The unexpected virtue of Blue Pants: NXT's cult phenomenon breaks her silence
Who’d have thought that among the outsize personalities and outlandish competitors brewing down in WWE NXT, one of the most beloved would turn out to be a plucky Diva in blue pants named, well, Blue Pants?
Initially brought in as a local competitor to help Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady’s protégée Carmella fine-tune her skills in the ring, "Ol' Blue Pants" immediately took on a life of her own, amassing a cult following more or less on the spot. Over the next couple of months, Blue Pants would continue to make sporadic appearances in NXT, eventually defeating Carmella before trying her hand at the freshly crowned Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks. Blue Pants hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since that day, but WWE.com caught up with the woman behind the phenomenon — independent competitor Leva Bates — to discuss how Blue Pants was born, where the blue pants themselves came from, and whether we might see her as a more permanent fixture down the line.
So without further ado, Blue Pants, come on down!
WWE.COM: You are a longtime veteran of the independent scene. How did you end up on NXT as Blue Pants?
BLUE PANTS: I actually filled out the recruit page, because you always hear, “Hey, fill out the recruit page,” and I got a call asking if I would be interested in wrestling a match at NXT! So, of course, I said yes. [Laughs] I ended up getting called, and the name Blue Pants actually came about [when] I was stretching near the ring. At that point I was told I was going to wrestle Carmella, and Enzo & Cass were brainstorming an [intro] just off the top of their heads. They were like, “Maybe we should call her out, the girl with the blue pants.” I laughed about that, I just thought it was really funny. I went, “Absolutely! Do that!” I was just wearing the pants to roll around in, I wasn’t sure I was going to actually wrestle in that outfit. I have a crazy amount of costumes. I always over-pack so I have hundreds of things with me. I just put the blue pants on real quick to roll around in the ring, stretch, kind of get comfortable and it just stuck … that’s how Blue Pants was born, and I just embraced it!
WWE.COM: The NXT Universe is pretty supportive of everything on the show, but did you expect to catch on the way you did right out of the gate?
BLUE PANTS: No, absolutely not. It caught me off guard. I figured I’d have a little bit of a reaction considering I’m from Orlando and I wrestle a lot in the Central Florida area. I figured some of these people will probably recognize me, but the overwhelming reaction I got, I don’t know if they just thought the name Blue Pants was funny, or if they recognized me or some combination of the two, but it completely caught me by surprise. It was a nice, pleasant surprise.
WWE.COM: Who came up with the idea of having Big Cass sing “The Price is Right” theme song as your entrance music?
BLUE PANTS: I wanna say that was right on the fly. “Coming from the clearance rack,” I think that was probably the first thing that popped in his head. I gotta give him credit, he did that and the crowd went nuts. My character’s very happy, very fun, lives in the moment, for the now, for the fun, so I kind of embraced it. Instead of getting mad and going, “Ah, why are you making fun of me?” I’m like, “Yeah! What’s wrong with my blue pants, I love blue pants! I love this song!” and I started dancing. Cass and Enzo are really, really funny, so I played off of that … and we built it into what it was.
WWE.COM: Did Triple H say anything to you after those first few matches?
BLUE PANTS: The first time I came back he said, “You got a Blue Pants chant. I don’t even. I can’t,” and then he started laughing. I shook his hand and said, “Well, thank you for everything, I really appreciate this opportunity.” He said, “You’re welcome,” and then he just started laughing at my blue pants! That was kind of a really awesome moment for me, to make Triple H laugh.
WWE.COM: You most recently wrestled Sasha Banks in her first match as Women’s Champion and got a reaction on par with hers. How did that feel?
BLUE PANTS: It’s absolutely heartwarming and overwhelming in a good way. I’m so scared one day I’m going to come out and they’ll be like, “Alright, we’re over the blue pants,” but I feel like it just keeps growing and growing. I love the fans and I appreciate that. It really touched my heart, because I’m a fangirl at heart, too, so I know how it is when you’re like, “I love this so much, this is so cool!” To have that toward me is just mind-blowing. I’m still in awe of it, and very appreciative.
BLUE PANTS: I would absolutely love that! I kind of go with the flow. If they want to keep calling me back, if they want to make it permanent, if they want to say, “Alright, the ship has sailed,” I will roll with it. Right now I could stress out about it, but you gotta have fun with it! Enjoy the moment as it happens, and that’s what I’m doing: enjoying every single second. If it continues to go on and becomes a permanent thing, hallelujah, that’d be awesome. Even if it doesn’t, I still accomplished a dream of mine. Actually a couple of dreams of mine! I got [to wrestle] for WWE, I got to wrestle in front of a huge crowd and I got to win in a match for WWE, so all of these dreams have happened! To keep pursuing it? Absolutely, I would love to do that. I’m just enjoying it while I can.
WWE.COM: If you do stick around, blue pants on WWEShop.com would be kind of a layup.
BLUE PANTS: Yes! I would love that!
Blue Pants will return ...