Bianca Belair has had an extremely successful career in WWE. She made history with her Royal Rumble match, and has held both the RAW & SmackDown Women’s Title. She has also been an athlete for a lot longer than she has been a WWE star.

Belair opened up in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Laces Up. She said that she understands the criticism of pro-wrestlers because she isn’t from the world of WWE. However, she recognizes the toiling required and wants respect in the names of pro wrestlers.

I don’t try to take offense because I didn’t come from the WWE world. You know, I didn’t grow up watching wrestling. I never aspired to be a WWE superstar. I wanted to be an Olympic track athlete, I want to be an Olympic gymnast, I was an athlete my whole life. So I understand how it is outside looking in. But now that I’m inside in WWE, and I’m a WWE superstar. All I gotta say isn’t — I mean, athletes, put some respect on our name.

The WWE superstar made history at WrestleMania 37 as she had the main event. That match won an ESPY, and received a lot of recognition in the world of sports. Belair said that the match was a move towards changing the game, and she wants to keep being a part of that movement. She added that pro-wrestlers have become a lot more than just wrestlers.

It’s really cool for when I had the main event at WrestleMania 37. I was like the first black woman to be able to main event at WrestleMania and we won an ESPY for that match, and we got recognized in the world of sports as like we’re changing the game. And I want to be a part of that. I want to be a part of changing the game because we’re not just WWE superstars. We’re not just wrestlers. We’re athletes, we’re actors, we’re entertainers, we’re icons, we’re representation we’re activists. We’re doing it all.

Belair pointed out exactly how many things she has to do to keep at the top of her game. She said that while she puts on an incredible athletic performance in the ring, she also has to cut huge 5-8 minute long promos. It’s a hybrid set of skills, she added.

Like we are out there. Doing high-risk moves. I’m in the ring, doing 450 flips off the top rope, but I’m also deadlifting and picking up girls over my head in 30-minute matches. I’m out that’s cutting five-minute, eight-minute promos where we don’t have teleprompters, we are memorizing all of that for five to eight minutes, and we’re doing these hybrid skill moves, and we’re doing it on live TV. So we are experts at what we do. I just think that wrestlers, you need to put some respect in their name, if you like, and the athletes we do would do interviews, we can go on the commercials, we can be in movies, we can do it all.

The WWE diva’s argument stands true when we look at the examples of John Cena and The Rock. While they are both incredible pro-wrestlers, they are also highly successful entertainers. The skill set for a pro-wrestler is huge, and they deserve a lot more respect in their names.

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Nitish Vashishtha

Nitish Vashishtha is a freelance writer/contributor from India. He’s written content for companies like ScoopWhoop and Sportskeeda. He’s been writing about pop-culture, current affairs and pro-wrestling since 2017.

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