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BIANCA BELAIR DISCUSSES HER BEGINNINGS IN THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER, WWE NXT ON USA NETWORK, THE ORIGINS OF USING HER BRAID IN THE RING, HER FAMILY'S EXCITEMENT OVER HER CAREER AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2019-10-03 11:00:00

The following is a complete transcript of an interview with WWE NXT star Bianca Belair conducted the morning of Wednesday 10/2 at the WWE Performance Center:

Mike Johnson: Mike Johnson here in the Performance Center with Bianca Belair.  Good morning!

Bianca Belair:  Hi!

Mike Johnson: You've got an interesting story.   A lot of talents who are NXT, had wrestled elsewhere, in Independents or Globally, but you are homegrown in this building. So what does it mean to you to stand here today in the first place when you first started to learn to wrestle, and learn to kind of master this insanity today? You've worked Takeovers, you've worked TV, but USA Network is a totally different world. So, for you, it's kind of interesting, you're starting here this morning before you head over to Full Sail, what does this all mean to you, and have you been able to kind of wrap your head around it yet?

Bianca Belair: It's hard to wrap my head around it sometimes, but, I walked into this Performance Center, you know, three and a half years ago. I had no idea what to expect. Had no idea where this would take me, where this journey would lead me to. So, just to think about starting from absolutely nothing, no wrestling experience, not knowing much about this business, to learning my craft and being coached by the greatest trainers and coaches and ... it's kind of ... I'm at a loss for words when I think about it. Because, it's just amazing to me how my journey has progressed, and where it's come to and now being able to reap the benefits, and being on the USA Network, I feel like it's just come a full circle, and it just means everything in the world to me. I'm a homegrown talent, and I'm just glad that the world gets to see my journey and the payoff of it, and it just validates, you know, that this is the place where ... that creates great talent.

Mike Johnson: What was that first day of school like? Because everyone, I mean, we all remember that nervousness going into a new school for the first time. What was it like walking in here the first time when you know you're signed, and you now you've got to dive into the deep end of the pool?

Bianca Belair: It was just a little different for me, because I feel like anything I've ever done before, like I've played a lot of sports, and any other sport that I've done, I've been able to pull from that and kind of use what I've done before in whatever sport.  In here, I just didn't know what to expect. I had only been inside of a wrestling ring when I did my try-out. That was the very first time. So, to walk into the Performance Center now, see all these different rings and ... I just, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't even know what a day consisted of. And I was eager to learn, but I was very, very nervous, which was a different feeling for me because I'm pretty confident in anything that I do. Just walking into it, pick up on things very quickly. But here, I just knew that I had to put everything that I had into this, and that came to learning the skill, learning the history of the business and just ... learning the ropes. I just didn't know what to expect.

Mike Johnson: So you've had the chance to work a couple of Takeovers. Obviously you've done TV. How different does today feel vs. a big Takeover match for you?

Bianca Belair: I think it's about the same. You know, NXT, we've been performing, we've been putting on shows, great shows. The fans have demanded more from us. And I think that, if anything, we're just more excited about the world getting to see what we've been doing. You know, NXT has been a great brand, and I'm just glad that now we can show everyone that we are a third brand. And we can show everyone what we've been doing, and show everyone what NXT is about.


Mike Johnson: What's the number one thing that you're excited about for fans to see? You said, you know, you're excited for fans to see what NXT's about. For you, personally, as a competitor in the women's division, and as someone who's part of this locker room and part of this entire, really this sort of fraternity here, what's the thing that you're most excited for someone on the outside to discover, if they hadn't already been watching?

Bianca Belair: I think seeing that NXT is the true definition of sports entertainment, you know? We have, the sports part, it's very competitive and we go out there and we compete, and the entertainment part is very compelling. It's very ... it's just all around just sports entertainment. And I'm also excited for the world to see our women's division. We have so much talent on our roster, and you know, usually Takeovers, we have one title match and it's just one girls' match. And it's just so much talent sitting backstage, and we need more opportunities to highlight these women.  And you know, we had Io [Shirai] and Candice [LeRae] go out there to Takeover and have a non-title match, and show that we have women that can put on these matches, and we need these opportunities. So, I think that's what I'm most excited about. It's not just the NXT universe or WWE universe, but the whole, the bigger stage of being on the USA Network, getting to see our women's division, and how talented we really are.

