If it’s true that the House always wins, should fans be betting on Black tonight when Julia Hart challenges Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship at AEW WrestleDream?
Both women are riding a wave of momentum heading into tonight’s clash in Seattle. Statlander made an immediate impact upon returning from her second major knee injury by beating Jade Cargill at Double or Nothing to capture her first singles title in AEW.
In the weeks that have followed Stat has gone over the likes of Taya Valkyrie, Dr. Britt Baker (in Pennsylvania no less) and Cargill once more - in what turned out to be her final match for the company.
Julia Hart’s ascension in the women’s division has been much more gradual. Heading into the biggest match of her career, youngest member of the House of Black is carrying an undefeated streak that dates back to April of last year.
18 months later, her hard work is paying off with tonight marking the first PPV match in her very young, albeit very promising career.
“I’m feeling really good. I think I’ve had so much preparation for this moment being with the House of Black and being on every pay-per-view with them. So I know how it is on pay-per-view days. I’m feeling really confident, and calm, and just ready.”
Cageside Seats had a chance to chat with Julia Saturday afternoon as she was preparing for her match with VertVixen on AEW Collision.
Hart spoke about trying to balance the biggest singles push of her wrestling career with getting ready for her wedding in just a couple of weeks, Jade Cargill’s AEW departure, being a big fan of her entrance theme and so much more!
Check out our full Q&A below:
Disclaimer: The questions themselves have been edited to provide additional information and better fit the written format.
Cageside Seats: This has got to be an insane time for you personally, because you’re in the midst of the biggest singles push of your career. You’re hours away from your first pay-per-view match and you’re also getting married in two weeks. I know what that routine is like all too well. How have you been able to compartmentalize everything?
Julia Hart: Probably just the help of my mom, and my sister helping me, and just trying to keep everything in line. I’ve had most stuff prepared for a while now. It’s just like the last details. I guess the last payments on everything. So, I’m just trying to take one day at a time and just focusing on what I can do today and then tomorrow and then, yeah, just going from there. Just trying to take one day at a time.
cSs: What’s giving you more butterflies, the first pay-per-view match or the wedding?
Julia Hart: (laughs) I don’t know. I can’t think about it. If I think about it, I might go mental. I don’t know. I like to be a very zen and calm person, so as long as I can stay calm.
cSs: First things first, Sunday night you’re facing Kris Statlander for the TBS Championship. She’s somebody who is firing on all cylinders right now, but so are you. You’re undefeated dating back to April of 2022 and the last person to beat you was Kris Statlander. How are you as a performer now, compared to the last time you faced Kris? Where’s your confidence level at?
Julia Hart: I just feel like I’ve done a whole 180. Especially, you know, she saw me when I was a little cheerleader and that was I think my second or third match in AEW. That was probably like my 10th match ever. So that’s crazy. She saw me at a very, you know, not experienced level. And then with the eye patch, I couldn’t see. I wasn’t confident. I didn’t know what I was doing. So, she’s seen me at some really weak points, but now I feel like I’m just climbing up the ladder, getting more and more up there. I’m feeling so good right now. Last Wednesday when I wrestled Willow, after it, I was like that’s what I’m supposed to feel like after a match. I’m feeling really good.
TOMORROW NIGHT! #HouseofBlack’s Julia Hart, undefeated in 2023, challenges the TBS Champion Kris Statlander at #AEWWrestleDream LIVE on PPV!— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) October 1, 2023
Watch #AEWCollision Live on TNT!@TheJuliaHart | @callmekrisstat pic.twitter.com/MXmEAn4DaC
cSs: Before you started getting on Dynamite and Collision more often, many of the matches during this win streak were on Dark and Dark Elevation. Those shows no longer exist, but I have to feel like they were very instrumental in your development because you were able to really cut your chops there.
Julia Hart: Yeah, that’s where I did a lot of experimenting too. Some stuff that worked and stuff that didn’t. Had to be more aggressive and more intense and just slowly, you know, climbing up. Trying to figure out what works and I just needed those reps to see what I could do.
cSs: The television landscape obviously changed a lot of things, but do you think those two shows are missed? Because they were very valuable for yourself and a lot of other people.
