Isla Dawn is rising up the ranks in NXT UK and becoming one to watch in WWE’s British brand.
The Scottish superstar has impressed fans since the show’s relaunch last month, with the weekly broadcast coming from BT Sport’s state of the art studio in London, albeit with no fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Behind the scenes, the roster are getting used to hearing the booming voices of Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Matt Bloom – working remotely from the US – and Isla admitted there are moments she has to pinch herself about living the dream.
She exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘The first time I heard it, I was standing in the ring before we started filming. I just heard Triple H’s voice come over, and I was like “What was that?!”
‘When they speak to you, you don’t know whether to respond, so I was just thumbs-upping the air. It’s great having them.
‘They come over to the UK a lot, when travel permits. Matt Bloom, Shawn Michaels, Triple H – having them there for advice and feedback. Everything they bring is unreal.’
The 26-year-old star – who recently jumped into the world of James Bond with her fellow NXT UK stars – is a huge fan of wrestling, and reminding herself of how far she’s come helps keep her grounded as she rises up the ranks.
‘In the moment, you kinda forget, and then you’re like, “Oh I was just having a wee banter with Shawn MIchaels, that’s a bit weird,”‘ she laughed. ‘I think you forget, but that’s something I do a lot in my life.
‘If I do something that is quite a big thing, and at the time I don’t even realise how big it is, I’ll take that step back and go, “Oh wow, that’s massive moment.” ‘
Isla’s first ever wrestling match saw her battle Nikki Cross, who trained her alongside NXT’s Killian Dain when they were both fixtures in the emerging British wrestling scene.
For the Glasgow star, seeing the way Scotland has become so well-represented within WWE has been inspirational, as she’s joined by the likes of Nikki, Gallus, Kay Lee Ray and former WWE Champion Drew McIntyre on the company’s various rosters.
‘There was a theory at one point where it was like, they’ve got one Scottish person, they don’t need another, that fills the role,’ she admitted. ‘You did kinda go, was Drew the anomaly, the one in a million, the only one that’s gonna get that.
‘But now there’s so many Scottish people, it feels really good – I hope I can be included in that, to be an inspiration for the Scottish scene coming up.’
McIntyre has undoubtedly helped inspire a generation of performers, including many of those in NXT UK – and his journey was recently detailed in a very raw and candid documentary.
‘I was in tears watching it, I loved it,’ Isla said, noting she saw some of it first hand, particularly his return to the British scene following his release in 2011.
‘I was watching it as someone who kinda knows some of it, but also as a fan for the first time. Everything he’s done in life has been so inspirational. Whether it’s in wrestling or not in wrestling, just him in general is such an inspiring story!’
Now, the NXT UK roster has been helping each other cope after a difficult year, with the wrestling world rocked by the coronavirus pandemic and Speaking Out movement.
Getting back to work with the camaraderie has been significant, especially in an environment without live crowds.
‘I feel like they’re not only my roster, who I train with, who I work with – they’ve become a family to me,’ she said. ‘During lockdown I was speaking to so many of them every day.
‘We were supporting each other, making sure everybody was OK. Getting back together was just like a family reunion. I feel like we’ve got a really good group of people that do really support each other.’
As with any fan growing up watching, there will always have been the dream of making it to the bright lights of Raw and SmackDown – and while Isla is letting herself cast an eye to the states, her focus for now is much closer to home.
‘Definitely at some point in the future, it’s something I would really like to do – especially seeing so many of my co-workers and friends do the same,’ she admitted.
‘But for the moment everything is focused on NXT UK. For me, my goal at the minute is the NXT UK Women’s Championship.
‘As much as two, three, five, however many years down the line – Raw, SmackDown, NXT, any of those things, I will welcome them. But at the minute it’s NXT UK and the Women’s Championship!’
*Tune in to NXT UK on Thursdays at 8pm on WWE Network and Fridays at 10pm on BT Sport.
Credit: Original article published here.