Raquel Rodriguez discusses her friendship with Shotzi.
Rodriguez and Shotzi were two of the top stars in NXT's women's division during the black and gold era. Rodriguez, then known as Raquel Gonzalez, had a prominent run as the NXT Women's Champion, and she held the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship twice. Shotzi got called up to SmackDown in 2021, and Rodriguez joined her in 2022. Rodriguez has had a number of breakout moments, including matches against Ronda Rousey and an impressive showing in the Elimination Chamber match. Likewise, Shotzi has faced Charlotte Flair, and she has also returned to NXT to host Halloween Havoc. Shotzi and Rodriguez have also teamed up on a number of occasions.
In an interview with Fightful's Joel Pearl, Rodriguez discussed her relationship with Shotzi. She described how they were in the same tryout in 2016, and Shotzi stood out because she was the only woman who had wrestling experience. She looked back on having her first gimmick match in a Street Fight against Shotzi, which was a major test at that point in her career.
"You know what’s so funny? Shotzi was actually in my tryouts. So we both had our tryouts with NXT, I believe it was in 2016. She looked completely different. She was the only girl there that actually had wrestling experience at the time because I had just started out, my father was only letting me roll around and train with a select few. So my knowledge of wrestling was very, very minimal. So I’ve known her since then. Then getting the opportunity to know that I would go with EVOLVE and have my first gimmick—a street fight is what it was. So we were using chairs, we were using my bull rope, we were using ladders. That was the first time I ever had a match like that and it was against Shotzi. She was already known for being this hardcore super ready to do whatever and take whatever type of person. I was like, ‘Alright, this is where you really get tested if you want to do this. ‘Cause you gotta shut up or you gotta put up, and we’re gonna do it, dang it," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez went on to describe how she felt like she and Shotzi built a good friendship and a strong level of trust. She noted that her first ladder match was with Shotzi during their time in NXT. The WWE SmacDown star also stated that their friendship has grown over time, and she has enjoyed working with her on the main roster.
"It was really, really fun because I felt like we built a good friendship, a good bond, a good amount of trust where we could now bring that into NXT. My first ladder match was with Shotzi in NXT. I feel like our friendship has really grown over time and getting to tag with her on Smackdown and work against her on Smackdown. It’s been really, really fun to have those moments with her," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez previously discussed her interest in facing Bianca Belair. Check out her comments here.
Click here to see what Rodriguez had to say about showing fans different layers of her character.
Shotzi has said she wants to break the record for appearances at Halloween Havoc. Check out her comments here.