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By Mike Johnson on 2021-12-04 14:13:00

Former WWE NXT Women's Champion Raquel Gonzalez sat down with yesterday to discuss tomorrow's NXT 2.0 Wargames PPV, discusses her return to one of the biggest matches of the year, the transition into NXT 2.0, her rivalry with Dakota Kai and more.

Mike Johnson: It's always a pleasure to talk to you, thanks for sitting down. War Games, big show this weekend, thoughts leading into it and leading into obviously a match that has a lot of emotion for you personally, given Mandy Rose has the NXT Women's Championship, Dakota Kai is a big part of the reason why you've had so many frustrations of late on NXT, so thoughts as we enter the War Games?

Raquel Gonzalez: Thank you, Mike. Yeah, it's a pleasure to talk with you again. It's a big weekend, it really is. I remember last War Games when I got to participate with my former best friend, Dakota Kai, and actually win War Games. It was a big moment. I, it was my first time being in a War Games match being in the cage. This time around I'm coming in way more confident. I believe that that confidence is earned because I did win last year. I have been nonstop dominating this year, it has taken two people to defeat me to take my title, so my emotions are very, very high but what I'm trying to do right now is I'm trying to remain composed. I'm trying to keep my emotions in check because I don't want them to get the best of me.  Anything can happen in that cage because it's not just the cage you have to worry about, it's the people who are in it, it's the weapons that are in it, the weapons that those people are bringing in. So you kind of always want to be on your toes and I think this year it's going to be a little bit of a challenge it's going to be difficult. Some of us are going to have to step up as leaders because we have first timers and I remember how Candice was that for me and I'm going to try and be the same thing for Cora.

Mike Johnson: I was going to ask you about that, do you go back and you watch last year's match? Do you go back to the WWE Network and the Peacock libraries to look at old War Games matches from Jim Crockett Promotions? What do you do to prepare and also to freshen yourself up for everything that you've been through prior to this so that you step up for the younger talents who are in this environment for the first time?

Raquel Gonzalez: I think finding something to amp myself up and to get myself going, isn't going to be too hard. All I have to do is look in the other cage and see Dakota Kai's face and Mandy Rose and her two little esquinlas but I definitely have to say that there're these kinds of matches you really can't prepare for. I definitely go back and I watch, I watched last year, I watched the year before I watched the men's teams, but there's really always something that's unpredictable because you can't control what happens in that cage. Anything could happen. We are definitely putting our bodies and our souls and our hearts on the lines for victory, to be able to have that next win under our belts.  With Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai I think our team is very, very solid. I kind of feel bad for Mandy, She did a bad job picking her team.

Mike Johnson: Well, I want to talk about Dakota in a second, but you mentioned anything can happen. And that's certainly always been one of the hallmarks of WWE Programming. We've seen NXT evolve and change. Since the last time you and I spoke NXT 2.0 has a different feel, a different parameter to it, newer talents, a lot of talents who are very inexperienced in television, who are finding their way. You've been one of the cornerstones of NXT in recent years. What has it been like for you figuring out the new parameters of what NXT 2.0 is versus what had previously been established and figuring out how Raquel Gonzalez fits into that?

Raquel Gonzalez: You know, it's been something that's been a part of my journey because I definitely feel like my journey is still just starting. I don't feel like I had my debut two years ago, even though that's how long it's been, it feels like it was just yesterday, and like it was just this past week that I won the Dusty Classic along with Dakota Kai and that we became the first ever Tag Team Champions for NXT and I became NXT Women's Champion and then NXT turned into NXT 2.0 so the transition has been for me, very smooth because I've been at the top of my game this entire year, and I've been working hard to stay there, but I will say it's interesting and it's humbling to see all these new talents come in and commit themselves to this passion and this art that we do here and it's nice to see that these people are dedicated and they respect it and they're coming in with open eyes and open hearts to accept whatever challenges and whatever changes are in our way and that's kind of what I'm doing right now, too. I'm taking it step by step, I'm taking it day by day.  I think Raquel Gonzalez is a dominating strong female that really fits in anywhere because there's no one like me. I am one of a kind, how many, six foot tall, 185 pound women do you see walking around?

Mike Johnson: That's very true. So let's talk Dakota. With her, you have made history in NXT, you already recapped that so I don't have to. You get a chance to make history again, this Sunday at the War Games pay-per-view. Obviously there's a lot of emotions around this, there's a long relationship there, there's been a lot of twist and turns, but obviously There's going to be a moment where it comes down to you and Dakota facing off inside that cage in those two rings thoughts on that moment and thoughts on this incarnation of your relationship with Dakota, which is obviously now very contemptuous.

