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'Crippling' Anxiety Played A Role In Roxanne Perez's In-Ring Collapse

Roxanne is back to recapture the title she never lost, but is it too much, too soon?

By Chris Phelan
Roxanne Perez walking to the ring

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One of the most exciting young Superstars in NXT is back after suffering an in-ring emergency earlier this month. 

Roxanne Perez, who collapsed to the mat after a grueling NXT Women's title defense on March 7, put rumors of premature retirement to rest after the WWE Universe feared the worst for the past three weeks. Just a few days before NXT Stand and Deliver — where the NXT Women's Championship will be up for grabs in a ladder match — the 21-year-old phenom from Laredo, Texas, confronted Shawn Michaels and revealed the extent of her recent injury.

In one of the rawest and most honest moments in NXT history, Roxanne pleaded with Shawn Michaels to let her compete in the ladder match on Saturday. Initially, Michaels was steadfast in his refusal, not wanting Roxanne to jump into such a high-profile match on such short notice. But after hearing Roxanne's desperate plea, HBK changed his tune, ultimately allowing her to compete in the dangerous match on Saturday. As it turns out, anxiety caused her collapse three weeks ago, but Roxanne is ready to confront that particular demon head-on.

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"My anxiety is crippling, but I can't run away from it," Roxanne confessed, fighting away tears. "I have to confront it, and the only way that I can do that is by facing it head-on. The only way that I can win this battle is by climbing that ladder and retrieving my title, the title that I never lost. So please, please let me do this. Please let me do this for me and for everyone out there who struggles with what I struggle with."

Although Roxanne is officially in the NXT Women's Championship ladder match at Stand and Deliver, questions remain. 

Is Roxanne pushing herself too hard to get back in the ring? Is Shawn Michaels overstepping his boundaries by allowing the 21-year-old to compete in a dangerous match on Saturday? Although Roxanne's mindset is clear and focused, we shudder to think what could happen if she suffers another anxiety attack — or worse — in the middle of the ladder match. Nevertheless, it seems Roxanne is already looking towards Stand and Deliver with a positive frame of mind, as she took to Twitter to reassure the WWE Universe that she can compete in the match. 

It was only two weeks ago that fans worldwide received a grim update on Roxanne's condition, but being cleared by doctors is a cut-and-dry affair, and we're sure Shawn Michaels, WWE, and NXT doctors, as well as Roxanne's physicians, would only clear Roxanne to compete if she was entirely out of the woods. 

So with this news, Stand and Deliver just became that much more interesting, as Roxanne Perez will no longer just be fighting for the NXT Women's Championship — she'll also be fighting for every member of the WWE Universe who struggles with crippling anxiety and mood disorders. It's a valiant cause and one that Roxanne should be commended for. She's going to make a lot of new fans on Saturday.

Still, we can't help but wonder: Is this too much, too soon?

On Saturday, the whole world finds out when the Road to WrestleMania leads to NXT Stand and Deliver.

Catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock. You can watch WrestleMania on Peacock this Saturday and Sunday, April 1-2.

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