Byrons Interviews

Self-motivating affirmations are nothing new to the world of sports-entertainment. From WWE Hall of Famers Shawn Michaels to “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Superstars have used a boastful sense of confidence to propel themselves into the promised land of success.

Enter NXT Superstar Kona Reeves. While Reeves joined the ranks of NXT in 2014 as a humble aspiring young Superstar, it seems only recently that Reeves has tapped into the same fountain of confidence that benefited his predecessors. More specifically, Reeves has embraced the belief that he represents the finest aspects of life both in and out of the ring. This week, Reeves speaks to about his newfound confidence, his background and more.

WWE.COM: You’ve boldly proclaimed yourself as “NXT’s Finest.” Can you explain your motivation behind the nickname?

KONA REEVES: I insist that I’m “NXT’s Finest” because I know I am the finest in every aspect. People call themselves the “greatest” or “the best” all the time. That’s okay because they are all alike. I am different than all those basic people. I have the finest hair, finest skin complexion, finest taste in music and finest ethnic background! My life is the finest it has ever been, and it’s only the beginning!

WWE.COM: How do you maintain your self-proclaimed “Finest” status?

REEVES: I go to the finest hair salon in Orlando, Fla., thanks to Mandy Rose. I have my coats and boots custom-made, and I only eat the finest organic foods. It’s not easy to live the finest lifestyle, but if you work hard, you get to play hard.

WWE.COM: You mentioned having the “finest ethnic background.” Can you tell us about your heritage?

REEVES: My mother is Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino and Spanish. My father is Dutch and Indonesian, hence why I have the finest ethnic background. I know you’re jealous.


Byrons Interviews

Few Superstars have captured the imagination of the NXT Universe as quickly as “The One and Only” Ricochet. Coming off his remarkable WWE Network debut at TakeOver: New Orleans and his Full Sail in-ring debut Wednesday night on WWE NXT, the preeminent high-flyer spoke with about his upbringing, his sports-entertainment inspirations and much more.

WWE.COM: You’ve had some time to digest your experience at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. How was it for you?

RICOCHET: It was honestly amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to debut. And just to be at WrestleMania and experience the whole weekend was a dream come true.

WWE.COM: How much have you had to adjust your life since joining NXT four months ago?

RICOCHET: It’s really not been difficult at all. Maybe because everyone at the WWE Performance Center, from the talent to the coaches, have been super cool and have helped me with everything. I can’t thank them enough.

WWE.COM: Despite the fact you had competed against many current NXT and WWE competitors in the past, how intimidating was it for you to walk into this company on your first day?

RICOCHET: Oh, it was wild. Yeah, I’ve been friends with a lot of the NXT competitors for years, but just walking into the Performance Center alone is intimidating. Not only is it intimidating, but I have to try and keep up expectations I had made for myself before. Luckily, everyone here has been willing to help with any troubles I’ve had.

WWE.COM: Let’s take a step back. Tell me about your upbringing.

RICOCHET: I was born in Alton, Ill., and moved to Paducah, Ky., when I was 3 years old. I lived in Kentucky until I moved to Florida in 2015. We never had the most money, but my parents always did their best to take care of me and my brother. I had a real small but tight group of friends, and we would just ride our bikes all day after school and play video games, or we would actually wrestle out in the backyard. Those were good times, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.


Byrons Interviews

Shayna Baszler’s NXT career progression can be described as incredibly meteoric. Baszler’s no-nonsense attitude and propensity for extreme punishment has earned her another opportunity to challenge Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. This week, The Queen of Spades spoke to about Moon, her competitive motivation and more.

WWE.COM: In less than a year of competing in NXT, you’ve got a championship opportunity at one of the biggest TakeOvers of the year. How does that feel?

SHAYNA BASZLER: It feels right. I’m more ready to be there than any other woman on the NXT roster.

WWE.COM: You’ve challenged Ember Moon before. Why do you feel the result will be different this time?

BASZLER: Because now Ember will have fear. Did she “win” by a technicality of the rules last time? Sure. But she still couldn’t lift her arm to wash her own hair, and she had trouble swallowing food and liquids afterwards. She knows there is no way to truly stop me. As soon as I grab ahold of her, she will remember that.

WWE.COM: Let’s talk about your preparation. What is the difference between your pre-match preparations during your MMA career as compared to sports-entertainment?


Byrons Interviews

Exclusive interview: How TM61 continue to push past adversity

“It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” — Rocky Balboa

This much-heralded quote from Rocky Balboa has been a staple of our society for decades. Sure, on paper, they may just be words, but for NXT’s TM61, those words must now become a way of life.

“We’ve been working so hard to get over the setbacks and roadblocks of 2017 and were looking forward to starting off 2018 rolling,” Nick Miller told “Fate stepped in, and we ran into the biggest roadblocks in all of NXT.”

Referencing TM61’s elimination from the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic last week courtesy of The Authors of Pain, Miller expanded on the heartbreak of the loss.

“AOP is a monkey on our back,” he said. “We lost to them in the finals of the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Classic, and when we saw that we had them in the first round of this year’s Dusty Classic, we trained as hard as possible. We were so focused, yet to go in and lose in the first round hurt a lot, both physically and mentally. It’s been tough.”

The 2018 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicks off with an incredible rematch of the 2016 Finals between TM61 and former tournament winners, The Authors of Pain. Video courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.


Byrons Interviews

A family history explored: Bianca Belair discusses her influential ancestors
NXT fans are beginning to become familiar with Bianca Belair’s power inside the ring, but it’s not just her competitive nature that drives Belair to be The EST of NXT. The NXT Superstar also finds motivation in her family tree, having come from a long line of trailblazers, including men and women who helped break new ground during the Civil Rights Movement. In celebration of Black History Month, Belair spoke to about her remarkable family history and how it continues to inspire her to this day.

WWE.COM: What does Black History Month mean to you?

BIANCA BELAIR: Black History Month is a time to celebrate, learn, acknowledge and pay tribute to African Americans’ past, present, culture, struggles and achievements. It has always been an important aspect in my life growing up because it taught me my roots. Black History Month also reminds me of how far we have come, and it motivates me. If African Americans can win the Olympics, desegregate public places, become artists, authors, doctors and engineers, contribute to agriculture, mathematics, astronomy and medicine, invent hot combs and haircare products, traffic lights, and become President, then I can do it, too. If they could create history, then so can I.

WWE.COM: Let’s talk about your family history. I understand that your family tree is chock full of groundbreakers in the African American community.

BELAIR: My great-grandfather, Edward N. Toole, was the first licensed African American electrician in Durham, N.C.; he was still a licensed and practicing electrician in 1993 at the age of 95. His father was also the son of the governor of South Carolina.


Byrons Interviews

Exclusive Q&A: Why No Way Jose has something to prove to the NXT Universe

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but in the case of No Way Jose, absence has made the heart grow hungrier for competition. After making his return to NXT television last week, Jose spoke with about his goals and his plans to take his game to the next level.

WWE.COM: How does it feel to be back on NXT?

NO WAY JOSE: It’s like I never left. The NXT Universe always welcomes me with open arms. As soon as I walk down the entrance ramp — well, I guess dance, not walk — that energy, that rhythm, the emotion that hundreds or thousands of people give someone, makes you experience an unexplainable emotion and fills you with so much joy.

WWE.COM: What led to you stepping away?

JOSE: I’ve been away for a little bit. I had to go handle some things, face a little adversity and grow from it. Now I’m back, and the most important thing is what I do from here. Like many people, I began to focus on the past because I wasn’t 100 percent satisfied with the present. The more I progressed, the more I seemed to take a step back, and I knew this was a pattern that couldn’t continue. Somewhere in there, I lost a part of me, and I knew I had to get it back.

WWE.COM: Now that you are back, how has your mindset changed since you’ve been away from the ring?

JOSE: Well, before my last match with Cezar [Bononi], there was a man named Lars [Sullivan], a huge, powerful, anomaly of a man. And what he did was show me that I needed to tone back on what brought me to the dance, which is the dance. I need to tone back on the hip swivels, and I need to turn up the intensity in the ring.


Byrons Interviews

Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly have invaded NXT with a brash attitude and intentions to shake up the system at its very core. They’re three men with internationally acclaimed backgrounds that share one common goal: to rule NXT.

When Cole, Fish & O’Reilly first burst onto the scene at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, their impact was immediately felt by then-new NXT Champion Drew McIntyre, who was the target of a blindside attack. Since then, the Superstars known as The Undisputed ERA have expanded their campaign of mayhem to include SAnitY. This week, all three men sit down with to discuss their relationship with each other and their objectives in NXT.

WWE.COM: Thank you for joining me, gentlemen. Adam, let’s start with you. Why did the three of you choose NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III as your moment to burst onto the scene of NXT?

ADAM COLE: Here’s the deal. You don’t make a statement unless you make noise. We knew that what we were doing was going to cause a lot of ruckus. We knew it would get people talking. And that’s exactly what we wanted. The only way you make a name for yourself in this sport is to make a statement, a loud statement, and that’s exactly what we did at TakeOver: Brooklyn.

WWE.COM: Bobby, you made your NXT debut several months prior to Cole and O’Reilly’s arrivals. Did you know about the planned invasion back then?

BOBBY FISH: Nothing I do is impulsive; everything I do is based around a sound strategy. Of course I knew all along. This was a deliberate course of action designed to expose the holes within NXT, capitalize on those weaknesses, and ensure success.

WWE.COM: Kyle, you and Fish have had a great deal of worldwide success as a tag team, while you and Cole have been rivals and partners in the past. What’s the relationship been like among all three of you?

KYLE O’REILLY: The three of us have traveled the world together and headlined pay-per-views, both as friends and enemies. We’ve been bitter career rivals that competed and strived for our own personal gain and success. In that same breath, we are ready and willing to put aside any grievance for the common good and underlying goal. Bobby and I have always had each other’s backs and are like brothers. Our past tag team success is a direct result of this mentality. We were once known as “reDRagon.” We captured the IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles in Japan for two reigns, including a successful title defense in the Tokyo Dome.