Raquel Gonzalez set to take on Io Shirai in NXT TakeOver Main Event

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It’s official: Raquel Gonzalez will tackle Io Shirai, the NXT World Champion, in the principle occasion of NXT TakeOver: Stand and Deliver, on Wednesday, April 7 on the USA Community. Night time two airs the next night time, exclusively on Peacock.

The 2-night NXT occasion is a serious a part of WrestleMania Week, which culminates with two nights of WrestleMania 37 (streamed dwell on Peacock on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11) from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

For Gonzalez, Shirai, and the NXT roster, the chance to showcase their abilities to the WWE Universe through the professional wrestling juggernaut’s greatest week can’t be understated. WWE reported final 12 months’s WrestleMania Week viewership at 967 million views throughout all platforms.

The chance hasn’t been misplaced on Gonzalez, the 6’ former DII basketball participant at Texas A&M Kingsville. Since making her NXT debut finally 12 months’s TakeOver in Portland, Gonzalez has gotten leaner, stronger, quicker, all in an effort to show she’s worthy to hold the NXT torch.

Courtesy of WWE

“Bodily, I’m extra agile and I run much more,” she explains. “My endurance is larger, my leaping is larger. Lots of stuff has simply change into quite a bit simpler for me.”

She provides: “Io, you’re courageous woman, however, I don’t assume you’re prepared for a competitor like me. The final powerhouse she confronted was Rhea Ripley — and that was months in the past. I do know she is the most effective on this planet, and to be the most effective it’s a must to beat the most effective. So I’m coming in with probably the most excited and anticipated mindset that I can.”

Within the fitness center, with the assistance of former strongman and present WWE Celebrity Braun Strowman, Gonzalez switched from a full-body CrossFit-type routine to a extra conventional bodybuilding coaching type. She’s additionally added loads of yoga and therapeutic massage remedy to help flexibility and restoration efforts.

“I’ve been doing quite a lot of actions that I do know I’m going to make use of within the ring on the subject of throwing round folks,” Gonzalez says. “And Io might be half my measurement, so I do know I’ll be throwing her round quite a bit, for certain.”

With lower than three weeks until the massive match, Gonzalez says her preparation credit the arrogance to her current change in weight loss plan that has her feeling on the prime of her sport. She’s begun counting her macros extra, switching to a diet of whole foods consisting primarily of lean meat, rice, pink potatoes and egg whites, in addition to consuming a minimum of a gallon of water a day. She’s gone from a excessive of 200 kilos to hovering across the 180- to 185-pound mark nowadays.

Earlier than the 2 battle for the title at Stand and Ship, Gonzalez and tag-team companion Dakota Kai, who turned WWE NXT’s first ladies’s tag-team champions after successful February’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Crew Basic at NXT TakeOver: Vengeance Day, will get yet one more up-close-and-personal showdown with Shirai, who will companion with Zoey Stark in a tag-team match on this upcoming week’s WWE NXT.

“That is going to type of be my testing the scene kind of factor,” Gonzalez says. “Mentally for me, that is going to be a chance for me to actually replenish my arsenal with what I have to convey when it does come time for that NXT Girls’s Championship match.”

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