Independent wrestling star Leva Bates recently participated in an interview with Aaron Oster of Rolling Stone, talking about her work in WWE and on the indie scene.
Bates talks about how working for NXT first happened, the response to her ‘Blue Pants’ gimmick, working cosplay elements into her gimmick, and more. You can read a few excerpts below:
Leva Bates Talks NXT, How She Got Work With WWE:
They have a recruiting page online, and I filled it out and they got a hold of me through that. Actually, my first time I did anything with WWE was being a Rosebud. So when they called me for NXT, I assumed it was another Rosebud gig, which I was all for. Then they told me I was going to be on NXT doing a match. That’s kind of how it went down. They actually called me the day of the show, so thank God I was local. I ended up just leaving Universal and going straight there.
Leva On ‘Blue Pants’ And The Gimmick Origins:
Enzo and Cass were doing a tag match, and the team that they were wrestling against (Sylvester Lefort and Marcus Louis) ended up turning on each other, so they don’t do a match at all. So they were already in the ring, and they needed to bring me out. So they call out the girl they saw in the back, Blue Pants. “Blue Pants” wasn’t supposed to be my name at all, it was just kind of a joke, Cass calling out the girl in the blue pants, but the crowd picked up on it. And when I came out, a lot of the crowd recognized me because they’ve seen me wrestle before, so they started chanting “Blue Pants.” I just played off of that, in a tongue-in-cheek way, and they played right along. And then Blue Pants just went nuts. It was really a unique situation. Really, the stars just aligned for me that day.
How did she end up working cosplay elements into her gimmick?
That’s just me. That’s 100 percent who I am. When I first started, I wanted to do that. At the time, and this was before AJ Lee joined WWE, there wasn’t really anyone doing that in wrestling. There was nobody combining geekdom with wrestling, so I wanted to do that. That’s just me. I make costumes in my free time, even for no reason. I would go to parties in the costumes. I went to a party as Buffy once. It wasn’t a Halloween party, it wasn’t a costume party. I just went, because I thought it would be fun. I’m probably the biggest geek you’ll ever meet, and so I went with that. And it makes sense if you think about it. There are so many wrestling fans who are also into comic books and video games and things like that. Why not tap into that?
Does her ring gear affect her wrestling style?
If you watch over the past few years, I pretty much do all my shows in different costumes. When I do the costume, I incorporate aspects of the character into my match. When I dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, I actually wrestled as I thought he would wrestle, in a drunken master-type style. If I’m doing Spider-Man, I’ll do more agility and high flying. When I’ve done Purge stuff, it’s way more aggressive and angry. That just goes back to the acting degree I have. I just incorporate it all. It’s one thing to dress in the outfit, but to then show traits from that character, that’s different. I’m still Leva Bates, but I can incorporate all these other things as well. Really, as much as anything, I do it to entertain myself, and hopefully everyone else is entertained while I’m doing it.