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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 WWE.com 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?

BASZLER: It isn’t that much different. Some things have changed. The round times and limits aren’t there to worry about, so pacing benefits me in that I can take the time to enjoy the damage I cause. But the goal is still the same. It’s the same bloodthirst. In MMA, there isn’t time to admire your work until it’s all over with. In sports-entertainment, I can admire what I’m doing while it’s happening. So pre-match, I guess you could say my mindset is more like a lion about to play with its food, rather than a lion trying to hunt out of necessity. But ultimately, I’m out to hunt my target.

WWE.COM: How did you develop such an aggressive competitive spirit?

BASZLER: I have always had a desire to prove people that looked past me wrong. Whether it was because I was a female trying to wrestle or fight in MMA, or because I grew up on the wrong side of town. Everything I’ve gotten I’ve had to work twice as hard to earn.

WWE.COM: Some might say you’re a bit on the excessively abrasive side. How do you respond?

BASZLER: You know, I want to see this “rulebook” that everyone says I’m not following. Who says what is the right way and what isn’t? That is some imagined social construct that people made up to feel okay about being average. I am where I am, and what I’m doing is working just fine the way that I’m doing it.

WWE.COM: What should Ember Moon and the NXT Universe brace for at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans?

BASZLER: All the keyboard warriors better gather together and bring tissues, because at TakeOver, the hero, Ember Moon, loses her title. And The Queen of Spades will be the new champ, while everyone else will still be crying. This isn’t a bandwagon; it’s a war wagon. You won’t be able to hop on because you’re going to get run over.