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

Backlash will be the first WWE premium live event after WrestleMania 39 Rhea Ripley defeated Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women̵7;s Championship.

will be held in San Juan Puerto Rico This is the first time a WWE premium live event will take place in this arena since New Year’s Revolution in 2005. While the event – hosted by Bad Bunny – is sure to attract thousands of wrestling fans, it means more to Zelina Vega.

Vega, whose real name is Thea Budgen, will take on Ripley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. This would be Ripley’s first title defense since defeating Flair in an epic battle during the first night of the star-studded spectacle in Inglewood, California. Vega is of Puerto Rican descent and will wrestle in the territory for the first time in her career.


American professional wrestler Zelina Vega arrives at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards red carpet at Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa on March 4, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Jun Sato/WireImage)

“It’s exciting. It’s surreal. It’s nerve-racking. It’s a dream come true,” Vega told Fox News Digital in a recent interview days before the backlash began.

“And not just the match, really, but the location. Like, doing this in Puerto Rico is something I never thought about. And this kind of match is crazy out there. The family that lives at the end gives me a personal wrestling. It’s really cool.”

WWE announced that it would be moving back to Puerto Rico in March. Vega said that when she heard the news she immediately tried to decide how she was going to get herself on the card. Two days after the announcement, Vega turned face and joined Legado del Fantasma to help Rey Mysterio against Judgment Day. The group would re-form the Latino World Order (LWO), and on April 21, Vega would request and be allowed a match against Ripley for the championship at Backlash.

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Zelina Vega and Saudi Arabia

Zelina Vega celebrates after winning her match during the World Wrestling Entertainment Crown Jewel pay-per-view on October 21, 2021 in Riyadh, Saudi Capital. (Fayez Neureldin/AFP via Getty Images)

Vega is the only female Puerto Rican Superstar on WWE’s main roster. She said she feels a “responsibility” to represent the locker room.

“It’s a big responsibility, but it’s one that I take very seriously and I’m glad I’m able to do it,” she told Fox News Digital. able to say, to see [former WWE superstar] melina and [think]’Wow, he’s in WWE, and that’s where I want to be.’ And Ray, he’s short like me, I love that. I think I can do it too.”

“So, I had that representation when I was younger, and I just want to be able to do that in different ways, but for other people as well. I just [want] Like Rey Mysterio growing up,” Vega continued.

WWE has been all over the world for the past year, hosting premium live events like Clash at the Castle in Scotland and Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. WWE also launched a talent search across Africa to find the next great Superstar.

Zelina Vega at Survivor Series

Zelina Vega is shown during the women’s five-on-five elimination match during WWE Survivor Series at Barclays Center on November 21, 2021 in Brooklyn, New York City. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

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Saturday’s Puerto Rico event appears to be another example of the company’s global reach.

“WWE is like a beast in the best of ways,” Vega told Fox News Digital. “I think they’re huge on a melting pot of totally beautiful cultures. They’re huge on inclusivity and everybody finding something in common with anybody here.”

“We talk about Rhea, and I notice people say, ‘Oh, wow, she dresses like me. She likes the same bands that I do. I have something in common with her, So I can relate to that,” she continued. “With me, it’s like, ‘Oh my god, she loves anime like I do, and she likes gaming and stuff like I do.’ We have different things that people can find in common with us, and I think WWE is really good at making sure everyone feels included.”

Zelina Vega and John Wick

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

Vega is one of 39 female Superstars who wrestle full-time on the main roster. While there are women’s championships and women’s tag-team championships, there is no mid-card title belt on the men’s side, similar to the Intercontinental Championship of the United States Championship.

Vega told Fox News Digital it may be time to change that.

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When asked if WWE should introduce a mid-card women’s title, she said, “I hope so.” “And to be fair, I wondered what Queen of the Ring might be like. 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. I had so many ideas Queen of the Ring.

Zelina Vega in Money in the Bank

Zelina Vega fights at the women’s Money In The Bank at Dickey’s Arena on July 18, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

“But I think because it was so new, and it was the first, you know, they put me with Carmella, and it got complicated to try and do all that at once. I think it would be a And getting the title is definitely rewarding, another opportunity for other girls to win some gold.”

Backlash is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico in José Miguel Agrelot. Bad Bunny will be the host of the show. Backlash will be live streamed on Peacock.

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Here’s the card:

  • Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens and 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 Women’s Championship
  • Seth Rollins vs. Omos in a singles match
  • Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed in a Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship
  • Bianca Belair (c) vs. Io Skye in a singles match for the Raw Women’s Championship
  • Bad Bunny vs Damian Priest in San Juan Street Fight