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Before the Bell: Locker room rituals explained

 

The moment before a Superstar or Diva’s music hits and he or she steps into the bright lights of a WWE arena makes for a pressure-packed moment. Some stretch and others jam to a pre-match playlist, but all competitors cherish that final moment before they transform from peaceful to warriors. WWE.com cameras have caught these private moments for the last three years, and these are the best, most unforgettable pre-match warm-ups captured behind-the-scenes.

The AJ video you need to watch | Watch these brutal backstage brawls                                               

Cesaro

 

Cesaro on ignoring sweet nothings

“When I get ready for any match, I need to be focused — and I need to get in my zone. Aksana was usually whispering sweet encouragements in my ear, but to be honest, that kept me from being completely focused on the tasks at hand. So that’s why, in the end, I decided to get rid of her. Normal people do push-ups, but I like to do push-ups with extra weight because that’s not normal. I also perform a variety of them: Hindu push-ups, reverse push-ups, dive-bomber push-ups and handstand push-ups, and most body-weight exercises in general. They’re old-school, and they make your body stronger and more functional. I’m always very excited because I love to compete. You should always feel a little nervous each night — or you shouldn’t be doing this.” 

Watch Cesaro on “WWE Inbox”                             

Big E

 

Big E on spontaneous lifting

“Before a match, I do a lot of visualization. I like to think things out in my head: I see the victory before I go out; I see what I’m going to do to my opponent before I compete. Everything happens in my mind before it goes down in the ring. The last 20 minutes or so I move around. I like to be more connected to what I’m about to do, so I like to move around and loosen up. I get my mind in a state that I’m about to do battle. I try to live with a chip on my shoulder, like I’ve got a lot to prove every time I go out as well. I’ll be spontaneous, and sometimes, if there’s anything heavy, like these lights, for example, that is readily available back there, then I’ll give them a lift. I try to do it the moment right before I go out — but it’s very much in that moment.” 

Big E talks about his journey                                  

Rey Mysterio

 

Rey Mysterio on prayer

“I’m very spiritual. I’m a big believer in God. I believe that all of my success, everything that I’ve accomplished, I couldn’t have done without God. So I thank him every night and every day before I step into the ring, and after the match, for all of my accomplishments, and for always being there with me. That’s my ritual. My spirituality is extremely important when it comes down to me going to the ring, because I have to ask God to forgive me for my sins and guide me through my match and make sure that neither my opponent, nor myself, nor anybody on the card, gets hurt that night, so we can go out there and entertain our fans and give them the best of the best.”

Watch Mysterio go “Behind the Match”                                        

AJ Lee

 

AJ Lee on how to properly cut a T-shirt

“I feel like I get into some sort of rhythm now. Before, I’d go out there just to cause mayhem. Now I have more of a singular purpose, and we have our family, and I go out there to support them by any means necessary. I wouldn’t call myself ‘The Happy Homemaker,’ of course, but I cut Dolph’s shirts because he needs to look as cool as I do. Big E does all the cooking and cleaning. He’s the cute one, and I’m the muscle. So we have our different roles. Most of the time, I’m only allowed to use baby scissors, or else I’ll wreak havoc with the regular ones. Sometimes the seamstresses help me; or rather, they take the weapons out of my hands. Most of the time if I cut the T, there’s a little inner rage in me that often results in the complete destruction of the shirt. There’s something therapeutic about it.”

See the many faces of AJ Lee                                                      

Jack Swagger

 

Jack Swagger on his favorite hoodie

“That hoodie is my staple — it helps me get warmed up and break a sweat before I go out. It’s an old amateur wrestling tradition of mine, meaning by the time I get to the ring, I’ve already had one good wind before my match. I warm up here like I’d get ready for a fight or wrestling match anywhere. I get the blood going, bounce around on my feet and let a good, serene feeling develop in my head. I also go through the match a few times, visualizing how I want it to go, so I can get the details down — my position, my timing, everything. So that when I go out there, I just have fun with it; I can rely on my instincts because I prepared beforehand, and I don’t have to think, I just react.”

