WWE star Zelina Vega has eyes on girls’s title at Backlash in Puerto Rico: ‘It’s a dream come true’

Backlash would be the first WWE premium dwell occasion held within the aftermath of WrestleMania 39 the place Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Aptitude for the SmackDown Girls’s Championship.

The occasion will happen in San Juan, Puerto Rico – the primary time a WWE premium dwell occasion will happen within the territory since New Yr’s Revolution in 2005. Whereas the occasion – hosted by Dangerous Bunny – is bound to draw hundreds of wrestling followers, it means extra for Zelina Vega.

Vega, whose actual identify is Thea Büdgen, will probably be battling Ripley for the SmackDown Girls’s Championship. It is going to be Ripley’s first title protection since she beat Aptitude in an epic battle in the course of the first night time of the star-studded spectacle in Inglewood, California. Vega is of Puerto Rican first rate and will probably be wrestling within the territory for the primary time in her profession.


Zelina Vega in Tokyo

American skilled wrestler Zelina Vega arrives on the Crunchyroll Anime Awards Purple Carpet at Grand Prince Lodge Takanawa on March 4, 2023, in Tokyo, Japan. (Jun Sato/WireImage)

“It’s thrilling. It’s surreal. It’s nerve-racking. It’s a dream come true,” Vega informed Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital in a latest interview days earlier than Backlash kicks off.

“And never simply the match, actually, however the location. Like, attending to do it in Puerto Rico is one thing I by no means thought was going to be the case. And to have this type of a match there may be loopy. The household that lives there’ll lastly see me wrestle in particular person. It’s actually cool.”

WWE introduced it could be going again to Puerto Rico in March. Vega mentioned that when she heard the news she instantly tried to resolve how she was going to get herself on the cardboard. Two days after the announcement, Vega turned face and joined Legado Del Fantasma in serving to Rey Mysterio in opposition to Judgment Day. The group would re-form the Latino World Order (LWO), and on April 21, Vega would request and be granted a match in opposition to Ripley for the championship at Backlash.


Zelina Vega in Saudi Arabia

Zelina Vega celebrates after successful her match in the course of the World Wrestling Leisure Crown Jewel pay-per-view within the Saudi capital Riyadh on Oct. 21, 2021. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP by way of Getty Photographs)

Vega is the one feminine Puerto Rican famous person on the principle WWE roster. She mentioned she felt a “accountability” to be the illustration for the locker room.

“It’s an enormous accountability, however it’s one which I take very significantly, and I’m glad I get to do it,” she informed Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital, “as a result of, my God, it’s one thing that even once I was youthful, to have the ability to say, to have a look at [former WWE superstar] Melina and [think], ‘Wow, she’s in WWE, and that’s the place I need to be.’ And Rey, he’s smaller in stature like me, I like that. I really feel like I can do that, too.”

“So, I had that illustration once I as youthful, and I simply need to have the ability to be that in a bunch of various methods however for different folks as effectively. I simply [want] to be what Rey Mysterio was rising up,” Vega continued.

WWE has been everywhere in the globe over the past yr, internet hosting premium dwell occasions like Conflict on the Fortress in Scotland and Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. WWE additionally launched a expertise search throughout Africa to seek out the following nice famous person.

Zelina Vega at Survivor Series

Zelina Vega is proven in the course of the girls’s five-on-five elimination match in the course of the WWE Survivor Sequence at Barclays Heart on Nov, 21, 2021, in Brooklyn, New York Metropolis. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports activities)


Saturday’s Puerto Rico occasion seems to be simply one other instance of the corporate’s international attain.

“WWE is sort of a beast in the perfect of how,” Vega informed Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital. “I believe they’re very massive on simply having a melting pot of lovely cultures altogether. They’re very massive on inclusivity and everyone and discover one thing in frequent with somebody right here.”

“We speak about Rhea, and I’ve seen folks say, ‘Oh, wow, she attire like me. She likes the identical bands that I do. I’ve one thing in frequent along with her, so I can relate along with her,’” she continued. “With me, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, she loves anime like I do, and she or he likes gaming and stuff similar to I do.’ Now we have various things folks can discover in frequent with us, and I really feel like WWE is absolutely good at ensuring that everyone feels included.”

Zelina Vega at John Wick

Zelina Vega attends Lionsgate’s “John Wick: Chapter 4” screening at AMC Lincoln Sq. Theater on March 15, 2023, in New York Metropolis. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Photographs)

Vega is only one of 39 girls superstars who wrestle full time on the principle roster. Whereas there’s a girls’s championship and a girls’s tag-team championship, there isn’t a mid-card title belt akin to that of an Intercontinental Championship of United States Championship on the lads’s aspect.

Vega informed Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital it may very well be time for that to alter.


“I hope so,” she mentioned when requested whether or not WWE ought to introduce a mid-card girls’s title. “And to be honest, I assumed that’s sort of what Queen of the Ring might have been. Once I gained that crown, I used to be like, ‘Yeah, I’m all the way down to put it on the road.’ Like, we’ll have matches for the crown. There have been so many concepts that I had for Queen of the Ring.

Zelina Vega at Money in the Bank

Zelina Vega battles within the girls’s Cash within the Financial institution at Dickies Area in Fort Value, Texas, on July 18, 2021. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports activities)

“However I believe as a result of it was simply so new, and it was the primary ever, you realize, they put me in with Carmella, and it bought sort of sophisticated to try to do all of that directly. I do assume it could be helpful positively to have one other title, one other alternative for different ladies to win some gold.”

Backlash is ready for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET within the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot. Dangerous Bunny will the host of the present. Backlash will stream dwell on Peacock.

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Right here’s the cardboard:

  • Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Bloodline in a six-man tag-team match
  • Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar in a singles match
  • Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega in a singles match for the SmackDown Girls’s Championship
  • Seth Rollins vs. Omos in a singles match
  • Austin Concept (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed in a triple menace match for america Championship
  • Bianca Belair (c) vs. Iyo Sky in a singles match for the Uncooked Girls’s Championship
  • Dangerous Bunny vs. Damien Priest in a San Juan Road Combat

Peter Johnson