#AndNEW: Rhia O’Reilly Wins XWA Heavyweight Championship

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Photo: XWA Instagram

UK promotions XWA (X Wrestling Alliance) and Pro Wrestling EVE teamed up for a WrestleFriends event tonight called Equal Fights, that pitted some of the top male and female UK talents against each other in intergender match ups. One match featured XWA Heavyweight Champion Cara Noir (formerly Tom Dawkins) against former 2x Pro Wrestling EVE Champion Rhia O’Reilly, and O’Reilly pulled off the upset, becoming the new XWA Heavyweight Champion, marking the first time in the promotions history that a women’s wrestler has held the company’s top title. The XWA Heavyweight title traces back to 1999, and Frontier Wrestling Alliance – XWA emerged as the successor to FWA when FWA lost a promotional war with IPW:UK and was forced to dissolve in 2007. The XWA/FWA Heavyweight title has been held by such men as Christopher Daniels, Doug Williams, Robbie Brookside, Alex Shane, Rockstar Spud (now Drake Maverick on 205 Live) and Big Damo (now Killian Dain in NXT).

The 32-year old from Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been wrestling for eight years. Rhia O’Reilly turned to pro wrestling after growing bored with university life back in 2009. As she told Huffington Post in 2016, she “moved to England, went to university and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life so I handed in my notice at my job and said ‘Hey, I love working here but I’m going to move to Canada and become a professional wrestler’. They laughed at me but that’s what I did. I went to Canada and trained with Lance Storm and loved it.” When she returned to the UK, she continued training with Paige‘s family, the Knights, at WAW and nearly immediately began a now 8-year relationship with Pro Wrestling EVE.

Rhia O’Reilly also made her impact abroad as well, wrestling for SHIMMER since 2011, as well as SHINE. She’s also made the rounds of most major UK promotions, such as PROGRESS, ICW, RevPro, SWE, and IPW:UK. But just as her star and stock were about to explode, she suffered a major setback in the early 2017 – she broke her leg and ankle during a brutal hardcore Pro Wrestling EVE Championship defence against Sammi Jayne at XWA 46 in March. Though she finished the match (and won), she was forced to relinquish her title shortly after, and missed almost the entire year healing from her injuries. She only just returned to the ring this past December. But it looks like she’s picking right back up where she left off, taking no prisoners, and this time she’s taking titles from anyone and everyone.

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