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  • Iestyn Withers

Poised to Breakout: Shotzi Blackheart

Wrestling has been crying out for a star with mainstream appeal. The business is far removed from the consumer chaos created by the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena and The New World Order (NWO). In desperate need of someone to break through that proverbial glass ceiling, wrestling needs a contemporary, public sphere icon. What appeals to the masses of our society? How does a performer burst the niche bubble of professional wrestling? Who could be the next legitimate wrestling superstar?

In a business where it is tough to be unique and original, Shotzi Blackheart stands out amongst the flock. The "green-haired weirdo" - in the words of NXT commentator Wade Barrett - has an individuality and appeal that lacks comparison; Blackheart is almost a whole new wrestling entity. Labelled by NXT head-honcho as a "bright star with even bigger star potential", Shotzi is a relative newcomer to WWE television. Impressive displays for the likes of SHIMMER and Evolve caught the eye of WWE and since then the howling she-devil has quickly won the hearts of the NXT faithful. Whether channeling Jeff Hardy through the colourful hair, the enigmatic charisma, or the reckless abandon and disregard for her personal safety, Shotzi is someone you find yourself rooting for.

Instantly recognisable given her aesthetic, the tattooed 28 year-old has only been wrestling for five years. Given her recent star-making performances in a championship loss to Io Shirai and as the hostess of Halloween Havoc, Blackheart seems poised to flourish in the coming years. Standing out instantly on WWE television, Blackheart's alternative look will appeal to mainstream wrestling fans given its uniqueness. Complete with a personality to match, Blackheart is a distinctive performer that could easily crossover into mainstream pop culture. Edgy enough to appeal to the vital 16-24 audience demographic. Reckless enough to appeal to disillusioned Attitude Era fans. Charismatic and eccentric enough to appeal to non-wrestling fans. Shotzi is a c̶o̶m̶p̶l̶e̶t̶e̶ unique package. With plenty of time to mature and perfect her in-ring craft, Shotzi has the potential to be a fan-favourite for years to come. The underdog babyface story is wrestling 101 and Blackheart is the perfect candidate to fit the Daniel Bryan mould. Flip that on its head and Shotzi's look has the potential to also penetrate the mainstream with a dark, cryptic heel character as well. We've seen such a character begin to be utilised by Aleister Black on the main roster, but such a performer would be a fresh twist on a sometimes repetitive WWE women's division booking pattern. If all of the given points are not enough to persuade you, let's not forget that we live in a meme-fuelled society where attention depends on quick, shareable content. Enter Shotzi Blackheart and her tank.

We have already mentioned how difficult it is for a character to be unique in modern wrestling. If anything, having a unique, previously unseen entrance is even harder. Yet Shotzi Blackheart and her tank continue to be one of the best parts of NXT television on a weekly basis. Fitting her character like a glass slipper to Cinderella, the tank adds yet another marketable facet to an already instantly recognisable performer. In reality, the sky is the limit for the California-native. As the wrestling business continues its attempts to adapt and evolve to modern society, it should be no surprise if Shotzi Blackheart becomes WWE's next female superstar to breakout into the mainstream. Forget Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey, all you need is a green-haired weirdo and her tank.

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