NZPWI had the opportunity to speak to WWE Superstar Emma earlier this week.
Starting out in WWE NXT, Emma is now a fully-fledged WWE Superstar, and can be seen on Raw every week.
Emma will take part in a Six-Pack Challenge for the Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Live in Christchurch on Wednesday, September 13.
Emma spoke to NZPWI’s David Dunn about Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka, the Mae Young Classic, Taste of Tenille, and more in this exclusive interview conducted Monday, August 14.
David Dunn: Can you remember the first time you saw professional wrestling?
Emma: I’ve watched wrestling since I was—I think—eight years old when I first started. My brother was a big wrestling fan and I used to watch with him. I remember, basically, I was just drawn in by all the extreme characters, it was like back in the Attitude Era, I was really big on The Rock and Stone Cold and the attitude, the music, all the theatrics of it really drew me in.
Kurt Angle would have been around during that same era. What’s it been like to have him back on Raw him – or possibly have him in the family if things go well with Jason Jordan?
It’s kind of crazy when you look back, like you said, being a fan and watching him on TV and now all working together, it’s kind of just sometimes hard to believe. I have a lot of respect for Kurt and he’s one of the best there was so I find it really humbling to be able to work with him now.
You trained in Canada with Lance Storm before finding your way to WWE. Would you advise aspiring WWE Superstars from Australia and New Zealand follow a similar path?
For me personally I think that’s the best decision I could have made. Lance is one of the best trainers I know so I highly recommend Storm Wrestling Academy. He’s still a good friend of mine, we’ll still converse and he’ll give critiques or suggestions or he’ll check in to see how things are going. Definitely I would recommend that. These days I feel like… I’m actually the first Australian female that was signed to WWE so at that point I feel like it almost opened a doorway. When we started coming back for tours we’d do more and more tryouts with the Australian wrestling scene and that’s when we can let everyone know how much we have to offer as an Australian scene too.
There are two Australians in the upcoming Mae Young Classic, as well as New Zealand’s Dakota Kai. Are you familiar with many of the women involved?
Both of them really impressed me. Shayna Baszler was actually really impressive as well. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a lot of them, first time seeing a lot of them and meeting them in person and seeing how they wrestle in the ring, and I was really impressed. I was actually at the Mae Young Classic and it just reminded me of the days back in NXT when I was up and coming as well so it was really special to be a part of.
Speaking of NXT, Asuka recently celebrated 500 days as NXT Women’s Champion. What do you make of Asuka’s accomplishments?
I think, for one, that’s an incredible achievement. One of my hardest-fought battles was against Asuka in London and I still to this day would like a rematch. I think I could maybe be the one to take that championship off her. I think I’m due for a championship at this point.
It seems there’s a significant crossover between WWE and MMA at this point in time. Are you a fan of MMA? Do you consider MMA and WWE to be a similar form of entertainment?
Yeah, there’s definitely similarities. I definitely have an interest in it – I wouldn’t say I’m an avid follower but I definitely have an interest in it and respect what they do. Watching Shayna I was actually quite intrigued to see the crossover from the two styles and I liked what I saw from her. I like how it’s all kind of crossing over.
If we can take a moment to talk about Taste of Tenille… it seems your schedule doesn’t allow a lot of time for cooking. What do you eat when you’re on the road?
No, I don’t get to cook at all really, especially on the road. It’s all about basically finding the right places or planning ahead. In the mornings I’ll try to get an egg-white omelette and some oatmeal, something like that, and then I usually try and bring protein powders or protein bars and those things with me so I have those on hand. Then finding somewhere to get protein and veges or a salad or something to take to the show or for the drive after. That’s when it’s hardest, when it’s midnight or up until 3am or so we could be driving and at that time only gas stations are open. You kind of have to have your food ready with you so you’re not eating all the gas station goodies.
As a WWE Superstar, you’re performing in front of thousands of people at a time. Does that translate well to YouTube, where you don’t get to see your audience, or was there a learning-curve?
It was something different for me. I do enjoy cooking and although it’s not in front of my fans or an audience it was put online to have an audience. Then to be able to interact with them and see how they were responding, that was what made it interesting to me, letting them into my life a bit to see what we do outside of the ring. And, of course, I want to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle.
Do you have a favourite recipe from Taste of Tenille?
I like the flatbread pizzas and then the egg muffins. Even the mini cheesecakes because they’re so convenient. You make them and take them with you when you travel, or in Tupperware containers, and that way you can always have a healthier snack with you, a healthier treat, as opposed to the other options, so… I like those the best.
You were at WWE Global Warning in Melbourne in 2002, and now get to come back to Australia and New Zealand as a WWE Superstar. What does that feel like?
It’s kind of hard to explain that feeling. Like you said, growing up in that area, when I was younger I used to go with my mum to Rod Laver Arena and we would watch the tennis, for instance, and we shared all those memories growing up and then to be able to walk out of the stage myself and have my family in the audience and be the one that everyone’s coming to watch is just so surreal. It’s something, like you said, it’s special because all my family and friends can share that feeling of going after a dream and making it come true.
What can people expect from WWE Live in Christchurch this September?
The live shows are so much fun. It’s very interactive, you get the full roster… you’ll get a bunch of female wrestlers and the males, you’ll get championship matches, tag team matches, you’ll be able to yell and scream for whoever you like, it’s just a fun night for everyone really. I know I myself am very excited to, for one, wrestle in Christchurch for the first time, and then just get back over that side of the world and wrestle in front of everyone.
WWE Live comes to Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Wednesday, September 13. Tickets available from Ticketek.