After six years of applying her craft on the indies, Nyla Rose joined her first major promotion when she signed with AEW in 2019. Rose immediately went to the top of the women's division and challenged for the inaugural AEW Women's Championship just over a year ago.
"It's been a year now, and to have grown so much in that time, it genuinely makes me excited for the future. Where can we go? Because the sky's the limit; not for the performers, but for the promotion itself," said Rose.
Working on the indies can often mean a variable schedule, but things tend to get set in stone when you start working for a national promotion. Rose shared what the AEW tapings schedule is like with Dynamite and Dark.
"I like it - it's good. It's a few days away from home. We go down, we do our live shows on Wednesday, and then we get a few Darks in the can. AEW Dark is our second show on YouTube, for those who may not be familiar. It's a wonderful show. What I love about Dark is it feels important. So many times, companies will have a second show, and it's all they look at it as - a second show. With Dark, it feels important," said Rose.
"There are things that happen on there that if you're not watching, you're going to miss out on, and unfortunately, a lot of people don't have this broader vision of, 'Why can you put that on Dynamite? Why are you doing this there?' Well, because it's a show, and we believe in the show and it's just as important as Dynamite. You may not believe this, but we want you to watch both, so that's why we're doing things on both shows.
"So, hopefully, a few of those people, those internet trolls, will pull their head from where the sun don't shine and actually tune in."
As with most sporting events in the country, AEW is holding shows without large amounts of fans. But AEW was the first wrestling promotion to use its talent as its "live crowd" and have them surround the ring. Rose talked about performing in front of her peers, and why having at least some people in the crowd is so beneficial.
"Oh, it was wild. On some level, I like to think we all are the type that feeds off of energy because when you perform live, there's really nothing like it. I've done movies, I've done theater, I've done pro wrestling, and in the movies, when you're working against the camera, yeah, you have the crew there and you get a little bit of feedback. But having that live audience – when they feed off of your energy, you feed off of theirs," stated Rose. "It's cyclical. It's exactly the same way in pro wrestling but it's turned up even more, because in the theater, you got to be quiet. You enjoy the show and the audience plays their part just observing.
"With wrestling, it's a little bit of a hybrid. They're encouraged to be part of the show in that regard of yelling out and giving back a little bit. So when this all started, having no audience, you're kind of out there waiting to receive something, and you get nothing. So, it's way different. But yeah, having a few of the boys in the back, the girls, having a few of them out there kind of was a huge dynamic shift. It gave a little bit -- you start to feel that charge, you start to feel that electricity. So, that was a very welcome change."
While AEW generally has a younger talent base than WWE has, there are still some veterans and coaches on the roster that made their marks on the industry while Rose was growing up. She talked about still feeling starstruck at times when getting to work with people she admired as a kid.
"I still deal with it! I'm playing it cool right now, but I'm starstruck right now" admitted Rose. "Holy crap, Ryback is talking to me! He wants me on his podcast! It's definitely, like you said, it's really unbelievable. People that I admired, people that I looked up to in one way or another [are reaching out].
"When I get backstage and Jericho's like, 'Hey Nyla, what up!?' and I'm like, 'Oh my God! Jericho's talking to me!' It's such an unbelievable thing, and then the fact that they want to pass this knowledge. They want me to be the best me. They're not just there and collecting a paycheck and looking out for themselves, everybody wants the best out of everybody.
"You got Dustin [Rhodes] in there. He's taken everyone under his wing. He's really trying to push us, and help us grow, and help us learn. Vickie [Guerrero] backstage, dropping her knowledge where it's applicable. There's just so much knowledge – a literal wealth of knowledge. Dean Malenko, he's a quiet ghost in the wind, but he… aw man, I love that man! He's so busy. He has so much on his plate, but he's someone I try to look for after a match and just kind of –- or maybe even before my brain is even thinking about it –- but I try to get a little bit of his input and insight. But there's so much knowledge backstage, and whoever has the privilege of getting signed or just even come in to be a guest in our house, don't waste that opportunity, please."
Rose mentioned Vickie Guerrero, and the two of them are now aligned, with Guerrero serving as Rose's manager. Rose talked about what Guerrero brings to their pairing and how the seeds were first planted for them to work together.
"Oh, like you [Ryback] said, energy. She's a natural attraction. I met her on the Chris Jericho Cruise and she had approached us about doing her podcast on the Jericho Cruise, and I was like, 'Oh, absolutely!' And I was a little starstruck at the moment, but we just got together backstage, got to talking about things, and she said, 'I'd love to work with you sometime,'" recalled Rose. "And I said, 'Hey, that's all I need to hear,' and I just had an idea. I went to the powers that be. I said, 'Can we get Vickie in here? I need her. I need her guidance. I need her with me.' And I don't think anything was going to come of it. It was silence for a while, but then, I got the okay and gave Vickie a call. 'Hey Vickie, we're going with it. Let's do this.'
"So, now we're just backstage looking at every possible angle like, 'Where can we do this? What can we do with this?' and we got a lot of good ideas."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Ryback Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.