On the latest “Oral Sessions” podcast, Renee Paquette interviewed WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Shayna Baszler. Among many topics, Baszler talked about the initial conversations she had with Vince McMahon when she was brought up to the main roster.
Baszler said, “You come in with this image that he’s this unhinged, crazy guy, but he’s always so nice and critiques me really well. He’s never been the way you imagined. You build up this monster in your mind so much. When I first started wrestling on RAW, he gave me 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 workrate is shown on PPVs, so don’t get so hellbent on weekly RAW TV, because that’s where we build the story for the workrate that you can do on a PPV. You have this thing. I don’t want you to do any (the word ‘Any” or whatever the word was, cut off or was inaudible, but I’m assuming it was the word, ‘Any’), pro wrestling. Got it.’
I have this match and it looks like I’m going off the map and beating someone up. He loved it. The next week I did it again and he loved it. The next week I had a match with Nattie. Nattie is way more experienced at this obviously. Nattie has trained with me in an MMA gym. I said, ‘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. I went in the back and he said, ‘It looks like you are just fighting each other.’ He makes us do it again. This was when we were doing the stuff at the PC and we were recording some episodes and doing some live. He has us do it again right away. I was flabbergasted. I was still new and didn’t know how stuff is.
Nattie said, ‘I got you. We’ll do this.’ We go and we do a match that she basically calls to me and it’s a normal match. We go in the back and he loves it. I’m so confused at this point. We did headlock, takeover, dropdown, leapfrog. I don’t understand. I go and I sit outside Vince’s office for a long time. It’s scary and you’re asking the guys outside if he’s in a good mood today. It’s nerve-racking. I go in there and I don’t even know what I wanted out of it. I think it was just to get it off my chest. I said, ‘I know I have what 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. You’ll never have to worry about me being in shape. If you want me to go out there and wrestle the same match a hundred 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.’
He’s like, ‘Can’t wait.’ I think it was finally when I started working with Sasha and Bayley where I think in the ring I stopped trying so hard to impress Vince and just started feeling comfortable in my stuff. It was finally where it started being like, that’s it, and going in the back and he said, ‘You’re getting it.’ So, it has been this big learning curve, but I think feeling that comfort in what I am and not necessarily, and this is leaving out a bunch of Randy Orton being like, ‘Don’t worry about the fans saying it’s boring.’ AJ Styles giving advice and all these guys giving advice, but it’s been a hard balance and it’s something I’m struggling with because I have this old school style, but also I can’t necessarily do it the way they did it back then because it’s wrestling today, so it’s still a juggling process.”
Baszler is the Women’s Tag Team Champion with Nia Jax so things seem to be working out for her on the Raw brand so far.
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit “Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette “ with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.