It typically takes time for most NXT newcomers to work their way up the ranks and land a regular role on the weekly television show, in addition to finding their footing as a performer. Shotzi Blackheart has been the rare exception.
After officially signing with the promotion in November 2019, it was no more than a month later that she was on NXT TV fighting Bianca Belair. She continued to turn heads in the months that followed and quickly became a fan favorite on the black-and-gold brand.
Last week, Blackheart got her first taste of WWE gold when she and Ember Moon beat Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez to become only the second-ever NXT Women’s Tag Team champions. In an exclusive interview with Daily DDT, she spoke about her history-making moment, her journey so far, who her favorite match has been with, and more.
It’s still surreal for Shotzi Blackheart to be calling herself a champion right now
Blackheart has only been in NXT for a year-and-a-half and already she can call herself a champion. Calling the moment “completely surreal,” she admits she’s soaking it all in right now and loving every second of it.
“Hearing from Triple H… I mean, I know he would come congratulate us, but it’s always surreal and feels so good,” she said when asked about who she heard from upon becoming champion. “Having him come up and say, ‘Congratulations,’ and, ‘You deserve it,’ that was just the moment for me.”
She admitted that she had no idea that the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship was going to be introduced until a week beforehand, confirming that there weren’t any long-term plans to give the women of NXT their own set of tag titles dating back to the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
The only other time she came close to holding gold in WWE was when she and Tegan Nox teamed up in June 2020 to take on then-WWE Women’s Tag Team champions Sasha Banks and Bayley. It marked the first time she had headlined an episode of NXT, and following that failure, winning the tag titles with Ember Moon meant that much more to her.
“Just being in that match was huge for me because I was a huge fan of Bayley and Sasha, so that was a big turning point and it was also my first-time main-eventing at NXT,” she said. “It’s kind of like it’s coming full circle because that was a big moment for me on NXT TV and then this moment just bringing it all the way around. To do it with Ember means so much to me because I’ve become so close to her throughout this whole journey from WarGames to the Dusty Cup and it’s surreal.”
Shotzi Blackheart dishes on teaming with Ember Moon and her NXT journey thus far
Blackheart and Moon first tested the waters for a potential tag team when they linked up at TakeOver: WarGames last December. Although their squad fell short of victory on that evening, the chemistry they showed as partners was enough to convince them that there was something there.
Referring to Moon as “loud, wild, and energetic,” she can’t wait to take on every team from Raw, SmackDown, and NXT that steps up to challenge them.
“I’d love to get back at Candice [LeRae] and Indi [Hartwell],” she said. “That feud has been going on forever, but I’m not ready to let it go. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax, I’d love to get in the ring with.”
Her transition from the independent scene to NXT TV in 2019 was one of the fastest ever. She was still doing EVOLVE shows while a member of the NXT roster, so she had no time to readjust herself to her new environment and was thankfully able to get away with being herself.
“It was really, really quick. I got signed in November actually and then I debuted in December,” she said. “It all happened so fast. I thought I was going to have time to get new gear and redevelop my TV persona. No, it was like, ‘All right, go! Get in the ring!’ I think because it was so fast, I did get to be me, doing exactly what I was doing on the indies and bring it to NXT TV. I didn’t even skip a beat.”
Fans of Blackheart are likely aware that she previously tried out for the 2015 season of Tough Enough and was actually confirmed for the cast. Unfortunately for her, a health issue disqualified her from partaking in the program, which led her to find success elsewhere before finally winding up in WWE.
“I loved my time on the indies and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she said. “I’m actually thankful for how everything panned out because I got to travel the world. I trained everywhere. I trained in Europe and Canada and Mexico and all over the United States. I got so many different views and I got to find myself by myself and it was kind of a spiritual way of finding my wrestling self. I wouldn’t be who I am as a wrestler or even as a person today if I didn’t go through everything I went through. In a sense, me being released from Tough Enough for medical reasons was kind of like, ‘Hey, you need to go find yourself on your own.’”
Shotzi Blackheart names her favorite NXT match so far and remembers PekPek the chicken
Before becoming NXT Women’s Tag Team champions, Blackheart was fortunate enough to lead her very own team at TakeOver: WarGames in December as well as host Halloween Havoc in October.
Of everything she’s accomplished and experienced so far on the black-and-gold brand, taking NXT Women’s champion Io Shirai to the limit on the September 16 episode was by far her biggest highlight as well as her favorite match.
“Me versus Io is definitely my favorite match since I’ve gotten to NXT,” she said. “The pressure was on and when it finally unfolded, I was like, ‘Wow, I really just left it all in the ring,’ and I was really proud of myself after that.”
Given the chance to run it back, Blackheart would surely have a better chance of taking the title from her now that she’s even more seasoned. In the meantime, she’s focused on being the best tag team champ she can be and paying tribute to the late, great PekPek, her pet chicken who unfortunately passed away earlier this month.
“My mom was given PekPek when she was at a pumpkin patch,” she said, recalling the story of how she was gifted the chicken. “It was one of those pumpkin patches that was in a parking lot and it had a petting zoo. My mom went there to pick up some pumpkins and the lady that was running it was stressed out about these chickens. She asked my mom if she wanted these chickens. My mom being the Filipino woman that she is, she was like, ‘Yes, I will take your chicken.’ But I think she was actually going to eat the chicken, to be honest.
“She came home and she’s holding this chicken and I’m like, ‘Mom, why do have a chicken in your hand right now?’” Blackheart continued. “She said, ‘Oh, I got it from the pumpkin patch.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’ Then she said, ‘We’re going to eat it.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, no. This is my chicken because I picked it up.’ PekPek was just down: cuddly and a sweetheart. I have a picture of my mom holding the chicken outside. I took the picture and met the chicken and then I got a call from WWE right then in that driveway.”
As far as her reign as NXT Women’s Tag Team champion is concerned, she promises it will be something special and that the NXT Universe can expect the unexpected from herself and Moon.
“We’re just going to bring all the energy,” she said. “Us together is just this wild, energetic ball of danger and we’re going to bring all of that.”
Catch Shotzi Blackheart every Wednesday on WWE NXT at 8/7c on USA Network.