Bianca Belair has taken SmackDown by storm this year, from winning the Royal Rumble to main-eventing WrestleMania, the EST has shown that she’s more than ready to be the face of the blue brand – but how did the the EST come to be?
Speaking with Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy ahead of WWE Glasgow, Belair opened up about the origins of her character – and how AEW’s Mark Henry deserves the credit for the catchy nickname and her husband, Montez Ford, for the look.
“It actually just kind of happened. No-one really pitched it. I remember being in NXT and Mark Henry came down to the Performance Center and I was very new and he asked me, You know, ‘What do you want to be? What do you want people to think about when they see you?’ And I kind of didn’t really understand it at first. But, you know, he was like, ‘You want to be able to have something that’s very simple, simplified, you can easily understand. And when people look at you, you don’t have to open your mouth or say anything, they already know what you’re about.’ So that’s kind of where I came up with the braid and my husband encouraged the signature look. Like, ‘No, go with the braid. Because even if people come to the show for the first time, they might not remember your name the first time, but they always remember the girl with the ponytail, the braid.’ So that’s, you know, that stuck with me.”
Belair went on to recount the story of how the name fell into place due to the name “NXT.”
“And then I was in NXT, see, and I was, you know, cutting promos about how I’m strong, but I’m also fast. I’m also tough. I’m kind of all-around the strongest, I’m the fastest and I’m the roughest and the toughest and the quickest, just all around athlete. And then the “est” was kind of at the end of it. So I was like, ‘EST rhymes with NXT. I’m the EST of NXT.’ It all just was a perfect fit. It all just fell into place like everything has in my journey. So kind of just came about and it was the first thing that I started doing and it stuck. And it’s kind of what I’ve just been riding with from the beginning.”