Cassie McIntosh comes to the WWE Performance Center by way of Melbourne, Australia. A student of WWE, WCW and ECW veteran Lance Storm, McIntosh has been dreaming of being a WWE Diva since the age of 9.
We sat down with the Australian Diva to talk about her inspirations, her friendship with fellow recruit Jessie McKay, coming to America and making her debut on NXT television just weeks after arriving.
WWE.COM: How has everything been going at the WWE Performance Center so far?
MCINTOSH: It’s been pretty cool, to say the least. It’s sort of insane coming here every day. I’m in awe that this is my life now. Back home, you sit at a desk, at a day job, but this is the place you dream of being. I walk through the doors of the PC every day, but I’m still in disbelief.
WWE.COM: What was it like packing everything up and moving from Australia? How’s the adjustment been to life in America?
MCINTOSH: It hasn’t been too hard. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, which makes it a little easier. The other thing that helps is that I’m here with my best friend, Jess McKay. Having her with me, I haven’t gotten homesick like I expected to. We keep each other grounded. It’s made everything a lot easier.
WWE.COM: When we spoke with Jessie a few weeks ago, she mentioned you both went to high school together. Were you friends back then?
MCINTOSH: No, we were not friends in high school. She was four years ahead of me. We’d both figure out the meet and greets when WWE came to Sydney, and take the day off school with our friends to go wait in line for hours and hours. I was always one or two people ahead of her in line, so we used to shoot dirty looks at each other. It was like we had a rivalry over who was the bigger WWE fan.
We knew each other because we were the two massive wrestling fans in high school, but it wasn’t until we started training that we became close. We clicked right away.
WWE.COM: Who are your inspirations in wrestling?
MCINTOSH: Someone who inspired me from the very first time I saw him was Eddie Guerrero. Oh my God, I can still watch everything he’s done. He made you believe everything he said and did. For me, he was the one.
WWE.COM: Did you always see yourself becoming a wrestler?
MCINTOSH: I did. I started watching when I was 9. I was a dancer at the time, heavily into it, but as soon as I got into wrestling, that was what I wanted to do. My parents and everyone thought it was a phase. I guess I never grew out of it and pursued it, because I couldn’t take my mind off it.
WWE.COM: Did you do your initial training with Lance Storm?
MCINTOSH: Not initially. Jess and I started in Sydney, Australia. I moved to Melbourne a few years later. Once I got there, I decided I wanted to train with Lance, so I went to Canada.
WWE.COM: How was he as a trainer?
MCINTOSH: Lance is the best. He has this way of explaining things that you’d never think of. It’s the small things that made the bigger picture come together. Lance was great to me.
WWE.COM: Since you got into wrestling, how have you seen women’s wrestling grow?
MCINTOSH: It’s been insane to see how it’s developed, especially over the past couple years with NXT. The women areon fire. It’s such a cool time to be a part of everything. It’s awesome to see the evolution of the women’s division in WWE. It’s cool to watch, but to be a part of it? That’s one of the reasons I’m still in disbelief that I get to be a part of this.
WWE.COM: What does it mean to you that WWE wanted you to be a part of it?
MCINTOSH: It’s hard to make sense of it in my head. Like I said, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. I feel like there’s no better time that I could have been given this opportunity. I said before my tryout that all I wanted was one opportunity to be looked at. I prepared for years. For all the hard work to pay off now is the best thing in the world.
WWE.COM: What was the actual tryout process like?
MCINTOSH: Last August, WWE came to Melbourne and had a two-day tryout at Rod Laver Arena. It was pretty grueling. I’d been preparing for years, so I was focused. We did six hours of stair runs, ring drills, conditioning and cardio. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I had the time of my life. I wanted to be there so badly. As sore and tired as I was, I didn’t feel it, because I was so happy to be there and having so much fun.
WWE.COM: How did you find out that WWE wanted to sign you? What was your reaction?
MCINTOSH: I got an email. They had said at the tryout that we’d hear back from them in six to eight weeks. I marked it off my calendar. At the seven week mark, I emailed Lance saying I hadn’t heard anything yet, but I was going to be in Florida, so should I pop my head in and say hello? He said, “Go do that, keep your face familiar.”
Literally the next morning I woke up and had an email. I’ll never forget it; the first line said, “WWE is interested in hiring you.” This was at 6 a.m., so I was getting ready for work. I started crying hysterically and running around the house to find the first person I could. I couldn’t get the words out to tell them why I was crying. I woke the entire house up. We were all huddled in this small bathroom and they were trying to work out why I was crying. I finally had to show them the email. I kept saying, “I did it.” They thought someone had died the way I was crying. It was a really cool morning.
WWE.COM: Now that you’ve been at the Performance Center for a little while, what’s your favorite part?
MCINTOSH: Working with all the coaches. There’s so much knowledge in this building, it’s hard to fathom. We’ve all got notebooks and take note of everything they say. It’s really awesome to hear them relay that knowledge to you. We don’t’ get this kind of help anywhere else. I’m so lucky to be here.
WWE.COM: You’ve also had the opportunity to wrestle on NXT television at Full Sail University. What was that like?
MCINTOSH: I had my very first match against NXT Women’s Champion Sasha Banks three weeks after I signed. I’m quite proud of that, but I can’t explain how nervous I was. I was confident, but beyond nervous because I wanted to make a good impression. I wasn’t sure if I had the tools yet. It was so cool being in front of an audience that’s so supportive. Being in there with Sasha was an insane achievement. I’ve been watching her for years and everyone wants to wrestle her. I’ve achieved a lot of things that I thought would take years to do, so I’m very overwhelmed by the opportunities I’ve been given so far.
WWE.COM: With those opportunities under your belt, what are your goals for NXT and beyond?
MCINTOSH: Obviously, the main goal is to be on the main roster and become champion, like everyone does. But I want to be here as long as I possibly can. This is my dream. There’s nothing else I want to do with my life. Being here in NXT, I want to be the leader, the top girl. Jessie and I have a dream of creating a division within the division, for tag teams. We really would love to introduce a women’s tag team division and get that rolling in NXT. I can’t wait to see what the future holds. It’s really exciting to think about.