Alexa Bliss is one of the WWE’s fastest-rising stars. The first ever two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion has quickly become a fan favorite thanks to her combination of in-ring ability and her strikingly effective facial expressions when she isn’t roughing up her competition.
Bliss, one of the biggest names in the WWE’s recent “Superstar Shake-Up,” can now be seen on Raw on the USA Network rather than SmackDown Live, where she started her career on the company’s main roster. Yahoo Sports had a chance to catch up with “Little Miss Bliss” regarding the brand switch, how the WWE’s women’s division is providing new role models for young girls and her love of movies and the bad guys in them.
For the second time in less than a year you’re changing rosters and switching locker rooms. What are the pros and cons of the change for you personally?
Alexa Bliss: Some of the cons would definitely be uprooting everything, changing, getting a new schedule, having to meet new people and build relationships with those people almost every eight months now. But there are plenty of pros. I still do get to meet new people, it’s a new environment, a new opportunity. I’m really excited.
You mentioned getting to meet new people, but you’re not coming over alone. Mickie James is coming to Raw with you and your guys’ story has been intertwined while on SmackDown Live. How does having her move over with you help with the transition?
Alexa Bliss: The locker room with the Raw girls, I spent some time with them in NXT, so it’s not like I don’t really know anybody. In the same breath though, it’s great that Mickie is coming over with me and we have had some time to work together and build a dynamic and bring that to Raw. A lot of the girls I’ve worked with in NXT but it hasn’t been for almost a year so I’m excited to get to work with them again.
You got to work alongside all of the SmackDown women at the WrestleMania 33 match. What was that like for you where you guys get to almost have a swan song of sorts together? Did you guys know this was coming?
Alexa Bliss: We actually didn’t know really what was coming. We didn’t find out anything literally until the day before [the Shake-Up] saying ‘Hey, you’re going to be on Raw,’ so I was like ‘Oh, OK.’
Having the chance to have the matches that I’ve had [as part of the SmackDown Live brand] has been so good. I was also so excited for Naomi at WrestleMania first and foremost because having that moment at WrestleMania, coming in with the title, that was the highlight of my career, so getting to share that moment with Naomi and her regaining the title in her hometown, that was amazing. Working with her again on SmackDown [the following] Tuesday was awesome, it was such a good dynamic.
I love when title changes happen because you get to evolve the storyline and evolve each others’ characters. Each person winds up changing and growing. I was super excited to have more matches together and then I found out that I was going to be at Raw and found out I was going to be making an entrance and that’s kind of when it solidified that ‘OK, I’m here and I’m going to do this now.’ Now I’m just looking ahead to the opportunity and seeing who I am going to get into a story with and how this is going to go.
Who are you most excited to work with on the Raw roster?
Alexa Bliss: Opponent-wise, I’m really excited to work with Bayley. I had a lot of my best matches with her at NXT, she helped me develop a lot as a character and in-ring performer. I’m really excited to work with her again and see how much we’ve both changed in a year. Also Nia Jax, because we’re really, really close friends and I’m excited to be with her again. It’s going to be awesome.
You mention Nia Jax. You haven’t been very shy about your previous struggles with eating disorder and body image. Having someone like yourself who has been through this and beaten it, someone like Nia Jax who has a different body type, even Charlotte, who is a very muscular woman; what it is like to have people like you guys to provide role models to aspiring WWE superstars, young girls, anyone who maybe going through some of those same issues?
Alexa Bliss: I think it’s great. Anybody who is very upfront with what they’ve gone through or how they feel, I think that’s honorable, especially Nia and Charlotte.
I think it’s great. When I was going through my issues, I didn’t really have anyone to look up to and say ‘Well, they went through it and they’re OK,’ because it’s such a hush-hush thing that people don’t talk about. People don’t talk about body image and how we’re supposed to be portrayed or supposed to look. It’s out there in the media but nobody addresses it and says ‘Hey, you don’t have to look like this to be happy. You can be happy with how you are.’
