After a successful welcoming back of live crowds for SmackDown, it's time to welcome them back for one of WWE's biggest events of the year, Money in the Bank. Two briefcases are up for grabs, and both ladder matches are stacked with talent. For the Women's Money in the Bank match, it will be Nikki Cross taking on Zelina Vega, Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Asuka, Tamina, and Natalya, and while the challenge is high, the almost superhero Nikki A.S.H is more than up for it. ComicBook.com had a chance to talk to Cross all about the big match as well as what led to her new (almost) superhero character, saying goodbye to the ThunderDome era, and more.
Now, Cross will have to keep her head on a swivel with so much talent in the ring, but there is one threat she will have to maybe keep her eye on more than the others.
"To your point, I'm in there with, some amazing competitors. You have, Naomi who's crazy athletic, so athletic, and amazing. You have Asuka who won the Money in the Bank last year. You've got Alexa Bliss who I've got my very own history with and being former tag team champions. You have Liv Morgan, who's scratched and clawed for this opportunity. You have Zelina who's just made her return, and we all know she's got a few tricks up her sleeve, and now we have Natalya in the Money in the Bank match and she's been in so many of these matches and she brings such a wealth of experience," Cross said.
"So for me, all of them are competition. All of them are a threat," Cross said. "You're right, I love that my head has to be on a swivel and you're 100%, right. I feel like because of our past, maybe Alexa and her turn to the dark side, there is cause for concern, so I'll definitely be keeping an extra eye on her, but then I've still got my two eyes looking at everyone else. But then I have the mask and mask that can help me too, like keep my focus. So for me, it's such an amazing match, and knowing that we are in front of our fans again, we're back in front of live crowds, live audiences, I cannot tell you Matt I'm so excited. I'm so excited."
This will be the first WWE pay-per-view where fans are back in the crowd since WrestleMania 37, but unlike that event fans are 100% back now, and as a result WWE recently said goodbye for good to the era of the ThunderDome. Cross is 100% ready to have fans back in the arena, but she still took a moment to appreciate the ThunderDome and everything it brought with it.
"For me, the number one was getting back in front of fans, that was the number one, the excitement to see fans again and feel the connection and feel the energy that kind of overtakes everything else. But at the same time, I get very sentimental very easily. If I grow attached to something, whether it be a building or something like there is sadness, and you're kind of like, thank you for being our home for the last however many months. We were in the Tropicana field, the big baseball stadium we were in the Amway Center before that, leaving the ThunderDome last week it's that, thank you for being our home, bye."
"Also I'm very proud of the ThunderDome because it was still the fans watching and I think we just figured out a different way to do it, and I'm very proud of that. I think it was a very unique experience, as a performer, I think it was a very unique experience, and still going out and looking at the screens and sometimes you still pick out faces, on the screens and you can tell they're smiling or the cheering or the booing, or they're laughing or they're clapping, Cross said. "So for me, there was still, that was something that was a connection that shouldn't be, we shouldn't forget that."
Cross did catch herself getting a little sentimental in saying goodbye to the ThunderDome. "We should not forget that either, but I think the excitement of being in front of our fans again, that's the overriding feeling. I had my little spot, I had my little spot in the locker room and my little cubby in the corner. So I was like, 'bye', I'm very sentimental," Cross said.
Cross recently debuted a brand new character in Nikki A.S.H, and she seems to be having a blast with it thus far. That's partly because the character stems from Cross' own love of Marvel and DC superheroes, and now she gets to channel all that enthusiasm into a character onscreen.
"So, for me, I was actually saying this earlier on too, I was such a huge fan of the X-Men cartoon and the Spider-Man cartoon," Cross said. "I've always loved superhero cartoons and superhero movies, Marvel, DC, the Justice League, everything, Suicide Squad, everything with Marvel, we've just finished watching Loki, which I'm not going to, no spoilers. I loved Loki, WandaVision, Falcon, and Winter Soldier. Black Widow, we saw that last week and that was amazing."
"So it just felt like the time was right, the time was right, and I always loved Hurricane Helms, the Hurricane character, Mighty Molly, I loved that when I first watched WWE. So for me, it's, let's take something we all love, like superheroes, let's take wrestling, and let's put them together in this lovely little fusion," Cross said. "To your point, I just wanted to do something that was super, pardon the pun, something very positive and I wanted something that was just energetic, something that's inspirational because I think that I wanted a message to send to, I was 10 years old when I first started watching WWE, when I first started watching this amazing industry. So I wanted something that I could like reach out to a 10-year-old me for instance, and just I don't have superpowers, unfortunately, not yet, anyway, I'm working on it Matt, I'm working on it with coffee a little bit of super strength and super speed."
Superpowers or not, the message of hope, determination, and fun is coming through loud and clear, and to Cross that is the most important aspect of Nikki A.S.H.
"But, the whole message of that is and I wanted to make this really clear when we first introduced it and I used Raw Talk and we have an amazing digital and social media team. And I think we were successful in getting that message out that I don't have superpowers, but I put on the cape and I put on the mask, I put on the outfit and I feel like I can try anything and I might fall down, but I pick myself back up. I just think that's such an important message for people to have, and I wanted to be the one to deliver that message because I think that's an important life lesson," Cross said. "I think it is a life message, and it's just fun. I wear a cape and I get to do things that I've always loved and been inspired by."
"I can't tell you how much joy it's given me and seeing the fan art and reading the messages and just for something like my nephews, this is something they can totally love," Cross said. "Then my friends, some of our best friends, they have little girls, I call them my nieces, even though they're technically not, but they are, I'm like Auntie Nikki. So for me, they're nine years old, eight years old, these little girls, this is who I'm trying to reach, this is the connection. I love that message. I love that journey."
New tag team on the block ? 💙💛💙💛🦋⚡️🦸♀️🦸♀️🦸♀️ https://t.co/o3OuaEksOM— Nikki A.S.H , ALMOST SUPER HERO (@NikkiCrossWWE) July 14, 2021
Speaking of that fan art, there's a lot of support for having The Secret Life of Pets' lovable hero Snowball as her sidekick, and Cross thinks it's a perfect match.
"Snowball is tremendous, Snowball let's ride another day, Snowball. I love Snowball I'm all about this," Cross said. "The blue and the gold represents so much in the costume, so much. I'm so proud of that, but you've got Snowball, Captain Cross and Captain Snowball reporting for duty!"
That duo seems like quite the dream team, so we are all here for it.0comments
You can watch Nikki A.S.H in action during WWE's Money in the Bank, which kicks off at 8 PM EST on Peacock.
Do you think Cross will take the briefcase? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things WWE with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!