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By Mike Johnson on 2021-09-15 09:50:00

Over the past several weeks, Ruby Soho has found herself embraced by a new home in All Elite Wrestling and by an audience that is finally getting the opportunity to showcase herself unrestrained.  With AEW's debut tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ just hours away, Soho sits down with to reflect on where she's been, where she's going and the night that she declares was the best night of her career, AEW's All Out 2021.

Mike Johnson: It is Tuesday, September 14th, 2021, which means we are about 24 hours away from All Elite Wrestling. Finally, making their debut in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center. They were supposed to be there a long time ago, but due to COVID and everything else, tomorrow is finally the date.   If there is one talent that a lot of people are taking a big look at after she is debuted in AEW just a few weeks ago, like a phoenix rising out of the ashes and batting a thousand, with some perfect performances, thus far, it is Ruby Soho, currently the number one contender to the AEW women's world championship after winning the Casino Battle Royal at All Out. Very happy to be sitting down with you today, so I guess the easy first question is how are you and how happy are you these days?

Ruby Soho: Well, first of all, that was an awesome introduction. So, thank you very much for that.  Everything is just incredible. I have the best job in the whole world and my family's happy and healthy. And I am just on cloud nine after All Out. And everything's great. Honestly, I have no complaints, none.

Mike Johnson: Let's talk about the first day of school. Obviously, you had wrestled all over The Independents in the Midwest and whatnot, and then you go to WWE. You go through that system. That ends, you come to All Elite Wrestling. What's that first day like walking in the locker room, compared to, in your lifetime, with all the unique life experiences of pro wrestling, the first time you've walked into other locker rooms?

Ruby Soho: It was a lot more familiar than I expected. Obviously, I'm the new girl in town. I was very nervous to come into the locker room. There's a bunch of very talented women that have helped build this division in this company. And I'm just this new girl coming in, hoping to get a chance to be a part of it. But it turned out, I knew a lot of the women there. I had worked with some of them previously, even some of the guys there I've known for quite some time, some of them, of which are my friends.  And so it was a lot more familiar than I expected. It was such a warm welcome. Everybody was so kind and so sweet and so welcoming to me, that I am just so grateful for, that again I have no complaints, it was just an amazing feeling because I was very nervous going in. And I was really hoping that I was going to get a welcome that, people weren't upset that I was there. But it was the exact opposite. Everybody was just very encouraging and very welcoming. I'm very grateful to them.

Mike Johnson: You were the Joker in the Casino Battle Royal. What's that moment like for you as you're waiting for that countdown and for that introduction to that entrance? You've worked Wrestlemania's, you've worked all over the world, but I feel like that moment was the culmination of your entire career, as weird as that sounds.   What's that moment like where you don't know, you hope for the best, but you don't really know what the audience reaction is going to be, until you walk out? I feel like you primed them with the videos on Twitter, but you don't really know. So what's it like being there backstage, waiting for that go order to head out, what's the energy like and what's going through your mind at that moment?

Ruby Soho: I thought I knew what nervous was. I thought with my past experiences that I knew what nervous was. I had no idea. I could feel my heart beating in my throat. My hands were shaking. My legs were shaking. And like you said, it was a 100%, it was a culmination to my entire wrestling career. Everything that I had done up until that point had led to that moment, is their response going to be happy? Are people going to be excited to see me? Are people are going to be behind me? It was so many questions that I wasn't sure if I knew the answer to. And I'll never forget, just standing at the bottom of those stairs, my whole body shaking. I have friends of mine that are encouraging me and cheering me on,  but I'm just so lost in this moment, tunnel vision of just, "Oh gosh, I hope this goes well. I hope it goes well." And then when the fans started to chant Ruby Soho before the countdown actually happened, I'll never forget this in my whole life, Tony [Khan], from behind his screen, just jumps up and goes, "Let's go!" I was so pumped and that energy just channeled them to me where I was, "Yes, yes, this is it. This is the moment." And then stepping out on that stage, the emotion that you saw on my face was true and was so real in that moment of just, I just didn't want to leave that moment because I was just, "Wow, this is what every professional wrestler dreams of is this moment, as this time is being appreciated for the work that you've put in the past, having people be excited for the work that you're going to put in the future." It was just the best moment of my wrestling career, honestly.

