After more than a decade of blood, tears and toil, it took only one night for Ruby Soho to prove she is an industry-shaking star.
Soho debuted in AEW on Sunday’s All Out. Even in the moments before her entrance to the ring, she could hear the pulsating crowd chanting her name.
“My heart was beating all the way up in my neck,” says Soho, who won the Casino Battle Royale, immediately cementing her place in AEW. “Up until All Out, I didn’t know that was possible.”
Overflowing with energy, her walk to the ring washed away years of doubt and frustration. She owned the moment, showcasing a rare type of presence and flair, and now brings an indistinguishable presence to AEW.
“I fell back in love with professional wrestling at that moment,” Soho says. “I was elated. These people accepted me. They understand me; they understood my journey. That gave me a fire I haven’t felt in a long time. These people were ready to see me thrive, and there is no better stage to do that than in AEW.”
An 11-year wrestling veteran, Soho had previously been best known for her run in WWE as Ruby Riott. Beloved by colleagues, she played an important role on the main roster for four years, yet only in a complementary role. Her breakout moment appeared to be a singles match in 2019 at Elimination Chamber against Ronda Rousey, but it become apparent very quickly that her role was to be the opponent and never the attraction. After being among those released by WWE in June, Soho now has the chance to show that she possesses grit, skill and determination unlike anyone else in the world.
“I was able to experience a lot in WWE and make lifelong friends, so I’m very grateful for my time there,” says Soho, who is 30-year-old Dori Prange. “But that chapter is closed, and I knew there had to be a new place for me. This is a chance to experience a side of professional wrestling I haven’t experienced yet. There is a fire here, and there is a lot for me to show the world. There are a lot of sides to what I do that have yet to flourish, and I am going to put it all out there in AEW.”
A highly sought-after free agent, Soho confirmed there was interest from multiple companies. Yet she had a specific destination in mind for the next stop on her journey.
“Choosing AEW wasn’t a difficult decision,” Soho says. “I had been a fan of AEW long before I left WWE. I could sense there was something very special and very different about this company. Now that I’m here, I am beginning to realize it was the home I have always been searching for. This is where I belong, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to be here.”
In one night, Soho was presented better in AEW than she had been in four years in WWE. She built on that momentum on Wednesday’s edition of Dynamite, defeating Jamie Hayter. Soho continues her pursuit of AEW women’s champion Dr. Britt Baker on Friday night on Rampage, teaming with Kris Statlander and Riho against Baker, Hayter and Rebel.
“Britt Baker is one of the hardest working people in the industry,” Soho says. “But I know she has never stepped into the ring with someone like me. I don’t know if she’s ready for the fight I’m going to bring her. Now that I’m in AEW, I can’t wait for people to see how I work alongside some of the most talented women in the world. And I’m really excited for the moment when people see me knock Britt Baker’s teeth down her throat.”
Soho adds a veteran presence to the locker room, along with a wealth of knowledge from her time in the industry. Tony Khan’s company somehow found a franchise player on the free-agent market in Soho, and she is now prepared to make the most of this opportunity.
“It’s been a long journey with a lot of bumps in the road, but I’m here to make my destiny,” Soho says. “I’ve had my share of insecurities and doubt. But if it weren’t for the fans, I wouldn’t be here. They saw something in me and they want to see more, and they’re going to get the best of me in AEW.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.