NXT/SHAYNA BASZLER: Former MMA star and current NXT Champion Shayna Baszler sits down (Muscle and Fitness)

Posted on 9/15/119 by Mike Informer


The wrestling superstar talks training and NXT's big debut
on the USA Network.

The Queen of Spades Shayna Baszler (39) has bulldozed her
way through NXT Opens a New Window. since joining the group
in 2017. After an impressive showing in that year's Mae
Young Classic Opens a New Window. , where she made it all
the way to the finals, the former UFC star is now a record-
breaking pro wrestling womens champion.

Yes, Ive watched pro wrestling since I was super young.
Ive watched it my whole life, and then even in MMA. I
started training with Josh Barnett, and hes a pro wrestler
himself. He was kind of a tie-in, so when I was studying
mixed martial arts, he was the one that showed me how the
two [disciplines] are like cousins of each other. And then
when I moved in with Ronda and the girls. (Jessamyn Duke and
Marina Shafir), Im the one that was watching [pro
wrestling] and I kind of sucked them into it.

What was the moment when you thought you would like to give
WWE a try?

Its funny, because I never really thought of actually
trying WWE before I was fighting [in MMA].

I trained with Josh Barnett, and with Billy Robinson who is
a legendary British professional wrestler. The way that they
do pro wrestling, they want you to have [MMA] fights first,
in order to graduate into pro wrestling. I guess it was just
kind of a natural progression. I was fighting for the UFC,
and I tore my ACL in my last fight, and with the UFC they
sign you for a few years but you dont know when youre
fighting next. They dont give you an advanced schedule.
Theyll call you and say hey we have a fight for you ,
say, in three months, do you want to take it?, but then
when the fight is over you dont know when you are fighting
next, until they call you again.

So, knowing I was injured and then sitting on the bench for
a little while, Josh asked me how I felt about doing some
professional wrestling. I said yeah, if it keeps me active,
cool, and then it has kind of just snowballed from there.

It's no secret that WWE/NXT Superstar's schedule is pretty
crazy, but what does a normal week of training look like for

The hardest part about the crazy schedule that we have now,
is maintaining fitness. Lets say we are on the road keeping
a diet and [trying to get] workouts. A lot of times, I dont
know what a gym has to offer. Say we go to a city,
Philadelphia or somewhere, I dont know what equipment the
gym has available. So, Ill have an idea of what I want to
train, like upper body, but then I have to have a very
flexible plan based on the equipment that is available.

Typically, if we are not on the road travelling, we train
daily in the ring [at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando]
and we have strength and conditioning sessions daily. Then
[in NXT], were performing at least Thursday, Friday and
Saturday in the Florida area. We are constantly on the go.

On screen, you have a very no-nonsense character. Does that
reflect who you are as a person?

Well, I think I have a lot to draw from [thanks to MMA].
Before NXT, I knew what it felt like to stand behind the
curtain and wait to get called out to the ring, to beat
someone up. Its a very familiar thing to me. But then also,
I think there is some reality to the fact that even the
style of pro wrestling, if you look at a guy like Billy
Robinson or Josh Barnett, that style is very no-nonsense.

If you watch the matches that these guys put on, you wont
see much of a difference between MMA and NXT. Thats the
style that I have ingrained in me, and I bring it to the

You mentioned that you lived with Ronda Rousey. With both of
you being active in WWE at the same time, did you provide
each other with support or advice?

Yeah, a little bit. Rather than giving advice, it was just
nice to have someone to talk about it [being in WWE] with.
So, it was like sharing in the uniqueness of what we were
both going through.

Then, of course, Ronda getting to the position where she was
in WWE, mirrored what I was going through in NXT, where we
were both kind of at the top of the division.

We would get together and train, of course, and we always
did that in MMA too, so it was more like getting together
and just sharing in the process of it, rather than tips and

Your rise to the top of NXT was exceptionally quick. How
proud are you to be the first woman ever to hold the NXT
title on two occasions?

In my opinion, the NXT Womens title is a very prestigious
title to have. So, the fact that Im the only person to have
ever held it twice is a huge thing that I definitely add to
my list of accomplishments and I am very, very proud of it.

NXT debuts on the USA Network on Wednesday, Sept. 18, and
you must really be looking forward to being a part of that.
What changes have you noticed at NXT since you first walked
through the doors in 2017?

Theres a lot of things. I think I got into NXT at a very
historic time. And I dont mean just the USA [Network]
stuff. NXT on USA is probably the most important day in our
history. Well look back on it as the key day, but even
going back to the first ever Mae Young Classic, Ive been
such a huge part of these historic moments with NXT and WWE
that Im so excited to see whats next.

I was sitting [backstage] at the Mae Young Classic and was
thinking to myself wow, this is a pretty historic moment,
and not thinking ahead to the next historic moment. But then
you know, here we are with NXT on USA and I cant wait to
see whats next!

What is the camaraderie like in NXT? Do you have the mindset
that you want to put on the best show of the week?

Weve always been proud of the fact that #WeAreNXT, and we
say it, you know? Its our hashtag. So, I think theres
always been a certain thing where we are NXT and we are
going to be the best that we can be, and want to put on
these amazing shows, and to show the product.

I think the only difference with NXT being on USA isnt in
our mindset, its just that everybody else is going to see it
now. We are doing what weve always done., its just that now
it is in front of everyone.

AEW stars had some interesting reactions to the news.
How would you describe NXT to someone who has never watched

Thats an interesting question! If you ever had any
preconceived ideas about what pro wrestling is, I think
youll find that they were wrong. Everyone should check it
out! (laughs).

NXT begins its weekly airing on the USA Network beginning
Wednesday, September 18. For more information visit WWE.com

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