Before Alexa Bliss defends her Raw Women’s Championship this Sunday at the Tables, Ladders and Chairs Pay-Per-View (this Sunday live at 8 p.m. ET on WWE Network) I had the chance to talk with her about the process of developing the Alexa Bliss character, what it was like to have cameras around her house for “Total Divas” and of course, the world famous Larry-Steve.
Me: “So what game did Larry-Steve pick for you to download on the [Nintendo] Switch?”
Alexa: “Mario! The Rabbit Kingdom. I was trying to find a game and all of a sudden Larry-Steve jumped on my lap and just started moving the Switch, so I was like I have to get this on video. He was doing it for a lot longer, but I only caught a couple seconds on video.”
“Are you a big gamer, or did you see someone else with the Switch and said to yourself “I need one of those”?
“No, I love video games. So my fiancé and I went through this phase recently where we got all of the older gaming systems. We have this box that plays old Sega and Nintendo games. We have the original Playstation, recently just got a Game Boy. We have an Xbox a PS4 Pro and the Super Nintendo that just came out.”
“I got the Switch back in March and it’s a life-saver on my commute”
“Oh it’s the best. It seriously saves my life when it comes to traveling because I get so bored so easily, especially when a plane doesn’t have WiFi … ughhhh I die.”
“When you did an interview with ESPN a few months back you mentioned that you got Larry-Steve because of Total Divas, which made me wonder if getting a pig was something you’ve always wanted to do, or if this was a spur of the moment decision because of the show?”
“I’ve always wanted a pig. I grew up in Ohio, in Grove City, which is a farmy place. A lot of people there have farm animals and I’ve always wanted a pig because they’re super cute and I know they have a risk of getting up to 500 pounds, but whatever.
I actually pitched the storyline for Total Divas of me getting a pig and then my fiancé telling me that I can’t have it and then I’d have to give him back. You know, this whole drama thing.
So I get Larry-Steve and I have him for like two days and then I called Matt and said I’m not giving this pig back. I was like I can’t, he’s too cute and he’s deaf!
I was like he won’t hear the dogs barking at him. He was like what if he gets really big, I was like that’s 500 pounds of love. So I did the whole pouty thing and then he was like it’s your call, you make the decision. The whole I don’t want you to, so you probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to tell you that you can. And I totally took it as OK, I’m going to get him.
They get along so well. Matt loves him. He’s become the baby of the family. He knows it.
He’s like a child. He’s on a schedule. He wakes up every morning at 7. He sleeps in a Pack ‘n Play [crib]. He eats at 7:30. He naps at 2 and if you don’t put him in his crib to nap at 2, he will go lay by his bed. He wakes up, gets more food, will walk around the house, play for an hour to an hour and a half and then he’ll go back to bed.
“He sounds really easy to take care of”
“He’s so easy to take care of. As long as you can get his schedule down, because if not, he gets really grumpy.”
“Grumpy! How do you know that he’s grumpy?”
“Yeah because he’ll go “oink, oink, oink” all of the time and start pushing you. When he gets grumpy you know and then he’ll try to bite your toe, but that’s only if he’s grumpy.”
“Because [spoiler alert] Total Divas is a pseudo-reality, did you find yourself having to adjust to how you acted in front of the camera because you’re so used to playing a specific type of character in front of one?”
“I had a little bit of an adjustment period for sure because I’m so used to when the camera is on, I turn into Alexa Bliss, this mean, attitudy character. So I had to get out of that because our first filming was at TV. So I’m in a work environment and it was just a different camera, so as soon as the camera came on I was thinking ‘wait I can’t be that way, I have to be me.’
There were times where we’re at home making breakfast and there’s cameras there and I feel so weird because you have to open up to the cameras, but still act natural.
It was very different, but I had a lot of fun with it.”
*** Season 7 of Total Divas Premieres Wednesday, November 1 at 9 p.m. ET on E! ***
“You’ve talked about your transition from NXT to the main roster before and how you needed to turn up the persona that you found in NXT, but what helped you find the character’s voice? Was there a light bulb moment where you realized that this is it when you were with Blake and Murphy?
“I watched back our first few NXT matches together when I was managing them and realized that I was just silent. I wasn’t doing anything, I wasn’t saying anything. I was just looking at them in silence. And I was like hmmm, well that’s nothing.
I remember specifically trying more and more to be mean and I was trying to think of a character that’s relatable and I was like oh my gosh, a mean girl from high school. Everyone knows her. Everyone had one. Some people were her and no matter how mean she was, you still voted for her for homecoming queen.
I was like I want to be that girl because I knew that girl in high school. I knew a few of those girls in high school. I knew that everyone did. So that was my main motivation was to be that girl.
I get my inspiration from movies and a lot of the time I’ll actually people-watch when I’m at the airport. William Regal told us to people-watch because you can get your best motivation from them. I’ll notice little mannerisms that irritate me and I know they will irritate other people.
“How long did it take you to be comfortable in front of the camera as that character? Was it something you had to workshop a lot to get to that point?
“To get it started was a long process, but once it clicked, it was super easy. It’s just another part of me now and it’s been so much fun to play around with.”
“The saying is the best characters in this business are an extension of who the actual person is, but turned up to an 11, so is there any part of your actual personality in the character?”
“Oh god, none of it (laughs).”
“See that’s really interesting because you’re so comfortable playing the character, but it’s not you at all.”
“So I remember watching ‘My Date with Marilyn’ and watching the scene where she’s just super shy and super timid and then she asks somebody ‘do you want me to become her?’ And then she goes into Marilyn [Monroe]-mode and people start swarming her. She becomes this confident, sexy woman and I feel like it’s pretty much the same kind of thing. It’s something that you just switch into.
I’ve always wanted to do acting and wanted to explore that route and I feel like this has been the most fun part of doing what I get to do. Being able to transition into a completely different character.”
“So your match coming up with Mickie James this weekend; in another era this probably would have been a depends on a pole match …”
“But it’s just going to be a normal one-on-one match, even though in the build-up for it, you’ve been so aggressive in promos and backstage segments that it could have warranted a stipulation in storyline. Would you prefer a stipulation match, or are you OK with it being a regular match?”
“I’m OK with it being a normal one-on-one [match]. Of course stipulations are always cooler and more fun, but I feel like if we were to do a stipulation match it would have to be something that was driven towards the storyline that we’re doing right now.
I’m talking about her being old, so it should be like a walker match.”