By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Saraya
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
Video available at Chris Van Vliet’s YouTube Page
On being cleared to wrestle: “So, we get everything done. He brings me back upstairs, and then he just like, he looks at it. And okay, so I’ve seen a few of my MRIs now and I’m fully aware of like, I’m not saying I’m a doctor of any kind and I know how to perfectly read them, but I saw where I didn’t have any fluid. And this time around, I see that there’s nothing like it on my neck. So, I’m just like, am I like reading this right, or does that look like this fluid around my spinal cord? So, then the doctor straightaway was just like your neck looks fantastic. And I’m like what? He’s like you got all your fluid back around just fine. I’m like, what? after five years? He’s like yes, you have all the fluid around your spine. Again, your fusions look fantastic. He said the top one is nearly like 100 percent fused, there’s just a tiny bit where like, you know where there’s a little bit of wiggle room, but he’s not worried about it. You know, like that’s not going to hinder me in any way shape or form.
“But usually, the most important part is that you have your fluid around your spinal cord. So, I said to him like, well, what are the odds of me being paralyzed now? Because that’s the thing that was holding me back, not the fusions because my neck wasn’t 100 percent fused when it came back the first time, and it’s perfectly fine this time around. And then the top one is like, 99 percent there, right? And so, he was like, oh, it’s very rare. He was like, now you have all that cushion around your spinal cord. And here’s like, if something does happen, when someone does kick you, the most that will happen is what happened before or you’ll get like a little pain, and then you just take some time away. [With] your body, you know what to do, you know what not to do. He was like, but I trust that you can go in there. He’s like, if you were in the NFL, and you had to do like, you know football games where you have to charge each other like full pelt and stuff, maybe like, probably not, but he was like, but I trust that you could go in there and limit what you want to do and adjust what you need. And he was like your neck is great, it’s in great health.
“And I put that to the five that like the last five years, I’ve been nothing but healthy being, being sober and going the gym, just living a very, very healthy lifestyle. My boyfriend is kind of like the one that kind of kick started that for me too. Like he was the one he was like, we should not drink anymore. I’d already been sober off drugs at that point. He was like, we should not drink anymore. We should not vape. I was vaping, we should not vape anymore, we should eat cleaner. So, we should go back to the gym. So, he kind of was the one that ignited that fire. So, I thank him a lot because I feel like if it was five or so years ago, and I was still in Orlando and partying and stuff like that, I don’t think my neck would be as healthy as it is now. You know, I’m not saying a green drink is going to make my neck healthy. But I’m saying like, I’m less likely to do some stupid, you know, if I’m sober.”
On taking that first bump: “[It’s going to be scary] For everybody. Everybody watching, just everybody in general is just going to be it’s gonna be a big deal. I’m going to be under a microscope that day. And everything that I’m going to be doing is going to be scrutinized, it’s just I’m fully expecting it. That’s why after the match, I’m not even going to look at social media, I’m not even going to have it on my phone, because I’m already too much in my head to the point where I just want to be good and I have to focus on making sure I keep myself safe. Make sure that Britt [Baker] is safe, you know, and just the pressure just having a match. It’s just, it’s just wild to me. It’s just, it’s a beautiful story, but it makes me nervous.”
On having another match with Sasha Banks: “That’s what I said. So, I really wanted to have that match for Sasha. Like I wanted to have that rematch with her, because we have a built-in story you know, so I really wanted that. But she’s kind of going down her own path and stuff now, doing her own thing. You don’t know where she’s going to be. She has an exciting life going on right now, I’m very pleased and like she’s building her career outside of wrestling too, you know, awesome. And Naomi. So, it’s really, really cool to see. But I get to face Britt too, who I’ve always wanted to face, and then in this brand-new company as well. And the crazy part is that she’s always been like a big fan of mine. I’ve seen the interviews Britt, I’ve seen them all, she was a fan of mine so it’s kind of cool that I get to have like a comeback story with her, and she’s so supportive. So, I’m excited. I’m excited to have that match. One day I’ll have that match with Sasha, though.”
On the reaction to her AEW debut: “I have never had a pop like that before in my life, and I had a good reaction coming back the first time. I was like, I’m back, you know? That was crazy. And then like my debut just for the Divas Championship was crazy. Even when people didn’t know who I was back then you know, but it just felt really good to have just all the support from so many people. It just felt really good. I was like, man, they really did miss me. Because again, you get in your head a lot. You’re like, Well, maybe not because social media is real. And then it’s, you know, the trolls that followed us on social media. You think the whole world hates here when in fact, it’s just like six people with different like multiple accounts just attacking you.”
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