Pro wrestling has helped Ruby Riot be a stronger version of herself, and now this punk rocking wrestler finds herself as a top member in the women’s division of WWE’s NXT.
“Instead of really shunning my weird oddities, professional wrestling embraced my quirkiness,” she said, “and really helped me embrace myself and stay true to myself and accept myself and really bring out even more of these oddities that people seem to embrace. It has really helped me with my confidence and really made me the woman who I am today.”
That woman is an inspiration, someone to admire, because she did not relinquish her beliefs nor herself to the established society.
A small town girl from Indiana, who enjoyed punk rock, she grew up shy, a social outcast. Her tough times as a youth later turned into triumph, because she parlayed her youthful likes into professional wrestling success. Whether fans know her as Heidi Lovelace on the indies or now Ruby Riot in NXT, punk rock defines her.
“The name Ruby Riot was very much inspired by my punk rock background,” she said. “There is a song by Rancid that is inspired by a Ruby name. Riot, obviously, when you think of punk rockers, mosh pits, riots, everything like that.”
With dark hair (partly shaved), dark mascara, dark red lipstick, dark goth ear wear, black & red ring gear with one leg completely covered and one partially exposed at the thigh, dark karate style kick pads, one dark workout glove, plenty of tattoos, and a tongue lashing out regularly, she is punk rock and an NXT superstar. Hook em horns.
“[Ruby Riot] is me. All of it,” she said. “Everything you see is me. Every bit of it. It’s just turned up a couple of notches.”
That makes her unique, different in a wrestling ring, which is very important, because you’re trying to grab the attention of the audience. You want to stand out from the rest, which is exactly what Ruby Riot is doing.
She is also an inspiration to anyone who is shy, different, doesn’t fit in but remains true to their roots. No matter how you look, what you like and how you act, it’s OK, and anything is possible.
“I grew up in a small town in Indiana, and nothing really happened there,” she said. “I was an introverted, awkward kid. I didn’t really know how to socialize and make friends. I was kind of a loner. Maybe a little weird, I would say [chuckles]. I don’t know if I’ve really grown out of that very much...I really wanted to see what [it] was like outside of these small towns in Indiana and grow and branch out and see the world.”
Pro wrestling is the perfect place for that, and Ruby is living a dream.
NXT travels south for one of its rare shows in Miami. The Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables once again welcomes the WWE-branded ensemble for a stellar show on Friday, Oct. 6.
Miami is one of the biggest destination capitals in the world.
“I believe it is my first time [coming to Miami],” she said. “...This is my first time really getting to see Miami itself, and I’m so ready for it.”
Unconventional indeed. She is not your typical pro wrestler.
Many superstars have some sort of athletic background. She does not.
Growing up, she did not watch pro wrestling until she was in high school.
She wasn’t looking to stand out in the crowd either.
Still, Ruby found her way into professional wrestling.
“I’m a little bit different than a lot of my peers,” she said. “I was introduced to independent wrestling, when I was 15-years-old. My childhood best friend and her whole family adored it, and we used to go watch her older brother do it. The lights and the costumes -- however, kind of mediocre that they were because of the budget that they had -- it was still very much something I wanted to try. I actually chose to do it when I was 19 and started training. The moment I stepped into a professional wrestling ring you couldn’t get me out of it.”
Ruby Riot began her wrestling journey at the School of Roc Wrestling Academy, under the direction of Billy Roc in Lafayette, Ind.
She wrestled for some top groups nationla and international. Check out her School of Roc bio by clicking the link.
Do You Smell What Billy Roc Is Cooking?
Billy Roc answered some questions via email about Ruby Riot.
What was she like when she first attended the School of Roc?
He replied: “She was very determined. Never lazy. I remember we did a drill called ‘The Card Game.’ Several workouts using a deck of cards. And I remember her struggling a bit with push ups at the very first practice. But she never had the look of giving up. The look I saw was somebody who was not going to give up. She’s taken that same look I saw that day and has put it into every challenge she has had in pro wrestling.”
How did she break out of her shy shell?
He replied: “I believe coming out of her shy spell had a lot to do with doing promos over and over again in a quiet, small warehouse with seven class members staring at her, while I am constantly on her to fire up more, speak up, be loud.”
How did she train with no athletic background? Did it take her a while to get the cardio and adapt to the ring work?
He replied: “Not having an athletic background, she did well naturally. But she did have to work very hard to become a better athlete. I know we struggled a bit with dropkicks not getting enough height. Now I see her use that move in every match with ease.”
What do you think of how she's progressed? Who and what she is now in the ring, compared to the early days with you all?
He replied: “She is right where I knew she would be. Very early in her training I knew she was something special because of her attitude and little things she was doing in the ring other people struggle with. It was up to her on the work it would take to fulfill her dream. There is one thing I can’t teach in wrestling, and that’s the ‘IT’ factor. She has that factor. If I had to say how she is different from now to when I trained her......confidence. She’s grown into a rock star.”
A Ruby in the Rough
Being atypical has its merits.
Was that a factor in WWE signing her?
“I would like to think so,” she said. “There isn’t another female superstar on the roster who looks anything like me, that moves like me, and I think that definitely helps me in the long run. I would like to think that will help me with the NXT Universe as well, because of something new and fresh and exciting and not in the mold of the norm of what they’ve seen prior to this.”
If Santa was looking, Ruby Riot would be found in the Land of Misfit Toys. In WWE lore, The Oddities would welcome her with open arms. Even things around her are unusual. She loves dogs, and her pet of choice, a Shar Pei (the wrinkle dog). She named him Juvi after Mexican wrestler Juventud Guerrera. The more wrinkles the better. That’s Ruby.
When speaking with Ruby, it’s hard to believe she was once this shy kid from a small town with no athletic background who embraced the punk rock scene in her everyday way of life. She learned her craft in the ring, is a solid wrestler, enjoys standing out, and is well spoken.
More importantly, she is an inspiration to anyone different. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
In pro wrestling, the best persona is usually the one that is an extension of who you are, because being you is the easiest thing to do, and Ruby Riot does that so well.
Punk Rock on Ruby.
Riot Twitter https://twitter.com/RubyRiotWWE?lang=en
Which song fits Ruby Riot?
Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”
Lou Reed’s “Small Town”
John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Small Town”
NXT in Miami
WWE NXT is returning to Miami in October.
#NXTMiami is Friday, Oct. 6 at The Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
Bell time 7:30 p.m.
Detailed info, click this link:
Tickets are on sale.
NXT in Fort Pierce
WWE NXT will return to Fort Pierce on Saturday, Oct. 7 at the Havert L. Fenn Center, 200 Virginia Ave. in Fort Pierce.
There will be a pre-show meet-n-greet included in the price of admission. First come, first served.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Bell time is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: General Admission $10; Gold Circle (Ringside) $20.
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