Homegrown champion Rhio on the rise

Rhianna McDonell, or Rhio, became the first homegrown talent to win PCWs Womens Championship.
Rhianna McDonell, or Rhio, became the first homegrown talent to win PCWs Womens Championship.

A born and bred Prestonian wrestler has become the first homegrown talent to win Preston City Wrestling’s internationally recognised women’s championship belt.

Rhianna McDonnell – ring name ‘Rhio – won the title last Saturday (December 16) at PCW’s Festive Fury event at Evoque nightclub in Church Street.

Rhio with WWE superstar 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair

Rhio with WWE superstar 'Nature Boy' Ric Flair

The triumph sees the Penwortham resident become the first Preston-born wrestler and first PCW Academy fighter to win the globally recognised PCW Women’s Championship.

Rhio said: “It’s been very overwhelming since the win. I’ve had a lot of support from family, friends, and the online wrestling community.”

The former Cardinal Newman College student started her career in wrestling two years ago after being taken on by PCW’s Academy, which trains wrestling stars of tomorrow.

The 21-year-old said: “I’ve always watched wrestling, mainly with my dad when younger.

Rhio in the ring.

Rhio in the ring.

“I never though about it as a possibility until I saw the Academy; then one way I decided to rock up and try it out.”

PCW founder and owner, Steven Fludder, said: “When I opened the PCW Academy three years ago I said our vision was to create our own wrestlers who could wrestle to the high standards that PCW shows require.

"Rhio has been training very hard and she embodies that vision.

“The city of Preston has never trained a wrestler in its boundaries who is also from Preston and had then go on to win a championship so all involved with PCW and the academy are proud of her.”

The dream for Rhio, like it is for most wrestlers, is to compete in the WWE but also in Japan, which was until recently home to wrestling superstars AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.

Rhio, a former karate and taekwondo student, said: “I want to thank my mum and family for always taking me to sporting events and for supporting me all the way.”