Mandy Rose On Getting Engaged, Being NXT Women's Champ, Trish Stratus
Mandy Rose (@mandysacs) is a professional wrestler signed to WWE where she is the current NXT Women's Champion. She joins Chris Van Vliet to talk about winning the NXT Women's Championship, her thoughts about moving from Raw to NXT, how different things are with Triple H in charge, being a contestant on WWE Tough Enough, her storyline with Otis and Dolph Ziggler, who she thinks is the greatest women's wrestler of all time, getting engaged to Sabby Piscitelli (Tino Sabbatelli from WWE) and more!
For more information about Chris Van Vliet and INSIGHT go to: https://podcast.chrisvanvliet.com
"I'm so grateful. And I feel like, you know, everyone's different. Sometimes it matter how much talent you have, obviously, we've seen that. And it's just, it's just some things just don't work out, or some things just weren't meant to be. So I am really grateful for that. But, you know, deep down, I knew that, you know, I always knew I had this, I always knew I could always get better at it, right? Like, everyone, you get better with time, but you need the opportunity, right? So it's like, can't really show anything if you don't have that opportunity. And if you're just kind of known for being the blond bombshell, or the golden goddess and eye candy, or whatever it is, my whole vision of ever since I started in WWE was always even in the NXT back in the day was like, Yeah, I know, I look like this. And I know, it could be intimidating. Or also like, Oh, she's just here for the fame and whatnot, all the, you know, stigmas that I've gotten. But I knew that like, my biggest thing was to prove myself in the ring. I knew it was like a Trish Stratus story, you know, like, why can't you be hot and still, like, be able to wrestle, right? Like, it's been done before? Like, why do I get such like heat? Or why do I get so much backlash for looking like this? But I knew in the back of my head that like, it takes time, respect, you know, you have to kind of gain your respect you have to put your time in. So I just knew over time, eventually it would turn."
"I feel like it was, it was a timing thing. I feel like it was gonna happen. But yeah, I couldn't picture it this way. You know, I couldn't have pictured it if I wanted to. But it's like, I knew I had this vision when I first went to NXT, and I knew that I wanted to rebrand myself, I knew that I wanted to get more opportunities. And I wasn't really that fond of like what I was doing at the moment. And I just didn't didn't think that I was showing my true potential. So I knew there needed to be something. And sometimes you just need to like, you need to change a little bit, you need to like, you know, evolve a little bit or just have a clean slate or first coat of paint. And like, I felt like I needed that. So I think it all worked out for the best. Of course, in the moment, I was a little bit like taken aback, but then I know looking back, I'm just so happy that I went in with such a positive mindset because Sabbi says this a lot too, my fiance. He's just very like proud of me and that aspect of life, because he's been through a lot, but of like having that positive mindset and kind of like, knowing that this could be something good. Whereas instead of most people would might take that as like a demotion or like, or just like, Oh, you're going back to NXT? Like, oh, like most people would have that attitude of like, well why and all these questions and, and, you know, in our business, it's like, you don't really get a lot of answers most of the time. Like, if you do your job and you do it well, you know, it's going to eventually pay off. And I think that goes a long way. So I'm just really happy I went in with such a positive mindset. And I just had this vision. And I knew if I had the right people in my corner and the right people to back me up, that it would be successful. And you know, I'm really grateful for that."
"You know, I didn't know exactly when I first won. But then when I, you know, started kind of getting in the groove and really, like, with this whole character change and stuff, I felt like, I was like, you know, I think this is going to be a good run and a long run, because I think we're going to really make it mean something. I think, you know, it's a good story, me coming back here and kind of even, like, helping some of the younger girls, even the whole, like, transition of NXT you know, NXT 2.0. And like, you know, there's so many young people and young, you know, great talent that is just like up and coming. So I feel like it just made the most sense, you know. And now, I mean, over a year now, I didn't know it'd be this long, but hey, I ain’t complaining."
