Since her arrival on NXT last year, Shotzi Blackheart has taken the NXT universe by storm with her quick and daring offense. Raised loving the punk rock culture, Blackheart has gone above and beyond fan's expectations of what women's wrestling can evolve into. Blackheart didn't find the drive to become a pro wrestler until the age of 20, but she has quickly become a fan favorite in North America. Growing up, her passion was mainly for musical theater and the band she was in, Hot Flesh. In her interview with Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory, Blackheart recalls the first time seeing The Wyatt Family and how that sparked her interest to pursue a career in this business.
"Well, I was never a huge fan of wrestling," Blackheart admitted. "Like, my brother was super into it and I would watch it when he did, or like, play the video games with him. But after leaving L.A. and moving back home, me and my sister were watching Monday Night RAW one day, and my sister was like, 'Man, I want to be a valet for these guys.' And I think it was The Wyatt Family on TV, and I was like, 'Girl, we should be a tag team.' And she was down for it, but I was the only one who pursued it."
Just one year after training, Blackheart landed the role of a lifetime when she made the top-13 on the sixth and final season of Tough Enough. Unfortunately, due to an underlying heart murmur, she was taken out of the competition. Blackheart recalls what a horrifying moment that was for her.
"So I think a year into my training, I got onto Tough Enough and I made it into the house; I was, like, the top 13," she recalls. "And they told me that I couldn't do it because they found that I had a heart condition, so I had to leave the show. I was devastated and really scared because I didn't know I had anything wrong with me whatsoever."
After getting medically cleared, WWE gave her a second tryout with them. Due to not having anything special for her, WWE let her go. In response to that rejection, she decided to take her business elsewhere by promoting her wild style across the globe through numerous indie promotions. Her rise to fame in those companies landed her official contract with WWE in 2019.
"So after I did the two-day heart holter, I sent those tests back to WWE and they said that I could come back for another tryout. So I set one up maybe four months later. I came back, but by then [they said], 'There's nothing for you right now.' And then, at that point, I was kind of over it, like, not over my dream, but over chasing WWE," she clarified before continuing on about her journey. "I was like, I'm going to leave and I'm going to go to the indies, and I'm going to make so much noise that they're going to hit me up the next time they talk to me. And that's exactly what happened."
Just last year, Blackheart made her first appearance in the Women's Royal Rumble at No. 26. To her surprise, she wasn't informed about her debut until the day before the big event.
"It was really unbelievable," she exclaimed. "They told me the day before; they were like, 'Hey, we need you to go to Texas. You're going to be a stand-in for the Rumble.' I was at the rehearsals for the Rumble still not knowing I was in it, and then they got to my number, and they were like, 'Okay, Shotzi Blackheart, you're going to come out at this number.' I was like, 'Wait, I thought I was just here as a stand-in.'
"So I found out the night before and I didn't even get to process. I was like, 'I don't have any cool Rumble gear. I was like, 'wait, there was this outfit I wore two months ago in a hardcore match that still has some droplets of blood from my opponent on it, and now, I'm wrestling in front of 60,000 people at the Royal Rumble in the same gear.' I took a second to look around and go, 'Wow, there's a lot of people here!'"
Those who have followed Blackheart's career over the years can attest that her love for horror films shows through her gimmick. Just last month, she was offered her dream job by becoming the host for NXT's homage to Halloween Havoc. She mentions that she was quite bummed when the writers of NXT informed her she wasn't going to wrestle, but was relieved when they told her she was going to host it instead.
"The writers called me and they were like, 'Hey, just so you know, we're doing Halloween Havoc.' And I was like, 'Sick! That's one of my favorite pay-per-views,'" she began. "I talked about what I would probably wrestle in and they told me that I wasn't going to wrestle, but instead, they wanted me to host it. I was like, 'Woah, what?!' They kept saying that I was the perfect fit for it. I was like, 'Yeah, I agree. I just didn't think y'all knew.'"
You can watch Shotzi Blackheart's full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Lilian Garcia -Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.