Raquel Gonzalez On Life as a Second-Generation Wrestler
Raquel Gonzalez is set for a major match against Rhea Ripley at NXT Halloween Havoc. Speaking with TVInsider, Gonzalez spoke about being a second-generation wrestler, advice from her father, and more.
Below are some highlights:
Raquel Gonzales on her dad, Desperado:
When my dad would work, we’d go to Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Houston, and all of those places that were two-to-five-hours away. It was like a weekend family trip. My sister and mom would love to go to the malls or in the city. Sometimes I was up for that, but a lot of times I didn’t want to go shopping. I would sit around and hang with my dad and wait around the venue with the other kids. I just loved the atmosphere [and] watching my dad do what he loved in the ring. When I told him about wanting to wrestle, he wasn’t happy. It was a different time for women in wrestling. He did try to deter me from it.
He told me I needed to go to school first and get an education. I’m so happy he did because that’s probably an accomplishment I wouldn’t have made otherwise if I didn’t have his support. He inspired me to start playing basketball. He started coaching at one of the schools my sister and I were going to. They only had a men’s team. I sat in on a practice and said, “Dad, I want to play.” From there, he took me to the Boys & Girls Club and started me on a team. Because I was so tall, I was immediately seen by coaches who did AAU [Amateur Athletic Union]. That was the turning point. Basketball was my life.
I switched my mindset from wrestling into that. Then, of course, getting a scholarship in college [was] a dream come true for me and my family. When I graduated I said, “Dad, I’m getting my degree and appreciate it. But I still want to try and wrestle.” At that point, he gave in and said, “I can’t stop you.” He ended up encouraging it.
Raquel Gonzales on who has predominantly been coaching her at WWE:
Everyone at the WWE Performance Center has been so helpful and kind to me ever since I started. Sara Amato has been the one in the past year that really helped me hone my skills and my skillset, and bring in some new stuff that could help me differentiate myself from the other big girls. I have to give the biggest thanks to her and her class last year.
Scotty 2 Too Hotty helped me at the beginning of my career, as well as Robbie Brookside, and Norman Smiley. They’ve all taught me a different set of skills. Scotty brought [out what] is more of the attitude part I feel like I needed to work on. It has really been an all hands-on project. Sarah has helped me the most at this time, though.
Raquel Gonzalez on her upcoming match with Rhea Ripley at Halloween Havoc:
It is arguably the biggest match of my entire career. The nerves are definitely there. The excitement is there. I’m 100% ready for it to happen. I’m excited it’s against Rhea Ripley who has built such a big name for herself. She’s a tough competitor holding the NXT U.K. women’s title. She wrestled Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania this year. This is a big deal. I can’t even think about how to put it into words of how excited I am.
WrestleZone will have live play-by-play coverage of Halloween Havoc tonight.