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Bianca Belair is hoping for a “fairytale” ending to her past year in WWE.
The Raw women’s champion, who will be at Madison Square Garden this week for “Monday Night Raw” (8 p. m., USA Network), will get the chance to put Becky Lynch behind her after their title match at SummerSlam on July 30 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville (8 p.m., Peacock). It will likely be the end of a yearlong feud that began with Lynch beating her in 26 seconds at the event last year — a result Belair doesn’t want to see repeated again.
With a big week ahead, Belair took time for some Q&A with The Post’s Joseph Staszewski.
Q: What do you remember about the first time you worked at Madison Square Garden, and do you have a favorite moment there?
A: My first time being at Madison Square Garden was for a track meet, and it was freshman year at the University of South Carolina. But in that moment, I was dealing with so many mental issues, and my head wasn’t really in the game, so was I really wasn’t able to grasp the huge significance of being able to perform inside Madison Square Garden. So I feel very blessed and fortunate to have performed there again for SmackDown [on Sept. 11], and I was really able to grasp how significant that moment was and how big it was to perform at Madison Square Garden.
Q: How fitting is it now that you get to kind of bookend this feud with Becky Lynch and close out this story a year later at SummerSlam?
A: I’m going to write the final chapter in my comeback story for SummerSlam. Losing my title to Becky in 26 seconds last year at SummerSlam was one of the lowest moments of my career and having to fight all the way to the top and take the title from her at WrestleMania 38. To be able to go to SummerSlam this year, I feel like I can redeem my reputation and not have my memories from SummerSlam be one that’s a low memory but end on a high note. I just want to write that final chapter and end it as a fairytale in my story.
Q: What have you learned from working with Becky on a daily basis over the last year?
A: I think she is one of the greatest storytellers when it comes to her in-ring performance. I went back and watched the WrestleMania 38 match. And just from her facial expressions to just her storytelling throughout the match, also with storytelling with our feud leading up to WrestleMania. Becky Lynch had such a huge role in carrying that story and pushing for that story.
I also have so much respect for Becky Lynch outside the ring, just her not staying in one box, just in the ring, being a wife and mother and being a WWE superstar. Balancing all that is so inspiring. To see what she’s done for the women’s division and pushing us forward, making sure we are always at the forefront of WWE as women and representing women is really inspiring and I want to do the same thing that she’s done.
Q: What level of disappointment was there for you when Rhea Ripley got injured and you didn’t get to have your match at Money in the Bank?
A: With the issue that Rhea Ripley and I have, it’s a huge match that everyone’s excited for, I’m excited for. I feel like Rhea Ripley and I are both at the forefront of a new generation of women in WWE. To see us go head to head and see who comes out on top is something everyone is looking forward to. It was a little discouraging and frustrating that we weren’t able to have that happen. But in the end, I feel like it’s even more build-up for when it finally is gonna happen. I’ve always seen that match as a WrestleMania type of match as well.
Q: You are two of the younger stars in this division. Does that feud feel like it can become something really special for a long time?
A: I definitely think this is going to last years and years and years. We didn’t just start on Raw and SmackDown at the same time. This goes all the way back to NXT when we first got into NXT. Us being the final two in the Royal Rumble [two years ago] and then both winning titles at WrestleMania the same exact year, we have both been on opposite sides doing equally amazing things.
Q: Do you like the idea that, where you both are, it will happen where she’s a heel and you’re a babyface?
A: Right now, it’s clearly a distinction with Rhea Ripley and this change of attitude and her joining The Judgment Day and her kind of on the darker side of things, it’s really a distinction between the two of us — one on the side of good and the other evil. I think it adds more to the feud. It’s a big contrast there.
Q: So many people in the industry were so happy for Liv Morgan and everything that went on with her at Money in the Bank. What is it about Liv that brought out so much joy for you and others watching her become a champion?
A: I think with Liv, I think everyone feels like this title run for her is long overdue. We all see the passion Liv has for WWE. She’s probably one of the most passionate people on the roster. She deserves this. At the end of the day, we all deserve what comes our way because we all work hard. But when you have someone that’s so passionate, you can see how much she wants it and she finally gets it. Someone has that special it-factor, and Liv has there where she’s able to make people feel something and when she wins the SmackDown women’s championship and she wins Money in the Bank everyone feels like they’re a part of that and they can feel that. She has the ability to bring that out of you and you can’t help but be happy for her.
Q: What was it like getting to drive in a NASCAR vehicle last week? It seemed like you and Montez Ford had some fun with that.
A: We got to ride with the legend Jeff Burton. My husband and I were having a competition of who was going the fastest, and I held up to my reputation. My husband went about 165 mph and I went 172. As my husband said it was just the biggest adrenaline rush ever.
Q: Jade Cargill, AEW’s TBS champion, was at the same race. Did you get to cross paths there?
A: We did not cross paths. I saw pictures, but we didn’t actually cross paths while we were there.
Q: Do you see why fans would see that as a dream match with what you both represent and the Mark Henry connection?
A: I’ve seen fans talking about it all the time. I feel like the fans always want something that they can’t have. But I always see the internet lighting up about it.
Q: When you come to New York, is there something you really enjoy doing?
A: I’ve always enjoyed going to Times Square. It’s always just like the life of New York. Whenever I can catch a Broadway show, the last time I got to see “The Lion King,” which was amazing. I love to eat New York pizza. I’ve never gotten to the Statue of Liberty, so I’m hoping one of these trips I get to visit the Statue of Liberty.
Q: Do you have a favorite New York pizza place?
A: I don’t have a favorite one. I just try to test each and every one. If I see one on the street I’ll go and try it. (Laughs).
Q: That can be dangerous because not all of them are good.
A: I know. I haven’t had any bad luck yet. Hopefully, I don’t run into any bad luck with that.
Q: Is there a female celebrity or athlete that you would love to see or think would do well in WWE?
A: I would love to see someone like Serena Williams or Simone Biles try to cross over into WWE. I think they’re athletic, they’re amazing, they’re powerful women. They could bring a lot to WWE.