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This WWE star becomes first Black woman on WWE 2K24 cover

As an athlete, appearing on the cover of a video game provides a sense of validation in being a big name in a sport, but for WWE’s Bianca Belair, appearing on the cover of WWE 2K24 is about representation.

Appearing alongside Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley on the deluxe edition of the video game, it is the first time in series history two women will be on the cover. But Belair’s appearance marks the first time a woman of color is a cover star, which makes this “surreal” milestone mean “so much more.”

“I’m so glad that can be a part of my legacy, that I can go down in history as being one of the women in WWE that’s breaking barriers,” Belair told USA TODAY Sports. “My main purpose, goal and why has always been representation. That’s been at the forefront of everything that I’ve done.

“Women and little girls that look like me can look at this cover and see representation and see that it’s possible for them.”

But Belair doesn’t want people to just see her and Ripley on the cover. She wants people to think about all the past women wrestlers, especially women wrestlers of colors, because “they laid the foundation” for this to be a possibility.

“I’m the first, but I will say I don’t want to be the last,” she said. “I’m excited to be the one to break that barrier, but I just want to open up that door for more to come and do it after us.”

Riding momentum into Royal Rumble, WrestleMania

The video game cover isn’t the only thing Belair has achieved as a groundbreaking wrestling star. 

When she defeated Sasha Banks for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 37, it marked the first time two Black women headlined WWE’s flagship event. A three-time champion and previous Royal Rumble winner, Belair also has one of the longest women’s title reigns in the past 20 years. 

And if her star power in the ring wasn’t enough, her and husband Montez Ford have become such major celebrities they will be starring in their own reality show, airing next month. She also mentioned her husband had spent the past two years speaking it into existence that she’d appear on the cover of the video game.

With all that’s going right for Belair, she’s hoping the high she’s on right now will translate into a successful road to WrestleMania, which begins with Royal Rumble on Saturday.

“I think I’ve set the tone that I am a history maker, that I’m breaking barriers, so I will love to become the first woman to ever win the Royal Rumble twice and go to WrestleMania,” Belair said.

The “EST” of WWE has had her eyes on the WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky ever since she lost the title at SummerSlam when Sky cashed in her Money in the Bank contract. Winning the Royal Rumble would give her a chance to get a match for it back, but it would also give her the opportunity to face Ripley at WrestleMania. A possible coincidence for the two cover stars?

“We might be manifesting,” Belair said.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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