Raquel Gonzalez is reaching new heights in her career at NXT after four years of honing her skills at the WWE Performance Center. The last few weeks alone has seen her participate in some extremely physical matches. She tries to keep a good regimen to stay healthy and in ring shape. Supporters including Braun Strowman have applauded her work ethic.
"Something I've been keeping with since June and has made me very good coming into these matches and coming out of them. That is sticking to a strict lifting schedule," she said. "Sticking to a very strict diet. Something that is keeping my energy up, but is not making me feel like I'm lagging. Eating a lot of clean foods, hydrating regularly so that I'm not cramping up. I love to eat pickles because pickles are good for the cramps and are salty electrolytes, which can help after a match.
"I'm also regularly going to a recovery room, even here at the PC and rolling out, stretching, getting into an infrared sauna. Going in having someone help me stretch and do these massages because it's so physical on the body. Things are going to hurt, but that is part of it. That's okay. It's about stretching it out and moving on to the next thing. I'm so lucky my apartment has a jacuzzi because the jacuzzi has really been helping me out too."
The second generation pro wrestling is grateful to be working with the well respected coaches at the Performance Center. They've helped to refine a persona and offense that is effective.. For Gonzalez, finding the balance between showing athleticism but spotlighting her impressive size is a key to success.
"As a taller, bigger woman, I one hundred percent know I'm athletic and can do things that the other girls can do," she said. "But at the end of the day I don't need to do [certain moves] because showing my athleticism I can show that by catching Ember Moon with a top rope Eclipse. I can do that by catching Rhea Ripley off the ring apron from a cannon ball and picking her backup and still running her in a barricade [for example]
"...Athleticism can be many things because in this world there are so many dynamics. An athlete is someone who goes out there, does their very best, works hard and sows the dynamic they bring to the performance. I think I'm doing it with my size, my ability. It has been something I've struggled with in the past just because i am so unique. Of course, as a woman growing up different it doesn't do anything for confidence. Being in here at NXT and embracing that and owning that and looking to people like Beth Phoenix and Nia Jax, I know that my style is unique and I bring a different type of athleticism to the NXT women's roster."
Gonzalez recalls receiving a key piece of advice from Phoenix during the Mae Young Classic. It was those words from the Hall of Famer that stuck.
"She was here speaking to all of us. She was telling us to always go out there and own it and be who we are," she said. "She always gave me positive words of affirmation of when it came to my lifting and me changing my body and becoming something else. To know she sees that in me with the little time she has seen me really helped me build my confidence and boost how I feel about myself.
"Hearing her story too and what she was going through wrestling for Raw and SmackDown. It really resonates with me and makes me feel good to know someone has been through that and has made it. That reassures me that I too can make it to that point and that level Beth Phoenix reached."
Gonzalez is looking to make 2021 a big year for not only herself but NXT as well. She hopes to see the brand travel a bit more and bring new viewers to the product.
"We're competing on Wednesday nights, but we are also getting a lot of views. We're getting good views, but I think we just need to open more eyes," she said. "More people need to see what NXT is about. We have to get the word out. It's up to us as the superstars to get that word out to not just in the U.S.A. but other countries. It's something I look forward to helping NXT do. To get us to the next level.
"For myself, in the new year I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself because this year for my career has been shooting up, up, up. I don't want to stay stagnant. I want to keep evolving. I want to keep changing, learning and growing. I'm telling myself in the new year I'm keeping an open mind to the person Raquel Gonzalez is and what she can do in the ring whether it's the NXT ring or any other ring I get the opportunity to step into."
Raquel's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.