WWE is currently rolling through the country on its bi-annual UK tour, so we grabbed Becky Lynch to chat about wrestling, metal and why the two seem inexorably linked.
The Dublin-based competitor has been honing her craft for over 13 years now, and is a graduate of WWE’s developmental division, NXT. When she’s not slapping the snot out of Team Bella on Raw every week, however, you’ll likely find Becky either blaring Rise Against in the gym or waxing lyrical on her love of 90s grunge, nu metal and why tape-trading was freakin’ awesome. She’s a lifelong rock and metal fan and, alongside the likes of Paige, Seth Rollins, Corey Graves, Triple H and, of course, Chris Jericho, is an ambassador for the curious and ongoing relationship that heavy music and professional wrestling have built over the years.
Luckily for us, when we sat down with the lady herself as WWE’s UK tour stopped off in London last week, she had a lot to say on the matter of metal and wrestling, and why the two make such willing bedfellows…
Hi Becky! Your gimmick looks pretty metal, but what kind of music are you actually into?
“I guess I’m a big grunge-head! Pearl Jam are my favourite band of all time. I’m a big Stone Temple Pilots fan. Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden… my brother always listened to Nirvana when I was younger, so I think that’s what got me started, but then I discovered Pearl Jam, and I was hanging out with other [rock kids] at Temple Bar in Dublin, and there I started getting into all these other bands I’d never heard of. There was Korn, Pantera, Machine Head… From This Day is one of my favourite songs of all time.”
So you were a proper greebo, basically.
“Totally. Hahaha! This was back when you and your friends would make tapes. I thought all that was really good fun. It’s a shame that people don’t do that any more.”
What are you listening to at the moment?
“Rise Against are one of my favourites at the moment, especially for working out. I don’t have a lot of music on my phone, but I have a lot of Rise Against on there. I think that riles me up.”
It seems like metal and wrestling have always had a strong connection - recently highlighted by Corey Taylor and NXT crossing paths at a US festival, as well as Bring Me The Horizon, Motionless In White and Motörhead soundtracking live events. Where do you think that relationship comes from?
“Well, actually, one of my hashtags is ‘#subculture’! It’s got two meanings: I love submission wrestling – I have the armbar as one of my finishers – but there’s also still something a little bit underground about wrestling. You look at NXT, and I feel like it’s so over because it’s underground. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, it’s don’t-give-a-crap, it’s about being unique, about being limited-edition. And there’s so much soul and passion that goes into it, and most people that have got anywhere in wrestling have so much passion and love for the art of wrestling.”
So it’s all about uniqueness and realness - just like metal!
“It’s not going with the status quo – and that’s metal! It’s not saying, ‘Okay, this is the way it is, you’re going to follow these rules’. It’s saying, ‘No, why am I gonna follow these rules? I’m not gonna follow them, they don’t make sense. I’m gonna be who I am, you’re not gonna tell me what to do’. It’s Rage Against The Machine – another amazing band – that, ‘F-you, I won’t do what you tell me!‘”
NXT really seems to appeal to a lot of old-school wrestling fans in particular.
“There’s just a uniqueness about NXT. It’s reminiscent of the Attitude Era [the classic late-90s era of wrestling dominated by Stone Cold Steve Austin – Wrestling Ed], there’s a hunger from everybody down there, that they want to push themselves. We all know that there’s something special there. It’s something special that’s never been done before, and it may never happen again. It’s getting bigger and bigger, but it’s still underground. The stories are great, the matches are great, and there’s just so much emotion – you really feel for the characters.”
We won’t argue with any of that! Time for the Big Questions, though: who has the best music taste in the locker room?
Fair. Who has the worst?
“I’m sorry, but Charlotte! It hurts my brain.”
And finally, who is the most metal person in WWE?
“Bray Wyatt. And he’s also one of my most favourite wrestlers, maybe of all time!”
WWE’s UK tour continues this week with stops in Manchester, Belfast, Brighton, Newcastle, Nottingham and Minehead. The first ever NXT UK tour kicks off on December 10 in Newcastle. Check WWE.com for all dates and tickets.