As one of Australia’s most well-respected professional wrestlers, Shazza McKenzie is certainly not lacking for excellent stories. Our recent conversation for Love Wrestling was chock-full of them. Whether it be chatting about the recent Jericho vs. Gage matchup, indie wrestling superlatives, and everything in-between, we were never at a lack for a laugh throughout our entire half-hour conversation.
One such story was one that she had fleetingly mentioned in a previous interview. On a podcast a few years ago, McKenzie had briefly brought up her WrestleMania experience in 2013 with Madison Eagles, Dakota Kai, and Jessica McKay, soon to be known throughout the WWE Universe as Billie Kay. I asked Shazza about the experience when we spoke a fortnight ago.
“So in 2013, we went [to WrestleMania],” she commented. “WrestleMania week [and] what it is now was not what WrestleMania week was in 2013. To my understanding from all my trying to figure this out, I think 2013 was like the first time that there [were] indie shows. So there was WrestleCon. There was just WrestleCon. There [weren’t] 50 different venues. It was just WrestleCon, but it was the first time that they did Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and then the show. So Madison, Jess, Dakota Kai [and] myself, were over for Shimmer [who] was doing a show on the like Saturday at WrestleCon. Which, now I think back and think that’s just so insane that I got to wrestle on the first WrestleCon of this stature. Thinking of how WrestleMania weekend has now evolved into this just event that every independent wrestler has to be at and that I was one of the very few wrestlers that got to wrestle on that first WrestleMania weekend. That’s crazy.”
“I’d already been to WrestleMania in like 2008 with my mom,” McKenzie laughed. “My mom had taken me to WrestleMania. But, for a lot of them, they’d never been to WrestleMania. So we went to WrestleMania. And it was in MetLife – I think MetLife? I don’t know if that’s right. I don’t know.”
As McKenzie went on to explain, that 2013 trip only served to add to the emotion of seeing McKay, along with fellow Australian Cassie Lee, capture the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 35.
“The point of the story is it was in the same stadium that, then, in 2019 when I was back in for WrestleMania weekend, I went to WrestleMania and I watched the person that I’d sat next to in, what, six years earlier in the crowd, sung Mark Henry’s theme song with, we were wearing these $5 Walmart coat things because none of us had prepared to be outside in the cold rain, because we’re Australian and we just didn’t think about that, and I was watching Jessie McKay now in the ring winning the tag team titles with Peyton Royce six years later.
“It’s just insane. In the same building! It couldn’t have been more perfect,” McKenzie remarked before laughing. “I lost my absolute shit. Like I was gone. I collapsed to the ground. I was crying, and my husband had to be like ‘Shazz, you’re being a bit dramatic,'” and I was like ‘I know, but they did it! They actually did it!’ He’s like ‘I know. I’m very happy for them, too. It’s very exciting. But you’re embarrassing me.’”
Of course, having asked Shazza about both McKay and Eagles earlier in our conversation, I had to ask about the fourth member of their WrestleMania quartet, Dakota Kai. “Not that she hasn’t done great stuff before,” I asked, “but on Wednesday night [what was it like] seeing Dakota Kai take the boot to Raquel Gonzalez. Maybe some thoughts, some feelings, some strong words on that?”
“I think it’s long overdue,” McKenzie mused. “I like that they’ve been clearly building to this for a while. We’ve all been kind of like waiting for it, waiting for it, waiting for them to just pull the trigger and let it happen. But, I hope it ends with the champion that we deserve. Not that we don’t deserve Raquel. But you know, I think the women’s wrestling fans and the NXT fans that have been following the product for a long enough feel like it’s Dakota Kai’s time. They feel very ready for this moment and for her to get her flowers and to be in that main position after being a background character and like a supporting cast character for the last few years. It’s time for her to play the main role. I hope that that’s what we get, and even if we don’t, I’ll still be happy.
Shazza laughed before concluding. “I mean, I’ll probably be bitchy on the internet but like what the hell. Who isn’t bitchy on the internet!”
Please credit Spencer Love with any of the above transcriptions, and link back when possible. Thank you!