Mike Johnson: When a moment like that happens, does it wash away some of the stress and consternation that comes with being in such a rigid place previously, where so many talents are running on a treadmill to nowhere? Does that all wash away in hindsight because all of that led up to this moment with All Elite for the debut? Or do you look back on some of that stuff and it's still, "Ah, whatever."   Does the positive experience here maybe almost become theraputic, in a way, for the previous experiences?

Ruby Soho:  Honestly, with anywhere when I was on the Indies or with WWE, it's the wrestling industry. Things aren't always going to go the way that you want. But I didn't necessarily think of it that way, in a way of, "Oh, this is washed away." And negative things that I've been through in the past. It was just in that moment, everything that I had done, and I just knew that I'd made all the right choices, to get to that moment. Every choice that I'd made, had led me here. And this is where I belong. Like I said, even my work with WWE, I wouldn't have had to gotten the chance to experience that moment if it weren't for WWE.  Honestly, it was just every step that I had made, every choice that I made, the person that I had tried to continue to be, to stay true to myself, led me to that stage. Honestly, it was just a breath of fresh air to be, "Okay, you can be confident in the choices that you made, because everything that you've done, has led you to be able to experience this." Which, not a lot of people in the industry can say that they got a chance to experience something like that. I felt very lucky and fortunate.

Mike Johnson: You mentioned Tony Khan and his unbridled energy backstage, as you were getting ready to go out at the Casino Battle Royal. Thoughts on working for him so far and what that experience has been like?  Over the last couple of years, I think more than any other personality, he's started to really change the culture of professional wrestling, I would argue for the better. What has it been like being around him and working with him in the last couple of weeks?

Ruby Soho: Honestly, he is the absolute best. He is honestly just the best boss that I could ever possibly ask for. His energy is unmatched. And regardless of how you feel in that moment, if for any reason you're not excited about wrestling or whatever, you're having a bad day. You walk in and you look at Tony Khan and you see his energy, you see how much he cares, genuinely, wholeheartedly about his product. And it's just infectious. It's impossible not to be, "Hell yeah. Let's go, let's go." It's so hard not to be infected by that love of the product, of pro-wrestling, of everything that comes with it. He is honestly just like best person. And he just cares about his talent. He takes time to get to know his talent. He talks to his talent and he's honestly just the best possible boss I could ever possibly ask for. And I'm so excited and so grateful to get to work with him, honestly.

Mike Johnson: As we mentioned at the top of this discussion, tomorrow is the Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey. You've wrestled in New Jersey before. How different do you expect this experience to be for you compared to the past?

Ruby Soho: Obviously, my former tag-team partner is from New Jersey. I have always held that place near and dear to my heart because of her. But I just know that right now, in this moment, especially being number one contender for the AEW women's world championships, every move that I make, every step on this journey up until I decide to make that match or Tony decides to make that match, is important. Every move that I make needs to be calculated, it needs to be strategic because I know that I need all of that behind me when I do in fact, step into the ring with Britt Baker.  This is just another one of those steps in Newark. And it's super important about how I approach this from there. I was able to tag with Rio and Kris Statlander on Friday. And that was amazing to be able to be in those girls' corner, because they're truly incredible.  I was able to see Britt in action second hand, without being in the ring with her and obviously I take that time to study her and it's going to be no different where whatever move I make, is going to be strategic to eventually obtaining the AEW women's championship.

Mike Johnson: Well, I was going to bring up Britt Baker because obviously you and she, at some point, you're going to have that big collision course moment coming out of you becoming the number one contender. So, thoughts on her and what she has built for herself in AEW.

Ruby Soho: Yeah. Britt Baker, I've known her for a number of years. I've known her since she broke in. And to see the growth in her, is incredible. She continues to, I believe, to impress and to grow with each opponent, with each defense that she's had for the AW woman's championships. You see improvement and growth in her as a performer. And there's a reason she is our champion. There's a reason. But I do think, especially based off of Friday, I believe that she maybe doesn't necessarily fear me, but she fears what's different and I am different. I am different than what she'd seen in the past. I'm different in the AEW women's division and I think that she doesn't necessarily know what to expect from me. And I think that may cause, hopefully, honestly, in my favor, a little bit of doubt in her mind.  I think that I will not take her lightly by any sense of the word, but I do think that I have somewhat of an advantage, because I believe that AEW is bringing out a different fire than I've ever had in my career. And so it's not really possible for her to study this version of me because of the level of fire and excitement and freedom that I have here in AEW that this is the version of me that nobody's seen yet. I think I have that advantage.

