Imagine growing up under the shadow of a famed arena gladiator, your parent: Raquel Rodriguez did just that. Her parents, Rick Gonzalez, a former professional wreath-twister who wrestled under the name “Bandit”, and Lucy Gonzalez, provided a high-bar for Rodriguez to aspire to from her early days.
The year was 2017, January 20th to be exact, and our Texas-born WWE star, Raquel Rodriguez, broke her way into the ring at an NXT live event, participating in a 12-women royal brawl. She later competed under the alias Reina Gonzalez during the prestigious Mae Young Classic tournament.
The fruits of her rigorous training and hard-earned skill were not far behind. At a tender age of 32, Raquel carved her reputation in gold, having won the NXT Women’s Title. She is now a two-time NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion.
|Born||January 12, 1991 (age 32)|
La Feria, Texas, U.S.
|Spouse||Braun Strowman |
|Professional Wrestling Career|
|Ring Name(s)||Raquel González|
|Billed Height||6 feet 0 inches (183 cm)|
|Billed Weight||177 lbs (80 kg)|
|Billed From||Rio Grande Valley, Texas|
|Trained By||George de la Isla|
WWE Performance Center
Her victories were no solitary feats either. Arm in arm with Dakota Kai, they swept the crowd off their feet by winning the inaugural Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. But, it was her partnership with Canadian grappler Aliayah that snagged them the coveted WWE Women’s Tag Team Title, an achievement Rodriguez undoubtedly cherishes deeply until this day.
Raquel is not just any professional wrestler but a star of the wrestling universe, currently sanctioned by Vince Mcmahon’s WWE. Flaunting her agile moves in the ring of SmackDown, she reigns as the present WWE Label Group Champion, sharing this honor with her teammate, Liv Morgan, with whom she has enjoyed a legendary time of domination.
Raquel was welcomed to the world by the Gonzalez family on January 12, 1991, in the vibrant town of La Feria, Texas. Although renowned as Raquel today, her true birth name holds the Hispanic enchantment of ‘Victoria Gonzalez’.
The bonds of her Mexican heritage ran deep in young Victoria, fostering an unyielding love for wrestling. She grew up, eyes glued to the screen as she watched her father move with boisterous grace in the ring, nurturing a dream that one day, she too would parade in the limelight of professional wrestling.
However, wrestling was not her solitary pursuit. This young enchantress, towering at a commanding height of 6 feet, dominated the basketball court during her high school and college years. She played with unwavering determination for the TAMUK Javelina women’s squad before sporting the green and orange of the Sam Houston Bearkats.
Rick Gonzalez, Raquel’s father, was the first person to whom she expressed her aspiration of turning professional in the wrestling ring. She found the courage to confess this only after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication. Rick, a Texan grappler himself, was a prominent figure in Western Wrestling Union circles.
Rick kick-started his wrestling career in the 1980s, thriving in San Antonio’s southern free provinces. His quicksilver reflexes earned him the nickname ‘Expedient Gonzalez’ lavished upon him by his comrades and fans alike.
Rick’s journey took him to the Western Wrestling Union where he grappled with revered names like the Guerreros and Booker T, amongst others. He gained immense popularity with his ring name ‘Bandit’, a nod to his long, flowing hair, reminiscent of a classic Mexican character.
The bond Raquel shares with her father, Rick, aka Despeardo, is incredibly endearing. Her affectionate tributes to him on social media during occasions like Father’s Day and his birthdays reveal the depth of their close relationship.
The Gonzalez family is a rich brew of athletic alacrity. Raquel’s mother, Lucy, was a varsity ace in both basketball and volleyball. Nostalgically, Raquel recounts how her mother would drive her, along with her siblings, to Corpus Christi to watch their father wrestle, etching an indelible influence on her life.
The reigning WWE Label Group champion and Lucy share an extraordinarily enduring bond. Raquel openly acknowledges her mother’s tireless contribution to her life, often sharing fond memories and photos through heartwarming Mother’s Day posts on Instagram.
And let’s not forget about her sister, Madelyn Adler. Madelyn, a doting wife to Shane and a loving mother to sweet Willow, shares an unshakeable bond with Raquel. Despite their age gap, the sisters’ relationship is steeped in love and empathy, a bridge that time has only strengthened.
Madelyn, a fervent Instagram user herself, serves up a brimming cup of family photos, her pride for Raquel’s success glowing undeniably in each post.
Raquel dons another role with aplomb – that of a doting aunt to Madelyn’s daughter, Willow. Born on October 8, 2018, in Texas, Willow is a frequent star in Raquel’s Instagram posts, showing their joyful moments together.
Highlighting the endearing affection between them, Raquel recently shared a charming photo of them playing dress-up, looking resplendent in outfits inspired by the iconic Eddie Guerrero and Selena Quintanilla Perez. Raquel teased her followers with a playful caption, “Name this tag team.”
Even amidst her bustling wrestling career, Raquel found love. She is romantically involved with fellow wrestler, Braun Strowman. They officially unveiled their relationship in 2022, grabbing the attention of the virtual entertainment world.
What started as a simple friendship in 2019 quickly blossomed over shared gym sessions and a mutual love for wrestling. Soon, they fell in love and started dating in 2021. With each passing day, their bond deepens, leading to increased public appearances together.
Braun, born as Adam Scherr, is also a WWE superstar, performing under the SmackDown brand. At 39, he boasts a long list of wrestling accolades, including the WWE Universal Title and Intercontinental Title.
In a candid interview with Yahoo Sports, Raquel shed light on how Braun has nurtured her development as a professional wrestler. She evidently treasures his company, gleaning insightful tips from the seasoned wrestler.
Their relationship goes beyond the ring. Whether it’s traveling together or training side-by-side, they treasure the time shared. Their amity continues to strengthen, hinting at the possibility of a lovely wedding in the near future.