Shayna Baszler has been locked in a feud with Alexa Bliss for over a month now. But despite it getting plenty of TV time, the program has been met with disdain from vocal fans on social media. Baszler was once positioned as the most dominant woman on the NXT roster, holding the NXT Women's Championship a record 549 days across to reigns. That dominant persona followed her to the main roster, resulting in her squashing five other competitors inside the Elimination Chamber before getting a match with Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 36. Unfortunately, she never regained that momentum after losing to "The Man," and fans have been incredibly frustrated seeing her "haunted" by Bliss' doll Lilly and getting defeated over and over via spooky shenanigans.
And yet, when asked about it during an interview with Sports Illustrated this week, Baszler defended the storyline. From her point of view, this came as the perfect opportunity to show off her range as a wrestler to the company.
"I need to show that I can be counted on to nail whatever it is I'm being asked to do," Baszler said. "It's easy to be a badass tyrant like I was in NXT. I can totally fit that role. After establishing myself as that, it's important to show I can cover a wide range of what professional wrestling is today.
"It's like music," he continued. "Some people like country, some like heavy metal. Not everything is for everyone, so I understand why some people roll their eyes when I do comedy. But I'm established as what I am. All it takes is one sentence from a promo delivered properly. I am a legitimate badass; that's always there for me. I'm glad I can be on Raw and show a wider range."
She then noted that range had been increased by working alongside Nia Jax. The pair have held the tag titles for a combined 215 days across two reigns.
"Teaming with Nia has helped me expand my pro wrestling repertoire," Baszler said. "Obviously coming from a fighting background, we don't do tag teams in MMA. It's not something I spent a lot of time concentrating on. But it's a craft and so much more in-depth than people realize. It's a great sort of Rubik's cube to solve, and I love solving those puzzles. Nia's also been a big help for me behind the scenes."
"I'm putting more tools in my toolbox," she added. "I worked for years to build this legitimacy. I walk through the curtain, and you know I can ruin someone. I won't let people forget that."