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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Facing Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 34, dealing with nerves, and ambitions for WWE to be as big as Disney: Speaking with Stephanie McMahon

The WWE's chief brand officer of WWE, discusses Sunday's event in New Orleans and her own feelings on the growth of WrestleMania into a worldwide event.

Stephanie McMahon, right, is excited for the prospect of her match with Ronda Rousey on Sunday. Image courtesy of WWE.
Stephanie McMahon, right, is excited for the prospect of her match with Ronda Rousey on Sunday. Image courtesy of WWE.

It is a hectic time for Stephanie McMahon. The WWE's chief brand officer is working hard behind the scenes on preparations for Sunday's WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.

But, she competes in her first ever WrestleMania match on Sunday when she teams up with her husband Triple H to take on former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle in a mixed tag match.

Ahead of the event she took time out to talk about her training, her opponent and the time she forgot her lines at a WrestleMania and how she dealt with it.

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On how the training has gone

"Jarring. Is definitely a word that I would use. I've been training harder than I have ever been in my life. Dieting harder than I ever have in my life and when you consider that I am also juggling being an executive in WWE from a business perspective as well as being a mum of three girls 11, nine and seven so I certainly have my work cut out for me. But I am a McMahon and I do love a big challenge."

On if she was annoyed by Triple H referring to Ronda Rousey as the 'baddest woman on the planet'

"Maybe I'm the baddest mother on the planet (laughing). No I don't take umbrage with that description. That is why we wanted to sign Ronda. She truly is one of the world's greatest athletes."

Planning her schedule ahead of WrestleMania 34

"It has been incredibly gruelling. I train twice a day at least. In ring I have been doing boxing, I have been doing gymnastics and also my strength and conditioning that I always do. So it is stepped up dramatically and if it was possible I am actually sleeping a little bit less, which is the only thing that has to change as I need to get some more sleep at some point."

On the magic of WrestleMania

"I am going to be so incredibly nervous. I am nervous every time I go out there, no matter the crowd, but especially at WrestleMania. It is hard to describe as it this incredible event that my father created. There this huge feeling for me that is much more then just the spectacle, much more then what the event means. You have people from all 50 states and over 60 countries coming to share the one thing they have in common, which is this passion for WWE."

The time she forgot her lines at WrestleMania 32

"Right before WrestleMania 32 when I was part of Triple H's entrance and I was introducing him at AT&T Stadium in front of over 101,000 fans I had this little monologue that was the big set up for the audience. "Bow down", "grovel on your knees" and all this other good stuff because I am a villain, or a baddie, as they say in the UK, and I was properly setting up Triple H's entrance.

"I was suspended on this platform in the middle of the stadium in front of over 101,000 people and right before I went out I blanked. I forgot everything I was supposed to say and suddenly was just struck with this nerve and anxiety. I thought I was going to explode and implode at the same time.

"I was so nervous and this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt went through my mind. And that quote was something to the effect of "do something you are afraid of every day." And suddenly I thought about that and what an unique moment in time it was. What an incredible opportunity it was and how many people have the chance to do what I was about to do. And if I didn't go out there and own it I would regret it for the rest of my life so that is exactly what I did. I went out there and I owned that moment and I took it all in. I hope I am able to do the same thing at WrestleMania 34.

On succession plans on WWE for running of company

There has been no formal plans announced in terms of succession planning for WWE. There is a huge team of incredible leadership so I would not necessarily see it would be me and Paul. But, in terms of vision for the company I think there is no reason why we could not be as big, or bigger, than Disney at some point in the long, long term. I'm speaking 10 to 20 years now."