When Rhea Ripley decided to challenge Charlotte Flair, not Bianca Belair, to a match at WrestleMania 39 via her win at The Royal Rumble, it all but guaranteed that “The Est of WWE” would not be headlining either night of “The Showcase of the Immortals.”
Fortunately, Belair is still the RAW Women’s Champion, having surpassed 300 days with the strap late last year, and as a result, she will still be featured prominently on the show with an upper card bout booked against Asuka to defend her strap. Win and Belair will be one RAW away from becoming the first woman in history to hold the RAW Women’s Championship for a full calendar year, an honor that understandably would be very cool to accomplish, but for “The Est,” it’s so much more than that. No, if Belair can keep her winning streak going and secure her third-straight win at WWE’s biggest show of the year, she could cement herself as Mrs. WrestleMania, an honor she described in an interview with The Root.
“I would have thought that it would get easier with each WrestleMania because you would think, ‘Oh, you’ve done it before. It’s easy.’ I remember last year at WrestleMania 38. I walked into it thinking, ‘Oh, I main evented WrestleMania last year. That’s the biggest level that you could start at so I won’t be nervous this year.’ Absolutely not. I was more nervous at WrestleMania 38 than I was in WrestleMania 37,” Belair said. “I can’t imagine how I’m gonna feel at WrestleMania 39, especially with all the stakes that are on the line. I could possibly go threepeat and really be Mrs. WrestleMania. Also, if I win WrestleMania, I will be about a week shy of breaking the record for being the longest-reigning Raw Women’s Champion. So I feel like I’m gonna be even more nervous being at SoFi Stadium, being in LA, being in Hollywood under the bright lights facing someone like Asuka, who I’ve always considered as one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world. Yeah, I’m probably going to be shaking before I go out.”
Is Belair on the precipice of making history in WWE? Yes, and the best part? She did it all by being herself.
Bianca Belair feels pressure to show up for the next generation.
Elsewhere in her interview with The Root, Bianca Belair discussed representation and how, as a Black champion, she has to use her position to help set a good example for the generation proceeding her.
“I’m really big on just being yourself. I feel like I want to bring my full self to the table. I am a Black woman. I can’t hide that even if I wanted to, and I definitely don’t want to. I want to show everyone out there that you are beautiful the way that you’re made, and you don’t have to change yourself. You can show up exactly as you are, and that’s simply enough,” Belair said. “I know what my role models did for me when I was a little girl… I saw myself in them, and they showed me the possibilities. I’m where I am now because of them. Knowing that I can do that for someone else, and I can represent for my culture and for my people. They can see themselves in me, letting them know how much WWE is for us. We have a very diverse representation of Black people in WWE, and I think it’s important to showcase that and give people something where they can see themselves, they can enjoy it, they can relate to it. Representation is not a request, it’s a requirement.”
Does Belair feel any pressure to represent for her culture at “The Showcase of the Immortals” as a result? You bet; after coming out with the HBCU band in 2022, Belair is looking to make an even bigger impact at WrestleMania 39, where she will once again be a prominent part of the card.
“Listen, the pressure is on. Everybody’s like, ‘what are you gonna do?’ It’s even harder because I brought the HBCU band out last year. Culturally that was so significant…so it’s like how can I get bigger?,” Belair said. “I don’t want to spoil it because I don’t even know if we’re going to be able to make it happen, but hopefully, whatever it is is gonna be big.”
Will Belair be able to overcome Asuka, one of the most dominant female wrestlers in wrestling history, to retain her strap? Well, considering he’s one of WWE’s most popular and marketable Superstars, as her forthcoming show on Hulu clearly proves, the answer feels like a resounding yes.
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