Mike Johnson:  As someone who came from outside of the pro wrestling world, and is now a big part of it, what was your family's reaction to this twist in your life, and how ... are they excited about it? Were they shocked? Like, because everybody's got that sort of moment where someone they love looks at them a little askew and goes, "What are you thinking?"  So you must've had these moments. So what, now that you've been doing this for three and a half years and you've had the success, what's the family reaction been, and how has it grown?

Bianca Belair: When I first told my mom, I was thinking about being in WWE, she was a little hesitant. She's like, "You want to do that? That's the stuff your brother used to watch. And that's kind of scary." But now, I mean my parents have always ... I have a great support system. They've always supported me in everything that I've done, even since I was a kid. And you know, now, they are my biggest fans. They come to every single Takeover. They drove to New York. They were in Phoenix.   When I got my first Bianca Belair merch shirt, I couldn't even give them one for free because they had already bought it. My dad makes hats, and sends me videos of them cheering for me. But they're my biggest fans and they love it. My daddy's really, really into it.   My mom says that on the real, when they were showing the NXT commercial, even though he's seen the commercial numerous times, NXT commercials, he always gets up and gets excited when he sees me on TV. So, they're really excited.  And I got to FaceTime them after the very first time we were on the USA Network ... two weeks ago?

Mike Johnson: Yeah.

Bianca Belair: And so they had a watch party at their house. So, they're my biggest supporters.

Mike Johnson: Maybe they should do a watch-along with all the parents. Imagine that?

Bianca Belair: Oh, that's a great idea! I'm going to suggest that.

Mike Johnson: Feel free to steal it.

Bianca Belair: Okay. But .. [laughs] I might have to steal that. I'll tell them where I got it from though. I won't take credit for it.

Mike Johnson: That's all right..and wait until your parents find out you're getting an action figure one day. I'm sure it's coming down the line.

Bianca Belair: It's crazy. My mom just texted me yesterday, asked, "When are you getting an action figure, because I want to get it for all the grandchildren for Christmas." So-

Mike Johnson Aww! That's great.

Bianca Belair: I hope there's one. I don't know when, but I think there will be one within ... next year. So that'd be exciting-

Mike Johnson: I'm sure. I'm sure at this point everybody's scanned. It's just a matter of time.

Bianca Belair: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Mike Johnson: So one last thing I want to ask you before we get out of here. When I first saw you wrestle, you do the stuff with the braid, and I was like, "That's so genius. So different. I've never seen it before." What was the origin there? Where did that ... what was the crux of that idea?

Bianca Belair: So it first just started out as ... a look. I came up with the idea of the braid, and I'm like, "Well I really like this braid. It's long and ... ", but I was still kind of in-between if I want wear the braid or wear the long like wavy hair like a lot of the girls do in the ring. Because, I just think that they look amazing but my husband [NXT star Montez Ford] was the one who pushed me towards wearing the braid in the ring, and wearing it consistently. He's the one that told me, you know, "You're going to stand out. You're going to look unique. That's going to separate you from everyone else". So, he was the one who kind of pushed me towards it.  Then my coach, Sara Amato, we were in the ring training one day, and she asked me, "Can you use it some type of way?", like, "Try to hit her". So I tried it, and didn't really think anything of it. And then it was a match in San Diego, California with Ruby Riott, and she was in the ring and I just ... I hit her with the braid, and it made this loud noise. And that was the very first moment I realized this can be used as a weapon. This can be used ... it's something special that's going to stick with me.

Mike Johnson: No, it's definitely something unique and it makes you stand out.  I have said many times on PWInsider Audio, I think you're one of the best pure athletes they've ever hired in this entire company....

Bianca Belair: Thank you. Thank you.

Mike Johnson: ...So I know you're going to have a long road ahead but before we get out of here, what is the one thing that, when we're all done tonight, and you're off the air, what's the one thing that you hope, as a brand, happens for everybody involved who's part of this journey?

Bianca Belair: The one thing I hope that happens ... I just want us to get the recognition that we deserve. And to get the credit that we deserve. And that's really ... I think that's what's really will make all of us happy, is just for us, we're on a larger stage, and for everyone to get to see that NXT is not just a third brand. We're the brand to watch.

Mike Johnson: All right. Well, we look forward to watching your journey, and thank you for your time.

Bianca Belair: Thank you!

You can follow Bianca @BiancaBelairWWE

 

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