Mike Johnson: Beyond Britt, are there other dream opponents that you look at and go, "I can't wait to get in the ring with..." And I'm just tossing a name out here, Leyla Hirsch or whoever. I'm curious, as a performer, obviously the creative juices need to flow, lots of fresh opponents for you. So, thoughts on others that you're looking forward to getting in the ring with, at some point?

Ruby Soho: As far as the women and the vision, I have so many of them that I want to step into the ring with just because everybody... One of the things I love about this division is everybody is so different. Everybody's so different. Everybody comes from different walks of life. Everybody's talented in different ways. If I had to choose, I've thought about this question a lot. If had to choose in this moment, I want to do one from the past, the present and the future.  I think the future is with Taynara [Conti]. I've known Taynara for a long time. I knew her when she first started and the person that she is and the fighter that she is, is different. She's incredibly skilled, she's a real black belt. I feel like would take me to my limit. And I definitely want to mix it up with her. As far as the current Nyla Rose, she is without a shadow of a doubt, probably one of the most powerful women in the company. And I think she took on me and Thunder Rosa, pretty much single-handedly in that Battle Royal.  I genuinely think that if I was able to mix it up with her and and possibly defeat her, then that would be a huge milestone in my career. And I just think she's incredibly talented and I've been a fan of hers for a long time.

As far as the past goes, I don't even think it's passed at this point because she is honestly in her prime. But she is somebody, I have been a huge fan of, since I started, is Serena Deeb. Serena and I have actually, I've followed her without, because everywhere she went, I have ended up a few years later. But it was Shimmer, OVW, WWE. I've just been a couple of steps behind her. But I've always been a huge, huge, huge fan of her and honestly, I think she is better than she's ever been, right now. I think that I watched her and just been, 'Oh gosh, Serena is so cool." I can't say that enough. She is definitely someone that I think it would be an honor to step into the ring with and just learn from. Those are the three that come to mind. Obviously, it's everybody, everybody in the ring. I just want to wrestle them. I just want to wrestle.

Mike Johnson: You mentioned the word freedom while you were talking just a couple of minutes ago. And obviously AEW is a different breed of animal when it comes to professional wrestling. In terms of freedom, there's more authenticity to the promos, I think because of the freedom, obviously the matches feel different. As someone who has worked in so many different places, what does that freedom that you have creatively under Tony Khan in AEW mean to you as a person and as a performer, who's trying to convey to the audience who she is?

Ruby Soho: I said this in an interview right after All Out. When I spoke to Tony, one of the first times that I talked to him, I just asked him a million questions and one of them was, what do you want, what do you need from me coming in and working for you? What do you need? And his answer was just so simple, "I just want you to be you. And I want you to come work for me." And it was so simple, but it was so bizarre that I hadn't really heard that before. I was just, just be you. I just want you to be you. And I've never had that freedom before of just being able to go out there and show the fans the most authentic version of myself and that is everything to me. That's the reason I entered this industry to begin with. Because I felt like everywhere else, I was somebody I wasn't. I was trying to appease friends or family or coworkers or anything like that. I felt I just was trying so hard to be something I wasn't. And I entered the wrestling industry for the freedom to be who I wanted to be, to be myself, to explore myself, to celebrate myself. And AEW has given me that, and that I think is why that fire is there. That is why I'm so excited about everyday coming to work and learning new things about the other women, about myself. Learning and that's honestly what this journey is. It's just learning things about myself, learning what I'm capable of and Tony has given me the freedom to do that.   I'm very, very grateful.

Mike Johnson: Well, if there's one person who changed the complexion and created even more depth, in an already vastly talented locker room, and I don't mean the women's locker room, I mean AEW in general, it is you.  In three short appearances, I think you've captured the hearts and imaginations of a lot of fans, in a way that you've never been given the opportunity to do so before.  I think I speak for a lot of people, when I say, we're looking forward to Newark and New York City and everywhere else beyond that, to see where the adventures of Ruby Soho take us. I want to thank you for sitting down with us and I look forward to when we get a chance to reconnect and do it again.

Ruby Soho: Thanks. You've got me blushing over here. Thank you so much. That's very nice. Thank you.

Mike Johnson: Ruby, thank you so much for the time.

Ruby Soho:  Thank you, Mike. Appreciate it.

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