Bianca Belair’s boldest declaration yet: “Shayna is irrelevant to me”
Ask, earn and you shall receive. After months of stating her desire for a crack at the NXT Women’s Championship, Bianca Belair’s wish will now become a reality. At NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, Belair will challenge Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Title in what will be Belair’s first championship match. The self-proclaimed “EST of NXT” spoke to WWE.com about her impending opportunity to win the gold.
WWE.COM: How does it feel to finally have your first NXT Women’s Title opportunity at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix against Shayna Baszler?
BIANCA BELAIR: I've basically been begging for this title opportunity for a while, so I feel satisfied to finally get what I deserve, but I am definitely not content. Ever since walking into the WWE Performance Center two-and-a-half years ago, I've had one goal in mind, and that's proving that I am the best. All I’ve been missing is a chance in the spotlight to shine. And now that it's finally my time, I am fully prepared to take down Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship.
WWE.COM: You’ve been to countless NXT TakeOver events in the past, but you’ve always had to watch from the sidelines. What went through your mind during those prior events, knowing you had yet to have your own match on the card?
BELAIR: I’ve had to sit back and watch TakeOver after TakeOver after TakeOver, champion after champion after champion. During my time in NXT, the champions have gone from Asuka to Ember Moon to Shayna Baszler to Kairi Sane and back to Shayna. I don't have a jealous bone in my body, but every time I had to sit through another TakeOver, I knew it should have been me in the ring, under the lights, holding that title over my head.
My pleas for a title opportunity were falling on deaf ears for a while and initially I felt slighted, but the more I thought about it, I realized every day they ignored me was just another day for me to get better and better.
WWE.COM: You’ve had a highly impressive undefeated streak in NXT. How much pressure do you feel to deliver on such a big stage?
BELAIR: Pressure makes diamonds, so when I think of TakeOver, I don't see it as a "big stage." I'm not thinking about the bright lights or the thousands of people in the audience ... I simply see it as an opportunity to compete, win, and have everyone watch me shine. I've been asking for this, basically begging for this opportunity, so I am fully prepared to remain un-de-fea-ted.
WWE.COM: How have your past athletic experiences prepared you for this moment?
The only thing Shayna could possibly try to do is work harder than me, which she doesn't.
- Bianca Belair
BELAIR: Growing up, my parents made sure sports were a big part of my life, so I've played almost every sport in the book, from track to basketball, soccer, cheerleading, CrossFit, weightlifting, etc. Being an athlete has taught me to crave competition and it's taught me how to work hard, how to be coachable, how to be mentally tough. All these attributes that have been instilled in me through my athletic career have been helpful in life, but I've learned from my experiences that sometimes hard work isn't always enough. Being talented along with hard work is what is really essential to success. I have so many accomplishments in my past but what matters is what I did with them once I got to NXT. I started from ground zero when I walked into the Performance Center on April 11, 2016. I didn't know anything about being a sports-entertainer in WWE and look how quickly I not only caught on to everything, but surpassed everyone around me.
At the end of the day, the only thing Shayna could possibly try to do is work harder than me, which she doesn't, and I’m already way more talented than she is, so I don't see my undefeated streak ending anytime soon.
WWE.COM: To that point, how would you respond to those who may believe you are not as accomplished as Shayna?
BELAIR: Last time I checked, I'm the one who was in WrestleMania last year and I'm the one that is un-de-fea-ted. Those are both accomplishments Shayna can't add to her list.
I'm coming for that title and when I do, it will furthermore validate everything that I have been saying: I am the strongest, roughest, toughest, quickest, fastest, greatest, the best. The EST of NXT. I ain't nothing to play with, and I am too determined and too talented to let Shayna Baszler take me down.
WWE.COM: Can you give us some insight into your preparations for the match?
BELAIR: Being an athlete, you always stay prepared, so you never have to get ready. I am UN-DE-FEA-TED. What I'm doing is obviously working for me, so why would I change anything? I think people mess up when they start changing for their opponent and they end up playing their opponent's game. There's no need to panic or change anything. I know exactly what I am going up against. Shayna is irrelevant to me in the sense that all I see is a competitor that I have to go through to get what I want: the NXT Women's Championship.