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Wrestler Rhea Ripley becomes first Australian woman to win a WWE tournament

Sean Fewster, August 27, 2018 7:00PM The Advertiser

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Australian wrestler Rhea Ripley wins the inaugural WWE NXT women's championship following a tournament in the UK. Picture: supplied media_cameraAustralian wrestler Rhea Ripley wins the inaugural WWE NXT women's championship following a tournament in the UK. Picture: supplied

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Wrestler Rhea Ripley has made history by becoming the first Australian woman ever to win a championship with global* wrestling organisation WWE.

On Monday morning, Ms Ripley won the first WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion tournament in front of thousands of fans in Birmingham, UK.

The 21-year-old, whose  real name is Demi Bennett but has the competition name Rhea Ripley, is from Glenelg, South Australia and has only been with WWE for two years.

WWE star Rhea Ripley, whose real name is Demi Bennett. Picture: WWE. media_cameraWWE star Rhea Ripley, whose real name is Demi Bennett. Picture: WWE.

She beat experienced New Zealand-born Australian Toni Storm (whose real name is Toni Rossall) and New Zealand’s Dakota Kai (whose real name is Cheree Crowley).

She was presented her championship by British wrestling legend Johnny Saint and had her hand raised by former WWE champion Triple H.

Wrestler Triple H gets ready to defend himself from John Cena, who is jumping down from up on the ropes in a WWE tournament earlier this year. Picture: AFP media_cameraWrestler Triple H gets ready to defend himself from John Cena, who is jumping down from up on the ropes in a WWE tournament earlier this year. Picture: AFP

WHAT IS WWE?

WWE is an entertainment company called World Wrestling Entertainment.

WWE wrestling competitions aren’t regular sport, but are a mix of sport and entertainment.

Although the wrestlers are extremely strong and fit, they follow a script*. It’s a bit like a planned or choreographed* dance performance.

Wrestlers such as Rhea Ripley are professional* athletes who train and prepare full-time for competitions.

Rhea Ripley with her WWE NXT UK Women's Championship belt, which is the trophy for winning. Picture: WWE media_cameraRhea Ripley with her WWE NXT UK Women’s Championship belt, which is the trophy for winning. Picture: WWE

Wrestlers usually don’t use their own names, just like actors don’t use their own names for TV or movie roles.

People who watch and love WWE competitions now know it is scripted. Before 1989, the company kept this a secret and pretended their tournaments were like regular wrestling competitions, such as you would see at the Olympics.

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GLOSSARY

global: all around the world

script: plan for who is going to do and say what, like for a movie

choreographed: the plan for all the moves, such as for a ballet performance

professional: gets paid to do it as a job

LISTEN TO TODAY’S STORY

QUICK QUIZ

1. Who is Rhea Ripley? What is her real name?

2. Where is Birmingham?

3. How old is she and where is she from?

4. Is this a hobby for her or does she get paid?

5. What does choreographed mean and why is it in this story?

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

1. Persuasive text

WWE is different to standard wrestling because it is a scripted and rehearsed performance. Do you think that this makes it better or worse than standard wrestling?

Write a persuasive text to express your opinion, providing 3 convincing reasons to justify your answer.

2. Extension: Make a list of the skills and personal attributes that would be required to be a WWE wrestler. How many can you write down?

Time: Allow 40 minutes

Curriculum links: English

VCOP ACTIVITY

After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many pieces of punctuation as you can find in green. Discuss how these are being used, where and how often. What level of the punctuation pyramid is the journalist using in this article?

HAVE YOUR SAY: These wrestlers are extremely strong and fit but would you call this sport? Why or why not? No one-word answers. Use full sentences.

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