Rhio unlocked her opportunity afforded to her by winning the PROGRESS Wrestling Thunderbastard key in January last week, defeating Lana Austin after her match with Alexxis Falcon at The Long Halloween to become the PROGRESS Women’s Champion. We spoke with her about the unlocking, her upcoming match with Lana Austin in Manchester on the 12th November at WonderBrawl and her mission as champion…
First things first congratulations on being crowned the new PROGRESS Wrestling Women’s Champion. How does it feel?
Thank you so much. It’s madness to be honest – I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, but I’m so excited for the future.
You unlocked your opportunity in January by winning the Thunderbastard but we haven’t seen you a lot since. Was it always your plan to lay low and allow Lana to take her eye off the prize?
Yeah, there was quite a long period of time between me winning the Thunderbastard key and being at PROGRESS. It was a mix of two things; my schedule and playing it smart. It would be stupid of me to act on impulse and try to unlock my opportunity while LAE are present. I mean I’ll never back down regardless of how many of them there are, but I understand strength in numbers and I’ve been victim of the numbers game before. I knew to win the PROGRESS Wrestling Women’s World Championship, I would need to strike at the perfect time and that’s what I did.
We have seen on social media that Lana hasn’t taken the loss well… have you any words for her?
Haha yeah Lana is being Lana. I know she wants her rematch and she can have that. She feels she’s been robbed and outnumbered which is ironic because I played the game by the rules. I guess that’s something she’s not accustomed to. I’m not going to hide from her.
Winning Championships is nothing new to you… Lana held onto her title for almost a year with her strength in numbers. What is your plan as champion?
Love her or hate her, Lana’s reign was a testament to her. My plan as champion is to defend as much as I can and really put the PROGRESS women’s division out there as much as I can. I want to be a champion the PROGRESS Wrestling fans can be proud of. And someone they know will handle anything or anyone.
You defend your title at Wonderbrawl in Manchester against the former champion, Lana Austin… are you excited to see our Northern fans on what looks like a great card?
Yeah, to be fair I’m really excited. I always love being in the North. And PROGRESS Manchester shows are always energetic and the card is stacked. It’ll be odd because I’m in Lana’s home city so maybe this time the numbers are even more against me, but I’m good at dialling it and getting the job done whether I have support or not.
It’s taken me a while to realise that as great as it is having people on your side supporting you I can’t depend on that. I can only ever depend on myself. And I know that when I’m in the head space that I am right now no one is stopping me. I said at the start of this year that my mindset was going to change and I was going to go apeshit this year, and I’ve stuck to that. I’ve never believed in myself more than what I do right now. My mind and body have never been stronger.
This year I’ve taught myself a lot. I have a small circle I hold close and that’s what keeps me driving forward. I don’t plan on slowing down or taking any shortcuts or easy routes. Some PROGRESS fans feel Lana was a victim and that I stole this championship from her so WonderBrawl will be me solidifying to those fans that I never stole the championship from Lana. I fought hard for it. I waited patiently and sometimes impatiently for it and now it’s all paid off.
Lastly, What are your PROGRESS Wrestling goals for 2024 and is there anyone you really want to defend against?
To be honest I’ve not really had much time to think about 2024 as my 2023 has been and continues to be so crazy. And also, I’m trying my best to stay in the moment but people I want to face is always hard to say because I want to face everyone. I love the fights I can have at PROGRESS so give me everyone at PROGRESS but outside of PROGRESS I would say off the top of my head (and I know I’m gonna miss people here)
Any Joshi Wrestler
But to be honest everyone. I will fight everyone.
PROGRESS Wrestling tickets are available for all future shows via the dice app, including Wonderbrawl where you can see Rhio defend the PROGRESS Women’s Championship against Lana Austin.
You can see Rhio matches, including her unlocking the Thunderbastard key by subscribing to DEMAND PROGRESS PLUS.