Former NXT champion Shayna Baszler spoke with The Mirror to hype her upcoming title match against Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36 this weekend. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
How an empty arena WrestleMania is a chance to be creative:
I mean it changes how we approach it out of necessity, it’s not 80,000 people and the whole grand thing. For anyone in the business that’s the dream, no one hopes it’s done without a crowd. It is strange, every wrestler feeds off the energy of the crowd. But it’s a process to figure out and work on how to draw people in, in a different way. But after it was announced and you get past it emotionally, there is an excitement as it opens up creatively things that would never have been thought of before. In a way the grand scale of WrestleMania puts you in a box and makes things restricted. We have been forced into this, but it has definitely set the creative juices flowing. The world needs this right now.
Thoughts on Becky Lynch:
Becky was a very integral part in women’s wrestling getting the attention and place it is in right now. There is no denying that all four of them [Becky, Bayley, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks, aka The Four Horsewomen of NXT] are very talented and they laid some groundwork in NXT. They laid the bricks and mortar for what the division is. Becky has proven she is tough. She got her face broken and came out on top, she got her knee messed up and challenged two champions at the same time. I would be lying to ignore that. But with all that said, I am better suited to win this. She is tough, everything she does is deliberate and for a reason. That is why it is going to make for a good match.
Being trained by Josh Barnett and using her MMA skills in the wrestling ring:
Well I was trained by Josh Barnett and Billy Robinson and they train all of their athletes the same, regardless of if you are an MMA fighter or professional wrestler. They have a very old school mentality. Coming from that catch wrestling background, has made transitioning to pro wrestling easier, as there are no differences. I have been used to fighting people off of me for the last 16 years and so when it’s happening now, I am never lost in what I need to do.
Barnett helping her with promos:
Even when I was training with Josh Barnett in MMA, he would always say that people care more about the story of why the fight is happening, as opposed to the fight itself. And you see that so often in MMA, there are a lot of very average fights, but they have been built up so well because the two fighters want to kill each other over something that has been said. So it’s been part of what I have been doing for a while. I remember once I was doing an MMA interview and was going through the standard answers to the usual questions you get asked. All of a sudden Josh Barnett steps in front of the camera and told me to stop. He said to let everyone else on the show give the stock answers and wanted me to be someone else.
Whether there is pressure to emulate what Ronda Rousey couldn’t do at WrestleMania:
I think the pressure is less about Ronda for me. The pressure from me is staying true to my lineage and balancing that with the scene of today, which is a burden that I take very seriously. The Ronda stuff is just what the fans like to invent in their heads. I have been an MMA fighter longer than Ronda, I have been a professional wrestler longer than Ronda. We are two very different people in that ring.