If possession is nine-tenths of the law, Nyla Rose can really argue that she is the All Elite Wrestling TBS champion. “The Native Beast” has gotten under the skin of the official title holder, Jade Cargill by keeping the gold in her care.
All the trash talk and mind games lead to two of the most dominant performers in the women’s division facing off at the Full Gear pay-per-view. There Rose looks to not only dethrone Cargill but break her impressive undefeated streak. It would be a further milestone night for the challenger who would become the first to have held the TBS and AEW women’s titles.
No stranger to trailblazing right from the moment she stepped into the company as the first transgender wrestler to sign with a major American promotion. We caught up with Rose to preview the big showdown and her evolution as one of the AEW originals.
How does it feel to be back in the women’s title hunt?
Nyla Rose: It feels amazing. I don’t have a problem being in the background here and there. Pro wrestling is weird. We’re all essentially one big sports team, even though we may not all get along and have individual matches. We together as a company are a family. So if it means hanging in the background, sharpening my tools. If it does benefit me in the long run while others get the exposure that I was fortunate and blessed to have at the forefront of things with AEW, then I’m okay with that. I don’t want to hang out in the background the entire time. Don’t get me wrong there though.
You’ve formed quite the bond with Vickie Guerrero. It really translates on TV.
Vickie is a legend. She has been everywhere and done everything. So to have someone who has experienced so much is wonderful to have around. Someone to guide us and nurture us. She cares about the overall product at the end of the day as well. She is a very giving and selfless person. I can’t even put into words what I’ve learned from her. The knowledge she has dropped on me has been so valuable. The bond we have is 100 percent genuine. I love the fact that has come across on screen because it makes everything more real. I feel like the audience can feel we have that bond, appreciation, love, and respect for one another.
We’re seeing your personality really shine through the last few months. Was that by design?
I think it’s the natural evolution of myself as an onscreen presence. It’s kind of a challenge to see what the jumpoff point is going to be for an audience that may not be largely familiar with Nyla Rose. I’m speaking about the beginning of All Elite Wrestling. You kind of throw things at a dartboard where you’re like, “Hey, I’m going to take this route. See how it goes.” You shape and reshape things based on the crowds and learn how to read them and learn what they want from their entertainment. It’s another way to keep things fresh.
Another anticipated match at Full Gear is Saraya’s AEW debut against Britt Baker. What was it like for you as a colleague to see her announce she was cleared to wrestle again?
Don’t tell her this, but it was a beautiful moment to see her share with everybody that she was cleared and able to get back into the ring. For a lot of people, we say wrestling is in our blood. With the Knights and the whole family, wrestling is in their blood. Wrestling is engrained in her DNA and part o her. So, to have it ripped away from her in a station she couldn’t control. I can’t even begin to fathom what she has been going through and the mental toll that has taken. It’s such a hard blow to be dealt so for her to overcome those odds and return to the things that are her passion. I love that for her. Selfishly as someone who grew up watching her and was a fan of hers, I’m 100 percent eager to test how much she is cleared.
Your story continues to inspire others as a warrior for the LGBTQ community. Where do you think we are when it comes to bringing more representation to the forefront?
I think we’re in a good place. We’re making leaps and bounds, but of course, the work is never done. We have to keep pushing and striving and keep things moving forward. It’s not an easy thing. It’s not an easy task, especially bringing such a marginalized group to the forefront. I think AEW is doing a wonderful job. A lot of our LGBT performers are at the forefront of everything. It’s not a huge spectacle. I know for a lot of us that is not what we wanted to be. There are some that do want it to be that. There is no right or wrong answer. But for a lot of us we just want to exist. We just want to perform. We just want to do what we love and share that with the millions of fans out there. We continue to do that and continue to get those opportunities. We can just be performers. It may be a small microcosm right now, but I think we are reshaping the world.
Do you think we’re at a point where you’d like to see intergender wrestling in AEW?
I just don’t care to have things be a spectacle. If you have two great performers, put them in the ring whether they be male, female, nonbinary, or a mix. I just want to see good matches. In that regard, I absolutely love intergender wrestling. But for me and where I come from, why does it have to be a thing? Let’s just have some good pro wrestling.
How has it been working with Jade? You both have done such a great job building up the rivalry.
It has been great. I’m the rightful TBS champion. If she is lucky, she has an opportunity to win it at Full Gear. But right now, the title is mine. I like to think I’m her biggest rival even from a physical standpoint, but it is hard. How do you fight someone that is as imposing as yourself? We do what we do when we prepare for a big match. We increase the reps and training routine. We stick to a more precise schedule. For me, a big part of things a lot of people overlook is stretching and mental preparedness. Taking that time for myself to be clear-minded and ready.
There are three women’s matches on this Full Gear card. That has to be encouraging for you. What do you think the state of the AEW women’s division is heading into 2023?
We are in a great position. When AEW first came on the scene, it was tricky for all of us because nobody had known the vast majority of us. Here we are putting in the work and touring the country. We have successful shows on TNT and TBS. We have successful shows on YouTube with Dark and Elevation, an action figure line. We have been steadily growing the company all across the board. All of us in the women’s division has been putting in that work and getting our names out here and getting seen. Everyone is on the grind. I think we are stacked, loaded, and in a prime position to keep pushing things and keep having amazing matches into the end of this year and beyond.
AEW Full Gear, November 19, 8/7c, Pay-Per-View
AEW Dynamite, Wednesdays, 8/7c, TBS
AEW Rampage, Fridays, 10/9c, TNT