In a recent interview with Chris Van Vliet as part of the INSIGHT With Chris Van Vliet podcast, WWE NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose discussed her decision to return to the brand, having a career path similar to Trish Stratus, advice from Shawn Michaels, her storyline with Otis and more.

Highlights of the interview are below:

On having a similar career path to Trish Stratus: “I’m so grateful. And I feel like, you know, everyone’s different. Sometimes it matters how much talent you have, obviously, we’ve seen that. And it’s just, it’s just some things just don’t work out, or some things just weren’t meant to be. So, I am really grateful for that. But, you know, deep down, I knew that, you know, I always knew I had this, I always knew I could always get better at it, right? Like, everyone, you get better with time, but you need the opportunity, right? So, it’s like, can’t really show anything if you don’t have that opportunity. And if you’re just kind of known for being the blond bombshell, or the golden goddess and eye candy, or whatever it is, my whole vision of ever since I started in WWE was always even in the NXT back in the day was like, Yeah, I know, I look like this. And I know, it could be intimidating. Or also like, Oh, she’s just here for the fame and whatnot, all the, you know, stigmas that I’ve gotten. But I knew that like, my biggest thing was to prove myself in the ring. I knew it was like a Trish Stratus story, you know, like, why can’t you be hot and still, like, be able to wrestle, right? Like, it’s been done before? Like, why do I get such like heat? Or why do I get so much backlash for looking like this? But I knew in the back of my head that like, it takes time, respect, you know, you have to kind of gain your respect you have to put your time in. So I just knew over time, eventually it would turn.”

On returning to NXT: “I feel like it was, it was a timing thing. I feel like it was gonna happen. But yeah, I couldn’t picture it this way. You know, I couldn’t have pictured it if I wanted to. But it’s like, I knew I had this vision when I first went to NXT, and I knew that I wanted to rebrand myself, I knew that I wanted to get more opportunities. And I wasn’t really that fond of like what I was doing at the moment. And I just didn’t think that I was showing my true potential. So, I knew there needed to be something. And sometimes you just need to like, you need to change a little bit, you need to like, you know, evolve a little bit or just have a clean slate or first coat of paint. And like, I felt like I needed that. So, I think it all worked out for the best. Of course, in the moment, I was a little bit like taken aback, but then I know looking back, I’m just so happy that I went in with such a positive mindset because Sabbi says this a lot too, my fiancé. He’s just very like proud of me and that aspect of life, because he’s been through a lot, but of like having that positive mindset and kind of like, knowing that this could be something good. Whereas instead of most people would might take that as like a demotion or like, or just like, Oh, you’re going back to NXT? Like, oh, like most people would have that attitude of like, well why and all these questions and, and, you know, in our business, it’s like, you don’t really get a lot of answers most of the time. Like, if you do your job and you do it well, you know, it’s going to eventually pay off. And I think that goes a long way. So, I’m just really happy I went in with such a positive mindset. And I just had this vision. And I knew if I had the right people in my corner and the right people to back me up, that it would be successful. And you know, I’m really grateful for that.”

On advice from Shawn Michaels: “A lot Yeah, Shawn Michaels is amazing and he’s great to work with. He has been nothing but amazing towards me and you know, Toxic Attraction, and you know, we all kind of it was a collaboration of Toxic Attraction. You know, when I first got there, it was like, oh, maybe you’ll team with these girls, they’re just gonna just about ready to be on TV. But, you know, we don’t really know exactly and it was Triple H that said this before he, you know, took a leave of absence, but he had said too like we’re not going to pigeonhole you either, you know, like, this might be something good, but we’ll see. Like, then that’s how we work, you know, nothing’s ever really set in stone, everything changes by the day. But yeah, so we just, we kind of all collaborated and, and I think Shawn and you know, our writer, Johnny Russo and coach Bloom, and like the people that were really behind Toxic Attraction and really, like, you know, had strong belief in making us successful. It worked. Because when you have the right people behind you, and you have those people that believe in you, they’re going to stand up for you, and they’re gonna put you hopefully put you in the right spot.”

On the Otis and Mandy Rose storyline: “That was such a fun, like, loving, entertaining story. And I think of the timing of it, like, you know, right during the pandemic, too. So, I feel like there was so much, you know, so much negativity going around, and just like, you know, people cooped up in their homes, and I felt like it was such a good story to just kind of like for, I don’t know, it was just pure entertainment. And it was fun. But for me, I just had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun working with him. He’s obviously a character in and out in and out of the ring. And it was really cool to be able to have that kind of storyline where it was like, you know, we barely wrestled, it was more just like that was an entertaining [storyline]. Like, when they talked about sports entertainment, like that was pure entertainment I feel like. But it was fun. I had a lot of fun.”

The full interview is available at this link.