"I would just say it's still me, I'm still like, you know, I didn't go from like, I didn't change that much. It's still me. I think it's more just like adding a little edge to Mandy Rose, I think it's more about yeah, I can still look good and you know, beat bitches up, but also, like, I have this edge to me. And I think the whole idea was that as well with Gigi and Jacey when we all teamed up, like, I think everyone kind of thought I was going to make them be more like Mandy, but instead, we all kind of, we've all taken a little bit from each other, right? So I feel like I have learned from them a lot."
"A lot Yeah, Shawn Michaels is amazing and he's great to work with. He has been nothing but amazing towards me and you know, Toxic Attraction, and you know, we all kind of it was a collaboration of Toxic Attraction. You know, when I first got there, it was like, oh, maybe you'll team with these girls, they're just gonna just about ready to be on TV. But, you know, we don't really know exactly and it was Triple H that said this before he, you know, took a leave of absence, but he had said too like we're not going to pigeonhole you either, you know, like, this might be something good, but we'll see. Like, then that's how we work, you know, nothing's ever really set in stone, everything changes by the day. But yeah, so we just, we kind of all collaborated and, and I think Shawn and you know, our writer, Johnny Russo and coach Bloom, and like the people that were really behind Toxic Attraction and really, like, you know, had strong belief in making us successful. It worked. Because when you have the right people behind you, and you have those people that believe in you, they're going to stand up for you, and they're gonna put you hopefully put you in the right spot."
"Yeah, I mean like, even just, you know, whether it's helping the girls with, you know, hotels, cars, like rentals, we do a lot of that stuff on our own. Like they don't teach you that in NXT like, you know, you don't really travel that much in NXT. So it's like, get a good credit card where you can put your hotels on there for expenses and for stuff, you know, for write offs and whether it's, you know, ideas for, for promos, whether it's how you present yourself, clothing. Like for a lot of people it's hard too in NXT you know, you're on a different pay scale and then the main roster obviously. You're just in developmental, you're just working your way. So little ins and outs of how to kind of not only beat the system, but you know, like be ahead of the game when you're up there. Right? So it's like just little things like that and just trying to help them about even how they present themselves with higher ups when they get there. You know, like you don't have to go around kissing everyone's ass, you just have to, you know, know your role, always say hello to people and like there's certain things you know, common courtesy and stuff like that. But sometimes people get wrapped up in like, so many different cooks in the kitchen in NXT. Because you do have a lot of coaches, you have a lot of producers, you have everyone in your ear about certain things. And also just like, my biggest thing with them is like telling them like no matter what people say about your character, like you know your character best, like take the advice. They've been doing this a long time, not discrediting them at all, they all know what they're doing. But like if you wouldn't say that word or you wouldn't say that sentence from that promo ask can I change this? Because I've done that a bunch of times. I mean, they'll write things for me sometimes where I'm like, not any more but, you know, a while ago, where I was like, I would never talk like that, like it's not going to come out natural, you know? Yeah. So those little things, I feel like help can go a long way."
"I think it would be, I was pretty good at this too. I wouldn't say that I was bad, a lot of people get caught up in this, but I think it's like, just not caring or giving, you know, a sh*t about what other people thought. Like you're, you're constantly trying to and this is like, in the beginning of like any probably job, right? Like you're always trying to impress your boss, or you're trying to impress the higher ups, you want to make more money, you want to like [progress]. I just feel like, and obviously sports entertainment, we're on TV or in the spotlight, I feel like I see that a lot too. And it's like you're always trying to impress, but I feel like if you just be yourself more, and not really care about what everyone has to say so much. Like I tell them I tell the girls and the guys this all the time, like don't sweat the small stuff. Like I always tell the story about with Cora Jade when I first met her, because I first met her in the beginning when I went there and it was you know, before she was really getting put on TV, but they obviously liked her and they wanted to get her out there. And she was crying in the bathroom, and I went up to her and I honestly asked her what was wrong. And she said that, you know, she just being told the same thing over and over again about her matches that she's moving too fast, or whatever it was. [Cora said] ‘I just don't know what to do. I feel like I'm trying to improve, but I feel…’ And I just told her listen. I said, hate to break it to you, but this is how they are, this is how it goes, you're probably never going to not move too fast. Like you're gonna get better but like this is just something that they're on with you right now. In a couple of weeks, there'll be something else or someone else. Just take it with a grain of salt and that's the biggest thing. Sonya and I always talk about it too, because we came up together and we had each other's backs and we're obviously very close. But I'm just not like sweating all the, everything they say to you, you know, we used to live together, we used to come back from training and we would talk for hours about like, I can't believe coach so and so said that about me… And it's like, who cares? Like it's their job, you know, like, so that's my biggest like take home with a lot of the girls and guys. And the biggest thing I would say if I went back like just and I was pretty good, I wasn't as bad as a lot of people but you know, knowing what I know now I would have probably been better."
