Shayna Baszler says Vince McMahon might seem like an imposing figure but he’s actually not the monster that everyone builds him up to be.
Baszler was this week’s guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and talked about her relationship with McMahon and how he helped her find her way on RAW. Baszler called the experience “nerve-wracking” at first, noting that people want to paint him as this unstable guy but he’s been quite the opposite in her interactions.
“You come with this image that he’s this unhinged, crazy guy but he’s always so nice and critiques me really well,” Baszler explained. “He’s never been the way you imagine that you build up this monster in your mind so much.”
Renee joked about the perception of McMahon and noted that she had the same thoughts about ‘this is the time he’ll go off on me’, but Baszler went on to explain how he laid out his vision for her on RAW.
“When I first started wrestling on Raw, he gave a talk that was like, ‘Look, you have something different to offer, you have a unique look. The thing you have to start learning now that you’re on Raw, is that your work rate is shown on pay-per-views and at NXT, so don’t get so hellbent on weekly Raw TV, because that’s where we build the story for the work rate that you can do on a pay-per-view.’ So he’s like, ‘You’ve got this thing. I don’t want you to do any pro wrestling. Got it?’ Okay, got it.”
Baszler went on to explain that she had a run of matches where it just looked like she was beating people up, and she ended up working a shoot-style match with Natalya that he hated. Despite working it out with Natalya beforehand, Baszler said she went to the back after the match and Vince told her it looked like they were ‘just fighting each other’. She said she was confused with the situation, but they did another match where Nattie led her and Vince ended up loving it.
“So I go and I sit outside Vince’s office for a long time. Yeah, it’s scary. You know you’re asking the guys outside ‘Is he in a good mood today?’ I don’t want to—I don’t know, it’s nerve-wracking. He’s the boss and anytime you go to the principal’s office, it’s scary, right. So, I go in there and I don’t even know what I wanted out of it. I think it was just to get it off of my chest, but I was like, ‘Man, listen—I know I have something that no one else has. I know I can bring a certain legitimacy to this, that no other female has. I don’t know how to figure it out week to week yet. Just give me a chance. And I was like, ‘You’ll never have to worry about me being in shape. If you want me to go out there and wrestle the same match 100 times, I’ll do it. I’ll figure it out. Just give me time. I’m just letting you know I’m aware I don’t have it, just give me time. I’ll make you money.’ And he was like, ‘Can’t wait.’”
Baszler says she finally understood things and stopped trying to impress Vince around the time she started working with Sasha Banks and Bayley. She said he did tell her she’s finally getting it and she referred to the whole experience as a giant learning curve. Baszler said other Superstars like Randy Orton and AJ Styles have also given her advice, but it’s been a struggle to balance it all considering her background and how wrestling has changed.
“I have this old school style, but also, I can’t necessarily do it the way they did it back then,” Baszler said, “because it’s wrestling today so it’s been this — it’s still a juggling process, you know?”
Baszler also spoke about Ronda Rousey’s absence, with Paquette noting that Shayna versus Ronda is a match that needs to happen at some point. Baszler called back to their days in mixed martial arts and explained how she went through some trying times in her personal life, noting that she was dealing with a broken ankle and a broken heart. She said Ronda is the one that got her back on her feet and at the time, Baszler promised Rousey the “fight she deserved” as a thank you, but she’s starting to that might have meant a wrestling match now.
“Ronda and I have talked about this—after the Ultimate Fighter, I was at a stage in my life where the world fell apart. I went through this stupid breakup and I broke my ankle, all this stuff. So, Ronda had flown me out to California to be like [motivational], ‘You need to get out here the water is healing. Let’s go.’ And I went out there and she really helped me. And I remember we were sitting around it was like, I can’t remember what the reason was, but we were celebrating something. I can’t really remember what it is, but is this big like Armenian meal,” Baszler said, “and these guys like bring out all these platters and we’re drinking and making toasts. And so I remember toasting like “Ronda, I am going to give you the fight that you deserve to thank you for what you did for me in my life.” I remember the coaches at the time were like ‘that’s the best toast ever.’ It’s funny because Ronda and I have talked about how that’s that at the time you think that meant MMA, but it might mean this.’”
“That’s a WrestleMania…we’ll see. WrestleMania  is coming up, so not this one per se, but it would have to be a spot where—because we’re a team first and foremost,” Baszler explained, “so it’d have to be something as a teammate. And this is a very amateur wrestling mindset, but as a teammate, you’re never going to deny [another] teammate a shot if they earn it. So it’d have to be one of those [situations].”
If you use any portion of this transcript, please credit The Volume with a h/t to WrestleZone
Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette is now presented by The Volume, the new podcast network launched by Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia. Check out the full interview below: