WWE Hall of Famer Lita was a recent guest on Chris Van Vliet’s podcast Insight. On the show they talked about Lita’s return match at the Royal Rumble and how that lead to a match against Becky Lynch. They also talk about some of Lita’s favourite moments from her legendary career and more. The recap can be found below:
Did you think that you would be back in WWE?
“Nope. Nope [laughs].”
So how did all of this come together?
“So the Royal Rumble is fun, watching it and being in it. So I did the first one, it was monumental and historic, I had to be a part of it. I was asked 24 hours in advance, I had not trained at all. I had to take a red eye, spend all day in medical to get cleared. The last time I had touched a ring was the last time that you all saw me touch a ring. So I was like nervous in all the wrong ways. I was still glad that I did it, there was only going to be one first Rumble. I am glad that I did it and I was happy to see all the girls, and I had a good time. But when I got the call this year I was like yeah I want a redo. I had a proper heads-up and had been training. My motivation was that it’s fun and I wanted to see my girl friends, so I was good nervous going into it. I was happy with it all, thought that was all and it wasn’t it all.”
So you were training just for fun?
“So they gave me 6 weeks’ heads-up. I wasn’t in the ring before, no one apart from Nattie goes in just for fun. I train if I am training for something. I did Twitch through the pandemic and I met a bunch of people. I connected with a drag queen named Pollo Del mar who is very involved in the wrestling community. So we connected and they connected me with Dark Sheik, who then connected me with Hoodslam, which is a Bay area wrestling promotion for misfits, there are no boundaries. I had a crew, I could train with them for the Rumble. In those 6 weeks, I wasn’t only training, but I was having fun. I went into the Rumble feeling pretty good.”
You went in looking like you had just wrestled the day before. I guess it is like riding a bike?
“It did feel like that. I didn’t know how it looked, but it feels fine. I don’t watch my stuff back but I watch the clips on Twitter and it looked good, I was happy with that.”
But it was just supposed to be a one-off?
“Yeah and I was happy for it. As I was coming out of Gorilla position, WWE 24 was following me around for an episode too, and there is Johnny Ace. He is like ‘What do you think about wrestling Becky [Lynch]?’ And we have been trying to [wrestle] and fantasy book that for years. I think she was more serious than I was, I thought it was a fun thing we talked about sometimes. There was no way I could say no to that. Even though it was 3 weeks from the moment that he asked, I would have liked 3 months. Gearing up from yeah it’s fun to a title match, 2 totally different training regimes. But you take the opportunity when it is there. This is what is happening now, and you just go with what is in front of you.”
I would imagine that you had a bunch of stuff planned out that in your “regular life” you had to put on hold to have the match with Becky.
“For sure. Even just leading up to the Rumble, my schedule has been pretty flexible, Zoom orientated and easy to work around. Because it was so short, I felt like I just pull all of the good and let the delayed connecting flights [not affect me] and roll with it. But it was just, I don’t know, it was novel and I was doing this thing. I felt similar to when I decided that I was going to be a wrestler.”
Now you are back and feeling good, is WrestleMania on your radar?
“It’s not not on my radar. I just know how everything there, and nothing has changed, things are changing last minute and all the time. But I will be there, if nothing less than to watch it. But am I scouting and looking at different matches and combinations? I just feel more connected to them than I did before. We have all talked about going outside the bubble and not worry what is going on over there, and that was how I felt when these opportunities just fell into my lap. But it was really inspiring to sit down and talk with all these girls at the beginning of their career. I feel really good and proud if I have had my last match.”
Do you feel like you can now rewrite your exit from WWE?
“Yeah totally. I’ve had these one off appearances since I left my active career, but nothing meaningful like that was the last thing or this is how people will remember me. It was things with Heath Slater or the opening match at Evolution. I had fun spots, but nothing big. This just felt different.”
You have obviously broken a ton of barriers, but what was the first one where it was like this is something special?
“I think it was, and it gets replayed often, but it was me and The Hardys vs. Test, Albert and Trish [Stratus]. I was just kicking those dudes asses, I had no business doing it. These are 6 foot 5 people and I am hurricanraning Test and jumping onto Albert, women were not seen being that physical before.”
You have spent all this time as Lita, but who is Amy?
