Though Zelina Vega didn’t leave Puerto Rico as the SmackDown Women’s Champion at the end of Backlash, she accomplished the next best thing: becoming a certified legend on her familial home island.
Taking the ring against Rhea Ripley wearing a Puerto Rican flag dropped across her wingspan, Vega received an incredible reaction from the crowd before the bout began and was celebrated like a champion even after coming up short and the end of the bout.
And the best part? Legends of Puerto Rican wrestling like Savio Vega noticed, as he told Zelina in a surprise appearance on The Bump.
“Hey, when I saw that girl coming out – I was watching the monitor – when I saw that flag open, I mean, I just got goosebumps,” Savio Vega said to Zelina. “Because I hear you talking about that moment was like, I mean, they will love you for life. You did something that we love to be honest. And WWE put the Puerto Rican flag everywhere like we do, you know? And when I saw Zelina in the middle of the ring open that flag, I just got emotions; I cried, I was like hey, beautiful! Beautiful! And hey, you didn’t win the belt but you are our champion, so don’t worry about that part.”
After thanking Savio for his compliment, the IWA Puerto Rico president went a step further, complementing the match and Vega’s efforts too.
“I was a great match. And I watched the match from top to bottom; it was a great match, I loved the match, and you are a champion,” Savio Vega added. “And just, when you walked out with that flag, you see all the Puerto Ricans, all the Puerto Ricanos happy, emotional, I mean, seeing the flag in the posts of the ring? Amazing. I love it, and you are our champion.”
Though Zelina didn’t come out on top in Puerto Rico, her effort gave fans an emotional release only topped by Bad Bunny’s match and made her a legend in the process. Not a bad consolation prize at all.
“You are our champ.”
The legend himself @SavioVega recounts how emotional and proud he was of @ZelinaVegaWWE at #WWEBacklash.#WWETheBump pic.twitter.com/fTrC1dSLcB
— WWE (@WWE) June 7, 2023
Zelina Vega is ready to follow in Liv Morgan’s footsteps at Money in the Bank.
Elsewhere in her appearance on The Bump, Vega was asked about qualifying for Money in the Bank on SmackDown, becoming the first female performer to accomplish the honor.
For Vega, the moment was special, as she has the LWO behind her, but it won’t be truly complete until she becomes the new briefcase holder as she follows in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Liv Morgan.
“I do and honestly, I wasn’t expecting it either, and I think that’s the best thing about it, is that the best things come when you’re not expecting it. And once the LWO came back together, which is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, so now that it’s actually here, and I feel like the WWE Universe is so strong behind me, and mind you, I’ve said this before, they’ve only seen one side of me for a long time, so I love that they’ve embraced me so much and that they’ve really just stood strong beside me this whole time,” Vega said.
“And now it’s just, this is the moment, this is the moment that I feel like could change my career and honestly, I remember Liv (Morgan) talking about that, saying that there was someone who texted her saying that she was an inspiration to the rest of the locker room and one of those texts came from me. Because I saw her, I mean my god, you see people like Rhea Ripley and Bianca and these powerhouses but now getting to see Liv Morgan go and accomplish the goal she set out to accomplish, I’m like ‘I can do this too.’”
After spending the better part of the 2010s working through the ranks of WWE without a massive push or many World Championship opportunities, Morgan genuinely changed the trajectory of her career at Money in the Bank 2022, as she became the SmackDown Women’s Champion later that night and even secured the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship belt alongside Raquel Rodriguez before having to vacate the belt due to injury. If Vega fan experience similar success in 2023, maybe she too will be able to call herself World Champion at the end of Money in the Bank and could finally be taken seriously as a full-flung professional wrestler, instead of a manager who occasionally gets in the ring when a story requires it.
The post Zelina Vega gets a major endorsement from a Puerto Rican WWE legend appeared first on ClutchPoints.