Candice LeRae Revealed How She Thought Intergender Wrestling Would Affect Her Chances With WWE

After a period spent as primarily a supporting character for her husband, Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae‘s WWE NXT career is finally taking off. She had an exciting match with Io Shirai on the lastest NXT TakeOver and is set for an NXT Women’s Championship match against Shayna Baszler on the black-and-yellow brand’s second episode on the USA Network.

While she has this positive momentum, LeRae made an appearance on Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Chasing Glory, in which she revealed that she thought her intergender wrestling past on the independent circuit might hurt her chances at a WWE career. On the podcast, LeRae said (transcript by 411Mania):

I kind of felt like I shot myself in the foot a little bit on the independents, because I was doing a style of wrestling that’s not necessarily accepted by everybody. Not that it was bad, but I was a women wrestling men, and that’s not for everybody. And I totally understand both sides of the story here, but I found what I was doing was inspiring and helping other people. I mean, I had men and women coming up to me at shows almost in tears, telling me that my wrestling empowered them to get out of horrible situations.

And so I do understand, like, a company here maybe not wanting to promote the violence between opposite genders, and I do understand people’s take that it supports domestic violence. But I always viewed it as I’m a woman who’s putting myself in the situation. I’m asking for this. I want to be treated as an equal, as an equal competitor. I’m putting myself in this scenario because I want to empower myself. And I think I found that a lot of people found so much good in that…

I worried because I did understand that WWE, you know, they can’t necessarily promote that and I understand the reason for it. But I didn’t know if they wanted to sign somebody who, I was the poster child for intergender wrestling on the independents…

Although WWE has had some intergender wrestling moments in the past year or so, including Carmella rolling up R-Truth to win the 24/7 Championship on last night’s episode of Raw, there has yet to be an intergender match in WWE as seriously competitive (or bloody) as LeRae’s on the independent scene. But while WWE may never go as far as some independent promotions, Lucha Underground, and, recently, Impact Wrestling when it comes to intergender wrestling, it clearly isn’t something the company finds unseemly enough to ignore an impressive part of someone’s resume.