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Shayna Baszler changed a lot of minds with a savage night on Raw

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Even when she was on top of the NXT Women’s division for the better part of two years, Shayna Baszler never seemed to click for some of fans. Everyone understood why she should be a big deal - the Queen of Spades is a pioneering MMA badass who quickly took to all aspects of pro wrestling, and is friends with Ronda Rousey. But not everyone agreed those elements worked in a way that made her a star, and not just Ronda’s sidekick.

The issues seemed to be magnified by her move to Raw. Even worse, it looked like the powers-that-be didn’t “get” Baszler either. They added to her act in outlandish ways (the bite), and were hesitant to pull the trigger on her in big spots like the Royal Rumble, her WrestleMania 36 Raw Women’s title match, or this past weekend’s Money in the Bank ladder match. And when they did push her, like at Elimination Chamber, the response wasn’t great.

But last night, they teed her up as the heel response to Becky Lynch’s pregnancy announcement. And Shayna knocked it out of the park.

“Reaction? How stupid do you have to be to get knocked up when you’re the champion? Here’s a fact: 10 out of 10 mothers will try to convince you that pregnancy didn’t ruin their careers.

You’re trying to tell me Becky Lynch becomes the longest reigning Raw women’s champion and throws that all away just to house some miserable parasite? Imagine: The Man, barefoot, on the couch eating bon bons. Yeah, that kid’s gonna suck.

You know who the father is? Yeah, I rest my case.”

It’s a little over-the-top, and peppered with a couple “Vince McMahon wrote this, didn’t he?” tells (the anachronistic bon bons reference, mostly). But Baszler commits and sells the hell out of it.

She wasn’t done there, either.

That one’s even a little more uncomfortable, but if you’re going for heat - might as well go for it. Baszler & Natalya are friends and training partners from way back, too, so there’s no way Nat didn’t sign off on this exchange.

Personally, I’m most impressed with her fallout interview. It references the doubters - of which I’ve been one - and contains a clever way to write off her latest high profile setback. Plus, it just sounds more like her own words. Because they probably are.

“You think I don’t read what people say about me? They think that one setback means that ‘my run here is over’? No, I think I just showed out there that I’m far from over [laughs]. I didn’t lose last night the way you think I did. I signed up for a ladder match and I lost a food fight. No, I’m here to show everyone what a real fight is. That’s what you’re gonna see from now on.”

As long as those “real fights” come along with this chip-on-her-shoulder savagery, I’m more interested in what Baszler does next than I’ve been in a long time.

You?