Thunder Rosa has steadily progressed to bigger stages in her wrestling career since making her debut in 2014. She worked the indies at first before moving onto Lucha Underground and Ring of Honor, and currently, Rosa competes for AEW and NWA.
She talked about the improvements she has made throughout her career when she joined Busted Open w/ Bully Ray.
"I think I've never been so driven as I am currently. I think the pandemic made me realize that if I want to stay on top, I have to live like a professional athlete," stated Rosa. "So that's what I do every day since I started fighting. Since I started fighting, my abilities in the ring have gone to the next level. When I'm just not talking about doing those cool lucha moves, I focus so much on psychology, and having good matches, and telling good stories with absolutely everybody I step in the ring with.
"So that's one of the things I focused on so much for the last 12 months, and even in the future. Now that I don't have the strap, I really want to show the reason why I was a champion is because I'm the best. I'm not saying this to boost myself. I know, at this moment, I can tell you I am one of the best female wrestlers in the world because I dedicated my life to pro wrestling. I dedicated my life to training, and I dedicated my life to my fans, and to entertain my business. So, I think that mentality I have now has helped me so much."
In today's age of pro wrestling, talents need to market themselves in order to raise their profiles. They can't just rely on their abilities in the ring, as Rosa realizes that what she does out of the ring can take her to the next level. She talked more about using social media to connect with fans and increase her exposure during the pandemic lockdown.
"Everybody was stuck at their house. If you didn't do your homework and didn't work on social media, you are not doing what you are supposed to. This is a reason why a lot of people started doing podcasts, YouTube, creating websites, OnlyFans, Patreon. You got to make some money, and for me, it was a blessing because I was able to connect with people in a way that probably I would have never been able to do it if I would have just kept wrestling and doing what I was doing," said Rosa.
"Also, let's not undermine the fact that I was able to do a pay-per-view for AEW [All Out] that really skyrocketed whatever I was working on, and honestly, it hasn't stopped in the last six months and a half. My social media numbers have grown tremendously. I'm getting between 15,000 - 20,000 per month, which is really good, and I'm going on overdrive because I want to focus on becoming not only a wrestler, but I want to be an entertainment figure. So, it gives me more value by the time I'm ready to step in the ring again or by the time I'm ready to move on to my next thing in the next couple of years."
Rosa has worked with Ivelisse both in Lucha Underground and SHINE before the two linked up again in AEW. While they've worked extensively with each other, there was reportedly a recent AEW match between the two in which parts of the match turned into a shoot. The two had a disagreement before the match and that spilled over into the match with each wrestler delivering legitimate strikes to the other.
Rosa was asked about her chemistry, or lack thereof, with Ivelisse, and how she deals with those she works with but doesn't necessarily get along with.
"I never had any issues with her - I'm just going to put it out there. Never had any issues with her. I worked with her at Lucha Underground, I worked with her at other promotions, and I thought the match was going well, and you guys saw what you saw," said Rosa. "We made it work. Nobody got hurt, and that, to me, is the most important part. I am not going to… Like [Bully] said, you got to make it work, and that's what I attempted to do. And even to the finish, I made sure my opponent was safe at all times, no matter what happened in between.
"My promise with anybody I step in the ring, regardless of our relationship inside or outside, is to keep my opponents safe. I'm not trying to kill you. This is not MMA. They're not paying me a bunch of money to try to kill you. This is a dance, and I try to have the best dance possible."
Rosa, Ivelisse, and Serena Deeb all appeared on AEW within weeks of each other, helping to bolster the AEW women's division. However, since Deeb and Ivelisse had WWE stints on their resumes, they got more attention than Rosa did. She discussed being partially overlooked when she made her AEW debut.
"That's okay. It's a business. I'm signed with NWA. I have another year with them, and when it's my time, it's going to be my time. When my time comes, I'm not going to come as just another person on the roster. Mark my words - I'm coming for everything. I'm coming to be on top just like I did this first time," said Rosa. "My debut is going to be bigger because I'm going to be a better wrester. I'm going to cut better promos. My body is going to look like chisel, and I'm going to have a better record on my MMA.
"So when I go out there, this is all I have to offer. What do you have to offer me? That's what I want when I go to a bigger company, I want them to want me. That's how it should be."
Speaking of having WWE on your resume, many wonder if that will one day be the case for Rosa. She's worked for multiple promotions in the past and is currently working for AEW and NWA, but she has given thought about working for WWE. However, she says that due to how they limit third-party ventures, she doesn't see herself going there anytime soon when asked which promotion would be most effective for her character.
"Because all of the projects I have on the side, it has to be a place where I'm still able to continue my work with what I'm working on. As you guys know, I run and I'm part-owner of Mission Pro Wrestling. It's an all-women show, and I'm not talking just in the ring. Everybody that runs this stuff is a woman, and there's so much that I'm working on with other projects that I have with this to make it bigger. So if I'm able to do it in NWA, then with NWA. If I'm able to do it with AEW, then AEW probably. But now, knowing what WWE is doing with things that we have on the side, it is going to very difficult for me to work on my personal projects," admitted Rosa.
"Sometimes those personal projects are the things that bring you the most joy in life, and I don't want that joy to be taken away from me for money. If that's what I have to sacrifice sometimes, then I would rather be happy than being a slave somewhere where I'm going to be there for I don't know how long."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.