Blair Davenport on signing with WWE, name change

Jul 14, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

New WWE NXT UK Superstar Blair Davenport, the former Bea Priestley, made her debut last week with a win over Laura Di Matteo. Davenport just spoke with Alex McCarthy of talkSPORT and explained how she came to WWE, two years after WWE and everyone else failed to sign her when AEW picked her up for a brief run. The COVID-19 pandemic led to Davenport returning to the UK as she was not re-signed to AEW, and then she eventually inked a deal with WWE.

“It was the right opportunity and the right timing for me,” Davenport said. “There were so many other things that I wanted to do first and I didn’t want to be in the position where I would make such a big jump in my career and wish I could’ve done things before coming here.”

Davenport continued and discussed how she returned to Japan to work Stardom, but had a change of heart and reached out to WWE.

“I wanted to do everything that I wanted to do, then come to this part in my life,” she said. “During the pandemic, there was a small window. Obviously, I got cut from AEW because my visa expired and there was no hope for a new visa happening at that time. There was a tiny window in August where people who had Japan visas could go back, so I went back to Japan. I loved STARDOM so much, but this time I think I was the only foreigner there, whereas before, I had a group of friends with me.

“I love the roster, but I did feel very isolated and I started to feel stagnant with my role and feeling like there was only so much more I could do with this company before I stayed in my same position. I hate being stagnant and I wanted to be like, ‘I need to do something for me now.’ This is when we got in touch with WWE and we were chatting. I almost wanted a bit of time at home as well to have a bit of a rest, but I love NXT UK so much and it’s definitely where I want to be right now.”

Davenport revealed how WWE had talked to her in the past, and how she had talks with Canyon Ceman, WWE’s Senior Director of Talent Development.

“NXT UK reached out to me when they were first making the roster in 2018 but it was the day after I signed my World of Sport contract. They reached out again the beginning of 2019 and I spoke to Canyon Ceman,” she revealed. “I was going to sign, but I wanted to do more in Japan and I said that to Canyon. He said, ‘Okay, cool, we’ll keep in touch and call you back in six months.’

“Literally, two days later, AEW got in contact with me and offered me the schedule where I could live in Japan but still work for them and have the best of both worlds. At that point, it was great for me. This time around, I reached out to Jim Smallman, who I know from PROGRESS, and he put me in connection and I had a call with Canyon again. We got the wheels moving this time. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go at those (past) points, it was just the timing and my situation that fit the best.”

Regarding the new ring name, Davenport revealed how this wasn’t her first choice after being offered several first and last names.

“I was offered a bunch of first and last names,” she said. “It wasn’t my first choice, but it was put to me like, ‘Can you make it work?’ I’m quite confident like, ‘I can make anything work, we’ll work it.’

“It’s like a fresh start. Bea Priestley is awesome but even from my last match in Japan in April, I am not that version of me anymore. I’ve progressed from that point and this is the new element of me. It’s a new way to recreate yourself and feel refreshed. It’s not a clean slate because I don’t want to forget everything I’ve done, but this is the next level now.”

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