Before she became arguably the most dominant NXT Women’s Champion in history, Shayna Baszler was a successful MMA fighter with UFC experience under her belt. Baszler left the UFC behind after three straight losses, setting her down the pro wrestling path. She worked Independent events before signing with WWE in 2017 and competing in the Mae Young Classic. But watching Candice LeRae in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla almost sent her in a different direction.
“A funny story about Candice and PWG. When I started going to PWG, I had just started thinking about wrestling—pro wrestling—and kind of moving towards that,” Baszler told Ronda Rousey’s Official Website. “And it was supposed to only be a temporary thing because I’d gotten injured and we didn’t know how long it was going to be ‘til my next fight. So there was something to keep me in shape and stay busy, but I start training and like anyone else, I was like, “Oh no, I want to do all the cool moves. Why can’t I do this?” And Josh [Barnett] was like, ‘Nobody can do the things you do, even though you think they’re simple. People will kill.’ So we had this whole thing.”
Baszler continued, “I remember going to PWG and seeing Candice wrestle and Candice … for the most part, she’s associated as the only girl with PWG, at least in the modern PWG that everyone’ knows. So here’s Candice doing all this crazy stuff and that’s the same Candice in the picture I posted with the blood all over her face. But, I remember at the end of the show going, ‘If that’s what girls have to do, I will never be a wrestler. I’ll never be able to do that stuff.’ And I tell Candice that story often, I remind her of that. But yes, she’s another one that would be really fun.”