WWE’s Lola Vice on Switch From MMA, Being Badass, The Rock & What Next

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Things are heating up in the WWE NXT women’s division, and a big reason for that is Miami’s spicy Lola Vice (Valerie Loureda). The MMA fighter has made a smooth transition into pro wrestling thanks to her innate charisma and ability to entertain audiences. However, at the NXT Battleground: Las Vegas it’ll be all business as she competes in the brutal NXT Underground match against fellow fighter Shayna Baszler.

Vice defeated the legendary Natalya in what was the first time two women faced off in the environment. The 25-year-old is looking for a similar result against her former training partner. This time around brings a new atmosphere with the Peacock Premium Live Event (PLE) taking place in the UFC APEX. The venue has held Power Slap and UFC events in the past, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic without fans.

It’s new, yet familiar territory for the participants. Here Vice talks about her journey in WWE so far and aspirations for the future.

What was the moment that made you want to take the leap into pro wrestling? 

Lola Vice: I think the moment I saw WrestleMania I fell in love with WWE. Also, when I started training there I just knew this was what I was born to do. I think a moment in my career so far that solidified what I offered to this company was the Breakout Tournament. When I won, I showed them why I am Lola Vice. It gave me the confidence moving forward to challenge all these women, especially Natalya. To be the first woman in NXT to do an NXT Underground match was a big accomplishment for me. And on Sunday I’m going to do it again against Shayna Baszler.

Natalya Neidhart and Lola Vice - WWE

WWE

You really already had this built-in personality that shines through, as well as a presentation that is perfect for WWE. It seems like right out of the gate you knew who you were. 

I’m the same person in MMA as I am in WWE. I’m actually more myself in WWE. I try to represent myself and my character. I’m from Miami. I’m a Latina who is a little crazy but with an MMA background. Just because you’re a badass fighter doesn’t mean you can’t dance and have fun. I show that every time I’m in the ring. I’m grateful people love my personality and character, but they’ve seen very little of what I can do.

Being a WWE superstar, you’re on this huge platform. You’ve already had a big reach on social media. What has the transition been like in this department? 

I built my brand in WWE. Then when I got to WWE, I felt I built it from scratch, to be honest with you. I didn’t know how my fans were going to transition from MMA to WWE. They followed me and loved me and watched me Tuesday nights. I realized they weren’t just watching me in MMA for my skills but for who I was. Now that I’m in WWE I’m even more of myself here because I have the opportunity to be. The fans really relate to me because I haven’t changed a bit. I’ve never let anyone tell me what I can and can’t be.

The women’s division in NXT has always been a strength. What’s the feeling in the locker room right now with so much young talent? 

I’m grateful that we’re in the era right now where we have the best women’s roster in NXT. We have so much talent, so many women from athletic backgrounds, and ethnicities. There are so many characters and personalities. It was a culture shock at first to come from Miami to here. There were people from different places I wasn’t used to. Honestly, I think we all elevate each other, and I think that’s why we have the best women’s roster right now.

Who do you watch to draw inspiration from/ Who do you tape study?  

I got inspiration from Shayna Baszler. She is someone I watched coming into this company. I watch her a lot. She was the most dominant NXT women’s champion we’ve had. I’ve studied her a lot. I brought her back to NXT to train for my fight against Natalya, It’s a shame she never let me be myself. I feel like she is jealous of me, and I have to prove a point to her.

Lola Vice and Natalya Neidhart - 2024 NXT

WWE

How was it working with a veteran like Natalya? 

When I did an open challenge and Natalya answered the call, I was honored because she is such a staple in WWE. She has been around for so many years and has so much experience. I know she thinks I think I’m better than everyone else and maybe don’t respect her now. I actually do respect her, but I also have to remind you I came from MMA. The cage. So, I had to prove to her I was tough. Yes, pro wrestling might not be my world like hers, but the Underground was my world. I think working with Natalya elevated me a lot. I got a lot from her. I did beat her and knocked her out in the Underground, but I’ll always remember the times in the ring with her and what she has done in this company.

What do you think of the increased integration and collaboration between WWE and UFC? 

