If you've been watching Dana Brooke during her run on Raw and Smackdown, the improvement in the ring is impossible to ignore.
Once a fitness competitor, now a wrestler, Dana has worked hard to expand her game, and it's shown. Over the past couple of months specifically she's seen an increase in her profile. Winning a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Fox, competing for the Women's Tag Team Titles and participating in the Money in the Bank match itself. Seeing the confidence her colleagues had in her ahead of the match made the work worth it.
"I think I’ve earned a lot of respect from the women because I’ve really never given up," Brooke told Fightful, citing an up and down few years. "I see a lot of girls who get frustrated and throw in the towel. I have a lot of people, my producers, that are always telling me, “Never give up, Dana. It’s time to shine. It’s your time. Keep going, keep pushing.” I was truly blessed and honored that they re-upped my contract for another five years, that was a year ago. From that moment forward I knew I had to put my head in the dirt and push through and really step it up. It was amazing to see that Nattie [Neidhart], who I have truly, truly admired coming into the business, write in the Calgary Sun that she wanted me to win. There was a little surprise video that I had seen from a bunch of the girls in my locker room that they had chose me to win. That’s who they had picked. They wanted to see me, knowing that I’ve put in the hard work, the dedication and the drive. In 2020 I knew it was going to be my year, and I hope and pray that same happiness and health follows my path. I have big goals and goals set in the next year."
After traveling nonstop for years, and having multiple bookings almost every week, Dana finds herself at home more than ever. Living in Florida, she doesn't have to hit the road much for the WWE Performance Center filming. It's taken some getting used to for a woman who was so set on a schedule for so long, across multiple careers.
"In the fitness industry, I was so set on my routine—every morning, every day, every night. I was so set in my ways, so set in not having anything come into my path and disrupt my schedule," Dana said. "But, being able to adapt, I’ve learned a lot about myself and being able to make changes on the fly. Within this last, I would say, two months that things have really gone up in the air will make me appreciate it more when it returns. I won’t ever take fans for granted. I will never take a show for granted as far as when I work Friday, Saturday, and Sundays at live events. Some times I would be super tired, but now I’m hungry for it. I miss [those fans]. I miss coming out of that curtain and having thousands and thousands of people cheering my name. Doing it now in Orlando is something completely different. In twenty years from now looking back, no one’s going to be able to have experience something that I have. I can tell young wrestlers at the time, “Don’t take your fans for granted. ‘Cause I’ve been in an environment where I had to work with nobody around and it is hard. Very hard.'"
WWE is holding shows in front of no fans at the WWE Performance Center in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. They've been deemed essential media by the state of Florida, and are pumping out a minimum of six hours of content per week. Dana is all for it.
"WWE knows exactly what they’re doing and I find it very admirable that they wanted to come out with live content for people sitting at home. So, I had to take that into my mindset and know that there might not be people in front of me or out in the arena. But, there are millions and millions and millions of viewers on the other side of that TV that are stuck inside, that may be sick, that may be going through a hard time, that this is their outlet is to watch us perform. Knowing that we possibly are getting thousands of new fans, because we are the only thing live on TV right now. So, I really praise and admire WWE for allowing us to perform and the show must go on," said Dana.
If you're concerned about the safety of WWE staff and performers, that's understandable. Fightful had reported weeks ago that staff is screened before they enter the building, and are encouraged to wear face masks and practice social distancing the best they can. There are some outliers, but Dana has seemed happy with how things work.
"As far as the health aspect of it, they’re taking things very, very serious. People have asked me, “I can’t believe you guys are working at this time. What is WWE thinking?” They’re really doing everything that they can to keep us safe and healthy as far as every time we walk in the building. They give us tests. We have to answer questionnaire forms every single week going into work. So, they are looking into our best interests, but also the best interests for the fans all around the world. So, that’ s my mindset is knowing there’s millions of children and families on the other side of the TV that are cheering for me. Or maybe booing, who ever knows? But, we’re bringing that entertainment home at home," Dana closed.
You can see Dana Brooke weekly on WWE's Friday Night Smackdown, airing at 8 PM EST on Fox.