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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 February 2019

WWE NXT UK women's champion Toni Storm on her ambitions, being targeted by Charlotte Flair, and the 2019 Royal Rumble

The 23-year-old Australian reflects on her title success in Blackpool and her rivalry with Rhea Ripley

Toni Storm celebrates her success at WWE NXT UK: Takeover in Blackpool. Image courtesy of WWE
Toni Storm celebrates her success at WWE NXT UK: Takeover in Blackpool. Image courtesy of WWE

Toni Storm became the WWE NXT UK women's champion on Saturday when she defeated Rhea Ripley at NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool.

Following her success the 23-year-old Australian spoke to The National about winning gold, her rivalry with Ripley, and why she is so grateful to be competing in the business as a woman in 2019.

On the feeling of winning the title

"Obviously at the end, when I kind of enjoyed it, and I was like, 'I'm enjoying this, too. This is incredible'. And everything just came back around in one moment I was and everything leading up to it. And I was just in tears, 'cause I was like, "if I can do this, then literally anything is possible if I can do this."

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On what it was like going backstage after winning

"Well, I come backstage and Triple H is there and gives me a big hug, and it's like what's my life. What's my life become. I just, yeah, I was bawling my eyes out because, it was strange, I was in a room with all the people that had helped me get to that point, and I just kind of looked around at all of them and it was like wow, like thank you. They got me there. It's been a hard road, and then my family was there as well. So I was like aw, the icing on the cake."

On her rivalry with Rhea Ripley

"It's crazy. I met Rhea when I was 16, it was two little scrawny blonde girls that grew up to be these crazy women like in WWE. We always knew we'd get to where we wanted to be, but I didn't think we'd realise we'd get there that quick like in 2019. And then, like you know, she's horrible at everything, but you know deep down it was a cool moment to share with someone that I kind of started the journey with. Yeah, all in all it was good."

On her plans for the NXT UK division as champion

"I want to defend against the best and retain against the best and I want to be champion for a very long time. And, I want to make sure that I can prove that it was deserved because I wanna fight only the best. And, I just wanna bring it to that next level because I think it really deserves it. The UK's got some really good women and we're all competitive and I just wanna push it to the grander stage."

On being targeted by Charlotte Flair at the London Performance Centre launch

"It's just like those, you know, those ... you're working hard, and you're working hard, and you're trying to get to where you want to be, and sometimes that can be just draining and hard, and you're just scratching and crawling. And then every now and again you get a little bit of a kick up back to be like, "Hey, wake up, keep going," and then when she said and mentioned my name, I was like, 'OK, yeah, alright. I'm fired up now. That's what I needed'. Thank you, Charlotte. Yes, we will meet one day."

Her ambitions for 2019

"I really wanna go Mania. Regardless of what happens and all, I really like that. I just want this to be like 2018 was mental, it was great, but I really wanna step it up to another level and if I can become a women's champion in the first two weeks of it then, you know, god knows what I can do for the rest of it. Surely I can step it up, I don't want to push my luck or anything, but surely I could do more."

Possibility of being a surprise entrant in the 2019 Royal Rumble later in January

"Wouldn't that be cool, though? Imagine it's like, "Number 30," and then I came out. That's what I want, anyway, for me."

Updated: January 19, 2019 08:37 AM

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