In the dynamic landscape of professional wrestling, the World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) developmental system - which revolves primarily around the "WWE NXT" - has gained increasing recognition for the noteworthy talents that have emerged from it since its reformation in the early 2010s.
Yet, this transformation has not been without its fair share of trials and tribulations. Anya Zova, a wrestler who was under the wings of WWE developmental from 2012 to 2013, offered an insightful peek behind the curtain during her recent appearance on the "Developmentally Speaking" podcast.
Zova compared her grueling experience in WWE's training to the military's intense regimen.
Military-like Intensity in WWE
Reflecting on her time, Zova remarked, "In hindsight, the intensity was astonishing. I have immense respect for all the wrestlers enduring this regime.
While I have never served in the military, the comparison is stark. It felt like there was no room for personal life. Monday mornings at eight signaled the start of training and weigh-ins, maintaining our physique lean and fit, a practice that pushed many to their psychological limits, with some girls even developing eating disorders." Zova also highlighted the transformation WWE has undergone in recent years, particularly in its approach towards female wrestlers.
"The WWE universe has evolved since my time, embracing female wrestlers of all shapes and sizes. However, during my tenure, the pressure was overwhelming," she recalled. She mentioned Charlotte Flair's strict regime that often started at six in the morning on Mondays, emphasizing the relentless pressure to stay fit and in shape.
In the eye-opening interview, Zova shed light on the arduous monotony of her training weeks with no break, contributing to a toxic atmosphere within the WWE developmental program. She recalled the rigorous, repetitive schedule that focused purely on training, with little to no time allocated for anything else.
Zova's candid revelations provide a much-needed perspective into the challenging world of WWE developmental training. They underscore the evolution of the program and its approach towards the mental and physical well-being of its talent - an evolution that's as crucial as it is painstaking.