“So when I retired, it was like a reinvention of Amy. Lita is going to be on pause and will take a nap. If I had an interview when I was actively wrestling, they would ask me ‘So what do you do when you are not wrestling?’ I remember thinking that I had to make stuff up. It sounds boring if I say ‘I eat, sleep and breathe wrestling and I am either doing laundry or I am in a ring.’ That is what my life is, but it doesn’t sound cool in an interview, so I would make stuff up. But now I am not wrestling, I love the aspect of not having 2 days being the same. I like getting out of my comfort zone and seeing what the future holds. I decided to go exploring around Latin America. I wanted to meet people, work on my Spanish and surf, that checked all of the boxes.”
Did you have a moment in WWE where you were like ‘I don’t want to be here anymore?’
“It was more ‘I think I don’t want to be here.’ And it was at the time where my contract had a year or 6 months on it, whenever they start talking to you. I remember not being as excited when my music hit, just being like ‘Well that’s my music, time to go to work.’ Even being on the ramp, that was a weird feeling. It wasn’t how it was supposed to feel. I felt like I was punching a clock and I never want to do that. I remember asking to be taken off of the live events because I needed to figure these things out. They started asking contract negotiations like what do I want financially? I’m like well that’s not how I want to think about this, I just want to figure out if I still want to be here and we can work out everything else after that. I remember not missing it and it feeling more right. I have done more than I ever thought I would do in my career, so maybe it is time to get out. So I didn’t feel fear, I am ok if I fall on my face for this next chapter. It felt like I was missing out, my friends were getting married and having baby showers and I stopped getting the invitations. It was like ‘She is out of town, so it’s cool.’”
Did you have a final match in mind? I can’t imagine that the way it ended was the way you wanted it to go?
“I mean I was happy to work Mickie James, but in my mind it was a good long match and we hug at the end of it. Here’s the title, you see it’s in good hands and I am out of here. It just hurt my feelings, I was very vocal about it. I went to my producer, to the head writer and to Vince. Then I went back to my producer, back to the writer and back to Vince. I’m like ‘Is there any way we can not do this and we can do it in a pre-tape later?’ I’m like can I just have this match. The answer was ‘You are a heel, this is what we are doing, you’re giving it to someone we want to boost up, and that is what you do when you leave.’ I was like what did I do to have this ending? They are like ‘You are looking at it wrong. It’s business, you are a heel.’ I remember saying ‘Alright. This is the last time you get to pull my strings and you are pulling them hard. I’ll go out there and because I am a professional, but I want you to know that this hurts my feelings. I know that this is business, which doesn’t involve feelings, but I want you to know as someone who has broken their neck for this company, this hurts my feelings.”
Was this just a product of the time because women’s wrestling did not get to the level where it is at now?
“Right, especially now with perspective, that’s what I chalked it up to. That’s where we were then and it wasn’t really given a lot of thought. It was like ‘Oh here is a thing that can stoke Cryme Tyme for 5 minutes.’ It wasn’t really given a lot of thought, but now we are here.”
I remember watching that Cryme Tyme segment and I felt insulted as a fan.
“It was one of those things that was so hard. I would get asked about it by fans or by interviews or whatever. You’re not trying to air your dirty laundry or go on these rants or carry negative energy with you. But it wasn’t a thing where I could spin it so it was like ‘Yeah it was great, it was hilarious.’ I was just like it’s a bummer. They would keep talking about it, I’m not going to keep piling on but I hear you.”
When you think of Lita, what is the pinnacle of your career?
“Gosh there’s just so many. It felt like I was almost getting there and my neck was broken in 2002. I knew something was terribly wrong and I couldn’t move, but I thought it was my collarbone. I was getting crazy momentum, but then I was sidelined. But then I got into another good pocket, but I tore everything in my knee. I wasn’t fully out, but I couldn’t wrestle for like 6 or 7 months.”
Looking back at your previous run, it is obvious that you can still go.
“I don’t know. I think it has been cool and inspiring seeing Edge come back after all that happened with his neck, and he can still go and knows how to engage with the crowd. It is tempting, but at the same time, I don’t know, I feel conflicted. I feel proud of what I did with Becky and everything is good and get out while it is good. But at the same time, there is that part that says well how much better would it be if I trained for it. If the opportunity falls in my lap again, but I don’t want to force it. It might happen, someone might call me out on TV and then I answer.”
I end every interview talking about gratitude. What are 3 things in your life that you are grateful for right now?
“My 19 year old dog, the ocean and the close friends that I have.”
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