In the lead-up to Backlash, WWE decided to pull a page from the UFC handbook to have joint interviews with a few of the acts on the card, with Zelina Vega and her “manager” Rey Mysterio sitting opposite Rhea Ripley and her Dom Dom, Dominik Mysterio, in front of a white-hot Puerto Rican crowd who really didn’t like the latest addition to The Judgement Day one bit.
Afforded a chance to, well, basically talk trash on their opponent before the borderline requisite face-to-face showdown with Ripley holding the belt in the air, Vega addressed the crowd like a true babyface, boldly declaring that she will bring back the gold for the people who believe in her.
“I am so proud and so happy to be back in Puerto Rico,” Vega said. “Oh my god, it feels like a dream come true to be back here, and as soon as I heard the coqui frogs at night, I was so happy. But I will say, it’s no secret that I am the underdog here in this match, but I’m excited, I’m so happy to be representing each and every single one of you in WWE, and let’s get this championship. Let’s get this SmackDown Women’s Championship and bring it to Puerto Rico,” Vega told the assembled crowd.
“And honestly, it’s crazy because not only that, but I get to work alongside my hero, my mentor, the Hall of Famer, Rey Mysterio.”
The older Mysterio cut in, too, telling his fellow lWo member that being an underdog isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“Zelina, I know you say you’re the underdog,” Mysterio added. “I’ve been an underdog my whole life. My whole life, and look where it has gotten me. The Hall of Fame.”
After watching Rey and Dominik go back and forth on the mic in a sight that drew fantastic reactions from the assembled crowd, Ripley decided to end things right then and there, declaring that she plans to end Vega’s ambitions on her native island.
“First of all, no chunkla is going to hit me, and she’s not going to make no history Rey Mysterio, Ripley declared. Absolutely not, she’s been fucking and diving me, and you’re one slippery little fish, I’ll give you that, you’re very, very slippery. But when it comes to Backlash, I’m not even going to beat you, I’m going to embarrass you in your hometown. I’m going to beat you in Puerto Rico whether you like it or not, Zelina. Your nightmares become reality tomorrow. You know what? You’re still going to be the little pipsqueak that I know you are, the pathetic little girl that everyone can see right here. That’s why I’m going to put you down, and why I’m going to pretzel your a**.”
Will Vega do what Sami Zayn and Drew McIntyre couldn’t and secure a championship win on her home turf, garnering a massive pop from the fans in attendance? Or will Ripley come out on top and begin her new run on SmackDown with the brand’s Women’s Championship around her waist? Only time will tell, but it’s safe to say this match will be one of the louder contests on the card.
Zelina Vega wants to see WWE christen a Women’s midcard championship.
Sitting down for an interview with Fox before her match with Ripley at Backlash, Zelina Vega was asked about the prospects of WWE adding a midcard title to their championship portfolio, and needless to say, she was for the idea.
“I hope so,” Vega said via Fightful. “And to be fair, I thought that’s kind of what Queen of the Ring could have been. When I won that crown, I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m down to put it on the line.’ Like, we’ll have matches for the crown. There were so many ideas that I had for Queen of the Ring. But I think because it was just so new, and it was the first ever, you know, they put me in with Carmella, and it got kind of complicated to try and do all of that at once. I do think it would be beneficial definitely to have another title, another opportunity for other girls to win some gold.”
Now, to be fair to Vega, she isn’t the first performer to suggest a midcard title, and she won’t be the last, as Raquel Rodriguez was on the same beat last year. Still, the idea of putting the crown up as a sort of “championship lite” is intriguing, even if it’s probably not the best idea to talk about a midcard title when you’re about to wrestle for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at a PLE.
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