Julia Hart: Yes. They were really fun too. I always looked forward to them just because I knew I would get to, you know, get ready and get in gear and feel out the ring and just look at it as practice. But there is ROH, so there is a good group of people that do still, kind of have that.
cSs: Sunday night is your second ever match for the TBS Championship. The last time that you fought for that belt, it was against Jade Cargill. She’s been making a ton of headlines recently for obvious reasons, no longer remember the AEW locker room. I’m sure a move like that for her, is going to garner some mixed emotions and her departure does leave a void in the women’s locker room, but I also have to believe that it creates opportunity for others in that locker room, like yourself, to kind of step up and grow into that spotlight. Especially having this match against Kris at WrestleDream.
Julia Hart: Yeah, I can’t wait to see what she’s doing. [Jade]’s amazing. She looks amazing. I just can’t wait to see what’s in store for her. But as AEW goes, like for me, if they want me to fill in some type of shoe, I’m all here for it. I’ll do whatever. I’m gonna come to work every week and they’re gonna tell me what to do and I’m gonna do it. So, if that’s what they’re telling me to do, that’s what I’m here for.
cSs: Now there are some similarities between yourself and Jade, in the sense that there’s a lot to be said about the presentation of the two of you. Before you even get to the ring, people are excited that you’re there. The entrance is a show all by itself and there’s multiple questions I want to ask. The first one being, how often does your own entrance music get stuck in your head? Because it’s been playing in mine on repeat for the last, like, 12 days.
Julia Hart: I won’t lie to you. It’s my workout song, when I work out. It helps me a lot. When I’m working out, that’s when I’m thinking the most. And I think about wrestling the whole time. I’m constantly [thinking] about character stuff and how I can look. I feel cool. I feel like a badass when I’m working out. So, when I’m working out, I start trying to channel the inner me... So, definitely when I’m working out, is when I’m listening to my entrance music.
cSs: It’s a banger, man. They did a great job putting that together for you.
Julia Hart: Thank you. Colin Young. He’s amazing.
cSs: The entrance itself, like I said, people get excited when you’re coming down to the ring. You said you feel like a badass when you’re working out, you look like a badass coming down to the ring, especially with Big Brody walking alongside you. Now, it’s one thing for you to feel that way. But when you’re getting reviews from other people who are calling it a top entrance in AEW, I mean, that’s got to get you pretty jazzed up.
Julia Hart: Yeah, it makes me really happy that other people enjoy it. Sometimes I’m reading, and I’m like, are they serious? Like, really? Me? Because, you know, I just see myself.
I think I also have like an out-of-body experience too when I watch myself. I’m like, ‘Wow, she’s so cool.’ And I’m like, ‘Wait, that’s you.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh wow!’ So it’s such a weird feeling, you know?
cSs: We talked about your improvement in the ring and you feeling like your really coming into your own, especially after your match with Willow on Dynamite this past week. Do you also feel like you’re really starting to hit your stride from an overall character and performance standpoint?
Julia Hart: Yeah, I feel like I still have so much more to give too, and so much more I can do with what I’m doing. And I get so excited about more things. I’m like, wait, just focus on what you’re doing right now. Because people like what you’re doing right now. You don’t need to be doing too much. So, I think I try not to get too ahead of myself as well, but I always have more ideas for later on. If I do need more ideas.
cSs: This character is vastly different than when we first saw you show up as a 20 year-old cheerleader with the Varsity Blondes. Obviously, there’s a foundation to build off of with the House of Black already established, but did you draw inspiration from any movies or characters or anything like that for the version of Julia we all know and love now?
Julia Hart: Wednesday was a big one for me. I loved Wednesday. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Netflix series. How she’s sassy and she’s a little witch. Kill Bill, Uma Thurman’s character. I love the confidence and the badass she [is]. And then Stevie Nicks, of course, with American Horror Story season three.
cSs: That is quite the list.
