Steffanie Newell (formerly known on the independents as Nixon Newell) was recently interviewed by WWE.com. Newell was signed by WWE last year. However, a few weeks after reporting to the Performance Center, Newell tore her ACL. This injury prevented her from competing in the Mae Young Classic and forced her to miss several months of action. Newell recently made her NXT debut at a house show, teaming with Dakota Kai in a losing effort against Vanessa Borne and Reina Gonzalez. Below are highlights from the interview:
How the injury happened: It happened during training. It was just a fluke accident. I was running a drill. My foot stayed perfectly forward, but my body turned the other way, and I dislocated my knee and tore my ACL at the same time. Luckily, as soon as I hit the mat, my knee popped back in, so it was one less thing I had to deal with. But it happened literally two or three weeks after I arrived at the WWE PC, so the timing was very inappropriate with the Mae Young Classic being so close as well. As soon as I hit the mat, I knew something was wrong and I knew deep down I was out of the Mae Young Classic. When I got injured, I was crying — not because of the pain, but because I knew I was out of the Mae Young.
On how she coped every day while being unable to train: It was devastating … very mentally challenging to be around it and see it every single day. But I have such a great support system with my friends, the coaches and the doctors. They were so incredibly supportive. Although I was away from my family, thanks to technology like FaceTime, they were able to help me and give me boosts, reminding me of how hard I have worked and telling me that I just needed to keep my head up and keep working like I have been for the last few years, because I finally am where I deserve to be.
On when she was cleared to begin training again: I want to say it was about two months ago. I was able to get in the ring with one-on-one sessions, doing cardio, and then eventually I was able to do some wrestling. Honestly, I was just so happy to even be in the ring and do rope running. I used to dislike doing cardio, but being able to do that just helped so much, mentally more than anything. It picked my spirits up knowing that I was in the home stretch. It was a very exciting time for me.
On the feelings she had right before her NXT debut: It was just this jumble in my head. The nerves were taking over, but also the excitement. It was a very chaotic experience in my mind, but as soon as the music hit and I went through that curtain, it felt like home. I felt like I was finally where I belonged, out in front of that crowd in the NXT ring.
On the response from fans regarding her NXT debut: I was surprised with the reception that I had. I didn’t know if anybody knew me, but people started chanting “You deserve it,” which almost brought me to tears in the ring. I looked at Dakota, and she’s like, “Let’s try to keep it together.” Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan, who are both dear friends of mine, made the trip to be there in person. [To have] the respect of my peers and my colleagues — with how they reacted before, during and after the match — means the world to me. It genuinely makes my heart so happy. It makes me so emotional, but in the best way possible, to know that they feel that way about me. It means the absolute world.
Newell also discusses her friendship with Dakota Kai, setbacks she faced during rehabilitation and previous injuries she has had.
What do you think of Newell’s interview? Are you looking forward to seeing her compete in NXT? Let us know in the comments below!