Successfully navigating between the worlds of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts can be a tricky business, as evidenced by the week that Brock Lesnar’s had. But while the popular/ polarizing wrestling/MMA star was busy bringing shame to himself, the WWE’s wellness policy and the UFC with the news of his failed drug test, another groundbreaking mixed martial artist has just enjoyed some well-earned glory in the squared circle.
WMMA pioneer Shayna “The Queen of Spades” Baszler and rookie professional wrestler took the next step in her burgeoning rasslin’ career by earning the Women Athletes Championship at Premier XIII in Gilroy, California last night.
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Pro wrestling belts, which are awarded as the result of pre-determined matches and angles, aren’t won in the way that MMA ones are, but they’re still an important accomplishment for the athlete who receives them. When a promotion selects someone to be their champion, they’re endorsing that performer’s skill, charisma, and drawing power.
Baszler has been humbly and diligently developing all of those qualities for just over a year now. After flirting with pro wrestling showmanship as part of Ronda Rousey’s Ric Flair and Double A-inspired Four Horsewomen faction, the former FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix and TCI Women’s 140 lbs champ made her first solo pro wrestling appearance at Ring of Honor’s 13th Anniversary Show in March of 2015.
Following her release from the UFC later that year Baszler—whose final UFC fight was a TKO loss to current Women’s Bantamweight Champ, Amanda Nunes, at Fight Night: Maia vs LaFlare—stepped out of the Octagon and into the squared circle. She made her professional wrestling debut against Cheerleader Melissa for a Quintessential Pro Wrestling show in Reno, Nevada this past September and has been performing on cards across the U.S. ever since. Most recently, she joined the all-female SHIMMER promotion where she teamed up with Heart of SHIMMER champ Nicole Savoy to cause some mayhem at a recent taping in Illinois last month. SLAM!’s Dan Murphy has suggested that this move could lead to “the formation of a new power faction in SHIMMER” in the near future.
In the meantime, Baszler has been continuing to establish herself as a solo force as well, culminating in last night’s great headlining match. The Queen of Spades submitted former reigning Women Athletes champ RAZE, taking her title at the 8:29 mark.
Although she’s off to a hell of a great start in the wrestling world, we probably shouldn’t count out Baszler’s original combat career—or her commitment to her OG power faction—just yet. She’s currently helping fellow Horsewoman Jessamyn Duke prepare for her bout against Cindy Dandois at Invicta 18, working on everything from body conditioning to Pokemon capture.
And, of course, there’s always the possibility that Ronda Rousey will need some assistance from her posse again when she makes her next inevitable Wrestlemania appearance.
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