Prior to WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, RondaRousey.com interviewed MMA Four Horsewomen-turned-NXT talents, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.
Shafir spoke with us about the comfort of options, her love of coffee, and which WWE Four Horsewoman better watch her back.
Obviously, a lot of people in your life now are in the world of professional wrestling: What was the thing or moment that got you to finally make the jump to professional wrestling as well?
The temporal moment that made me want to start wrestling … I think understanding that I’m putting myself in a situation where I can learn a lot more about myself—that’s where my frame of mind was. It’s an amazing opportunity too. After I had my son, after I moved to Florida, it just seemed like … I guess there wasn’t really any pivotal moment.
The day I decided to just do it was like any other day, but the decision to do it was more that this is an amazing opportunity to learn a whole lot about myself that I didn’t know and couldn’t find out through fighting. Because fighting, you kind of suppress emotion and fight through emotion. And in pro wrestling, you have to harness those emotions. Everybody fights different, but personally, it was a brand new, refreshing way to engage
A different way to channel your energy and your emotions?
Yeah. And becoming a mom—it was just another platform where I could put myself to relate with other women. Because being an athlete and being a mom at the same time is really hard, especially if you want to continue your goals as an athlete. It’s challenging because being an athlete you have to also be selfish. And I’m learning that you don’t have to be completely selfish, just understanding that and gauging that.
How long have you been training at this point in wrestling?
I’ve been training for about five months now.
Despite coming from the world of MMA, Ronda and Shayna have very different wrestling styles. Do you think you have a specific style of wrestling yet? Have you picked one that you’re really into?
I don’t know how to describe my style. I sure as hell am different. I know I move different, I act different. I do everything completely different. I don’t know if there’s a label for that yet.
“Unorthodox” is what they usually say on commentary.
There we go. My wrestling style is very unorthodox.
And how is the Performance Center? How is all that going right now?
The Performance Center is amazing. It’s really awesome and refreshing every day to be able to go into a place where
It’s kind of like a cafeteria. You go to the airport cafeteria, and there’s like, what, 10 different types of foods you want, right? And it’s all about what you’re in the mood for, but you’re still gonna be hungry—but are you gonna be hungry for the same thing every day? No, you’re gonna crave different things, and you have options, and then your palette changes, and then … It’s a lot easier to reference different things with all the different types of coaching that’s there, and everybody’s just so smart. It’s really refreshing.
You basically have the best in the world around you at all times.
Yeah. And it’s like, at the same time, you don’t feel so overwhelmed. Because all you have to do is choose a direction to go, and then they really help you with that. Yeah, it’s really fun.
Well as far as your direction, who would you say are your professional wrestling inspirations or just your favorites right now?
Well, my female inspiration—like, my wrestling inspiration—is honestly, right now, it’s my coworkers and just … They’re so ahead of me right now. Like, right now that’s where I’m at—I just wanna be on the same page as them, and I wanna be able to … I’m just striving to be on the same level as them. … I really just wanna be better than the boys. That’s pretty much it. I just wanna be good enough to put on a better show than the boys. That’s my real inspiration.
Hell in a Cell is coming up this weekend, and even though you’re going to be down in NXT for a while, is there any female wrestler past or present you would want to take on in the Cell?
Who would I want to wrestle in Hell in a Cell? They don’t have to be WWE wrestlers, right?
No, if you have an outside the box situation, go ahead.
Okay, so definitely [Manami] Toyota. She’s a Japanese wrestler. Yeah, her.
What about a male wrestler? Maybe Roderick Strong?
Oh, hell yeah. That’s all up to him though because he knows I’m down.
Taking on Roderick would definitely be one way to prove you’re better than the guys.
Well, I already know I can take him on, but the world doesn’t wanna see that.
I’m sure plenty of people want to see that. Maybe we can get a poll on RondaRousey.com: “Do you want to see Marina Shafir destroy Roderick Strong?”
Oh my God, that would be great! I would totally be down for that.
“Do you want to see Marina destroy Roderick in Hell in a Cell?” I think the votes would be lean toward an overwhelming “Yes.”
WWE has been teasing it for a while, but how much do you really want to have a Four Horsewomen versus Four Horsewomen match? And do you think it could main event a WWE pay-per-view?
How much do you need to drink water every day? That bad, maybe. And come on, a main event period. I mean, absolutely. Come on. That’s just a no-brainer. We’re the most dominant female faction in wrestling. We have an opportunity to be the most dominant faction period. Why not let everybody know on the grandest stage who the real powerhouse is? We’re women. We’re badasses. We’ve been through fucking seven lifetimes between all of us, and it’d be … It’s just, in my brain, it’s like a no-brainer.
But of WWE’s Four Horsewomen, who would you want to take on one-on-one?
Oh, Bayley for sure. Oh, I would like to see her try to give me the Bayley-to-Belly. Yeah, I would just love to see her give it a whirl.
They might send you to couples therapy after you destroy her.
It’s all good. I’ve been there. It’s all good. I know how that cookie crumbles.
So, Ronda has Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” as her entrance theme. If you could have any “classic” song—10 years or older—as your entrance theme, what would you want?
You know, not so much the lyrics, but the music of “Lose My Breath” by Destiny’s Child … like, the drum line. If we took the lyrics out of that song, and we just use the music in that song, that’s what I would wanna walk out to.
You could probably get CFO$ to make a similar version of that for your theme.
I mean, we’re trying.
Is that an exclusive scoop?
We’re trying. We’re kinda close. Everybody thinks—because my gear is kind of like Army green and white—everybody thinks I’m military [gimmick], but it’s not really the whole idea of military. My whole approach to it is, when I put on Army green and a wife beater and some shoes, I wanna go get shit done. That just puts it in my brain. I don’t get into an Army mindset. … I get into a combative, get-shit-done mode, and that’s what brings it out of me, so … I mean, put a little drum line in there.
For wrestling fans who aren’t too familiar with you outside of wrestling now and your MMA past, what would you want them to know about you?
I just really wanna exude that female camaraderie, lift-your-fellow-females-up attitude.
I’m very, very fond of coffee. I have a thing for latte art, and I just really enjoy a good cup of coffee. I don’t know. What’s interesting about me? I know how to speak Russian. Yeah, nobody really knows that I know how to speak Russian. I mean, you can pick one of these, or you can just give ’em all to them. That’s totally fine too.
I love culture. Culture’s fucking cool. And I think that’s why I love coffee so much because every culture has a different cup of coffee, and that’s what interests me so much. Yeah, I’m boring. I don’t play video games.
Oh, that’s what I want people to know: I don’t play video games.
Oh no, everyone’s going to turn on you.
I wish I was into video games, but it’s just not my thing.
People will be probably read this interview, be so captivated by everything, and then see you said, “I don’t play video games.” And then they’re going to turn on you.
I know, well that’s the thing. If you’re gonna turn on me for anything, I guess it might as well be that.
You’re going to get people booing you at house shows now for it.
She’s a good mom? Cool. Oh, she’s an athlete? Cool. Oh, she doesn’t like video games, doesn’t play video games? Okay, fuck that bitch.