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Biography | Posted: Thursday, 14th May

Shayna Baszler (American professional wrestler) Bio, Facts. 

Shayna Baszler

Born Name: Shayna Andrea Baszler
Date of Birth: August 8, 1980
Place of Birth: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States
Alma mater: MidAmerica Nazarene University
Parents: Skip Baszler, Margaret Baszler
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s): Shayna Baszler
Billed height: 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Billed weight: 136 lb (62 kg)
Billed from: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Trained by: Josh Barnett
Mercedes Martinez
WWE Performance Center
Debut: 2015
Mixed martial arts career
Division: Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight
Stance: Orthodox

Shayna Andrea Baszler (born August 8, 1980) is an American professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist. She is currently signed to WWE, where she performs on the Raw brand.

Baszler was trained in mixed martial arts (MMA) by former UFC fighter Josh Barnett and in catch wrestling by Billy Robinson. She had her first professional MMA fight in 2006 and gained recognition in the following years for the use of her hammerlock submission set-up while on her back; a set-up which she has used to submit several opponents, including Roxanne Modafferi. In an audio interview on the Sherdog Radio Network, she dubbed the submission, which she created in training, as the "Shwing." Baszler was signed in 2013 by the UFC to participate on their reality television series The Ultimate Fighter — she would go on to have two professional bouts (0-2) in the company. In 2015, she was granted her release by the UFC and started her professional wrestling career that same year, again receiving training from Barnett. Baszler has an overall MMA record of 15 wins and 11 losses, with 13 wins by submission.

Martial arts background and persona
Baszler, a Khun Kru in the Muay Thai boxing association and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, wanted to begin incorporating Josh Barnett's catch wrestling into her MMA training. This proved to be somewhat difficult because she could not train with Barnett in Southern California, so Barnett wrote a syllabus and filmed a video to teach her the step-by-step techniques and concepts of catch wrestling and give her tips on how to improve her verbal skills.

Barnett suggested that Baszler carry an electric guitar to the cage to show that she was outspoken. Baszler reluctantly agreed, and the guitar became a signature of her rockstar-like persona. Later, Barnett gave Baszler "The Queen of Spades" nickname due to her ability to perform card tricks — the card magic nickname also gives a nod to her "submission magic". Baszler refers to her fans as the "Queen's Army."

Mixed martial arts career
Early career (2006–2007)
Baszler faced Amanda Buckner at MFC: USA vs. Russia 3 on June 3, 2006. She lost the fight by TKO in the third round.

She faced Samantha Anderson at NFF: The Breakout on March 10, 2007. She won the fight by kimura submission in the first round.

Elite XC and Strikeforce (2007–2010)
Baszler debuted for EliteXC at a ShoXC event on July 27, 2007. She submitted veteran Jan Finney with a first-round armbar and repeated the feat three months later against Jennifer Tate. After defeating Keiko Tamai with an impressive Twister submission at a third ShoXC event, Baszler moved up to the main EliteXC cards.

Baszler next faced Cris Cyborg on CBS television at EliteXC: Unfinished Business on July 26, 2008. She lost the fight via TKO in the second round.

Following EliteXC's closure, Baszler debuted for Strikeforce at Strikeforce Challengers: Villasenor vs. Cyborg on June 19, 2009 in a fight against Sarah Kaufman, but lost by unanimous decision.

Various promotions (2010–2012, 2017)
Baszler entered the Freestyle Cage Fighting Women's Bantamweight Grand Prix at FCF 39 on January 30, 2010 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She submitted Megumi Yabushita with a twister submission in the first round of their quarterfinal bout. It was the second time that Baszler had won an MMA fight with the unique submission. Baszler faced late replacement Alexis Davis in the second round of the FCF tournament at FCF 40 on March 27, 2010. She defeated Davis by unanimous decision. Baszler was scheduled to face Jan Finney in the tournament final at FCF 43 on June 12, 2010. However, Finney withdrew in order to compete in Strikeforce and Baszler faced Adrienna Jenkins instead. Baszler defeated Jenkins by first-round armbar to become FCF Women's Bantamweight Grand Prix Champion.

On November 19, 2010, Baszler faced Elaina Maxwell at The Cage Inc.: Battle At The Border 7. Baszler defeated Maxwell by submission due to a kneebar in the first round to become the first TCI Women's 140 lbs Champion.

Baszler was scheduled to defend her TCI title in a rematch with Alexis Davis at The Cage Inc.: Battle At The Border 10 on July 30, 2011. However, the fight was canceled after Davis signed with Strikeforce.

Baszler agreed to face Kelly Kobold in a rematch at Cage Fighting Xtreme: Spring Brawl on April 21, 2012. However, it was announced on March 16 that the event had been canceled.

On February 25, 2017, Baszler was defeated by Reina Miura at Deep Jewels 15. This marked Baszler's last MMA fight.

Invicta Fighting Championships (2012–2013)
On April 28, it was announced that Baszler would face Sara McMann in the main event of Invicta FC 2: Baszler vs. McMann. The event took place on July 28, 2012. In a back-and-forth affair, Baszler lost the fight in what was considered to be a controversial unanimous decision. The bout was named Invicta's Fight of the Night.

