Zelina Vega recently spoke with Scott Fishman of TV Insider. The interview was done before last night's RAW episode, which saw WWE confirm Vega vs. RAW Women's Champion Asuka for Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view.
Vega recently split from Andrade and Angel Garza, and is now pursuing an in-ring career on the main roster. She was asked how she bring such confidence to everything she does on WWE TV. Vega mentioned how she has two sides to her now - the striking side, due to her husband Aleister Black, and the lucha side, from what she learned working with Andrade.
"It was legit hunger I had because it took me about seven or eight years to get to WWE," she said when asked what she attributes the confidence to. "It was the constant tryouts, being turned away and being told it wasn't the right time yet. It was always something. I'm the type of person who doesn't have thin skin. I just said, 'Okay, how can I make this better? How can I improve myself?'
"Then when they paired me with Andrade, it was like lightning struck. It felt like the perfect timing for me because I felt I've worked so hard to get here and prove myself. Then he was hungry because he knew the talent he had. He just needed that extra spice or sizzle to him. We are each other's yin and yang. It just worked out perfectly. I just felt like for me it's this constant need to prove myself. Even now where people think I'm just a manager and haven't been wrestling for 11 years. They haven't seen what I can do. You can see now two different sides to me where it's the striking side due to [my husband] Aleister [Black]. Then I get the more lucha side due to Andrade. It's a nice combination in my arsenal."
Vega has wrestled around 30 matches since debuting with WWE NXT in February 2018, and most of those matches were mixed tag team matches or multi-person bouts. She was asked how she stays ring ready when she's not booked to wrestle regularly.
"To switch my mindset, I knew eventually [wrestling more] was going to come," Vega said. "I always try to stay ready. Whether it was training at the Performance Center or training with co-workers behind the scenes if there is a ring. It's fine-tuning what I knew already.
"Amazing Red is my cousin, so he kind of started this whole thing with me back when I was 18 years old. Working with that and what I learned from Andrade and now learning from Aleister, it's a cool combination of all those things. It's something I think the universe is ready for. Seeing a whole different side of me."
Vega was also asked if she was initially disappointed when WWE signed her and informed her that she would be used regularly as a manager, instead of a wrestler. Vega revealed a conversation she had with Triple H, where he said the company saw big things for Vega as a manager.
"Honestly, no," Vega answered when asked if she was initially disappointed. "I saw it as another challenge for me. I had the conversation with Hunter [Triple H] too. He said, 'I know you want to wrestle, but I feel this is a great starting point. If you want to get to wrestling still, we'll absolutely go there. But if you fall in love with this role, let's go with it. We see great things for you in this role.'
"I feel looking at people like Paul Heyman or Sherri [Martel], even Melina. They really helped shape who I became eventually. I didn't come out being a manager. I learned to be that way. It's funny when people ask me to make the face I do when Andrade gets hurt. I can't because it's my genuine reaction. It's all real. I genuinely get scared for him. I care about him like a brother, so I think it just adds an extra layer of authenticity to my character."
Fishman also asked Vega about what kind of creative input Vega has when it comes to her look and overall presentation as she has a different outfit each week. Vega confirmed that she has complete creative control over her look.
"When it comes to my outfits, I have complete creative control," Vega said. "I kind of know the vibe we are going for. I just play with it, especially if it's for a pay-per-view or something important. I love bringing my life into it."
Vega continued and revealed where her ring name came from.
"Vega, I got that last name from Street Fighter because I love him. I got to bring that into my last name," she revealed. "I dressed like him for the Royal Rumble. Then when I wanted to do something more intricate, I did Sombra from Overwatch for SummerSlam. Depending on what I'm going for in the moment and what the story calls for, it decides who I might be bringing into my character that day. Who I'm trying to shed some light on.
"I always try to be different because I look at the other girls, and nothing I wear looks like anything they wear. I take pride in that because there is something to, 'Oh, Zelina looks like this.' Like if Zelina was a doll, what would she look like? Everybody would know exactly what she would look like, and that is important to me."