Zelina Vega made her SmackDown debut in May, but she has been associated with the WWE for a number of years. She worked a try-out match for the company in 2013 and then appeared as a Rosebud the next couple of years.
Vega was also cast in the upcoming movie based on Paige's life, which is executive produced by The Rock, so the WWE always had their eyes on her. Once the movie wrapped in early 2017 Vega finally got the call she was looking for when WWE contacted her about training at the Performance Center full-time.
"It was a couple of weeks after the movie had finished filming that William Regal had called and told me that they were going to bring me into the Performance Center," Vega told Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia. "He said that we have this idea so we will give it a shot and we'll see if it works, if it does awesome, if it doesn't we tried.
Vega was immediately put into a storyline involving Andrade 'Cien' Almas who had signed a developmental contract with WWE in 2015. While she worked on improving her wrestling skills, Almas worked on his English language skills and the two formed a sibling-like bond.
"Once I got there Andrade 'Cien' Almas and I just clicked," Vega stated. "I feel like now - it's funny because people are like, oh my God, they are together - he is like my brother. We fight like brother and sister it is so funny. Even with the Tranquilo pose, he had done it for years and I was like, 'what if I had done it under you?' He was like, 'no, it's not going to happen. We are not going to do it like that.' I was like, 'no, trust me, it's going to be good. Just trust me.' He was like, 'okay fine. In Japan we will do it.' We had done it in Japan and it got a huge reaction.
"The following week Road Dogg had told us, 'hey, that was a great match, let's try that double Tranquilo thing that you guys do,' and I looked at him with the biggest smile. So, that was how that whole double Tranquilo pose happened. We now see people in China doing it, but not only in the United States but all over different countries. I can't believe how global it has become. It took a few weeks for them to call me and tell me that they wanted to give this a try. Some people want to think that it had to do with the movie, I think that it just encourages them. I think it was more about them never seeing me in this sort of light."
The Double Tranquilo Pose has become one of the hallmarks of the Vega-Almas pairing. The duo defeated Rusev and Lana at SummerSlam.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.