Belair in April 2018
|Birth name||Bianca Nicole Blair|
|Born||April 9, 1989|
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
|Residence||Orlando, Florida, United States|
Kenneth Crawford (m. 2018)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Bianca Belair|
|Billed height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Billed from||Knoxville, Tennessee|
|Trained by||WWE Performance Center|
Blair attended Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she succeeded in many sports such as track. Blair was a track and field athlete, who competed in the hurdles. She had what ESPN writer Sean Hurd called "a volatile six-year track career" that saw her attend three universities. She first attended the University of South Carolina and then Texas A&M University, and later did not compete at all for a year, before completing her college career at the University of Tennessee, where she became All-SEC and All-American as well as being named to the SEC's academic honor roll in 2011 and 2012. She was also a CrossFit competitor and powerlifter, having appeared in RX magazine, Femme Rouge magazine, and CrossFit.com. Blair was forced to abandon her CrossFit career due to intercostal chondritis, also known as shifting rib syndrome.
Professional wrestling career
Blair entered her information into the WWE prospects database shortly after the premature end of her CrossFit career "more on a whim than with an actual plan", according to Hurd. Less than two weeks later, she received a social media message from 20–year WWE veteran Mark Henry, who had come across Blair's profile on the CrossFit circuit, saying he could get her a tryout, but emphasized that she had to do the work. After two official tryouts, Blair signed a contract with WWE on April 12, 2016, and was assigned to the WWE Performance Center. Blair made her first appearance during an in–ring segment at an NXT live event on June 25, and her in–ring debut in September, losing to Aliyah.
On the May 3, 2017 episode of NXT, Blair made her television debut as part of a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Women's Championship, where she was eliminated by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. In June, Belair defeated Aliyah to qualify for the Mae Young Classic, where she defeated Sage Beckett in the first round, but was eliminated in the second round by the eventual tournament winner Kairi Sane. Shortly after her performance in the Mae Young Classic, starting from the January 24, 2018 episode of NXT, Belair began an undefeated streak by defeating various competitors such as Lacey Evans, Candice LeRae, Aliyah, Dakota Kai and Deonna Purrazzo. On April 8, Belair made her Wrestlemania debut as she participated in the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34 alongside other women from the NXT roster, however, she was eliminated by Becky Lynch. Throughout the rest of the year, Belair started a short feud with Nikki Cross, which led to two different matches between the two — one that ended in a double count–out and one that ended in a no contest, after Aleister Black interrupted it due to Cross' involvement in a storyline that involved him. The feud between the two was apparently nixed, however, on the January 9, 2019 episode of NXT, when Belair defeated Cross in what was Cross' final match as part of the brand before moving to the Main Roster, ending their feud in the process.
In December, Belair won a fatal–four-way match against Lacey Evans, Mia Yim, and Io Shirai to become the number one contender to the NXT Women's Championship. On January 26, at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix, after multiple interferences by Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, Belair lost to Shayna Baszler as she was unsuccessful in winning the title, ending her undefeated streak at 367 days. Throughout the next few months, Belair continued to work as a tweener, and she was also announced as one of the four women who will compete in the fatal four–way match for the NXT Women's Championship at NXT TakeOver: New York on April 5. At the event, Baszler once again retained as she submitted Belair.
On the November 1 episode of SmackDown, Belair was one of the many NXT wrestlers to invade the show, when she attacked Carmella and Dana Brooke before their scheduled match against Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Later that night, Belair joined Triple H and the rest of the NXT roster as they declared war on both Raw and SmackDown, and vowed to win the Survivor Series brand warfare.
At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Belair and Team Baszler (NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, and NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray) faced Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, and Tegan Nox) in the first ever women's WarGames match, where Ripley would give her team the victory by pinning Baszler.
The following night at Survivor Series, Belair was part of Team NXT (along with Ripley, LeRae, Shirai, and Toni Storm) who defeated Team Raw and Team SmackDown, in the 5-on-5-on-5 women's elimination match, which her team won after Ripley last eliminated SmackDown's captain Sasha Banks.
At Royal Rumble 2020, Belair entered her first Women's Royal Rumble match at Number 2, eliminating a record 8 other superstars, before being eliminated by Charlotte Flair after lasting for 33 minutes and 20 seconds.
Flair, the 2020 Royal Rumble winner, appeared on the February 5 episode of NXT to answer Ripley's challenge for an NXT Championship match at WrestleMania 36. Belair, Ripley's title contender at Takeover: Portland, would confront Flair before they were interrupted by Ripley, with Belair and Ripley eventually teaming up to attack Flair. Ripley would go on to defeat Belair at TakeOver:Portland.
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Sports Illustrated
- Ranked No. 9 in the top 10 female wrestlers of the year in 2018
- "Bianca Blair – 2012–13 Track & Field / XC Roster – University of Tennessee Athletics". www.utsports.com. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- "WWE Performance Center welcomes new class of recruits". WWE. April 12, 2016. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
- "Bianca Belair". WWE. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- "NXT Cocoa, FL, live results: Bobby Roode makes his Florida NXT debut". June 25, 2016. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- "Bianca Belair « Wrestlers Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Hurd, Sean (August 22, 2017). "Mae Young contestant Bianca Blair seeks to fulfill athletic potential in WWE". ESPNW. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
- "Bianca Blair Bio – University of Tennessee Official Athletic Site". Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- "NXT Lakeland, FL, live results: The Drifter returns; Asuka teams with Ember Moon". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. September 29, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- "WWE NXT REPORT: NUMBER ONE CONTENDER FOR THE WOMEN'S TITLE, WHO IS RODERICK STRONG . . . PART 2, BURCH VS DAIN, AND MORE - PWInsider.com". pwinsider.com. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- "Japanese phenom Kairi Sane sets course for Mae Young Classic". WWE. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
- Williams, JJ (July 13, 2017). "WWE Mae Young Classic taping spoilers: The tournament begins". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Williams, JJ (July 14, 2017). "WWE Mae Young Classic taping spoilers: The finals are set". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
- "Kairi Sane on Conquering at Mae Young Classic, Heading to Houston". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: GARGANO VERSUS DREAM, BASZLER AND MOON SIT DOWN AND TALK, AOP DESTROY SOME WRESTLERS, PART 2 WITH TM61, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DAIN, JOHNNY GARGANO'S LAST STAND?, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: BLACK SPEAKS, FISH AND O'REILLY VERSUS BATE AND SEVEN, AN UNEXPECTED ALLIANCE?, GARGANO IN ACTION, AND STRONG GETS HIS TITLE MATCH". PWInsider.com. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: STRONG VERSUS DUNNE, LERAE VERSUS BELAIR, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
- Johnson, Mike. "WWE NXT SPOILERS FOR TONIGHT". PWInsider.com. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: LOOKING BACK AT TAKEOVER, BELAIR VERSUS KAI, WAR RAIDERS VERSUS THE MIGHTY". PWInsider.com. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: RECAPPING TAKEOVER, DUNNE VERSUS GIBSON, BELAIR VERSUS PURRAZZO, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- Carapola, Stuart (April 8, 2018). "COMPLETE WRESTLEMANIA 34 KICKOFF SHOW COVERAGE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: CROSS VERSUS BELAIR, CIAMPA SPEAKS, MORE INVESTIGATING, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT REPORT: TAG TITLE MATCH, CROSS VERSUS BELAIR, BLACK IS BACK, AND MORE". PWInsider.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
- Trionfo, Richard (January 9, 2019). "WWE NXT REPORT: COLE VERSUS EC3, BELAIR VERSUS CROSS, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (December 5, 2018). "WWE NXT REPORT: BRO TIME, THE UNDISPUTED ERA CHECK THE LOCKS, KAI VERSUS BASZLER, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (December 26, 2018). "WWE NXT REPORT: NUMBER ONE CONTENDER FOR SHAYNA, STORY TIME WITH TOMMASO AND GOLDIE, TAG TITLE MATCH, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (January 16, 2019). "WWE NXT REPORT: GARGANO, OHNO, LEE, STREET PROFITS, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (January 16, 2019). "WWE NXT TAKEOVER PHOENIX COVERAGE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (February 6, 2019). "WWE NXT REPORT: IS THE DREAM OVER FOR GARGANO?, DREW GULAK MEETS THE BRO, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (February 13, 2019). "WWE NXT REPORT: COLE VERSUS RICOCHET, WHO WANTS TO MESS WITH SHAYNA?, WHO WANTS TO CHALLENGE THE WAR RAIDERS, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (March 13, 2019). "WWE NXT REPORT: THE FINALS ARE SET FOR THE DUSTY CLASSIC, WE HAVE A NUMBER ONE CONTENDER FOR THE WOMEN'S TITLE, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- Trionfo, Richard (April 6, 2019). "COMPLETE WWE NXT TAKEOVER NEW YORK REPORT: FIVE TITLE MATCHES, A NEW NXT MEN'S CHAMPION, AND MORE". PWInsider.
- "Shayna Baszler, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee Appear On WWE SmackDown | Fightful Wrestling". Fightful.com. November 1, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- "NXT invasion takes place on WWE SmackDown". F4wonline.com. November 1, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- Moore, John (November 23, 2019). "11/23 NXT Takeover: WarGames results – Moore's live review of Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, a partner in a WarGames match, Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and Kay Lee Ray in a WarGames match, Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- Clapp, John (November 24, 2019). "Team NXT def. Team Raw and Team SmackDown (Women's Survivor Series Elimination Triple Threat Match)". WWE. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- Powell, Jason (November 24, 2019). "WWE Survivor Series results: Powell's live review of Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred match for the WWE Championship, "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE Universal Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley in a non-title match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
- "NXT: Jan. 15, 2020". WWE. January 13, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
- Melok, Bobby (January 15, 2020). "NXT Champion Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair". WWE. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
- Beaston, Erik. "WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
- Berge, Kevin (February 6, 2020). "WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from February 5". Bleacher Report. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
- Moore, John (February 16, 2020). "2/16 NXT Takeover: Portland results – Moore's live review of Adam Cole vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship, Rhea Ripley vs. Bianca Belair for the NXT Women's Championship, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly vs. Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne for the NXT Tag Titles, Finn Balor vs. Johnny Gargano". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
- Cole, Caitlin (December 19, 2018). "Complete WWE 2K19 Roster". Rumble Ramble. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- "Bianca Belair's first Mattel action figure revealed: photos". WWE. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "Check out Bianca Belair's debut WWE Basic figure". Lyles Movie Files. January 31, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "NXT's Bianca Blair announces engagement". WWE. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
- "Bianca Belair and Montez Ford get married". WWE. June 23, 2018. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "The PWI Top 100 Female Wrestlers in the World". November 1, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
- Barrasso, Justin. "Week in Wrestling: Top 10 Women's Wrestlers of the Year". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
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