Shayna Baszler has been smashing through stereotypes her entire career. First in amateur wrestling, then mixed martial arts and now the world of professional wrestling, Baszler has proven that she can thrive in what are traditionally male dominated environments.
In a new interview the Arabian Business, Baszler has revealed which wrestlers she looked up to and the double-standards that she has encountered throughout her career.
Shayna Baszler reflected on how much wrestling has changed since she was younger where women were usually valets or managers to where now they are a huge part of the show competing in the ring. The Queen of Spades went on to explain how Lita was the first female wrester than she really watched.
“Then as I did get older, Lita, I think a lot of girls would say, she was someone that to me was probably the first woman wrestler that I watched. Not only did she wrestle and do cool moves and wrestle with the guys, but she dressed really cool I thought.
She was still sexy but it wasn’t the stereotypical look of the girls. To a kid, I thought she was cool and she wrestles pretty awesome.”
The former NXT Women’s Champion detailed how it is “crazy” that young girls now look up to her as an inspiration and that she felt she had to prove herself competing in male dominated sports.
I definitely think there was some proving yourself. I think a lot of guys, especially on the wrestling mat or in martial arts gyms, for lack of a better term, wanted to ‘show you’ that you didn’t have it. So maybe they would go a little harder on you…
I think that I had to learn pretty quickly that I had to not complain at all. Even less than a regular male might complain. There’s a quote from a female fighter Amanda Buckner that really resonates with me as far as wrestling and everything. She said: “If someone watches a male fight, they’ll say ‘that guy is bad at fighting’, but if someone watches a female fight, they’ll say ‘see look, women are bad at fighting’.”
I think knowing that double standard, rather than trying to fight it, taking what you’re given and still proving your worth is not something that’s easy to do and I think a lot of women have had to do that.
If the guys go out and have a boring match, they’ll say, ‘wow, those guys are boring’, but if the girls go out and have a boring match, it’s ‘see, women’s wrestling is boring’.
I think knowing that you have this weight of representing everyone on your shoulders, I think realising that helps to represent that.”
Baszler, who is currently one half of the Women’s Tag Team Champions, also dived into the differences in the perception of MMA and WWE, commenting that people are more willing to watch wrestling because they see it as entertainment.
“Let’s take MMA where I came from. There will be a lot of people who will just turn off, they can’t watch women fight, it’s uncomfortable for them or whatever their preconceived notions might be about females fighting, they just can’t watch it and they won’t.
Even as progressive as women in mixed martial arts has been. But I think in a professional wrestling sense they can watch these, which are stories about fights. Where MMA is the fight, pro wrestling is the story about the fight.
I think people are more willing to watch women in professional wrestling because it’s not a fight per se, so they can watch it for its entertainment. Even getting them to watch can open doors and start changing their mind about things.
That’s something I remember Triple H talking to us about, it’s about just getting the door to crack open. Some people won’t even open the door to check it out, no matter how much you say to them. But if you can just crack the door open and let them get a peek, then they start seeing and they want to see more and they’ll open the door themselves.”
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax are set to defend their WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles against the team of Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair at WWE Fastlane.