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One-on-one: Zoe Stark’s ACL recovery dashed doctors’ expectations

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Some athletes are just physically different.

Zoe Stark tore her ACL and meniscus while competing in the Scareaway to Hell Ladder match at Halloween Havoc 2021. Stark lost more than the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship that night. She lost eight and a half months of her career, but she was expected to be out of action for much longer than that.She had a successful surgery in early November, and she died last July. I was back in the ring by the middle of the year.



Zoe beat her doctor’s initial recovery schedule, but her return to competition wasn’t easy. And it was a road filled with several educational stops along the way.

Cageside Seats were happy to catch up with Zoey Stark at WrestleMania Press Junket a few weeks ago. Her second interview in a series spotlighting NXT superstars.

We talked about her injury and how she was able to come back so quickly.Plus, could there be major roster calls underway? The Starks have had some work done main event Tapings in recent months, including last week when she wrestled Nikki Cross on Raw.

Read the Q&A with Zoey Stark below, or watch the full interview in the video at the top of the page.

Disclaimer: The question itself has been edited to provide additional information and better fit the written format.

Cageside Seats: I’ve spoken to many athletes who have come back from various injuries. And they always expressed a little bit of skepticism. what was it like for

Zoe Stark: It was hard. I was running a little lopsided, so it took me some time just to train how to run my knees again. Once you get the surgery, that knee will be much stronger than the other. It will happen, it is likely to happen.

CSS: You’re back by summer. I mean, I’m no doctor, but it’s a relatively quick turnaround.

Zoe Stark: They thought I would be out for at least a year. at least 1 year. And when the doctor told me that, I wasn’t. Like, I’m not going to let it happen. I have to go back within 8 months.

CSS: Was it just sheer will and determination? how did you pull that off?

Zoe Stark: Much credit has to be given to my physical therapist, Lauren. She was so amazing and she must have been so hard to deal with because she had to be there for hours every day and she told me to relax. I can’t relax. She doesn’t know this yet, but I even did home rehab.

CSS: If she’s watching this…

Zoe Stark: what does she look like? TRUE? But it worked, right? I’m back after 8 and a half months. Much sooner than they expected. At first she said 6 months, which never came to fruition. So eight and a half years later, I was happy with it.

CSS: You didn’t leave while you were out. You worked a little as a producer. Look at your business from a different angle. Is there anything in particular that you learned that you can use to improve yourself as an in-ring performer?

Zoe Stark: Production is tough. It gave me a whole new respect for it. You know, Matt Bloom, Coach Bloom, he gave me the opportunity to actually sit there and watch some people and understand how it all really works. And it just puts everything in another perspective. About how things work and how they tell stories. Even as a performer now, I don’t think I’m just a performer. I’m thinking TV. You know, how do producers work? I work with Johnny Moss a lot and he’s great. So everything changed little by little, both in terms of the story and how I performed.

CSS: I don’t think the average viewer, or even those who view professional wrestling in a negative light, understand how much effort and mental game it takes to just do a basic match. From ring placement to knowing footwork, sales and hard camera positions. There’s a lot in there, and it sounds like you’ve discovered even more.

Zoe Stark: You could even sit in the truck with the director and see how he does everything. You can learn more. It doesn’t look the same anymore. Because I think the camera is over there, the camera is here. If I’m doing anything I should be facing like this. And you’re breaking it all.

CSS: I promise I’ll tell you the good things soon, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing since you came back from injury. did not do it. Yourself and Nikkita Lyons have been brought out. It was a big opportunity and unfortunately I got lost.

Zoe Stark: I missed my chance, but that’s okay. Everything happens for a reason, and I am a firm believer in that. It wasn’t the time to do it at that point. That’s good.

CSS: Well, the good thing I was about to mention is attending the Royal Rumble this year.

Zoe Stark: do you know what i mean? Everything seems to happen for a reason, right? It was a good opportunity… I wouldn’t call it a good opportunity, but it’s the Royal Rumble.

CSS: You were in the match for 26 minutes.

Zoe Stark: 26 minutes.longer [former] NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez, right?

CSS: Not only was I at NXT, I was at the Royal Rumble, I was at the main event tapings, so it was actually pretty hectic. I saw you play Dana Brooke in Cincinnati. Obviously, if you’re doing that and they’re trying to put you on SmackDown, that means they’re looking at you, right? How can I focus on my work?

Zoe Stark: I’m focused on the present moment right now. It’s all great, and it’s going to happen at some point, but before I go to the main roster, I want to get my hands on the NXT Women’s Championship. So that’s my goal now.

Zoe Stark will take on rival and former NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez tonight. NXT kicks off live at 8pm ET. You can follow the action on our live blog. here.

Be sure to check out the full interview with Zoey Stark in the video at the top of this article.You can follow Rick Ucchino twitter subscribe Breve for Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for much of his work.

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