Baszler faced Sarah D'Alelio at Invicta FC 3: Penne vs. Sugiyama on October 6, 2012. She defeated D'Alelio via submission due to a rear naked choke early in round two.

Baszler faced Alexis Davis in a rematch at Invicta FC 4: Esparza vs. Hyatt on January 5, 2013. She was defeated via technical submission due to a rear naked choke in round three. The bout was named Invicta's Fight of the Night.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (2013–2015)
The Ultimate Fighter
In August 2013, it was announced that Baszler was one of the fighters selected to be on The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs. Team Tate. In her fight to get into the TUF house, Baszler faced Colleen Schneider and won via an armbar submission in the first round. Baszler was then selected by Ronda Rousey as the first team pick and the first fight of the season against Julianna Peña. Baszler lost to Peña after tapping out due to a rear naked choke in the second round.

Baszler was expected to face Sarah Kaufman at The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale. However, on April 2, 2014, she pulled out of the bout due to an injury.

Early fights and departure
For her promotional debut, Baszler faced Bethe Correia on August 30, 2014, at UFC 177. She lost the fight via TKO in the second round.

Baszler faced Amanda Nunes on March 21, 2015 at UFC Fight Night 62. She lost the fight via TKO in the first round after taking multiple leg kicks. Baszler was granted her release from the organization to pursue professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling career
Independent circuit (2015–2017)
On March 1, 2015 at Ring of Honor's 13th Anniversary Show, Baszler accompanied reDRagon to the ring for their ROH World Tag Team Championship defense. After they won, she helped cut a celebratory promo, where they described her addition to the team as "[finding] our Ringo". After training under Josh Barnett, Baszler made her professional wrestling debut on September 26, 2015, losing to Cheerleader Melissa for Quintessential Pro Wrestling (QPG) in Reno, Nevada. Baszler was attacked by Nicole Matthews after the match, setting up a future match between them. On October 30, Baszler defeated Matthews in their first match against each other, but lost in their second meeting, a KO or submission only match in January 2016, won by Matthews via KO in just over 9 minutes. On January 23, 2016, at a Magnum Pro Wrestling event in Omaha, Nebraska, Baszler defeated Heather Patera. On July 17, Baszler defeated Ruby Raze to become the Premier Women's Champion at Premier XIII.

Baszler debuted for Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) in April 2016, losing to Mia Yim. She returned to the promotion in June, defeating Veda Scott. She then returned to the promotion again in August, defeating Annie Social. On September 9, she defeated Heidi Lovelace to become the AIW Women's Champion. She made her first successful defense against Britt Baker on November 5, and again retained the championship against Ray Lyn and Ayzali in a three-way match for Rise Wrestling on November 10. She once again retained the championship against Lovelace in a rematch on November 25.

In June 2016, Baszler made her debut for Shimmer Women Athletes at Volume 81, defeating Rhia O'Reilly. She defeated Solo Darling at volume 82, and at volume 83, she unsuccessfully challenged Nicole Savoy for the Heart Of Shimmer Championship. She once again defeated Mia Yim at volume 85. She returned in November, teaming with Mercedes Martinez in a loss to The Aussie Squad (Kellie Skater and Shazza McKenzie) at volume 86. At volume 87, she faced Kay Lee Ray, Heidi Lovelace and Vanessa Kraven in a fatal four-way match, won by Kraven. At volume 88, she lost to Shazza McKenzie by disqualification. At volume 89, she once again lost to McKenzie in a no disqualification match. At Volume 90, she once again defeated Heidi Lovelace.

World Wonder Ring Stardom (2015, 2017)
In October 2015, Baszler worked two events for Japanese promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom, during their American tour in Covina, California, first teaming with Brittany Wonder and Datura in a loss to Oedo Tai (Act Yasukawa, Kris Wolf and Kyoko Kimura), and unsuccessfully challenging Cheerleader Melissa for the GRPW Lady Luck Championship two days later. She returned to the promotion in January 2017, this time touring Japan. She made her debut on January 3, teaming with Mayu Iwatani and Jungle Kyona to defeat Sumie Sakai, Kagetsu and Kyoko Kimura. The following day, she teamed with Nixon Newell and Kay Lee Ray to defeat Iwatani, Kairi Hojo and Konami. The following day, she faced Himomi Mimura and Viper in a triple threat match won by Viper. On January 15, she took part in another triple threat match, this time defeating Momo Watanabe and Jungle Kyona. On January 29, she teamed with Deonna Purrazzo and Christi Jaynes to defeat Kris Wolf, Viper and Kagetsu. On February 23, Baszler unsuccessfully challenged Io Shirai for the World of Stardom Championship.

NXT Women's Champion (2017–2020)
On July 13, 2017, Baszler entered WWE's Mae Young Classic, defeating Zeda in the first round. The following day, Baszler defeated Mia Yim, Candice LeRae, and Mercedes Martinez en route to the final. On September 12, Baszler was defeated in the final of the tournament by Kairi Sane.

