As a guest on the latest episode of WWE After the Bell, Nikki A.S.H discussed her new superhero character and her excitement over winning the RAW Women’s Championship. The 32-year-old mentioned how her current superhero persona is the best run of her career and noted the differences compared to her runs with SANITY and teaming with Alexa Bliss as Women’s Tag Team Champions.

“Just a lot of pride,” Nikki said. “For me, when I think about my time with SANITY, that was some of the most fun I have had in my career because I was actually working with my best friend and my husband and I learned a lot. It was so much fun playing that chaotic, unpredictable character and then I loved working with Alexa. When I went to RAW, I was the outsider and I didn’t fit in and we kind of had to evolve and change from the NXT Nikki to make it for the Monday Night RAW audiences. That was a change of pace and then working in a tag team [with Alexa Bliss], I had always been a singles competitor on the indies and then I was a valet and then part of a stable and then I had never been in a tag team before so I got to really explore that.

“Being on my own as Nikki A.S.H, as the RAW Women’s Champion, it’s an incredible feeling and that’s not to say I didn’t have some of the best times of my career with SANITY and with Alexa, but there’s this awesome feeling of I did this. An incredible amount of validation and this feeling of this is my time. It’s such an awesome feeling and that’s not to discount anything I did before because all of those experiences made this what it is, I needed to go through all of those experiences. It’s like pieces of a puzzle. To be here on my own is like [bleep] yeah.”

After becoming the RAW Women’s Champion on the night after she won the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase, Nikki spoke about the reaction she received backstage from those in the locker room. Members of the wrestling world reacted to the shocking cash-in including Andrade El Idolo and Alexa Bliss.

“One side is like oh man, it’s a little overwhelming because you’re like, ‘is this all for me?’” Nikki said. “There’s another part where I kind of feel like I did something right. I’m not perfect by any means but I’ve always tried to treat people well and obviously you make mistakes, you grow up in this industry. There’s times that you mess up and your ego gets the better of you and you’re humbled but I always tried to treat people well because I know what it’s like to treat people badly.

“Getting all these messages it was like every person I worked with and every person I had shared a locker room with reached out and I was like man, I guess I did something right with my life that people wanted to reach out and it’s kind of like alright I did good, okay. Coming back and seeing all the women in the locker room, it’s like okay, I don’t know what I expected, I expected a couple people there but I didn’t expect the full locker room to be there. It was incredible.”

Nikki also spoke about how important this change of character was towards her career in WWE. The 32-year-old mentioned that without the transformation of “Nikki A.S.H” her time in WWE could have come to an end.

“Yeah, it really felt like alright this is it, this is the hail mary as you say,” Nikki said. “It’s so weird nobody has asked me that. I think it was and it was that hail mary moment, there needed to be a change and that was really apparent to me. That was really apparent to me right around the Royal Rumble, we told this fun story on social media and on digital about me qualifying for the match and we made a story out of that. Right around the Royal Rumble it was so clear and so apparent that there needed to be a change and that was it. I spent hours and hours researching this idea and getting this pitch right and I commissioned this artist to draw up what Nikki A.S.H would be as a cartoon character.

“You take it to the boss and it’s like you’re nervous but you’re also confident and I believed in this idea so much that you’re just like alright, let’s do it. You have to put your nerves aside and push down the butterflies. At the end of the day, I believed in the pitch on a personal level, I believed in it from a business sense, this is good business, this is a good idea. I also believed that in the heart of it it’s very pure and wholesome, something that I really wanted to portray, I wanted to portray something fun and joyful. It makes me happy and I want to try and make others and also for business I knew it was a great idea. It was just about swallowing the nerves and just going in and doing it. It did feel like a hail mary, that’s a good way of describing it.”

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.