I was that person, I fell into that trap of thinking ‘I have to look this way to be accepted by society or be happy or catch someone’s attention.’ You don’t, and I think it’s great when we can show that every style of person, every body shape, every look anyone has is beautiful in its own way. Everyone has their own perception of beauty and the fact that we can all portray that with how many different women we have in our division and speaking out about it, I think it’s great. I think it’s great that we have someone who everybody can relate to.
It’s been about two years now since the WWE started to push the “Women’s Revolution.” How do you feel about the way the fans have celebrated the arrival of stars like yourself, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley? Also, how do you feel about the way the veteran stars – Nikki Bella, Mickie James, Natalya – have impacted you coming up and when you were making your way through NXT?
Alexa Bliss: I think it’s great right now for our women in WWE. We are getting so many opportunities to show what we can do.
Everyone says it started with the Four Horsewomen (Banks, Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch), but the women before them, they were doing those things too. The Four Horsewomen kind of gave the audience a voice to say it. They allowed the audience to say ‘Give divas a chance.’
I remember seeing an interview with Nikki Bella and her talking about the women’s revolution and how she was excited because they could finally show what they could do as women.
The veteran girls that have been here have been saying this all along and the Four Horsewomen gave it a voice and allow the fans to say that’s what they want. The fact that we’ve been able to take that and run with it, that’s awesome. It’s great to be woman right now in WWE because now we can show what we’ve been saying all along and that’s ‘We can do these things just as well, if not better [than the men].’
Your gear during your time on the main roster has been inspired by Harley Quinn, the Riddler, mostly Batman bad guys. Are you a big Batman fan? Comic book fan? How do you incorporate pop culture into your presence in WWE?
Alexa Bliss: I’m such a villain fan. I love comics, I love anything Disney – everyone knows that about me, I’m a big Disney fan – anything that’s fictional, I’m a huge fan of. It all started with Iron Man in NXT. [Buddy] Murphy [Bliss’s real-life fiancée] had the idea of us all three [Bliss, Murphy and Wesley Blake] dressing up as Iron Man and I thought it was such a cool concept, such a cool idea, that I just kept going with it.
I have a few characters left that I haven’t portrayed yet, I have a few more coming that I have the outfits for that I’m just waiting to perfect them. I did go a little non-villain at Elimination Chamber when I wore Superman, which was a lot of fun.
I just like portraying characters but making it my own. The Harley Quinn thing I was really excited about. I was so bummed because when I left NXT, I thought I couldn’t do the cosplay thing anymore.
My last gear in NXT was Freddy Krueger because I’m such a horror movie fan, it’s ridiculous, but I thought when I went to the main roster it would be a whole different ball game. I kind of ran with the Harley Quinn thing, I said I was going to try it anyway and say sorry after [if it didn’t work], but it got a great response and that gave me the freedom to do more.
You’re a big Disney fan, have you seen the new ‘Beauty and the Beast?’
Alexa Bliss: Yes, I loved it. It was great. I saw it the day it came out.
What about comic-book movies? Which are your favorites? What are you looking forward to seeing?
Alexa Bliss: I just saw ‘Logan’ for the first time and I am so obsessed with it. I kept watching it over and over and over.
I liked ‘Deadpool’ and I’m really excited for the second one that’s coming out. Anything that references any kind of X-Men, I love. I really thought it was funny how in ‘Deadpool’ he kept taking shots at X-Men and other stuff, it was really hilarious. Anything that’s in that realm I’m a fan of.
Last question. You’re on Raw now. It’s a totally new experience for you. What are your goals short-term and then for a year from now when we’re coming off WrestleMania 34?
Alexa Bliss: A year from now I hope that I have been able to become Raw Women’s Champion. I would love to be able to hold both titles within a year, I think that would be an awesome opportunity.
I’d really like to see our women in the main event at WrestleMania. I know it’s kind of considered a future thing and no one knows if it’ll ever happen, but in my mind, it’s going to happen and hopefully within a year. Hopefully in a year I’ll be women’s champion and have taken this division by storm.