For me, it feels like destiny. I fought in the cage, and my dream was to be in WWE. Now we’ve partnered with UFC and have our first show at the UFC Apex on Sunday. I think this is what I’m meant to do with my life, and there is nobody better for this moment than me. I was born for this. I have the background for this. I also have the MMA fans on my side that has translated to WWE and watching me every Tuesday and will tune into Battleground. It’s a dream come true to have this collaboration. The UFC is the top of the line. When I was in the cage and before WWE, my goal was to fight in the UFC until WWE found me. Now I can do both in a way, so there is no greater time.

What has been the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

To be myself and stay unique in my style, which I think I’ve done a good job at. My resume is different than anyone. I’ve never changed for anybody. I stayed true to my creativity and personality. It’s all coming to life.

Lola Vince Entrance

WWE

What has been the biggest challenge in WWE? 

Some of these women are extremely acrobatic and athletic. I’m a fighter, so those types of opponents are a little more challenging. My knockout power is incomparable though. I’d say the challenge is the different styles and backgrounds and how my style works with theirs.

How will this NXT Underground match be compared to the one you had against Natalya? I know there was chatter about using the UFC octagon for it, but what can we expect? 

It will be a similar look and style to the one I had with Natalya. The only thing I will tell you is this match will be extremely violent. We are fighting, and I will knock out Shayna Baszler.

We’ve seen others make the transition from MMA to WWE over the years including Ronda Rousey. Is there anyone you see from MMA today who would do well in this world? 

Fighters watch pro wrestling, and everyone thinks they can do it until you get here. Then you realize it’s not what you think. It’s actually way harder than MMA. I think one person that would make a good transition is Sean O’Malley. He also has his brand, look, and charisma. Other than that I think it’s a very special fighter who can do this, which is why there aren’t that many. Nobody can do it like Lola Vice.

Who else in WWE do you have your eyes on facing? 

I would love to face a Tiffany Stratton. She was in NXT with me, but I never got the chance to fight against her. Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Jade Cargill, and Bianca Belair are just a few. Asuka would be a dream match for me. I love her style. The women up there are killing it, but we do have an incredible NXT women’s roster. I think when a lot of us get more experience it will shake things up [on Raw and SmackDown].

NXT’s is going to The CW later this year. What are you most excited about in terms of getting the potential of an even bigger audience? How do you feel about the idea of taking the weekly show more on the road? 

I would love to do it because it prepares you for the schedule of the main roster. I’m looking forward to being on a new network and seeing the way they portray our show and talent. I think it will be a big change but an exciting one for NXT. Shawn Michaels really knows what he is doing. He is cooking with us. He is incredible. I think we’re all very grateful to be part of this show and era.

Any shows you’re watching when you aren’t training and working? 

I’m funny but I love watching The Bachelor, Love Island. One day I will win Dancing with the Stars. I watch a lot of romantic shows and reality TV like The Kardashians. I’m just a chick girl.

Would you want to be on that dating show? 

No, only Dancing with the Stars. Obviously, that would be after I hope to make it to the main roster

There is a lot of potential to branch out of WWE into other entertainment. Do you have those aspirations? 

Yeah, but right now I feel like WWE is my only goal. I want to be a champion. I want to get experience and travel the world. I want to show why Lola Vice is undeniable and incomparable. Maybe in the future, I want to do a remake of the Miami Vice series from the 1980s with The Rock. I do have goals, but right now WWE is my main objective. I will be the greatest female sports entertainer of all time.

What does it mean for you to represent as the first Cuban American woman signed to WWE? 

That’s what I did this for. I had the opportunity to become the first Cuban American in history to be in this company. I believe I was born to represent our culture the right way and show that a woman can do both. Not only am I crazy Latina, but I’m also a badass in that ring. I have knockout power and want to show young girls you can do anything you put your mind to. I work very hard to be in my position now in this company. I’m grateful to represent and be myself.

WWE NXT, Tuesdays, 8/7c, USA Network

WWE NXT Battleground: Las Vegas, June 9, 8/7c, Peacock

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