Becky Lynch, a former Aer Lingus air hostess from Dublin, will take part in the first-ever women’s main event at Wrestlemania this Sunday.
The 32-year-old, whose real name is Rebecca Quin will be competing against former MMA superstar Rhonda Rousey and Charlotte Flair, the daughter of wrestling icon Ric Flair, for the two main women's titles.
It is a glass-ceiling-shattering moment for women in the industry and cements their place as co-equals with their male counterparts.
I ran my mouth, put in the miles, took the bumps and entertained the people till they couldn’t deny me any longer. It’s an emotional day just knowing I get to smash Ronnie and Char in front of the whole world on the biggest stage possible. To the people: THANK YOU. #IAMTHEMAN pic.twitter.com/XKRhMNdz5A— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) March 25, 2019
For Quin, who was born in Co Limerick but grew up in north Dublin it has been a long arduous road to the top punctuated by enduring bullying at school, severe injuries, and depression.
The would-be superstar began wrestling at 15 but went on to study philosophy, history, and politics at university.
In 2002 she decided to pursue her love of wrestling by joining fellow Irish WWE superstar Finn Balor’s (Fergal Devitt) wrestling school.
However, she suffered a serious head injury while wrestling a match in 2006, damaging her cranial nerve which pushed her into depression and saw her wrestle only a handful of matches in the following six years.
“I started eating far too little. I remember going off to Japan — every bump hurt, I had no protection," she revealed.
"I didn’t have the energy. It messes with your mind and everything. I ended up getting hurt. I suplexed a girl and she landed on my head. I came back and my mom was worried about me emaciating myself with dieting.”
She returned to Ireland and worked for Aer Lingus for two and half years but then returned to university, studying acting at the Dublin Institute of Technology and Columbia College Chicago, as well as spending time at the Gaiety School of Acting.
But Quinn was still hell-bent on pursuing her true vocation in life and in 2013 she joined WWE's talent development programme becoming the first ever Irish woman to be signed by the company.
In 2015 she became the inaugural SmackDown Women's Champion but still, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the hard working Quin. Her gimmick - Irish dancing her way to the ring - was wearing thin and so she re-invented herself.
On St. Patrick’s Day this year Quin admitted via an inspirational tweet that at one point she was even on the verge of being fired.
A couple of weeks before this they were going to let me go. I’ve been fighting to survive this place since before day one. I’ll never be above what I had to do to stay alive. #happypaddysday pic.twitter.com/bPbcUihhX9— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) March 17, 2019
2018 marked a turning point for Quin’s character, as she transitioned herself towards a more aggressive character, perceiving herself as an unfairly-treated underdog and dubbing herself "The Man."
While retaining her long ginger-dyed hair, she now wears steampunk welding goggles and darker attire to the ring.
The change was the catalyst for a monumental increase in her popularity and fan based support.
In January 2019, she won the Women's Royal Rumble match and at Wrestlemania 35 on Sunday she will also be the first non-North American athlete to headline Wrestlemania since French-born André the Giant in 1987 — the same year she was born.
Today, Quin stands as not only the most popular figure in the women’s division but in the company as a whole.
Yet, for all she has achieved she remains far more popular in North America than back home in Ireland.
“I’m very proud of where I came from and I love Ireland to bits, she told the 42.ie.
"I don’t know why that [situation exists]. Maybe it’s less of a following. But when I go to Ireland — the support from the audience in [the 3Arena], there’s nothing like it. It’s absolutely incredible. So maybe [increasing my popularity in Ireland] needs to be my next goal, my next target to hit. I need to get on the Late Late Show to show my ma that I really made it!"
Wrestlemania 35 is being held at New York’s Met Life Stadium on Sunday, April 7.
What do you think of Irish wrestler Rebecca Quin's rise to the top of WWE? Let us know in the comments below