Julia Hart: Yes. When I first was experimenting with how I wanted to look, I remember I made like presentations. [They] actually looked a lot different than [how I] look now. I wasn’t wearing a hat. I had my hair slicked back. I had a little bit of different makeup and yeah, it was a little bit different. I was not expecting to have the hat be part of my whole thing, but it works.
cSs: 100%. Now the turn to this darker version of Julia Hart was a very slow burn. I’m listening to you on the Unrestricted Podcast talk about sitting on the ring steps for months and months until you finally got the go ahead to join up with House of Black. And this is a move that you pitched. I’m curious though, as the days peeled off the calendar, was there any doubt that crept in about whether or not this was going to happen? And were you coming up with any contingency plans in case Tony Khan and the decision makers decided not to push forward? Because I know you were done being a cheerleader.
Julia Hart: You know, now that you say that, I didn’t have any backup plans. I also didn’t know if it was gonna happen, because you know how wrestling is. They might say one thing and then it never happens or it goes a different way. I just kind of pitched it and hoped for the best. And I know Malakai really liked it. I didn’t talk to Tony closely at the time, so I wasn’t sure of really what was going on. I just kept like, I’m just gonna keep the eye patch. The black mist is gonna stay on me. I’m gonna keep doing it until someone says, stop doing that, because then hopefully it can go somewhere. And it did.
cSs: Something that I thought was both great and heartbreaking was that Tweet that you sent out after the first time that Malakai misted you. You said you got a call from your seven-year-old sister at the time, and she was crying because of that spot. How did that make you feel? Because as a Dad of a daughter who’s closing in on that age, I could see how that could just hit you in all the feels. But also now you’re the one misting people. So, I wanna know what your sister thinks about that.
Julia Hart: She’s nine now, so she’s grown up a little bit and she likes to dress up as me a lot and that’s good. She listens to my theme and at first she was scared. She didn’t understand it. But my whole family’s super into Halloween, so now she’s starting to get Halloween and more of like spooky vibes and she thinks I’m like, from Hocus Pocus. She thinks I’m cool. So now she thinks it’s cool, she just doesn’t ever wanna see me get hurt, which is understandable.
cSs: I love that like. You’re like her hero at this point.
Julia Hart: She wears all of my shirts to school and tells everybody, ‘This my sister!’ Yeah, she’s adorable.
cSs: That’s awesome. I know we’re short on time. You’ve got a match on Collision you’re prepping for here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least ask about the three gentlemen that you hang out with on television, when they’re all healthy. Hopefully everybody gets back and y’all can start firing on all cylinders together. That’s a wealth of knowledge between Malakai, Buddy and Brody. What’s it like working with those guys and is there anything you’ve been able to learn from them that you hope to pass on to the next generation of pro wrestlers? When you know, you’re like 35 and a multi-time world champion by then.
Julia Hart: Oh geez. (laughs) They’re just so great. I’m so happy that they took me under their wing and treat me like family.
I think one thing I’ve learned a lot from them is that how much the camera matters. How making sure your face is shown and facials and how to be aggressive and intense... putting everything you can into your character and taking control of what you can. So, like the things I wear and what I’m doing and how I look. Just, presentation is definitely something I’ve learned a lot from them.
SUNDAY | October 1st#AEWWrestleDream LIVE on PPV@ClimateArena Seattle, WA— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 25, 2023
Kris Statlander (c) vs. Julia Hart
The TBS Title is on the line as the challenger @TheJuliaHart of the House of Black takes on the champion @callmekrisstat!
Will Julia Hart keep her winning streak in tact and defeat Kris Statlander to become the new TBS Champion? Tune in to AEW WrestleDream tonight to find out. Coverage starts at 6:30pm ET with Zero Hour on B/R Live.
Make sure to check out our full conversation with Julia Hart in the video at the top of the page. You can follow Rick Ucchino on Twitter and subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.