Baszler made her NXT debut at a house show on August 10, 2017, where she teamed with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce; they faced the team of Kairi Sane, Aliyah, and Dakota Kai in a losing effort. On August 12, she made her singles debut, defeating Zeda. On October 3, WWE officially announced that Baszler had signed with the company and started training at the WWE Performance Center. On the December 6 episode of NXT, a vignette aired teasing Baszler's televised debut. She made her televised debut by attacking Kairi Sane on December 27, and her televised in-ring debut on the episode aired January 10, 2018, defeating Dakota Kai by referee stoppage. Afterward, Baszler continued to attack Kai until NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon made the save. That led to a title match at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia on January 27, where Moon defeated Baszler to retain the title, but was attacked by Baszler afterwards. Baszler received another title match against Moon at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans on April 7, where Baszler defeated Moon by technical submission to win the title. On the May 30 episode of NXT, Baszler successfully defended her title against Dakota Kai. She then began a feud with Nikki Cross, culminating in a match at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, where Baszler defeated Cross by technical submission to retain the title. Baszler then lost the title to Kairi Sane at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, ending her reign at 133 days. At Evolution, she defeated Sane in a rematch, becoming the first-ever two-time NXT Women's Champion. Baszler went on to successfully defend her title against Sane at NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Bianca Belair at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix and in a fatal four-way against Sane, Belair and Io Shirai at NXT TakeOver: New York, submitting Belair with a Kirifuda Clutch. Baszler would then feud with Shirai, retaining her title against Shirai at NXT TakeOver: XXV and on the June 26 episode of NXT in a steel cage match to end the feud. At NXT TakeOver: Toronto, she defeated Mia Yim to retain her title. On the October 2 episode of NXT, Baszler retained her title against Candice LeRae.

On the November 1 episode of SmackDown, Baszler was the first NXT wrestler to invade the show, when she attacked SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nikki Cross. Later that night, Baszler joined Triple H and the rest of the NXT roster as they declared war on both Raw and SmackDown, and vowed to win the Survivor Series brand warfare. At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Baszler and her team lost against Rhea Ripley and her team in the first ever women's Wargames match. At Survivor Series, Baszler won the triple threat champions match against Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch and Smackdown Women's Champion Bayley to win Survivor Series for the NXT brand. On the December 18 episode of NXT, Baszler lost the championship to Ripley, ending her reign at 416 days, making her the sixth longest reigning women's champion after Sensational Sherri's reign of 441 days. On the January 1 episode of NXT, Shayna Baszler earned the Female Competitor Award in NXT. She would enter the Women's Royal Rumble match at #30 on January 26 and go on to eliminate 8 contestants, which tied the record for most eliminations in a Women's Royal Rumble Match, before being eliminated in the end by Charlotte Flair, who would win the match.

Raw (2020–present)
On the February 10, 2020 episode of Raw, Baszler appeared and attacked Becky Lynch, biting the back of her neck furiously. The following week, Baszler was announced as a participant in the Raw brand's women's Elimination Chamber match for a chance at Lynch's WWE Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 36. At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on March 8, Baszler won the match to become the number one contender for the Raw Women's Championship, and also set a record, eliminating every other woman, in what was essentially a squash match. On the March 23 episode of Raw, Baszler was brutually assaulted by Becky Lynch with a steel chair during a sit-down interview. On the March 30 episode of Raw, Baszler attacked Lynch in the middle of the latter’s promo. At WrestleMania 36, Baszler failed to win the title from Lynch after a roll-up pin. On the April 13 episode of Raw, Baszler defeated Sarah Logan to qualify for the 2020 women's Money in the Bank ladder match for a chance at a championship match any place, anytime.

Other media
Baszler made her WWE video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K19, and returned for WWE 2K20.

Personal life
Baszler was born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the daughter of Skip and Margaret Baszler. Her father is of German descent, while her mother is of Chinese descent. Baszler majored in religion at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas before beginning her mixed martial arts training.

Baszler was a key spokesperson in the movement to create a South Dakota athletic commission for combat sports. She once delivered a speech that touched opposing Rep. Steve Hickey, who once labeled MMA as the "child porn" of sports. After visiting Baszler at the Next Edge Academy of Martial Arts, the training place of Baszler, as well as other mixed martial arts fighters and practitioners, Hickey stated he regretted his analogy as it detracted from his point which, for him, remained true.

Outside of combat sports, Baszler coaches the South Dakota-based roller derby team, the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz and is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

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Categories: 1980 births,Bantamweight mixed martial artists,American female mixed martial artists,Mixed martial artists from South Dakota,American practitioners of Brazilian jiu-jitsu,Female Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners,LGBT American people of Asian descent,American people of German descent,American sportspeople of Chinese descent,American female professional wrestlers,LGBT professional wrestlers,Professional wrestling managers and valets,Professional wrestlers from South Dakota,Ultimate Fighting Championship female fighters