Candice LeRae will face Io Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship at NXT TakeOver 31 this weekend, and it's the culmination of a big transformation for LeRae's character over the past several months. Since LeRae embraced her poison pixie persona she has gone on a tear, and that run could end up with her as NXT Champion after this weekend has concluded. For those who have watched LeRae recently, you know she is a full-on heel these days, which is why it might be surprising to you that her new character is actually inspired a bit by Disney's iconic princesses, which she explained in a new interview with Instinct Culture.
"I’ve been watching online, a lot of YouTube videos, giving my brain a refresher of Disney parades, Disney shows and how the princesses act in the park," LeRae said. "And I am like, Oh, I kinda like some of these things! Because they are so ridiculous and over the top for a wrestling persona. For me just to be sitting here acting and believing that I am this evil Disney princess fairy is absurd. It’s ridiculous, But I love it and it’s such a fun thing to get to play with, I try different/weird mannerisms every time I go out to the ring or win a match. It gives me this new sense of my character, it’s like you’re tapping into these things that you didn’t even know existed in your brain. It’s so fun."
LeRae feels a lot more confident these days, and her new character is one of several reasons why, making this the perfect time to grab that Championship gold.
"Last time I felt like I wasn’t so confident," LeRae said. "I was still trying to find myself in WWE and figure out how do I give this older indie version of Candice but also give them something new? This new WWE version of me. I felt there was so much pressure going into that Takeover because that was actually my first Takeover and it was just butterflies, crazy. I was not super confident, but now this time around I feel a lot more confident. I feel like I kinda found myself and Io just brings out the absolute best in me, whether she’s trying to or not. She makes me push myself and anytime I am in the ring with Io there’s stuff that happens that I didn’t even know I could do or I didn’t even know was possible and I am excited because there’s so much more at stake and I am more confident in me and this new me."
LeRae might use some of that Disney magic to take the NXT Championship at this weekend's TakeOver 31, which you can watch live on the WWE Network this Sunday, and you can talk all things NXT with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!