After nine months on the shelf, Kris Statlander finally made her surprise return as she accepted an open challenge at AEW Double or Nothing. Coming off an impressive victory against Taya Valkyrie, TBS Champion Jade Cargill was hungry for more. As such, she opened the door for another woman to step up and challenge her for the title. That woman was Kris Statlander. After a brief back and forth, Statlander landed her signature piledriver to gain the pinfall and became the new TBS Champion. With this, Cargill’s reign as champion officially ended at 508 days.
During a recent appearance on Busted Open Radio, Statlander spoke candidly about her recent win. While she’s grateful to hold the championship, Statlander also admits she had some self-doubt heading into the match. At that point, Cargill had accumulated a 60-0 undefeated streak — a record that Statlander says she was hesitant to snap.
“… I was nervous and I wasn’t sure if I was the one that deserved to be the one to do it. It’s not just because of how much they built her up. She’s had such incredible star power. She has such a presence to her. People want to see her. I was putting pressure on myself, thinking like ‘How am I going to live up to the type of person and the type of star that she is?'”
“She’s undefeated, she’s brought so many outside eyes to wrestling. She’s done so much. It’s gonna take a while to realize that I don’t have to be the next Jade. I just have to be Kris Statlander, and I’ve got to make my title reign be mine. I can still go out and do events and do things that she did, but I’m not gonna be Jade. No one’s gonna be Jade. Jade’s the first-ever TBS Champion. She’s the longest-reigning champion in AEW history. I think those are two incredible accolades that no one else in the world is going to have.”
Despite the initial pressure of being the one to dethrone Cargill, Statlander is looking forward to carrying the title and performing in front of fans again. “It’s a lot of pressure about just proving that I am the one that was able to step up, and I can step up, and I will,” she said. “Even though I’ve taken time — not that I’ve taken all this time off, but I’ve had to because of being injured, but I can step right back into the scene and be a champion that people deserve, and that people want to see. It’s been just about a week since I’ve been back, and I’ve already technically wrestled four matches. I am so tired, but it’s everything that I’ve wanted it to be. I’m just so thankful that everyone has trusted me.”
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