Shayna Baszler (August 8, 1980) is an American mixed martial artist and professional wrestler, currently signed to WWE where she performs in their developmental territory NXT. She formerly trained under former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett.
Baszler gained recognition for her pseudo-chicken wing submission that she has used to defeat many female fighters, including Roxanne Modafferi. In an audio interview with Jordan Breen on the Sherdog Radio Network, she dubbed the submission, which she created in training, as the "Shwing."
Under Billy Robinson, Baszler is the only certified female catch wrestler in the United States. Robinson has contributed immensely in training several mixed martial arts legends including Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett.
As of January 2015, Baszler is ranked #27 bantamweight female fighter in the world according to Fight Matrix, and #22 according to Tapology.com.
Mixed martial arts career
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.
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 Cristiane Justino 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.
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 cancelled 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 cancelled.
Invicta Fighting Championships
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 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 fight of the night.
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 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.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
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.
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 and was subsequently released from the organization.
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". On September 26, 2015, Baszler made her professional wrestling debut against Cheerleader Melissa for Quintessential Pro Wrestling (QPW) in Reno, NV. Baszler was attacked by Nicole Matthews setting up a future match between them. In October 2015, Baszler worked two events for Japanese promotion World Wonder Ring Stardom, during their American tour in Covina, California.
On January 23, 2016, at a MAGNUM Pro Wrestling event in Omaha, Nebraska, Baizler defeated "Miss Natural" Heather Patera with a Double Wristlock.
In June 2016, Baszler made her debut for Shimmer Women Athletes. On July 17, Baszler defeated RAZE to become the Women Athlete's Championship at Premier XIII. On September 9, Baszler defeated Heidi Lovelace to win Absolute Intense Wrestling's Women's Championship. On September 27, it was reported that Baszler was receiving a WWE tryout.
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.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE (2017-present)
In September 2016, it was reported that Bazler was one of many independent wrestlers taking part in a WWE tryout.
Mae Young Classic (2017)
On July 13, 2017, Baszler entered WWE's Mae Young Classic, defeating Zeda in the first round. The following day, Baszler first defeated Mia Yim in the second round, then Candice LeRae in the quarterfinals and finally Mercedes Martinez in the semifinals to advance to the finals of the tournament. After defeating Candice LeRae in the quarterfinals, Baszler turned heel after not releasing the submission hold she used to beat Candice after the bell rang multiple times. She also kicked Candice as she was attended by doctors and her husband Johnny Gargano while also berating the fans, therefore cementing her heel turn.
Baszler made her NXT debut at a house show on August 10, 2017, where she teamed with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, they were against the team of Kairi Sane, Aliyah and Dakota Kai, in a six-woman tag team match, which Baszler's team lost. On August 12, she made her singles debut, defeating Zeda and then defeating Taynara Conti in another match. On October 3, WWE officially announced that Baszler had signed with the company and started training at the WWE Performance Center. Baszler continued through the remainder of 2017 undefeated in singles and tag team matches, ending her debut year with a victory over NXT newcomer Jessie Elaban. She received her first title shot on January 27, 2018 at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, against the NXT Women's Champion Ember Moon but did not succeed in winning the title. Her title rematch was held during the February 1 edition of NXT where Baszler won the match by disqualification but did not win the title. During the course of new year, Baszler wrestled in matches against opponents including Dakota Kai, Rhea Ripley, Abbey Laith and Kairi Sane. On March 16, Baszler challenged Ember Moon once more for the Women's title but lost the match due to the double-disqualification. On April 7 at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, Baszler defeated Ember Moon to win the NXT Women's Championship for the first time. On April 8 during the fourth day of the 2018 WrestleMania Axxess weekend event, Baszler's first title defense was victory over Dakota Kai. Throughout the remainder of April, Baszler successfully defended her title against challengers including Candice LeRae, Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross and Steffanie Newell. During the month of May, Baszler defeated Dakota Kai in three title rematches. The following month she defeated Nikki Cross on three different occasions to retain the Women's title including the third match held at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II. On June 19 during the second night of the 2018 WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, Baszler retained the championship against New Zealand wrestler Toni Storm by count-out. After returning to the United States, Baszler defeated Dakota Kai once more in a title rematch on June 28.
