It didn't take long for Bianca Belair to make an impact after being drafted to WWE SmackDown a few weeks ago, as she made a statement with her debut match on the blue brand and then overcame two other superstars to become the first member of SmackDown's Survivor Series team. That's quite impressive, but Belair isn't stopping anytime soon and could end up becoming one of the biggest stars on SmackDown once all is said and done. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Belair ahead of tonight's SmackDown, and during our conversation, we talked about her journey from NXT and Raw to SmackDown as well as a possible match against Sasha Banks, Survivor Series, Triple H, and even some action figure talk.
First up though was moving from Raw to SmackDown, and we wanted to know if she felt underutilized during her time on the red brand.
"Well, when it comes to life, I'm all about the journey," Belair said. "So I know that there's always a transitional period in transitioning from NXT to Raw and now to SmackDown. I think that when I transitioned over to Raw, it was just at a very weird and crazy time, but the thing about me is that I'm always patient, I'm never complacent. I would rather wait to be put out there when there is something for me than to just be thrown out there."
"And so, I think that my path, I enjoyed it. I got to actually debut at WrestleMania and the Raw after WrestleMania with my husband, Montez Ford of the Street Profits, so I enjoyed being able to share that moment with him, and I don't have any regrets about that," Belair said. "Now transitioning to SmackDown, I just think it's the land of opportunities, and I think that there's no glass ceiling for me when it comes to being on SmackDown right now. I just had my debut two weeks ago, and I just qualified for the Survivor Series team, so I think it's showing that I belong at SmackDown and I'm just getting started."
Belair has actually been a part of all three brands of WWE at one time or another, starting in NXT and then moving to Raw and now SmackDown, and she's taken a lesson or two from each stop along the way.
"Yeah, I've been a part of every brand in a very, I guess, short amount of time," Belair said. "I feel like NXT taught me everything that I know. I came in with zero wrestling experience, and that was my home for so long, and I still feel close to NXT. That's where I developed Bianca Belair, my character, everything in the ring, everything outside of the ring. It taught me how to move within this business, hard work, and just everything."
"And Raw, it was my first foot in the door going to the next level, like Raw and SmackDown, even though NXT is considered the third brand as well. I feel like Raw taught me patience," Belair said. "It taught me to focus on the things that I can control, and that there's a lot that goes into this business. Just focusing on things that you can control and that's all you can do, and that's all I've been doing since NXT, onto Raw, and I feel like it's all about the payoff now on SmackDown."
"I'm just excited to see all of this hard work and the patience all about to unfold on SmackDown and being able to now possibly get in the ring with different girls, new girls. I was in NXT for about three years, so I was in and out of the ring with a lot of those girls and now I'm able to go into another locker room and able to get into the ring with some girls that I've never faced before," Belair said.
Belair will be representing the blue brand at Survivor Series, though this year's event will differ from last year's event, as NXT won't be involved this time around. Belair is looking to make it two wins in a row, though she's a little bit relieved that she won't have to go against so many of her friends during the pay-per-view.
"Yeah, I was on the team, the winning team, of Survivor Series last year with NXT, and I'm not really bummed that I can't go against them here, because I feel like that would be a bittersweet moment," Belair said. "A lot of my friends, the people that I came in with, are in NXT, and the girls that I have gone through, they're still in NXT. So to have to go up against them and then have to beat them when I was just with them last year and won with them would be a bittersweet moment, but if I had to do it, I would have to do what I have to do."
As for the rest of the SmackDown team, Belair is excited to see who makes the cut and feels like whoever does will make this team a force to be reckoned with.
"I'm so excited to be team blue and team SmackDown this year, and in these weeks coming up and on tonight's SmackDown, we'll hopefully find out some more women that are going to be on the team alongside me," Belair said. "I think that with the roster and the locker room that we have on SmackDown, we're going to have a strong team. You have so many strong and great competitors in our locker room, that it sucks that we can't have all the women on the team, but any of the five out of that locker room, we will have a strong team. I'm excited to get in there and now fight alongside the girls that are in my locker room and start building bonds with them."
Recently Triple H had some kind words to share about Belair, calling her a game-changer on whatever brand she's on, and hearing that from a WWE legend definitely had an impact.
"Definitely. The words from Triple H, I always try not to seek validation in other people or other things, but words from Triple H, you can't help but find some type of validation when he has something to say about you," Belair said.
"I remember the Mae Young Classic against Kairi Sane was when I really, really started realizing like, 'Wow, you're good at this. You got something here.' I didn't have a whole lot of experience going into the Mae Young Classic, and after that match, he pulled me aside and said some things that still stick with me to this day. He really just let me know that I'm going to be, like he said, a game-changer in this business, and that's what drives me all the time. Going from NXT to Raw and now to SmackDown and hearing him still saying those words, it means a lot to me," Belair said.
Now that she's on SmackDown, new opponents are in her sights, and yes, that does include Sasha Banks. That's why we asked if she could pick the time and place to face Sasha, where would it be, and why.
"I would love to challenge Sasha Banks for the SmackDown Women's title at WrestleMania," Belair said. "That's the biggest stage that you can win it on. It'd be my first title ever, so of course, I have to say WrestleMania. When I debuted on SmackDown, everyone kept asking me like, 'Who do you want to fight?' I'm like, 'I just want to fight everybody at this point', but of course I want to fight the woman that is holding the SmackDown women's title, so I have to say definitely WrestleMania, Bianca Belair versus Sasha Banks."
Belair would probably make some custom gear for the occasion, as she actually sews and creates all of her ring gear, including the amazing SmackDown gear she recently debuted.
"I make all of my gear," Belair said. "I feel like I have visions in my head of exactly what I want and I just feel like... I'm very picky and very particular. I'm a little bit of a control freak, and so it's like, 'Can't nobody do it like me or do it better than me.' And I call myself the EST, so I just do everything myself. I do my hair, I do my makeup, I do my gear, and I'm self-made. I do it all myself."
"It's taken a lot of practice and a lot of hard work, and I used to do everything by hand, but my husband bought me a sewing machine about three years ago," Belair said. "I'm not a professional sower, so I just go to YouTube and figure it out and I experiment but that's the fun part of it. I love watching. Seeing fabric transform into my gear is just a feeling of satisfaction."
Now, we would be remiss if we didn't bring up something toy-related, so we wanted to know what gear Belair wants featured in her next action figure. Belair actually has two figures already, and after hearing her pick for the third figure, that needs to happen ASAP.
"I would say, probably ... I'm trying to think of all the gear that I've had," Belair said. "So they had the Royal Rumble gear, which is the black and gold. They have the Takeover: Phoenix gear, which is me on my gear. And then, I would say, I would love my Black History Month gear to be an action figure actually. Yeah. I would love that gear to be a gear on the action figure."
And yes, that would also include that awesome cape too, so make it happen Mattel!0comments
You can see Belair in action on tonight's SmackDown, which kicks off at 8 PM EST on FOX.
Let us know who you want to see Belair face next on SmackDown in the comments and as always feel free to talk all things WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!