See Swagger win a 2012 Elimination Chamber Match                                   

The Usos

 

Jimmy and Jey Uso on wearing face paint

Jimmy: “It takes at least an hour — 30 for him and 30 for me — for the face paint. The design comes from the way we’re feeling at that time. It’s in the moment. I need to walk around in my gear for at least an hour just to have it on. That might be weird to get changed up and everything, just sitting there and watching time go. It’s actually one of those things where I’m nervous, but it’s a good kind of nervous. And Jey and I have always been right by each other. Sometimes we do the same thing. Sometimes we move the same way, but we’re always on the same page. It’s the weirdest thing, but it sets us apart from most tag teams. This is my brother, and we’re always there with each other.”  

Jey: “Basically, it’s a big process, and it’s all about getting our minds right. Sometimes we’ll talk to our father [Rikishi] before a match. Our dad gives us some advice. I have my brother with me and the main thing we do is get on one knee and pray. It shows the bond between us. Some guys will warm up by themselves, but I always have my brother with me; we’re stretching each other, doing what we have to do. We hug each other and tell each other to be safe and have fun.” 

The Usos let loose on “WWE Inbox”                                                                  

Daniel Bryan

 

Daniel Bryan on bridges

“I try to do a mix of bridging and wall-walking before my matches whenever possible. The walking is something I’ve picked up as part of my training, and I use it to just warm up and get the flexibility going in my back. Bridging helps increase the strength in my neck, but both are so important in everything we do. The stronger and healthier those muscles are, the safe you are in the ring. I started bridging when I was amateur wrestling in high school, and because when I was in school, I was a huge Dean Malenko fan. I’d watch him on Nitro. He had this beautiful bridge whenever he’d suplex guys. And each time I’d see it, I’d say to myself, ‘Aw, I want to be able to do that!’ ”

Watch Michigan State University lead a Daniel Bryan cheer                                      

The Bellas

 

Brie and Nikki Bella discuss “booty taps”

Brie: “Nikki and I are really big into meditation and prayer. Many people like to listen to loud music and get pumped up, but it’s actually funny because Nikki and I like quietness. We like to really collect our thoughts, take those deep breaths, and really just connect with ourselves.”

Nikki: “Not too many people do as much meditation before their match, and some people want to get fired up, scream and yell, but Brie and I want to be in a calm zone. I need that quiet space. I need to get my head in the right area.”

Brie: “Because she’s my sister, I know I’ll get honest feedback. Nikki knows how to calm me down if I’m overly nervous, and she can tell when I’m distracted. We’ve been together for 29 years: She knows what to say if I look distracted to get me back into the mode. She knows how to keep me on track. And one thing we do when we’re in Gorilla is we’ll kiss each other on the cheek and slap each other’s butts. Then we’ll say, ‘We’re going to do amazing out there.’ ” 

Nikki: “And you don’t see a lot of people slapping each other’s butts before going out to the ring.”

See The Bellas on the beach                                               

Heath Slater

 

Heath Slater on Guns N’ Roses

“I like to warm up a little bit, get loose and get the blood flowing. I like to get my pump on a bit so I can loosen up my muscles and not be too tight in the ring. I like to listen to music, just so I can clear my mind and concentrate on the task at hand — who I’m going against, what I need to do, what I want to do. I usually like ot put on some Guns N’ Roses or Hinder. The Hinder mellows me out a little bit, but the GNR pumps me up right before I go out throught the curtain. It’s usually ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ or ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine.’ Sometimes it’s ‘November Rain,’ ‘You Could be Mine,’ anything GNR.”

Watch Heath Slater crash the stage at Honky Tonk Center                                               

The Miz

 

The Miz on pacing

“I’m usually pacing around backstage. I’m constantly talking to myself, looking like a total lunatic. I’m in my own little bubble, my own little world. I don’t want to talk to anybody. But if someone tries to talk to me, I don’t freak out — I usually just say, ‘Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh,’ and try to get them to go away. My mind is racing at 100 miles an hour. I can’t even describe my game face. It’s literally like I’m almost in panic mode. There’s a sense of being scared and feeling fear, but once I enter the arena, it all goes away.”

Watch the first “Miz TV”                                 

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