Marina Shafir is ready to show everyone what she is capable of.
Released by WWE on June 25, 2021, Marina is about to step back into the spotlight when she competes at Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 7 on October 22. Speaking with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, Shafir says she has more good than bad memories of NXT and knew right away that she wanted to continue on her wrestling journey.
"Honestly, I knew I was going to be doing something. That was too much garnered energy that I worked for. I didn’t take it personal, getting released. I have more good memories at NXT than bad. There’s no personal feelings towards that. I get that there’s sides to this business that you just can’t take personal. I signed that agreement long ago. I think two weeks after I got released, Barnett called me. First, we were just talking about how everything went down," Shafir said.
"But then he was just like, ‘I’m gonna indirectly ask you to stay in shape. Just take care of yourself and we’ll be chatting in a couple of weeks.’ I said, ‘Yep. Gonna go train now. See you later. Talk to you soon. Bye,’ and I left. ‘Cause I was in my own little emotional bubble for a little bit. Then a few weeks went by and I stayed training. D-Von Dudley gave me access to his ring and I’ve just been going there every week since I got let go. Every single week I try to make it at least once a week into the ring just to stay fresh. I also wanted to see if it made me feel anything. ‘Cause I never want bitterness. I stayed in shape and we chatted. He asked me. He didn’t tell me who my opponent was. He asked me if I wanted to do it. I immediately was like, ‘Fuck yeah. Let’s go.’"
Marina's opponent at Bloodsport is Masha Slamovich, who recently performed at NWA EmPowerrr, Knockouts Knockdown, and signed a contract with IMPACT Wrestling.
"I know and I’m really fucking happy for her," Shafir stated. "I watched that match. She’s great. Her and Deonna have some special chemistry and as a fan I was like, ‘Oh, shit. I’m definitely going to be paying attention to this.’ Not because it’s my job. It’s because there’s a little itch deep down inside. I want to know what the fuck is going on. I want to know."
Shafir is a former MMA fighter who went 1-2 in her professional career and 5-0 in her amateur career. She last competed at Invicta FC 13: Cyborg vs. Van Duin in July 2015.
Marina told Fightful that she gets judged for having been trained at NXT, explaining how that is, sadly, not a new experience for her. Not one to get mixed up in politicking, Shafir is dead set on proving people wrong and showing the world what she is capable of. Here are her full remarks:
"Yeah. I still get that disdain. I was training with someone the other day and they’re like,‘ Oh, yeah. It’s because you have this little cloud over you because you’re NXT bred.’ I’m like, ‘Ah. Okay. Whatever. Cool.’ I’ve gone through the times of being judged by what gym I was out of—in judo, in jujitsu, in MMA. Like, okay. It’s now come full circle. Even when you think things are different, things are never gonna be really different. It’s all gonna be the same.
I still feel it. I think I’m gonna still feel it for a while. That’s fine. It’s just gonna push my product and what I want to exude in there, show everything that’s culminated in the last couple of years of what it’s about. It’s gonna be exciting because I love surprising people with what they don’t expect. That’s what that’s all about. I just really want to prove people wrong. Not even wrong, I want to give them a different perspective on where the fuck I come from and what I’m capable of and it doesn’t matter how I got here. I haven’t disrespected anybody. I haven’t shot fire on the politics of all this bullshit. No.
What do I do? I sit down with one of the greatest minds in wrestling, my husband, and he is my devil’s advocate. I want to sometimes scream because he just knows. He knows what questions to ask, what subjects to talk about to get that reaction out. It doesn’t matter how I got there. What doesn’t change is the fact that I’m a student. I’m a very good student. I learn really fast. The more that I’ve gotten to know of myself because of that system because I’ve been forced to get to know who I am in order to be a better performer, I just hope that it resonates. That’s really it."
Now outside of WWE, Shafir admits that it has been difficult making contacts on the independent scene but is learning as she goes.
"Difficult, but in a good way because I feel like I’m forced to learn. I have a different learning curve than a lot of other people because of the experience that I have. Understanding when my overall mixed martial arts experience matters for matches. That’s always an interesting conversation to have with each person I work with. It’s been interesting. That’s really the only way I can put it. I’m trying to think of a scenario where I can talk about. Just making sure that it makes sense. As in life, I just want it to make fucking sense. I just want it to be easily read and all that stuff," she said.
Signed by WWE in 2018, Shafir made her television debut alongside Jessamyn Duke at Evolution, helping her friend Shayna Baszler win the NXT Women's Championship. She would continue appearing in that capacity until December when she would make her in-ring debut. Unfortunately, aside from a couple of tag team losses, Marina would perform predominately at live events. She would appear in a pair of Battle Royal's, in the first round of the 2021 Dusty Cup and on Raw Underground, but again, nothing sustained.
Fightful will have news and results from Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 7 on October 22, 2021.