Beginning the next month on July 13, Baszler defeated Nikki Cross to retain the NXT Women's Championship. Over the course of the month, she extended her title reign, defeating challengers including Xia Li and Candice LeRae. She finished the month with a tag match during the July 29 house show, teaming with Taynara Conti in a loss to Candice LeRae & Kairi Sane. Baszler's next title defense was held during the August 17 house show, defeating Kairi Sane. However, a rematch was held the following night at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV, where Baszler lost the Women's Championship to Sane. A week later, Baszler returned to begin a new winning streak with a match won during the August 23 tapings, defeating Violet Payne. At the August 25 house show, Baszler formed an alliance with sister mixed martial artists and wrestling newcomers Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Their first tag match was won against the team of Deonna Purrazzo, Io Shirai and with reigning Women's Champion Kairi Sane. They finished the month with a second tag team victory during the August 30 house show, defeating Dakota Kai, Io Shirai & Nikki Cross. Returning at the September 6 house show, Baszler began the month with a victory over Candice LeRae. She later lost to LeRae in a rematch held during the September 8 house show. Baszler also met LeRae in two tag matches ending in victories for LeRae's team during the September 7 and September 9 house shows. By September 14, Baszler returned to her alliance with sister mixed martial artists Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, leading their team in defeating Dakota Kai, Io Shirai & Kairi Sane. During the September 20 tapings, Baszler won a singles match after decimating guest wrestler Britt Baker, resulting in the referree stopping their match. At the September 22 house show, Baszler, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir defeated Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai & Kairi Sane in an elimination tag team match. Baszler and her teammates finished the month with a victory during the September 27 house show, defeating Io Shirai, Kairi Sane & Xia Li.
The following month, Baszler returned for the October 4 house show, teaming with Marina Shafir in defeating Candice LeRae & Dakota Kai. Two nights later, Baszler & Shafir teamed again, defeating Dakota Kai & Mia Yim. A week later during the October 12 house show, Baszler, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir won another six-woman tag match defeating the team of Io Shirai, Jessie Elaban & Lacey Lane.
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. Hickey later changed his mind about the sport 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.
Baszler is also a coach for the South Dakota-based roller derby team, the Sioux Falls Roller Dollz. She is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
- Finishing moves
- Kirifuda Driver / Ace of Spades (Rear naked choke transitioned from a vertical suplex)
- Rear Naked Choke
- Signature moves
- Double wristlock
- Wristlock to arm stomp
- Two of a Kind- Rolling Gutwrench suplexes
- Jumping Knee
- Vertical suplex
- Entrance Music
- "The Queen Of Spades"
- The Submission Magician
- Managers and valets
- Teams and stables
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Freestyle Cage Fighting
- FCF Women's Bantamweight Grand Prix Championship (1 time)
- Invicta FC
- Fight of the Night (2 times) vs. Sara McMann, Alexis Davis
- The Cage Inc.
- TCI Women's 140 lbs Championship (1 time, first)
- Premier Wrestling
- Premier Women's Championship (1 time)
- Quintessential Pro Wrestling
- QPW Women's Championship (1 time)
|2016 PWI Top 50 Females|
|Charlotte Flair • Sasha Banks • Asuka • Becky Lynch • Bayley • Jade • Natalya • Gail Kim • Sexy Star • Sienna • Ivelisse • Madison Eagles • Nicole Savoy • Rosemary • Allie • Nicole Matthews • Kimber Lee • Candice LeRae • Paige • Heidi Lovelace • Evie • Cheerleader Melissa • Nia Jax • Santana Garrett • Naomi • Dana Brooke • Madison Rayne • Kay Lee Ray • Alexa Bliss • Lufisto • Amber Gallows • Marti Belle • Emma • Taylor Made • Vanessa Kraven • Su Yung • Ember Moon • Tessa Blanchard • Jessicka Havok • Shayna Baszler • Crazy Mary Dobson • Malia Hosaka • Thunder Rosa • Carmella • KC Spinelli • Veda Scott • Jessica James • Xandra Bale • Kaitlin Diemond • Eva Marie|
|2017 PWI Top 50 Females|
|Asuka • Charlotte Flair • Alexa Bliss • Sasha Banks • Bayley • Io Shirai • Natalya • Sienna • Naomi • Kairi Sane • Mercedes Martinez • Shayna Baszler • Rosemary • LuFisto • Mayu Iwantani • Mia Yim • Allie • Ember Moon • Becky Lynch • Madison Eagles • Nicole Savoy • Nia Jax • Candice LeRae • Toni Storm • Hiroyo Matsumoto • Chelsea Green • Saraya Knight • Shazza McKenzie • Kay Lee Ray • Mickie James • Dakota Kai • Nicole Matthews • Alex Windsor • Deonna Purrazzo • Abbey Laith • Risa Sera • Viper • Carmella • Ruby Riot • Nikki Cross • Vanessa Kraven • Santana Garrett • Tessa Blanchard • Arisa Nakajima • Lady Lory • Shotzi Blackheart • Veda Scott • Alpha Female • Marti Belle • Zoey Skye|
|WWE Mae Young Classic 2017 contestants|
Abbey Laith • Ayesha Ray • Bianca Belair • Candice LeRae • Dakota Kai • Jazzy Gabert • Kairi Sane • Kavita Devi • Kay Lee Ray • Lacey Evans • Marti Belle • Mercedes Martinez • Mia Yim • Miranda Salinas • Nicole Savoy • Piper Niven • Princesa Sugehit • Rachel Evers • Reina Gonzales • Renee Michelle • Rhea Ripley • Sage Beckett • Santana Garrett • Sarah Logan • Serena Deeb • Shayna Baszler • Taynara Conti • Tessa Blanchard • Toni Storm • Vanessa Borne • Xia Li • Zeda