Just under two years ago, Raquel Rodriguez claimed her first singles championship in WWE, capturing the NXT Women’s Championship from Io Shirai at NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver. Just days later, Rodriguez – then known as Raquel Gonzalez – made her first live appearance as champion on the post-WrestleMania edition of NXT. In a heartwarming moment, Rodriguez was surprised by two fellow brand-new champions in Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley. Both Ripley and Belair had captured their own respective championships at WrestleMania 37, and fittingly, all three women celebrated their title wins together.
Rodriguez, in an interview with Love Wrestling prior to Elimination Chamber, revealed that the reunion was far from an intricately-planned affair.
“Honestly, there was not a lot of planning from that!” Rodriguez laughed. “It was kind of just a moment, I think where everyone realized three girls that kind of came up in NXT together, they trained together, they’ve worked together, they’ve kind of all been on like the same system, in a sense. Now, all three of them are champions. Oh my god, we got to make a moment out of it! That’s what it felt like to me! Then, even in the moment that it was happening, because I showed up that day after winning the NXT Women’s Championship, and then watching Rhea win, in person, her Women’s Championship and Bianca, too, coming with her SmackDown Women’s Championship, it was like, ‘Oh, my God, all three of us are champions right now!’ When we all have that moment in the ring, and we look back at a picture of us tagging together, we’re just like, ‘wow, that was like, years ago! Now look at us!’ It’s just so serendipitous to kind of see.”
The photo in question, pictured below, was a surprise to all of the competitors, said Rodriguez.
“No, I don’t think anybody knew [about the photo],” stated the former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion. “What’s funny is that that was just literally one weekend we had, maybe years, maybe a year or two ahead of when we all won the title. For us, it was a weekend that we were out on the road. We were working these road loops that we do every weekend, and we didn’t put two and two together that oh my god, one day, this tag team that we have formed this weekend could potentially be the women’s champions of WWE, the triple threat!”
“Just being associated with them in that scenario, and especially just getting to be a part of that group: Bianca Belair, the EST, Rhea Ripley, Mami, who’s just indestructible. It’s just really cool to know that I fit into that category with two powerful women like them.”
Tune in to the full-length interview on Love Wrestling. Please credit Spencer Love with any of the above transcribed quotes.