Byrons Interviews

As announced this week on NXT, Candice LeRae will join Bianca Belair, Nikki Cross and Kairi Sane in a No. 1 Contender’s Fatal 4-Way Match next week to determine who will challenge Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn. With the potentially career-altering opportunity on the horizon, LeRae spoke with about her in-ring goals, her journey to NXT and her marriage to fellow NXT Superstar Johnny Gargano.

WWE.COM: Candice, we first saw you in NXT a little over a year ago. What’s the difference between that Candice and the one we see here today?

CANDICE LERAE: My childhood dream was to be a WWE Superstar. Now that I am living that dream, I am discovering there is a whole new world of opportunity here in NXT. I have pushed myself to do things in the ring and in the gym that I used to be afraid to do or was uncomfortable with. I want to seize every opportunity NXT has to offer me, and when I do, I want to be ready for them. Being here has sparked something special in me to push me to the next level.

WWE.COM: You’ve got an opportunity to possibly challenge for the NXT Women’s Championship coming up. How poetic would it be to challenge Shayna Baszler, the same woman who eliminated you from the Mae Young Classic last year?

LERAE: I haven’t forgotten that match against Shayna in the Mae Young Classic. More importantly, I haven’t forgotten about how disrespectful Shayna was toward me and my husband after the match. Earning an NXT Women’s Championship opportunity is a reward, but to face Shayna, knowing that I could potentially be the one to dethrone her? it would be the cherry and sprinkles on top!

WWE.COM: Since we are on the topic of last year, you’ve obviously been through a lot with your husband, Johnny Gargano. To someone not familiar with sports-entertainment, what are the benefits and challenges of working alongside Johnny in the same company?

LERAE: A massive positive is that we can travel together! There were times before I got here where I would be wrestling in Japan or the United Kingdom for weeks at a time. Trying to talk to each other when I was basically a day into the future was challenging.

I half joke with him that my biggest challenge is trying to keep up with him. He’s just so talented. It puts this added pressure on me because I don’t want to be an embarrassment to Johnny. Plus, my husband worked so hard for his name, and I absolutely refuse to ride his coattails. I know I have a challenge in proving to the fans and my peers that I belong here too. I want to make a name for myself here in NXT because of my own work and not because of who my husband is.


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Byrons Interviews

The backdrop of war: War Raiders talk world domination and bringing the raid to NXT

The proverbial raid has taken full effect in NXT courtesy of Rowe and Hanson. Otherwise known as The War Raiders, the physically abrasive tandem has ruffled the feathers of the NXT Tag Team division since bursting onto the scene in April. This week, Rowe & Hanson spoke to about their pre-NXT success, their distinctive looks and why both men feel poised to dominate the black-and-yellow chapter of their careers.

WWE.COM: How did each of you get your start inside the squared circle?

ROWE: Since I was 5 years old, all I’ve ever wanted to do was be a wrestler. I used to watch every Sunday with my father. I pursued amateur wrestling and combat sports my entire life because I knew those skills would carry over from the mat to the ring. During my senior year of high school, I began my training in Cleveland, and for the next 15 years I traveled anywhere and everywhere following this dream.

HANSON: I fell in love with wrestling when I was young as well. I went to as many WWE and local independent events as I could. Eventually, I asked enough questions to find out about wrestling schools in my area. I worked two jobs over the summer in between my junior and senior year of high school and started training in the summer of 2001 at 17 years old. I flip-flopped schools for a while until I settled on Killer Kowalski’s school of Pro Wrestling, which was partnered with the Chaotic Training Center (now known as the New England Pro Wrestling Academy). The best decision of my life.

WWE.COM: What was it like training for a legend and WWE Hall of Famer like Kowalski?

HANSON: Kowalski was amazing. I was lucky to be one of the last individuals to train with him. Kowalski’s attention to detail has always stuck in my head. He was hard on us and wanted us to be the best in the industry. Walter said things to us like “Shoot for the moon; if you miss you may hit a star,” and “Make them notice you.” Those are words I think about all the time. I am very grateful for our time together.

WWE.COM: You both have certainly done a good job of getting noticed during your short time in NXT. How did this team come to be?

HANSON: Despite each being in the business for well over a decade, Rowe and I never crossed paths until we were on opposite sides of the bracket of Ring of Honor’s 2014 Top Prospect Tournament. We ended up meeting in the tournament final and beat the snot out of each other. We instantly earned each other’s respect.


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We are in Manchester, New Hampshire and your announcers are Corey Graves, Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.

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We are in Omaha, Nebraska and your announcers are Corey Graves, Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton.

Byron Saxton is out and he introduces the New Day, who will participate in a Third of July Pancake Eating Contest.

Tom tells us the record is 113 pancakes in 8 minutes.

Byron does the introductions once they get into the ring.

They will have five minutes to eat as many pancakes as possible. Kofi will have blue pancakes while Xavier has normal colored pancakes, and Big E has red pancakes.