Shayna Baszler | WWE

Out WWE star Shayna Baszler stepping into the ring during WrestleMania weekend isn’t surprising, but the ring she will enter first during the upcoming major pro wrestling weekend in Philadelphia won’t belong to WWE.

It will showcase the letters GCW.

Baszler, one of the most decorated out pro wrestlers in WWE history, will make her Game Changer Wrestling debut at “Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport X” on Thursday, April 4.

The entry of the “Queen Of Spades” into the world of Game Changer Wrestling is unprecedented in the current landscape of professional wrestling. It marks the first time that a WWE-contracted wrestler will wrestle for a promotion other than WWE during WrestleMania weekend and one of the few times a wrestler currently under WWE contract has appeared for another promotion in the last two-plus decades.

Baszler couldn’t have picked a better spot to make that historic mark. The “Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport” series of events stands out for showcasing shoot-style wrestling, blending elements of MMA and pro wrestling, in a ring with no ropes. The event has become a staple of GCW’s “The Collective” events that run annually in the WrestleMania host city.

The event fits Baszler’s background as both a UFC fighter and pro wrestler. Beyond that, she also shares a close connection with Barnett himself. Baszler trained with Barnett during her MMA career dating back to 2007, crediting the former Openweight King of Pancrase and UFC Heavyweight champion with teaching her shoot wrestling techniques and encouraging her to bring out more of her personality during fights.

When Baszler decided to transition from MMA to pro wrestling in 2015, she again trained under Barnett.

“You people merely adopted Bloodsport. I was born in it, molded by it. From Billy Robinson [to] the gene seed of the Warmaster himself,” Baszler said via X, formerly known as Twitter. “Blood for the Blood God.”

Baszler’s opponent is yet to be announced.

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