Shawn Michaels, a WWE Hall of Famer and one of the industry's most recognized figures, recently opened up about the continuous comparisons between the emerging talent Rhea Ripley and the late legend Chyna. Chyna, fondly remembered as the "Ninth Wonder of the World," was a game-changer for women's wrestling.
Her physicality, charisma, and overall impact set a high benchmark in the industry. "Chyna was unique, a true one-off, and she significantly altered the landscape of women's wrestling," Michaels said, reflecting on the extraordinary legacy Chyna left behind.
"I will always hold a certain bias for Chyna, mainly because she was incomparable to any female wrestlers before her." However, the conversation took an interesting turn as Michaels started discussing Ripley. The Australian-born wrestler has been under his tutelage since her time in NXT.
"Rhea, undoubtedly, is one of the talents I truly admire. I realized her potential from the first day I stepped into NXT. This spark in her distinguished her from the rest," Michaels affirmed.
Ripley's NXT UK Evolution
Ripley's stint in NXT UK marked the beginning of her ascension.
Michaels recounted watching her develop from a promising talent to a phenomenal performer. "During her time in NXT UK, I saw a palpable growth in her, not just as a wrestler but as an individual. Her confidence blossomed, her skills sharpened, and her overall aura transformed." Upon moving to the American NXT, Ripley continued to impress and climbed up the ranks swiftly.
Michaels voiced no surprise at her subsequent success on the main roster. "Given her age, she's bound to accomplish much more, perhaps even surpass what Chyna did, but with the utmost respect," he predicted. While the comparison is inevitable, Michaels insisted it wouldn't take away from Chyna's remarkable contribution to WWE and professional wrestling.
He concluded, "Chyna's legacy is untouchable. Rhea's success story, however, is just unfolding. It's a tale of two remarkable wrestlers making their mark in their respective eras."