WWE RAW star Bianca Belair recently sat down with Charlotte Wilder of FOX Sports to talk about her WWE journey and where she sees her career going. Belair talked about her athletic career before joining WWE.
"For me, I think I have a different journey that most or some of the talent with WWE right now," Belair expressed. "I didn't have any wrestling experience at all when I first came in. I also didn't grow up watching wrestling a whole lot. My older brother watched it some, so I got glimpses of it here and there.
"So starting out, in my background, I ran track most of my life. I got into gymnastics and power tumbling when I was seven, and then I was a hurdler throughout college. After college, I got into CrossFit because I missed that whole competitive edge and environment."
Belair then transitioned to WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry discovering her through her CrossFit videos. Belair has said before that Henry changed her life, and she reveals that she had already been thinking about a WWE career before getting a message from Henry.
"Mark Henry actually saw one of my videos," Belair revealed. "He contacted me on Instagram, and I thought it was fake at first, but he contacted me on Instagram and asked, 'have you ever thought about being in WWE? I think you have everything it takes. You have the look, you have the athleticism [and] you know how to talk on the mic.' It's crazy because at that same time, I was actually telling my mom I think I want to try WWE out.
"At that time, it was more on a superficial level. I think Total Divas was on TV, and I was starting to see another side of sports entertainment as far as women. It kind of just caught my eye. I was like, 'I think I want to be a wrestler.' Mark Henry, once he contact me, it was what pushed me. He opened the door for me. He told me, 'you have what it takes for the right reasons to do this.' That's what made me believe in myself."
Belair talked about how surreal the experience was. She said that Henry told her that she would have to do the hard work, and she says she has been playing catch up since entering the Performance Center.
"I was like this is either too good to be true or everything's falling into place," Belair stated. "He told me, 'I can get you a tryout, but that's the all I can do for you. I can't get you hired. I can't help you or make you successful in the business. It's all on you,' and I kind of went full force into it. Ever since I stepped foot into the Performance Center, I've just been playing catch up and have just been focusing on honing my craft and being the best at what I do."
Belair revealed the WWE talent that have helped her when she started out in WWE. She said that Nia Jax "took me under her wing" believing in Belair's potential. She also credited Ember Moon for helping her out in the ring.
"First, my coach at the Performance Center Sara Amato, she's taught me everything," Belair said. "When I first got into the Performance Center, Nia Jax, she was the one that actually took me under her wing. She didn't hold my hand throughout the process. She let me know, 'I see something in you. You have it. Just make sure you're this, this and this.' Ember Moon, whenever we got in the ring together, we did a lot of live events, I learned so much from being in the ring with Ember. She's so talent. She's a veteran. She has so much experience. I learned a lot of psychology from her. I learned how to listen to the crowd from her.
"Billie and Peyton were at the Performance Center when I was there for a while. I learned a whole lot from them. In NXT, those were the main girls that I learned a lot from their experience. Alexa Bliss, in the Royal Rumble, being in the ring with her, I learned a lot from her."
Belair talked about the mixed emotions on making her WrestleMania and RAW debut but without a live crowd. She talked about the anticipation for the two events and making the best of those without a live crowd.
"It's been challenging. I can't lie and say it's fine," Belair admitted. "The fans play a major role in what we do. We do it for the fans. I actually debuted at WrestleMania with no crowd. I debuted on RAW with no crowd. When I found out I was debuting at RAW after WrestleMania, it was something that I was really looking forward to because you can't ask for a better debut than to debut at RAW the day after WrestleMania.
"That's the biggest debut you could possibly have, either at WrestleMania or the day after. That's what I was going to be getting, and it was this huge build-up. Then, it was like, OK, now it's not gonna be in front of thousands of people. Not only that, it's not gonna be front of anybody. It was very challenging, but you just have to make the best of what it is, and you really have to rely on your talent and try to tell that story to convey it to the TV screen and not just to the fans in the crowd."
Belair spoke more on the challenges of working without a live crowd. She teased that WWE will be going all out once live crowds return.
"It makes out job a little more challenging, but I will say, after all of this is set and done, we have learned so much, and I feel like it has made us so much better performers," Belair stated. "Once the audience gets in there, we're gonna be so grateful for them, and it's going to be some crazy shows that are gonna happen once we get the audience back."
Wilder asked Belair about her future goals in WWE. Belair reiterated that she didn't grow up watching wrestling. She talked about her dream to be an accomplished gymnast or hurdler like Dominique Dawes and Dail Devers.
"I didn't grow up watching wrestling," Belair admitted. "I think a lot of people come into wrestling saying, 'I want to be the champion, and I want to do this. This has been my dream my whole entire life,' but this hasn't been my dream my whole entire life. When I was younger, I wanted to be Dominique Dawes. When I was younger, I wanted to be Gail Devers, one of the best hurdlers in the world.
"So now coming into WWE, it's so new, and my life has completely turned around. I'm doing something that I've never thought of before, and now, I can't see doing anything other than this. It's so hard for me to put a stamp on exactly what I want to do."
"I'm still going on the ride like OK, what's next? What's next? What's next? I love the moments," Belair said. "I love having moments. Of course, I want to be champion across RAW and SmackDown. I know I'm RAW right now, but before the end of my career, I want to be NXT Women's Champion because I worked so hard on NXT.
"That was my home. That's where I started. I sacrificed more than people know. That was what I was going for. That's what I want. So before whatever my career is 10 years from now, I want to be NXT Women's Champion one day. That's what's here (Belair points to be heart)."
Belair talked more about loving moments referencing the big moments she's had so far in her career. She said she hopes that she can share those moments to her children and grandchildren in the future.
"I love moments," Belair remarked. "I was in the first WWE women's War Games match. I just got to be in the Royal Rumble. I was in WrestleMania. I just look forward to all the moments I can have in my career that I get to share with the women in the locker room. I got to share WrestleMania with my husband.
"I'm just in it for the moments. I'm in it for the experience. When I have kids and grandkids, I can show them videos of these amazing moments that we have and that we can share."
Belair also spoke on the platform that she has and using it to be a role model. She also talked about her ambitions in WWE and wanting to create a legacy.
"Honestly, as cliche as it sounds, I don't want to be selfish and say I want to be the champion," Belair expressed. "Of course, I want to be the champion. I want to be the best. I want to be a future Hall of Famer, all of the things that of course come with this. If you don't want those things, why are you doing this?
"I see the bigger picture here. I don't want to do this just for a paycheck and have accolades. I want to have a purpose. I want to have an influence. I want to have an impact for my community. Just to be a positive role model for everyone out there. Just having an impact and create a legacy. My name's gonna go down in the history books just because I'm in this company, and I'm gonna be able to create a legacy starting here."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit FOX Sports with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.