Marina Shafir's tenure with WWE was plagued by the continuous starting and stopping of storylines.
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 match losses, Marina would perform predominately at live events. She would appear in a pair of Battle Royal's and on Raw Underground, but again, nothing sustained.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Shafir discussed the start and stop nature of her time with WWE and how it made her feel insecure.
"It was something that I talked a lot with Roddy [Strong] about, like getting a feel," Shafir began. "I was getting put in these positions and I needed to understand why I was in those positions. I was feeling very insecure because it was a lot of start and stop. I was cleaning up a lot of the things that were sloppy. Asking different questions. Seeing a different light or seeing a different perspective on wrestling itself. The start and the stop, I tried not to get too much into my head about, but I would get insecure. Roddy was there to remind me, ‘If you keep putting your nose to the ground and keep busting your ass. It’s timing. A lot about this is timing.’ When everything is lined up how it should be, you’ll know. Everything was lined up how it should be and now we’re here."
Shafir's husband, Roderick Strong, returned to NXT TV in June as the leader of a new faction, Diamond Mine. Fightful reported that Marina was originally planned to be part of the group, but that didn't happen after being released by WWE on June 25.
When they debuted, Diamond Mine consisted of Strong, Malcolm Bivens, Tyler Rust, and Hachiman. The lineup looks different now as Rust is gone and in are Ivy Nile and Julius & Brutus Creed.
According to Marina, she thought she was going to be part of the group from the beginning. That said, she gives Nile the thumbs up and hopes she is able to learn a lot and do great things in the role.
"Oh, no. I thought it was gonna be there. I thought I was gonna be part of it from the beginning. But they just had other plans. What could I do with it? I can’t be upset when somebody else’s mind is made up. I have my feelings about it. I’ve trained with Ivy Nile since she got to the PC pretty much. If anybody’s a fitting character for that position, she’s gonna learn a lot. She’s gonna learn so much in that position. I just hope that she carries it and makes it a big fucking thing. Female fighters, female MMA athletes are more and more of a predominant fucking thing in the athletic scene. It’s still the shock and the conversations that I’ve had with people who are still so surprised at how intense and how hard and how consistent female athletes are in the gym nowadays, it's hilarious. For me, I just hope that she really understands how big this role can be for her. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again if anybody gets the green light in the past and the thumbs up, I’m giving it to her. It’s just a great spot to be in to learn," Shafir said.
Disappointed not to be part of Diamond Mine, Shafir is choosing to look at the positives and continue to learn and grow as a performer. She concluded by saying the following:
"I was totally bummed. I was very bummed about not being able to be a part of that. But it just comes to a point where you’ve gotta lean into the positives of all this."
Ivy Nile and Julius Creed made their in-ring debuts on the October 12 episode of NXT 2.0, defeating Valentina Feroz and Ikemen Jiro, respectively.
Up next for Shafir is an appearance at Josh Barnett's Bloodsport 7 on October 22, where she'll be taking on Masha Slamovich. You can order the event on FITE