Alexa Bliss Reflects on How NXT Set Her up for Success in WWE
Before Alexa Bliss blossomed into the “The Goddess” we see today in WWE, she was honing her skills in NXT. The yellow brand has also come a long way over the years, readying for a move to a two-hour format and new home on USA Network. Bliss, currently one-half of the women’s tag team champions, couldn’t be happier for the roster.
“There are over a 100 talents that are there,” she said. “A lot of people we don’t see because NXT is a shorter show. You only see three or four matches per show. If you’re not featured, you’re not going to be on there for a while. I think the show being extended on a bigger stage, it gives the world a view of NXT talent they may have not had before.”
Bliss didn’t really know what to expect starting with WWE in 2013 and its developmental system, then under Florida Championship Wrestling. Though the superstar came in with little experience as an in-ring performer she was willing to put in the work.
“Fortunately, Triple H saw something in me during my interview and signed me,” Bliss said. “When I got to the Performance Center it was before the Performance Center. It was FCW in Tampa. Basically, it was crazy to see the change because I remember we all had to load up the trucks full of the ring, the mats, everything. We had to drive everything to the Performance Center as a group. We essentially all helped set up the PC that we know today.”
Getting acquainted to her new surroundings wasn’t easy. Among those who helped ease the transition to the locker room and new lifestyle was Charlotte Flair.
“She was very welcoming,” Bliss said. “She was one of the few that was welcoming. Sarah Amato, who is an incredible coach, has always been crazy helpful. Since my first day she helped me along the way. I’m thankful to stay in contact with her.”
Bliss recalls her first live event at the FCW Arena, which certainly wasn’t Full Sail Live where NXT TV is shot today. It was day three with the newcomer assigned to host the show.
“I felt like it was more of a test to see if I would freeze up. It went well,” Bliss said. “I started hosting the show for a while. Then I moved to ring announcing, which I did for only a very short time because my memory is horrendous. I couldn't remember the names and weights and where they were from. It was my second or third week there, It was not my forte.”
Bliss’ initial presentation looked right out of the Disney princess collection, possibly Frozen. She didn’t really find herself until working alongside Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy. The devious force often got involved in their matches, even helping them secure the NXT tag team championship.
“I remember watching the match we did back. I’m standing there silently in the corner of the ring. I thought, ‘Man, I’m not doing anything out there.’ I needed to step it up and be more vocal and more character-y,” Bliss said.
“I was very fortunate to have Blake and Murphy because there definitely wouldn't be an Alexa Bliss if it wasn’t a Blake and Murphy along the way because I got to focus on my character. Some people struggle finding that balance of being in the ring and fleshing out their character and keeping it going. With Blake and Murphy, I was able to do that. I was very fortunate to have them. I owe a lot to them.”
The Ohioan was continuously inspired by the other females putting on stellar matches. Bliss NXT helped get the “Women’s Revolution” truly started in this era.
“NXT has always been about providing women equal opportunity as the men in the ring,” she said. “I remember Paige and Emma had the first NXT women’s title match. They had a lot of time for that. It was something that was good about NXT. That we see today with how the women are in the main event of shows and pay-per-views now. It’s incredible.”
The former SmackDown Live and Raw women’s champion didn’t spend much time in NXT, but thinks back on the time fondly. When asked to name a favorite match the “Moment of Bliss” host had fun facing Peyton Royce. The 28-year-old believes the best way for anyone to learn is to be thrown into the deep end like she was being called up into the bigger waters of the main roster. Now with NXT going live each week on a major cable network, the playing field is about to get more leveled.
“When I came on the main roster, I had probably less than 10 matches on NXT,” Bliss said. “I think that sink or swim pressure is good for people. I personally thrive on that pressure.”
She still remains a fan, enjoying the product in the next generation coming. Bliss is particularly fond of Bianca Belair. Someone who brings the same swagger that has made her so successful.
“Bianca is athletic and has a ton of charisma,” Bliss said. “I think she is really talented I watched the last TakeOver she was in, and it was incredible. The Forgotten Sons also have a special place in my heart because of Blake, who is one of the most talented people they have in NXT. I really hope NXT going to the USA Network helps showcase that. All three in that group are great. I like to see people who didn’t get more opportunities before get opportunity.”
Currently holding women’s tag team gold with Nikki Cross, Bliss hopes to test her skills against some of the best NXT has to offer. She’d love nothing more for them to visit Raw or SmackDown.
“I think it would be really cool to mix and match with the three brands,” Bliss said “Shake it up.”
And as the profile of her old stomping evolves, she has some advice for those who are about to be introduced to a larger audience. Make the most of the chance to shine on a higher level.
“Run with it because a lot of times these opportunities don’t come back,” Bliss said. “That is the mindset I had when I debuted, with the promos and every match I have had on the main roster. You have to treat every opportunity like it’s your last because sometimes they don’t come back.”
NXT premieres Wednesday, September 18, 8/7c, USA Network