Raquel Gonzalez: Anytime I can come face to face with Dakota, or even be with an arms reach of Dakota, there is so much emotion and so much anger and just hurt behind it all because I really trusted her. I looked up to Dakota as someone who was a role model to me, she helped me develop and I would never take that away from her. Although I will say Dakota, didn't make Raquel Gonzales. Dakota didn't force me to go to the gym, she didn't force me to spend extra hours in the ring, she didn't force me to watch film and grow in confidence on my own. I did that. That was me. And I think that if we do have that moment in War Games I just want her to know, and I'm going to show her that, that is what's true, Raquel Gonzalez is a superstar on her own and not because of Dakota Kai.

Mike Johnson: We're getting very close to Royal Rumble time. Do you want to declare for the match yet?

Raquel Gonzalez: [Laughs] Oh, I wish that could, but I don't know. You know, it's I love the Rumble, I love the Rumble. I just... Let's hope right, let's see, Let's wait and see.

Mike Johnson: We've seen a lot of new talents come into NXT over the last couple of months as part of NXT, 2.0, who are the talents that whether it's a guy or girl that for the women's division of someone that you've just watched, who has been the most impressive in your mind in terms of the new incarnation of NXT talents, that's a big thing going into the men's War Games this year at 1.0 versus 2.0. Who from 2.0, has personally impressed you?

Raquel Gonzalez: I'm going to look at the women's side and go ahead and say Cora Jade. And not just because she's on my team, but because she has come in accepted every challenge that has been put in front of her, and she's put in some very difficult positions, she's already wrestled Mandy Rose, the Women's Champion and so I think I see a lot of fight in Cora, I see a lot of passion in Cora, and I see Cora really pushing through as the underdog in our War Games match. I'm very proud to have her on our team.

Mike Johnson: Kay Lee Ray is going to be part of your team. She's someone who is so impressive in NXT UK. Thoughts on teaming with her and thoughts on her making her way and migrating into NXT 2.0?

Raquel Gonzalez: I've always admired Kay Lee Ray in her work. She is aggressive and she just can terrorize when she really wants to and turns it up all the time. Every match she has had has been top notch and I've watched her from the very beginning, even the opportunities that I've had to see her and work with her when she's come for the Mae Young. So I'm very, very excited to be working with her and even to be working with Io Shirai, even though we haven't touched since takeover and we've had our moments here and there, I've always admired Io Shirai as well for being the genius of the sky and the stuff that she comes up with. She is the best female wrestler in the world.  I can't say enough about the team that I have put together.

Mike Johnson: We're running out of time. So last question. Why should fans make sure that they are tuning into War Games this Sunday on Peacock WWE Network pay-per-view in certain places. It's a new version of NXT, there's been a lot of talk about it. It's been a big conversation point on social media, especially why should fans make sure that they're watching War Games this week?

Raquel Gonzalez: Fans should be excited about War Games because there's going to be a lot of surprises, and even though they know the teams for War Games, it's about what is happening in those cages just like you said, for the men's side, having the new NXT 2.0 versus the old school NXT, that itself explains that this is going to be one hell of two styles clashing type of match. It's just going to be explosive all on its own. I'm excited to even see it and to participate.

Mike Johnson: This Sunday night, WWE Network and Peacock, pay-per-view in certain places, NXT War Games will take place featuring our guest Raquel Gonzalez you can follow her on Twitter @RaquelWWE. I look forward to when our paths cross again, and we get to have another conversation. War Games is a heavy duty night, so we wish you nothing but the best and hope you're able to kind of feel okay the next day. We appreciate the time. And if you got any words for everybody, it's the forum is all yours.

Raquel Gonzalez: Yes. Thank you, Mike. Thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure. And I just want to remind everyone and Orlando fans, especially that you guys can definitely come to the WWE CWC and watch NXT 2.0 live every week.

Mike Johnson: . Raquel, thank you as always.

Raquel Gonzalez: Gracias Mike, have a good one.

Mike Johnson: You too.

WWE NXT Wargames will stream this Sunday evening.

by Dave SchererMike Johnson & Richard Trionfo
12/4/2021 1:58 PM

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12/4/2021 2:10 PM

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