Inside the WWE ring, Alexa Bliss has achieved great success. The 28-year-old is a former “RAW” and “SmackDown” Women’s Champion and is currently half of the Women’s Tag Team champions with Nikki Cross.
Before she entered into the land of sports entertainment, Bliss battled eating disorders as a teenager. Bliss struggled in the fight and ended up in the hospital on multiple occasions.
Having gone through a series issues like that made Bliss want to participate on the new WWE’s series on Quibi, “Fight Like a Girl.” Alongside Holly Jackson — who is also battling an eating disorder — Bliss goes through a workout session. Subsequently, Jackson goes through 10 weeks of training at the WWE Performance Center.
Bliss recently spoke with Sporting News to discuss the new video series, how she relates to the show and the Tweet barbs thrown at Ronda Rousey:
(Editor’s note: This interview is edited for length and clarity.)
Sporting News: Now with the downtime due to the global pandemic and WWE not doing live events, what did Alexa Bliss do on Easter?
Alexa Bliss: Me and my friends, we had a little socially distant cookout. It was like five of us. We cooked out, which was nice just to get some fresh air because we’d all been stuck inside for literally ever. I just have been hanging out with my animals mostly. I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home, so it’s been nice to hang out with my animals. My pig is loving the attention. He is just soaking it all up. I’ve been catching up on Netflix shows, and you know everything that there is to catch up on. It’s been very refreshing, especially because we travel about 280 days a year, so when you’re able to be home for more than a day at a time, it’s actually quite freeing.
SN: The main reason we are talking today is because of “Fight Like a Girl,” a video series which you were a part of it to where a WWE women’s superstar helps a young woman overcome a personal issue and to grow into a stronger individual. When you were presented with this opportunity, what were your initial thoughts?
AB: I was very excited because I feel like this is what I got into WWE for the outreach that it gets in the platform that we are able to do these kinds of things is a huge reason. That was the main reason why I even told anyone about my eating disorder. That was why I even first spoke about having eating disorders because it could potentially help someone else going through the same thing. And now that actually gets that opportunity and made it 100 percent worth it. I was very excited to start this whole process. It was a very emotional process. It is a very real process. I have a lot of respect for every girl that went through it. I’m glad to see that everyone came out more confident and overall better.
SN: I’ve read about stuff you’ve had to overcome. Because of that, did it make it easier for you to be able to relate just because of things you had to go through when you were younger?
AB: Absolutely. It was crazy because whenever we would talk about it was almost like I was sitting talking to my 19-year-old self. It was crazy the stuff she was saying and her mentality and how she would react and just answered questions. It made me feel like I was looking in a mirror but to me when I was 19. I even told her when the cameras were off, and I said, ‘Look, I know whatever I say you’re not going to believe unless you want to get better’. Because I said that was my issue. People would tell me all the time that they want to help me. People would offer advice and help and I acted like I wanted help. But deep down, I didn’t want to get better yet. I told her, ‘You’re not going to get better until you want to get better’. So I asked her off-camera, I was like, ‘Do you actually want to get better?’ She said yes.
She promised me that she would get better and that she would try and that she would take the advice and because a lot of people with any kind of disorder, I found myself doing it when I was younger, we would lie about what we eat or how much we were working out. I had that real moment with her when the cameras were off. So when I saw the reveal, I lost it. I was crying, and I’m not an emotional person, by any means. I can watch movies all day that have sad endings, and I just don’t cry. My friends always make fun of me. They’re like, Oh, you have you know, cold for a heart. But when I saw her come out, I just lost it. I started crying. I was just so proud of her. I think it’s because I’ve been through it. I felt that moment. I know exactly how she’s feeling and to feel good about yourself and to have that confidence after being so hard on yourself for so long and, and, and just having this disorder. I cried. I was so happy for her. Then maybe like a week to two weeks ago, I messaged her on Instagram checking in and seeing how she’s doing. She said she’s still doing really well. So I’m really proud of her.
SN: You’ve been in the news with everything going on with Ronda Rousey and her comments on calling pro wrestling fake. You posted on Twitter the other day the little short snippet of your documentary on the WWE Network in which she gave you a concussion.
How much offense did you take to Ronda’s comments, because not only does she really offend the wrestling fans, but she really offended a lot of the females that are currently on the roster busting their butts and traveling to towns year after year?
AB: Here’s the thing: I want to start off saying I have a lot of respect for Ronda. I do. We get along great. I just said this already, and I’ll say it again, I don’t like when people use the F-word — when people say fake — because what we do is not fake. She’s accomplished a lot in MMA. She came into our business and everyone was more than accommodating, more than wanting to see her succeed. It’s kind of that thing where it’s like this is a two-person thing. Every match that we have, you’re only as good as the person that you’re in the ring with.
The fact that she called it fake could be her opinion on it. But it’s offensive to everyone that has had injuries, and myself included because I’ve gone in the company, six years without having a single injury. And then I ended up having a whole documentary based on multiple concussions that I wasn’t even sure I was going to be cleared to ever be in the ring again.
So kind of when someone does that, it’s offensive. It’s offensive to the girls that have worked their butt off, like you said. We all want to see each other succeed. When Ronda was here, we wanted to see her succeed. We were more than accommodating with putting the matches together and making sure that she had her moment because she’s a star. She is. She is a star. We always wanted to make sure that we highlighted that. My whole thing is if you’re not going to be the star in the company, you’re going to want to work with the star in the company because that means you’re getting that opportunity as well. So I wanted to work with Ronda. I had a great time working with Ronda. If she comes back to WWE, that would be amazing. I’m sure we will all work with her again, and it’ll be the same and just ask her to limit the use of the F-word.
SN: Would that be a point if she does return? Would that be a point of you and a bunch of people or even yourself sitting down with her and having that conversation with her and being like, “Hey, there’s words to use and words not to use, and that is not one of them?”
AB: Probably. I don’t know unless that happens. I have a lot of respect for her. She’s done a lot. She did an amazing job in WWE. We respected her business, and we made sure that we catered the matches to her style and so we didn’t disrespect her style. So you know, just for the people that helped you along the way like, don’t disrespect us and our business, that’s all.
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