"I feel like also, like, even my promo the other night, like, our, you know, I want to say her legacy and also just like everything I've done. Like, we have a little bit of similar backgrounds in the sense because she, you know, she's obviously had paved the way for us, definitely during like the Divas time and, you know, the women's revolution and all that. So it's like, I feel like there's some kind of, you know, similarity with the both of us because she was always one to be like, you know, she wants to have people respect her more and she did gain that respect over the years, but in the beginning, it wasn't maybe so much like that. So, like, there is a little you know, little story there."
"Yeah, um, you know, it's always kind of a struggle, because our schedules are kind of crazy. However, since you know, over the last year, being in NXT, I've had a really good schedule, and I actually love my schedule. I don't have to fly that much, obviously, I drive to Orlando and so I have way more time on my hands than I ever did and I feel like it's the like, I'm trying to make the most of it. I felt like it was pretty good timing because, you know, we had just bought our house and there's so many different little projects we're getting ourselves into, but I think it's just really kind of not making yourself get like too crazy and overload, you know what I mean? Like I really tried to like base my schedule, you know, after Tuesday, Wednesday on it's like, Okay, now it's my time to like, get stuff done, you know, whether it's around the house, workouts, you know, interviews and whatnot. But, I try to just like stay focused for TV like Monday and Tuesday or like my get ready for TV days, you know, and then like, once that's done, I can do other things that I have to do in life, you know, it's just a balance."
"That was such a fun, like, loving, entertaining story. And I think of the timing of it, like, you know, right during the pandemic, too. So I feel like there was so much, you know, so much negativity going around, and just like, you know, people cooped up in their homes, and I felt like it was such a good story to just kind of like for, I don't know, it was just pure entertainment. And it was fun. But for me, I just had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun working with him. He's obviously a character in and out in and out of the ring. And it was really cool to be able to have that kind of storyline where it was like, you know, we barely wrestled, it was more just like that was an entertaining [storyline]. Like, when they talked about sports entertainment, like that was pure entertainment I feel like. But it was fun. I had a lot of fun."
"Objectively, um, I would have to go with him. He, I mean I don't know, he's like a freak. Like I have good genetics and all sorry about my dog. [His name is] Trey That's the big one. The little ones underneath me. Yeah, they've been walking around my house a little bit. Sorry, what was I saying? Yeah. Like he's a genetic freak. I have good genetics for sure. But like, people think he eats like, you know, chicken and rice every day. And he does not eat chicken and rice. Like he's a big snacker, loves his potato chips, and Cold Stone. We have Cold Stone once a week, which I just told someone the other day, and they're like you two have Cold Stone every week? I said, Yes. Every week [on] Sundays."
"I know, actually people do probably think that but I mean, I used to be really really strict when I was competing, but since then and wrestling and it's definitely more of a consistent, balanced diet. But I like to have my cheat days and I like to splurge and I snack and all that. So it's you know, I mean, my workouts have changed a little bit I do a little bit more cardio, which might help obviously. But yeah, I grew up in a you know, Italian home with my dad who owns delis. So like we just grew up around really good food. I can't stop now."
"Oh, my go to is usually like a good, you know, good pasta or ravioli or pizza, and ice cream. I love ice cream."
"Obviously my fiancé Sabby, my health and my family."