WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler was a guest on Renee Paquette’s Oral Stessions podcast recently. The two talked about Shayna’s career, and the transition from NXT to main roster WWE.
Baszler revealed how conversations with Vince McMahon ultimately led to her changing her in-ring style:
"He gave a talk that was like, ‘Look, you have something different to offer, you have a unique look. The thing you have to start learning now that you’re on Raw is that your work rate is shown on pay-per-views and at NXT, so don’t get so hellbent on weekly Raw TV, because that’s where we build the story for the work rate that you can do on a pay-per-view.’ So he’s like, ‘You’ve got this thing. I don’t want you to do any pro wrestling. Got it?’ Okay, got it.”
Baszler caught Vince’s eye when she went ‘off the map beating someone up’, with the WWE Chairman loving it. This led to Baszler experimenting more with the style with Natalya:
"Nattie’s trained with me in an MMA gym, so I was like, ‘Listen, let’s just shoot around a little bit and then we’ll get to what we need to get to.’ We do it, he hates it. We go in the back and he’s like, ‘Well [it] looked like you guys were just fighting each other.’ So he makes us do it again. This is when we were doing the stuff at the PC and we were recording some episodes and doing some live. So he goes and makes us do it right away again and I’m just flabbergasted.
“I’m still new up there so I don’t know how stuff is, and Nattie’s like, ‘I got you, we’ll do this.’ So we go and we do a match that she basically calls to me and it’s a normal match, you know? And we go in the back and he loves it and I’m so confused at this point. I’m like, ‘Man, we did like headlock takeover, drop down leapfrog. I don’t understand,’ and so I go and I sit outside Vince’s office for a long time because I’m like — it’s scary and you’re asking the guys outside the office like, ‘Is he in a good mood today?’"
McMahon is an intimidating force of nature regardless of your standing in WWE, and Baszler confirmed that meeting with him after the situation above was ‘nerve wracking’:
"I was like, ‘Man listen, I know I have something that no one else has. I know I can bring a certain legitimacy to this that no other female has. I don’t know how to figure it out week-to-week yet. Just give me a chance’ and I was like, ‘You’ll never have to worry about me being in shape. If you want me to go out there and wrestle the same match 100 times, I’ll do it, I’ll figure it out. Just give me time. I’m just letting you know I’m aware I don’t have it. Just give me time. I’ll make you money’."
H/T: POST Wrestling for the transcription