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WWE champion talks about her Coastal Bend roots

Raquel Gonzalez
Posted at 11:41 AM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 12:41:07-04

Before she was winning championship wrestling belts, Raquel Gonzalez was playing basketball at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

"I played AAU basketball and I was on teams that were a part of McAllen and Harlingen," said Gonzalez.

Eventually, her time to hang up the basketball shoes arrived as she followed a new path.

"When I graduated, there was still one thing that I wanted to do," she said. "One thing I really wanted to try."

She followed in her father's footsteps and got into wrestling.

"When I was little and he was wrestling I always wanted to wrestle, too," she said.

Her official journey into professional wrestling started in the Coastal Bend thanks to the Galvan family. They were close friends of the Gonzalez family and a name synonymous with the sport.

"I used to wrestle with her dad who used to wrestle with my dad," said Ben Galvan, president of Gulf Coast Wrestling Alliance.

It didn't take long for Galvan's father and the rest of the team to see that Gonzalez had what it takes to make it to the biggest of stages for their sport.

"From the get-go she was going to be a superstar," Galvan said.

They were right.

After auditioning for the WWE reality series "Tough Enough," Gonzalez found herself catapulted on an upward trajectory in the sport.

Now, she is the WWE NXT women's champion.

"I had so many tweets, so many messages on Instagram," said Gonzalez.

The Galvan family and friends from the Coastal Bend watching from home let her know how proud they were of her achievement.

"She gets to 1,2,3 and she is celebrating in the ring and everybody's celebrating at home," said Galvan.

Gonzalez will have the always difficult challenge of retaining her championship belt.

Fans across South Texas and the Coastal Bend will be cheering her on the entire way.

"I want to make that area known for the kind of people that we have," Gonzalez said. "They are very humble and very grateful."