Ahead of her number one contender match next week to determine who will challenge Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn, NXT Superstar Candice LeRae recently spoke with WWE.com to discuss her journey to NXT, working alongside her husband Johnny Gargano and the importance of being a role model. Highlights of the interview below.
Making it to WWE NXT: My childhood dream was to be a WWE Superstar. Now that I am living that dream, I am discovering there is a whole new world of opportunity here in NXT. I have pushed myself to do things in the ring and in the gym that I used to be afraid to do or was uncomfortable with. I want to seize every opportunity NXT has to offer me, and when I do, I want to be ready for them. Being here has sparked something special in me to push me to the next level.
Being able to work alongside her husband Johnny Gargano: A massive positive is that we can travel together! There were times before I got here where I would be wrestling in Japan or the United Kingdom for weeks at a time. Trying to talk to each other when I was basically a day into the future was challenging. I half joke with him that my biggest challenge is trying to keep up with him. He’s just so talented. It puts this added pressure on me because I don’t want to be an embarrassment to Johnny. Plus, my husband worked so hard for his name, and I absolutely refuse to ride his coattails. I know I have a challenge in proving to the fans and my peers that I belong here too. I want to make a name for myself here in NXT because of my own work and not because of who my husband is.
Growing up watching wrestling: I know this is going to sound super silly, but do you know how in movies there’s that stereotypical scene where the girl or guy sees the “love of their life”? Time slows down and nothing else in the room exists? That is exactly how I remember seeing wrestling for the first time. There was just something about it that I felt drawn to. I loved everything about it. I tell people it is my first love.
The importance of being a role model: It’s become bigger than not disappointing the 6-year-old girl inside of me. I have four nieces, and it is extremely important to me to be a good example for them. That isn’t limited to just making good life choices, but to also teaching them the importance of dreams. When I started to believe in myself and worked harder than ever before, I achieved my dream. I don’t ever want my nieces to doubt themselves. I never want them to think they can’t live their dreams. This quest for the NXT Women’s Championship is an absolute fairytale for me, and I will stop at nothing until I have my happily ever after.
LeRae also discusses how she and Garagno met, growing up in Riverside, California and her travels throughout her 16 year career.
What did you think of the interview? Have you enjoyed Candice LeRae’s run with NXT so far? Who would you like to see her feud with next? Let us know in the comments below!