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It’s official: Raquel Gonzalez will tackle Io Shirai, the NXT World Champion, in the principle occasion of NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, on Wednesday, April 7 on the USA Community. Evening two airs the next evening, exclusively on Peacock.
The 2-night NXT occasion is a serious a part of WrestleMania Week, which culminates with two nights of WrestleMania 37 (streamed dwell on Peacock on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11) from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
For Gonzalez, Shirai, and the NXT roster, the chance to showcase their abilities to the WWE Universe throughout the professional wrestling juggernaut’s greatest week can’t be understated. WWE reported final yr’s WrestleMania Week viewership at 967 million views throughout all platforms.
The chance hasn’t been misplaced on Gonzalez, the 6’ former DII basketball participant at Texas A&M Kingsville. Since making her NXT debut ultimately yr’s TakeOver in Portland, Gonzalez has gotten leaner, stronger, faster, all in an effort to show she’s worthy to hold the NXT torch.
“Bodily, I’m extra agile and I run much more,” she explains. “My endurance is increased, my leaping is increased. Plenty of stuff has simply change into lots simpler for me.”
She provides: “Io, you’re courageous woman, however, I don’t suppose you’re prepared for a competitor like me. The final powerhouse she confronted was Rhea Ripley — and that was months in the past. I do know she is one of the best on the earth, and to be one of the best you need to beat one of the best. So I’m coming in with essentially the most excited and anticipated mindset that I can.”
Within the fitness center, with the assistance of former strongman and present WWE Celebrity Braun Strowman, Gonzalez switched from a full-body CrossFit-type routine to a extra conventional bodybuilding coaching model. She’s additionally added loads of yoga and therapeutic massage remedy to help flexibility and restoration efforts.
“I’ve been doing numerous actions that I do know I’m going to make use of within the ring in terms of throwing round folks,” Gonzalez says. “And Io might be half my measurement, so I do know I’ll be throwing her round lots, for positive.”
With lower than three weeks until the massive match, Gonzalez says her preparation credit the boldness to her latest change in food plan that has her feeling on the high of her sport. She’s begun counting her macros extra, switching to a food plan of entire meals consisting primarily of lean meat, rice, pink potatoes and egg whites, in addition to consuming no less than a gallon of water a day. She’s gone from a excessive of 200 kilos to hovering across the 180- to 185-pound mark nowadays.
Earlier than the 2 battle for the title at Stand and Ship, Gonzalez and tag-team associate Dakota Kai, who grew to become WWE NXT’s first ladies’s tag-team champions after successful February’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Staff Basic at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day, will get another up-close-and-personal showdown with Shirai, who will associate with Zoey Stark in a tag-team match on this upcoming week’s WWE NXT.
“That is going to sort of be my testing the scene sort of factor,” Gonzalez says. “Mentally for me, that is going to be a chance for me to essentially replenish my arsenal with what I must convey when it does come time for that NXT Ladies’s Championship match.”