’ll have time.’ My mom, of course, was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, just go ahead and go. I’ll be fine.’ My mom was chilling because she was in no pain at all. Well, the funny thing is once my dad left, ta-da, I was born! I think that’s the day I knew I caught the wrestling bug.
“Growing up, I traveled with my dad to his shows. I was a daddy’s girl from day one. I wanted to do what my dad did, be around and make him proud. So, wrestling was that thing that helped me accomplish all of those things.”
Since her first appearance at the Mae Young Classic in 2017, Raquel has come a long way from being Reina González – a country girl – to Raquel, the explosive powerhouse she is now.
“I definitely have changed a lot,” she agreed. “At that time, I was trying to embrace who I thought was going to be me. But changing into Raquel really pushed me to become this woman who’s strong, dominating, and controlling, and knows what she wants, and goes for it. I think that really helped elevate my skills in the ring as well as my personality. It was me stepping out of my comfort zone that really helped me embrace her.”
WWE Hall of Famer the “Glamazon,” Beth Phoenix, has played an intricate role in Raquel’s career. Although they are world’s apart right now amid the pandemic, González looks forward to speaking to Phoenix in the future on how to go forth with her character.
“I’ve only gotten to pick Beth’s brain when she was here with us at the Mae Young [Tournament], and also when she was able to come to the PC. Obviously, this year has changed a lot of that for all of us,” she said. “Listening to her commentary each week and her comments on my matches has helped me as well because she’s such an inspirational person, and I do look to her for inspiration [both] outside and inside of the ring. We’re a rare breed. Knowing that she was able to embrace that, and giving me that confidence to embrace that, has really helped me with what I do in the ring.”
Raquel González will join Team Candice LeRae on this Sunday’s NXT TakeOver: WarGames on the WWE Network.
You can watch Raquel González’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.