Marina Shafir recently appeared as a guest on the AEW Unrestricted podcast for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling.
During the discussion, the former women’s MMA fighter turned AEW star spoke about her journey to AEW, as well as the most difficult part of the transition from MMA to pro wrestling.
Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On her journey to AEW: “So I got let go [by WWE], and I let my emotions kind of do their thing there for a minute. Then I just tried to get as much work as I could and land any opportunity that I felt was right for me because this has to make sense. I just wanted to take every opportunity and understand what would make sense for me and what didn’t make sense for me. I did get a lot of experience in NXT and I feel like I was exposed to a lot of people who tried to push me to lean on the psychology of things and let things make sense and be interesting. I was wrestling for Championship Wrestling Atlanta. I had met Captain Shawn Dean there after one of my matches. He came up to me with questions and he was very inquisitive. I’ve had a lot of experience with coaches and professionals and usually the people who come up to you with questions and are inquisitive about what and why something was going on, they’re better receivers of information because then they actually want to hear the answer and they want to understand. I guess that’s why they call him Captain. He extended an invitation to Dark and that’s how that happened.”
On the most difficult part of the transition from MMA to pro wrestling: “My own ego. Learning to swallow that motherfucker was real hard. It still is sometimes. I’m starting to realize where the real levels of competitiveness come from in pro wrestling and I ain’t there yet, but I know that. Just being vulnerable, that was hard. It still is hard. It’s hard for me in relationships. It’s hard for me everywhere. I think it’s hard for everybody. I think in pro wrestling, the biggest transition is understanding how much you need to be vulnerable because you’ve got to know yourself. Yeah, it’s really understanding that every time you put yourself in that arena, you have to be taking like somewhat of a step forward. You have to. Whichever way you think it is, you really have to. That freedom, that’s difficult. Because in fighting, it’s easy. Like you go three rounds. If you spar for three three-minute rounds, you will learn a lot about yourself. In nine minutes, you can figure out, ‘My conditioning sucks. I need to work on my jab. I leave this open, I need to make sure that I know how to circle this way.’ Like you can find out so many things. It’s a little bit more elusive and pro wrestling because of how you’re looking at it.”