The 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair was a special guest on this week’s episode of WWE After the Bell where she shared her story about coming from the WWE Performance Centre to main event WrestleMania. The EST of WWE will face Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 37 on Night One this Saturday for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Belair detailed her first match at the PC, saying she had no idea what to do when wrestling and during her entrance.
“It was the most nerve racking thing,” Belair said. “I remember waking up the morning I had a PC live show and being so nervous. The car ride to the PC I wouldn’t talk, I felt like I was going to throw up because I don’t know anything and I’m trying to prove myself in front of my peers and the coaches. It’s very nerve racking and trying to learn everything and prove that you should be there and deserve to be there. I remember in my very first PC live show coming out for an entrance and I had no idea what to do.”
Belair made her television debut for NXT in 2017, but wasn’t called up to the main roster until 2020 where she spent most of her time called up on the sidelines. It wasn’t until Bianca was moved to SmackDown in October of last year that she got her big break and took her momentum all the way to becoming the winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble. Belair spoke about the journey, saying there were times she was frustrated but always knew her moment would come eventually.
“For me, I would say always try to figure out what your why is,” Belair said. “For me, a lot of it is being a role model, representation, look at the bigger picture. When I was in NXT, I was going after the NXT Women’s Championship and it never happened, I would constantly check in on my perspective. I was there during the Shayna [Baszler] reign, and that was Shayna’s time but to me at the same time, I was a part of it. I was a part of pushing it forward and pushing it to the next storyline.
“Even when I got to RAW and I was backstage, I wasn’t doing much, I would have people come up to me and say ‘It’s okay, aren’t you upset, aren’t you frustrated?’, and I was just like ‘Look, what’s for me will be for me and I would rather them put me out there when they have something for me than for them to just kind of shuffle me.’ My perspective was more of, it will all come together and I’m a firm believer in being able to clap for people even when it’s not your turn because when it’s your turn, you’re going to want people to clap for you. It’s just focusing on the things you can control like you’re going to drive yourself crazy focusing on some things you just cannot control.”
Although Belair was involved in multiple NXT Women’s Championship matches against the likes of Rhea Ripley and Shayna Baszler, Belair never won the title in her run in NXT. Hoping to win her first championship in WWE this coming Saturday, Belair said she’s ready for the moment and wants to create history in a dream match she’s always wanted against Sasha Banks.
“Being at WrestleMania, you have to prepare,” Belair said. “Especially with it being a historic match with Sasha Banks which has been a dream match of mine. When I got to NXT, I remember thinking about the Four Horsewomen saying they were in this same position as me, they had a locker in this locker room and now there on RAW and SmackDown and WrestleMania doing big things. I remember thinking if I can have a match with them one day, that’s when I know I’m there.
“It seemed so far away, it just seemed like a thought. For me it’s just trying to wrap my mind around how big this moment is and I honestly just want to lay it all out there. There’s so many other women that came before me and black women in this business that came before me, I have this feeling of I’m this person in this position that’s able to create this history, but it could’ve been them, sometimes I think, should it have been them? That’s in my mind, it’s not just about the SmackDown Women’s Championship. You can’t even put into words how big this moment is.”
Coming from a 3-year journey in NXT to getting to the main roster and being used sporadically, its safe to say Bianca is someone who’s made the most of her opportunities and is looking to break through this Saturday. Belair said she hopes to be a role model to the women who are currently in NXT and want to aspire to get to the main roster, saying she took inspiration from the original Four Horsewomen of NXT and hopes the new generation take inspiration from her.
“My message to them would be to keep starting over everyday and no matter how far away it seems, it’s possible and if you stick at it, it’s going to happen,” Belair said. “I was in that same position where I felt like it was so far away. It will happen, it will. The inspiration that the Four Horsewomen were for me and think that I’m an inspiration for other women that are coming behind me is an amazing feeling.
“I feel so excited about the fact that even Rhea Ripley is having a match at WrestleMania. We were the last two in the Royal Rumble and I feel like that was so exciting because we’re a little bit at the forefront of a new little generation of women that are coming through. We were all in NXT together and were the first two to come up to RAW and SmackDown and it’s cool to be at the forefront of this new generation and showcase what there is in the future. The future is now, knowing that there’s another group of women in NXT that are amazing, I just want people to be excited to know that there’s more women behind us that are going to come up and steal the show. I just want to be an inspiration for those women the same way Sasha and Charlotte and Becky and Bayley were an inspiration for me.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.