Exclusive: Kavita Devi talks about her Mae Young Classic video going viral, Ronda Rousey & more
Kavita Devi, whom you may remember from the Mae Young Classic, has returned home to India to promote the WWE Talent Tryouts that will take place in Mumbai in March 2019. As the first Indian woman to work for WWE, Devi is proud of the path she's paved for other women (and men) to follow in her footsteps.
I had a chance to catch up with her and speak to her at length about how her journey has been. Devi is humble, super polite and really proud of all that she's achieved, representing India on such a huge scale. Here is a glimpse of our conversation.
How has the whole WWE experience been for you, thus far?
Devi: It's been a very unique experience. I've learned so many new things. Representing India is my greatest source of pride. When my name is announced and they say I'm from India, that is a big deal for me because I'm the only Indian woman in this field.
You also competed at WrestleMania this year. How was that experience for you?
Devi: I can't tell you how many tears of joy I've cried over that. Standing in front of thousands of people, I could not believe it. Especially when my country was announced. Everything I do, I do it for my country. This is my biggest motivation.
Another Indian WWE superstar, Jeet Rama, is also in the Performance Center right now. How is everything with him?
Devi: He's very hard working. He is training very hard. I keep interacting with him. We keep talking about India. We all share the same dream and are committed to achieving them.
What advice would you give to any aspiring WWE superstars from India, who'll be part of the tryouts?
Devi: Let me begin by saying that I can't believe tryouts are happening in India. I had to go all the way to Dubai for mine. It's happening in India for the first time, so it's a huge opportunity for Indians. Especially for the girls. So many Indian female athletes are heartbroken these days, for one reason or the other.
Some girls are financially not well off, some girls do not receive the kind of support they need from their families. They are often the victims of partiality as well. So, this is a golden opportunity.
I'm here to tell young girls who want to become WWE superstars to consider my example. If you consider my background, I'd never have dreamed of getting to where I am right now.
The last time I'd interviewed you, you had just competed on the Mae Young Classic against NXT superstar Dakota Kai. And suddenly, your video went viral, garnering 40 million views on YouTube. What does this support mean to you?
Devi: I am just grateful to my fans for all the love and affection they've shown to me. The amount of love they've shown me is amazing. I think they like me so much because of my attire. This is because the suit-salwar is traditional Indian attire. When I take what is Indian culture to the world, they really like it.
A lot of times Indians may not exactly like the revealing costumes that WWE superstars may be known for. I'm sure nobody even imagined that you can wrestle in a suit-salwar. I made it happen!
The Royal Rumble happens next month. Will you be a part of the event?
Devi: That I cannot say. But I can guarantee one thing. I'm working hard at making it happen, by exercising every day. Let's see what happens.
The women's division has really taken off after Ronda Rousey's arrival. What do you think of her?
Devi: Ronda Rousey is a powerhouse. The moment she entered the division, it created many ripples. She became the RAW Women's Champion soon after her arrival. I really like her. I'm a big fan of Ronda Rousey.
And what do you think of Becky Lynch's rise in popularity?
Devi: Her story connects with people. Her rivalry with Charlotte in particular. People feel for her.
Who's your dream opponent from RAW or SmackDown Live?
Devi: Ronda Rousey (laughs). I'm a big fan and she's my dream opponent as well.
Have you interacted with her?
Devi: Yes. At WrestleMania.
What's she like, off camera?
Devi: Very sweet. And this is true for everyone in the current roster. Nobody has a problem catching up for a meal or just hanging out, behind the scenes.
If you were to be called up to the main roster, would you prefer to go to RAW or SmackDown Live?
Devi: RAW. Because Ronda Rousey is part of the brand (laughs).
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