All wrestlers have to start somewhere on the path to making their dreams a reality, whether it be a wrestling school, church basement, bingo hall, etc. From there, those wrestlers work their way up to the pinnacle of their dreams. For many, that’s a career in WWE or more recently AEW, IMPACT! Wrestling or even NJPW. But sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. In LWOPW’s newest feature, “Before They Were Famous,” we take a look at the pre-WWE careers of some of the company’s top current stars, following along on their road to superstardom. In this edition, we look at the pre-WWE career of NXT’s “Ballsy Badass” Shotzi Blackheart.
Donning a viking helmet and riding to the ring in a mini-tank, Shotzi Blackheart makes an immediate impression. From Los Angeles, California, the green-haired “Ballsy Badass” has carved a name for herself in professional wrestling. From her risk-taking style to her counterculture presentation, Blackheart is unlike anyone else in NXT and World Wrestling Entertainment at large. It took time for her to reach WWE and her journey to the biggest wrestling promotion in the world is one to tell.
Shotzi Blackheart grew up an avid horror movie fan. Not only is her trademark green hair inspired by “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” but her name predates her professional wrestling career. She played a character on “Creepy KOFY Movie Time,” a local TV show that played horror films. Her character on the show, which was a cave girl, was named “Shotzi Blackheart.” This would become her predominant alias in wrestling.
The future “Ballsy Badass” began her professional wrestling career in 2014 with Hoodslam. For the uninitiated, Hoodslam is a wrestling promotion that picked up steam in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its edgy presentation attracted Blackheart. She debuted as “Missy Highasshit,” the red-haired cheerleading manager for the stable known as Stoner U. The stable’s outlandish nature helped the future NXT Superstar develop her unique character.
WWE fans may have recognized Blackheart for being a contestant on the sixth season of Tough Enough. Despite being one of the hungry competitors, she was cut prior to making it to the final 14. She failed a medical evaluation, which postponed her goal of joining WWE. In hindsight, perhaps this worked to her benefit, as she was able to develop a following on the independent scene that would carry over to any major promotions she worked with.
The Birth of Shotzi Blackheart
In May of 2015, Blackheart made her in-ring wrestling debut for local California promotion, Alternative Wrestling Show. In her first match, she defeated Brittany Wonder, a multi-time Best Athlete in the Easy Bay Champion in her own right. From there, Blackheart wrestled for other locations in the area, including Gold Rush Pro Wrestling. By the end of 2015, Blackheart was only roughly half a year into her wrestling career. Despite this, she was making waves in quick fashion.
Blackheart kicked off 2016 strong, debuting for East Bay Pro Wrestling and defeating Beatrice Domino in February. The month after, she competed in a five-way match to determine the first EBPW Ladies Championship; ultimately, Samara came out on top. Blackheart went on to fight for titles in California, and after several months, her hard work paid off. In September, Blackheart bested Samara for the EBPW Ladies Championship, winning her first title in the process. She would hold onto the title throughout the year. Furthermore, appearances in promotions including SHIMMER and RISE Wrestling helped Blackheart continue to build her name throughout the independent circuit.
Badass Draped in Gold
In early 2017, Blackheart added more gold to her resume. In March, she won the Phoenix of RISE Championship, which she successfully defended against the likes of Veda Scott and future AEW star Britt Baker. April saw Blackheart become the GRPW Lady Luck Championship as well, which helped her build greater momentum. Though she started her career in California, she was becoming a more prominent name not just in the country but around the world. During June, Blackheart debuted for British Empire Wrestling in its International Grand Prix. Though she won her first round and semifinal matches, she was unable to win the British Empire Women’s Championship in the finals.
Back in the United States, Blackheart dropped the EBPW Ladies Championship to Thunder Rosa in May. At 287 days, however, Blackheart enjoyed the longest single reign with the title. Meanwhile, Blackheart continued to hold the Phoenix of RISE Championship, even wrestling a violent Dog Collar Match against Dust in July. During this month, she debuted for SHINE Wrestling as well, competing in a tournament for the SHINE Nova Championship.
Shotzi Blackheart: A Digital Sensation
It was also during 2017 that Shotzi Blackheart was becoming something of a viral sensation in the wrestling community. The community in question was acquainted with a couple of interesting characters, Pizza Cat being a prominent example. These characters were portrayed by Blackheart, who fans were becoming quickly aware of. It didn’t take long for fans to discover that not only was she an emerald-maned daredevil but an entertaining star that wasn’t afraid to cut loose.
April of 2018 saw Blackheart compete in IWA Mid-South‘s Women’s Championship Tournament. The title in question had been rendered vacant for over 9 years and a new titleholder would be decided. Ultimately besting Kikyo in the finals, Blackheart became the new IWA Mid-South Women’s Champion. From there, Blackheart made her Impact Wrestling debut in May. In terms of the IWA Mid-South Women’s Championship, she successfully defended against Allie Kat, Xia Brookside, and Kimber Lee, among others. Her title reign came to an end in October when she fell to Amazing Maria.
In early 2019, Blackheart won more gold when she secured Sabotage Wrestling‘s gender-neutral War of the Genders Championship. The following April, she debuted for Game Changer Wrestling in their Lumberjack Swamp Monster Elimination Match, which was won by Allie Kat. It was in May, however, when she achieved greater success, besting Aja Perera for the SHINE Nova Championship. Though she was attacked by Santana Garrett post-match, Blackheart winning SHINE two years after debuting for the promotion couldn’t be overlooked. By the fall, the journey of the “Ballsy Badass” would come full circle.
At EVOLVE 137, Blackheart was involved in a SHINE Nova Championship match against Perera. Following her victory, Blackheart was approached, in-ring, by NXT General Manager William Regal. He moved Blackheart to tears and the EVOLVE crowd to excitement when he offered her an NXT contract. She wrapped up her various dates for promotions such as RISE and Impact Wrestling before making her way to WWE’s black-and-gold brand.
Shotzi Blackheart’s NXT debut took place in December against Bianca Belair. Though she fell to “The EST,” Blackheart’s brash demeanor and hard-hitting offense were on full display. This past January, Blackheart participated in a number one contender battle royal for the NXT Women’s Championship. She shocked the NXT Universe, and perhaps even herself, when she dumped two-time titleholder Shayna Baszler over the top rope. Her spirited offense was further exemplified in a number one contender gauntlet match in April. She started as the first entrant, defeating Deonna Purrazzo, Xia Lee, Aliyah, and Kayden Carter. Ultimately, she lost to Dakota Kai, who had assistance in the form of Raquel Gonzalez. Despite the loss, the “Ballsy Badass” lived up to her moniker by going the distance.
Earlier this month, Shotzi Blackheart made her TakeOver debut at NXT TakeOver: In Your House. She teamed with Mia Yim and Tegan Nox to defeat Kai, Gonzalez, and Candice LeRae. Blackheart showed no fear in the match, taking to the skies and putting her body on the line. This approach carried over in her first title match in WWE, when she teamed with Nox to challenge WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley. Despite the loss, Blackheart was fearless; this is among the many reasons she has quickly endeared herself to the wrestling world. Don’t be surprised to see her as a champion in WWE in the coming years.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.