Steph De Lander

Steph De Lander On Her WWE NXT Run, NXT Transitioning To NXT 2.0


Former WWE NXT Superstar Steph De Lander (formerly Persia Pirotta) was recently interviewed by Fightful as she talked about NXT transitioning over to NXT 2.0, the new direction, and her run with the brand (in general).

You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

Steph De Lander on NXT’s rebranding to NXT 2.0: “There was a huge transition. I think I arrived really right as it was changing over. Obviously, COVID changed a lot of things within WWE, but I literally arrived as they were wrapping up the Black & Gold era, doing the last couple of TVs as NXT Black & Gold. I think Triple H was there for a few weeks and then, obviously, he had his health problems and he disappeared. So I came in, literally as I’m arriving and settling in, all these huge changes were happening. The first thing I ever did was be a bridesmaid in Indi’s wedding, which was the first-ever 2.0 episode. So I was right smack bang in the middle of all these changes.”

On how things changed: “It’s one of those things where it was a lot and you see it and you process it as you’re there and if you know enough about wrestling and business and WWE and all of those things, you know that things go in waves and you know that there’s trends that they want at a certain time. You can see if you fit into that or if you don’t. You can also see who is being positioned for certain things and who isn’t. I think the best way to break it down is, all of the people that hired me don’t work for WWE anymore. I was hired by Regal. I was hired by Canyon and Triple H. Obviously, he’s still involved, but he is not in the same role that he was before. So I think that kind of says it all. All of the people that wanted me for this Black & Gold brand, well the brand doesn’t exist anymore and also the people that wanted me don’t even work there. So I think all of those things you process while you’re there and you go, ‘Oh. This isn’t good.’ But it is what it is.”

De Lander on how the changes took place: “I think because it was such a transitional period, there wasn’t a concrete sit down, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’re doing.’ It was in bits and bobs. It was, ‘Oh, we’ve got this new song by Wale and we’ve got the colorful logos and we’re refitting the arena.’ So these changes were happening each week slowly, but it wasn’t like an instant, ‘Bam, we’re changing everything over.’ But I think that was all down the line. I’m not even sure if the real top people, like the people that run NXT, I’m not even sure if they 100% knew what was going on with the changes. It was just flying by the seat of your pants, just like it always is in wrestling and taking what comes at you and working with it and making the most out of it. It wasn’t a bam, one meeting and we’re flipped. It was more of a gradual process.”

Her favorite moments in WWE NXT: “My favorite thing that I did, I think, which is pretty ridiculous, was when I had a triple threat match that was meant to be me Jacy Jayne and Io Shirai and Jacy Jayne just dies. Then I went on the fly with Io for six minutes. I think that was my second match on TV. To be in that situation and to be able to keep it cool and work through it with Io, that was such an amazing feeling. I’m really grateful to be able to do that. Obviously, the ladder match for the titles was amazing. I had a lot of cool moments for a year, but the thing that sticks out of like, ‘I’m so glad in hindsight that happened,’ I’m really glad for that because I feel that was a huge, really in the deep end. Like, I didn’t know how TV wrestling worked at that point. I didn’t know how anything worked. In that moment I literally stood up and looked at the turnbuckles and I saw the WWE on the turnbuckle and I said, ‘I’ve been in a wrestling ring for five years. It’s the same thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a live TV show. It doesn’t matter if Shawn Michaels is on the other end of the headset. I know how to wrestle. Right now, all of the plans are completely out of the window, I have to wrestle.’ So I think that was a really cool moment, personally, for me.”

Steph De Lander was released by WWE last month.

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