Life at the top with Dr. Britt Baker, DMD of Pro Wrestling

Britt Baker is on top of the wrestling world. She returned to Pittsburgh – affectionately Brittsburgh to her fans – to defend her AEW (All Elite Wrestling) Women’s World Championship, and she took the time to talk about her status as the most prominent actor in professional wrestling.

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As I prepared our interview spot from the press box at the top of the Petersen Events Center at the University of Pittsburgh, it looked like a rock concert was going on downstairs. Britt and I sat down and watched the AEW team put together what would be the centerpiece of the week’s two events: Dynamite and Rampage’s debut.

I was caught up in the buzz surrounding her and it made me wonder: is she still horny every time she sees the ring – her stage – being built, especially in this building, in his hometown?

“It’s done!” she exclaimed, looking at the jumble of equipment. “It’s so crazy. Entering this building makes it all very real to me. I can’t even guess how many times I was here between 2014 and 2018. I had my DMD across the street (University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine) and this is the building in which I studied. There is an atrium downstairs with a cafe where I practically lived. I was here all the time.

Britt was born near Punxsutawney, about 90 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, but she is clearly a Yinzer. She grew up loving all of Pittsburgh’s sports teams, bleeding black and gold and cheering on her Steelers, Pirates and Penguins. But she was also interested in other sports, especially professional wrestling, during her teenage years.

“I really got into wrestling in high school and college,” she said. “My friends would come in and we would watch the pay-per-views together. I was really passionate about it, I loved watching it, but I hadn’t thought of doing it at the time.

Everything changed when she moved to Pittsburgh.

After high school, Britt attended Penn State University, where she earned a degree in behavioral medicine with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. Then his attention turned to dentistry.

“When I was moving to Pittsburgh to go to dental school, a few friends told me about the big independent wrestling scene here,” she said. “I only knew about wrestling that I saw on TV, like WWE, but I started to research a bit more and found this local school called IWC. Turns out they did some testing that week and I thought I was going to check it out, just to see what it looked like. But as soon as I got in the ring, as soon as I hit the ropes, I wanted to do it. I decided from then on that I was going to be a wrestler and a dentist.

This move meant pursuing two full-time careers, which for most people is not a viable option. For Britt, however, it was about digging deep and staying in the moment.

“It was exhausting,” she emphatically admitted. “I had to devote 100% to my studies and the struggle to be successful, so I had to find 200% inside of me. Often there weren’t enough hours in the day to sleep. Sometimes that meant falling asleep in class or sneaking up to the back row of a conference late and watching wrestling videos. (laughs) I don’t recommend that, but hey, I did what I had to do at the time. It was really tough and I just remember telling myself that I can’t look too far. My goals had to be short, like what I had to do to get through this day. For me it was important to take small steps along the way. “

Given her energy and enthusiasm, it’s obvious Britt is a little different. His work ethic and determination are, to use a cliché, on another level. But in his case, the adage rings true.

“I’m very disciplined – or stubborn,” she laughs. “However, you want to spin it around. It’s me, through and through.

Britt’s dual career would eventually merge as she developed her character as a wrestler. Her idea of ​​a “dentist wrestler” started out as something she just wanted to try, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it – or what the reaction would be. So she set her sights on an independent event in Chicago called “All In” to present herself in a whole new way: as Dr. Britt Baker, DMD

“I was wrestling on this show shortly after I graduated in dentistry,” she said. “So I could officially be called Dr. Britt Baker, DMD. For me, it was just something cool to try, even though I’ve only done it once. I wanted to advertise myself as Dr. Britt Baker coming to the ring. It was a very complete moment. But I stuck with it because there was so much buzz. It was like, ‘Oh, this girl is a dentist and a wrestler,’ which was really unique.

It took some trial and error for Britt to figure out how to make the nickname work because, “It’s not super relatable. There aren’t many people who are dentists and wrestlers.

Eventually, however, the cheers turned into boos because fans got tired of hearing about it.

“People were like, ‘We understand. You are a wrestler and a dentist. You can do it all. Shut your mouth. It’s boring!'”

Which caused a change in his personality. She started her career, in terms of wrestling, as a face or a hero. Then she turned into a heel or a “bad guy.” But fans became so drawn to his villainous approach that they started to cheer him on again.

“Yes, we are coming back to the other end of the spectrum,” she said. “The fight is funny. The fans definitely have their opinions, very daring opinions. But they like what they like and they don’t like what they don’t like.

So who is Britt Baker now?

“I’m just myself without apologizing,” she said with a smile. “And I was given the stage to do it. I am the most confident I have ever been in the ring. Whether it’s in matches, promos, or backstage segments, I’m allowed to say and do whatever I want, to a certain extent (laughs). But believing what I’m saying makes all the difference. There is no script. I don’t have to say anything. It’s about having my own opinions, my own ideas, and then taking it up a few notches because, hey, that’s wrestling baby, isn’t it? I can put it all on fire. My job is to get into people’s skin. Wrestling fans love it because it’s entertaining.

This confidence has taken her to the top of her profession and it is clear that she is having a good time. So what does she consider the best part of being a professional wrestler?

“Seeing my own personal growth and taking on the different challenges that I was not sure I would ever be able to meet,” she said. “I was able to be part of a Main Event and Dynamite this year. It was huge. It made history. People call my match with Thunder Rosa one of their all-time favorites. I didn’t know if I would ever be Main Event quality. I hoped I would and believed I could, but actually doing it was really cool.

And the worst ?

“Programming is difficult,” she admitted. “I mean, it’s a commitment. You give up a lot. Family events, graduation ceremonies, weddings, reunions. I miss a lot of things. But it’s like everything, when there are highs, there are also lows. I just have to stay stubborn through the lows because no matter what I’m going through that day, I still have to go out here and be larger than life for millions of people back home.

Britt practices dentistry in Florida, where AEW is headquartered, but she still longs for things that only her hometown can provide. What does he miss most about Steel City?

“Everything,” she laughed. “My family is here. I miss the sporting environment so much. Pittsburgh is like a ‘big town, little town’ family. And the sports atmosphere is a connection to a lot of people – the Penguins, the Pirates and the Steelers. laugh, cry and celebrate together. I miss the camaraderie with everyone here. People might think I’m crazy, but I miss the snow at Christmas and the change of seasons too. got used to it.You don’t realize how much you miss him until he’s gone.

Ironically, Britt grew up buying tickets to sporting events in Pittsburgh. Now people are buying tickets to see her, which she described as a “surreal” experience.

“It’s a really cool feeling, a pinch moment for me,” she said. “I keep using the word ‘surreal’ because there really is no better way to describe it. It’s all I ever wanted.

But now that she’s at the top of her game as the AEW Women’s World Champion, where is she going now?

“I want more,” she said. “I want to be a factor not only in the women’s wrestling, but in the whole wrestling. I want to be someone a fan buys a ticket to see or who buys a shirt for. I want to move the notes. I want to be one of the biggest stars in all of pro wrestling.

Many would say she’s already achieved that status, especially here in Brittsburgh. But everywhere in the world, at least, it is already well advanced.

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