Alexa Bliss is a true product of the WWE Performance Center after coming in from cheerleading and bodybuilding as a lifelong WWE fan with no previous professional wrestling experience. Her previous athletic training helped her physically, but the emotional aspect of her long-time fandom proved to be just as much of a useful asset.
Bliss recently spoke to Not Sam Wrestling about the morning of 2016's TLC event when she was informed that she would be defeating Becky Lynch in a Tables Match to become the second SmackDown Women's Champion.
"I was like, 'oh my gosh,' I'm gonna be a champion, mind you I only found out a couple minutes before, like literally earlier that day," Bliss replied. "I had to fly my parents in last-minute because it was earlier in the day and I was like, 'y'all need to catch a flight... I'm not gonna tell you why.'
"So my parents were there, you know it was TLC against Becky Lynch, my first title. I was very excited because I had never won a title before, I had never won a match before. It was TLC you know what I mean, and my mother was a nervous wreck and she was like, 'Are you gonna go through a table?' I was like, 'maybe.'
"Later that Christmas -- sidenote -- she got me the ornaments of TLC, the little tables ladders, and chairs and then she gave me a Becky ornament and her reasoning: 'Oh because you faced Becky at TLC!' And I was like, 'you know I have an ornament?' But yeah, I got a Becky ornament that Christmas."
Bliss is a life-long fan of professional wrestling and understands WWE crowds and their tendencies. The extensive training provided by the WWE Performance Center also helped give her the skills needed to handle a sometimes unpredictable WWE fan base. Bliss said she sometimes gives WWE writers a tip when she notices a chance for diehard fans to bombard a segment with "what" chants. She also addressed the infamous "Bayley: This Is Your Life" segment and how her experience was incredibly valuable while actors brought into an unfamiliar situation crumbled under the pressure.
"There have actually been times when I'm reading over what I'm gonna say and I say, 'we need to change this because that opens it up for 'what's' -- like that has come out of my mouth before. Multiple times being like, 'nope, I can't -- this needs to continue this way because people are gonna say 'what' and I have to be a smartass and say something back' -- it's true.
"You have to take control of the crowd because there have been times when they have scared people. The 'Bayley: This Is Your Life' segment -- the girl who was Bayley's best friend, the crowd was yelling at her. They were like: 'boring, what?' She had this fear on her face and I felt so bad for this girl because they were just like chanting at her and she didn't know what to do, you know what I mean? There was no hiding it. She kept looking down and kept looking at me like, 'what do I do?' I just say [under her breath] 'It's okay, just keep going. Don't stop.' It's crazy to see just how trained our athletes are, our athletes are trained to take control of that."
"These actors that came in, they just didn't know what to do but it just shows that our training at the Performance Center and in promo classes you know having Dusty [Rhodes] there and everyone helping us take control of any situation and having us think on our feet it shows that what we do takes a skill. Being able to adapt and talk to the crowd during the promos and let them in on it. I love letting the crowd in on what I'm saying."
Bliss said it's a huge "pat on the back" when she is able to turn a crowd over to her side. Her logic is "if you're not gonna let me do it myself, then you're gonna do it with me," when she's dealing with a crowd who won't let her tell the story she's been given.
The five-time WWE Women's Champion spent a lot of time with Triple H while in NXT and now she has a different boss on the main roster in Vince McMahon. The Five Feet Of Fury discussed how she handled this transition in leadership and how she is always open to learn and accept new ideas from someone like McMahon who possesses such a wealth of knowledge.
"I always for feedback on promos and matches and things like that, I'm not trying to 'win over' I'm trying to,, learn," Bliss said. "You know learn from them because obviously they know what they're doing.
"When you can get the information directly from the people who know it makes your working relationship that much better. That's why I always try to go for advice because you never stop learning. It doesn't matter how much time you do in NXT, you never stop learning."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Not Sam Wrestling with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription