In an interview with SI.com, Shayna Baszler commented on her transition from WWE NXT to the main roster and having to expand her character…
“I need to show that I can be counted on to nail whatever it is I’m being asked to do. It’s easy to be a badass tyrant like I was in NXT. I can totally fit that role. After establishing myself as that, it’s important to show I can cover a wide range of what professional wrestling is today. It’s like music. Some people like country, some like heavy metal. Not everything is for everyone, so I understand why some people roll their eyes when I do comedy. But I’m established as what I am. All it takes is one sentence from a promo delivered properly. I am a legitimate badass; that’s always there for me. I’m glad I can be on Raw and show a wider range.”
“It’s always been a constant juggling act, and that’s not just on Raw. That’s also (been the case in) my time in NXT and the indies. I come from a very old-school professional wrestling tradition. Josh Barnett and Billy Robinson were my main coaches, and they’re really, really old-school. Back in Billy’s day, the wrestling mentality was that you weren’t going to beat someone in the ring until people believed you could beat them out on the street. It was a very different mindset, and that’s just not how professional wrestling is presented today. It’s been a juggling act to stay true to my martial lineage in professional wrestling, that style I bring where people believe what I do. It’s two-sided. It’s special. There are wrestlers that work for 20 years to build that legitimacy in the eyes of the fans, and I have it when I come through the curtain. It’s also a curse. Not everyone on the roster knows how to deal with that style and mindset.”
SI.com’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath-the-surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling. Shayna Baszler is one of the most fearsome, intimidating, legitimate wrestlers in the entire industry. Trained by former UFC champion Josh Barnett and the late Billy Robinson, her style is hard-hitting and authentic.