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USA Insider WWE Monday Night Raw

Zoey Stark Opens Up About Money in the Bank, Trish Stratus, and Her Z-360

NXT's biggest success story of the year takes a break from beating up Becky Lynch to chat with USA Insider in an exclusive interview!

By Chris Phelan
Zoey Stark stands on the top rope of the ring with outstretched arms

One of the most underreported stories in pro wrestling this year has been the quiet ascension of Zoey Stark, one of the brightest young stars in the industry. 

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As someone who quickly outgrew NXT, Zoey was drafted to the Monday Night RAW roster during the WWE Draft alongside several of her NXT colleagues. Interestingly enough, her fellow NXT call-ups have fallen by the wayside as the year rolls by. NXT-turned-WWE Superstars like JD McDonagh, Dexter Lumis, Indi Hartwell, Cameron Grimes, and others have floundered on the main roster for various reasons (including injury in some cases). But not Zoey – she serves as the blueprint for modern-day success for anyone drafted to the main roster.

As we look at the biggest success stories of the 2023 WWE Draft, Zoey Stark stands alone as the most impactful call-up. Of course, her strategic partnership with Trish Stratus hasn't hurt, as it has catapulted her head-first into some of the hottest storylines in the RAW women's division. It's not a bad place to be for a rookie. 

Zoey Stark Credits Trish Stratus For Catapulting Her Into RAW's Upper Echelon

Zoey Stark posing on the top rope of the ring

On July 20, USA Insider managed to catch up with Zoey Stark for an exclusive interview, and just like she did during WrestleMania season, she did not disappoint us or the WWE Universe with some incredibly candid responses!

We wasted no time asking her questions about her alliance with Trish Stratus, the WWE Hall of Famer who recently made a full-time return to Monday Night RAW after a lengthy retirement. While the WWE Universe overwhelmingly sees Zoey as Trish's protege, we were wondering how Zoey felt about that assessment. We asked her if Trish was learning under Zoey, as the women's division has radically changed since Trish last competed! 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Zoey was humble – or maybe she's already too savvy to publicly take all the credit for her and Trish Stratus' success! 

RELATED: 5 Superstars The WWE Universe May Never See In NXT Again

"I don't think she's really learning anything from me," Zoey told us with a chuckle. "Although it's a completely different WWE from when she last competed, that old-school mentality still holds true today. Fans love that mentality and will always root for their old-school wrestlers."

Zoey's not wrong; the WWE Universe will always support Superstars who paved the way for today's athletes. It's clear Zoey has a lot of admiration for Trish. In fact, she credits her for helping find significant success on the red brand in recent months.

"Trish sees a Superstar in me, so I'm not surprised at my success so far. I'm from NXT, I've got something to prove – and I've proven that every single Monday."

As one of the few Superstars on the roster with a decisive pinfall victory over Becky Lynch, Zoey touched on the importance of the rematch, currently slated for the July 24 episode of RAW.

"I've already beaten Becky once before and I can do it again," Zoey stated. "And people want to keep saying Trish actually helped me beat Becky the first time, but that's not true. If you go back and look, Becky took her eye off the ball, so that was on her. So I'm just going to beat her again."

Zoey Stark Opens Up About the Iconic Ladder Powerbomb at Money in the Bank 2023

Zoey Stark stands outside of the ring

Time stood still at Money in the Bank 2023 when Zelina Vega and Zoey were involved in the most memorable crash of the night that didn't involve Ricochet and Logan Paul. With both Superstars precariously balanced on top of a ladder, Zelina delivered a devastating sunset flip powerbomb to Zoey, catapulting her neck-and-shoulders-first onto a ladder bridge. It was painful to watch as a fan, and we have to know: What was going through Zoey Stark's mind as she took that powerbomb?

"The first thing going through my head was, 'Don't die,'" Zoey confessed. "When we were in the air, all I could think to do is try to protect my head as much as possible with that kind of bump because when you're dealing with ladders – there isn't a lot of solid surface, there's holes everywhere – it's tricky to make sure you don't get injured. I was very nervous about it, but I'm glad I got out of it unscathed and everything was fine. And the WWE Universe loved it."

Indeed, that powerbomb will undoubtedly live on in WWE Money in the Bank hype videos for years to come. However, historically, the men have set the bar in their respective Money in the Bank ladder matches each year – but in Zoey Stark's mind, the epic powerbomb served another purpose. Zoey believed her and Zelina's iconic powerbomb sent a message to the WWE locker room and the WWE Universe.

"To us, that bump was very important," she revealed. "It showed everyone that you can't keep putting us below the men. We're right up there with them."

How Did Zoey Stark Come Up With Her Finishing Move, the Z-360?

Zoey Stark walks to the ring while holding her arms out

We here at USA Insider have been obsessed with Zoey's finisher, the Z-360, since she first debuted it last year in NXT. It isn't often when a WWE newcomer arrives armed with such a deadly and innovative finisher, and Zoey has used it to her advantage throughout her WWE career. However, inquiring minds need to know: How in the world did she come up with a move as unique as the Z-360?

"When I was on the independent circuit, I wanted to find a unique move that nobody has really done before," she told us. "I didn't want to take a finish from somebody already in WWE or from any other show."

Zoey credits her training partner on the indy wrestling scene for helping her evolve Z-360 into the devastating finishing maneuver it is today. Although, like most dangerous-looking moves in WWE, it helps when cameras catch the moment of impact at the perfect moment!

"I gotta give the camera guys a lot of credit for making Z-360 so good early on in NXT – they're great at what they do and they always caught it from an angle where it looked great," she explained.

And on that note, our conversation with Zoey came to an end. 

With SummerSlam quickly approaching, another victory over Becky Lynch on RAW could mean that Zoey could punch her ticket to the Biggest Party of the Summer on August 5. But even if she doesn't compete at SummerSlam, the future has never looked brighter for NXT's biggest success story of the year. 

If she can keep up racking up victories over the biggest stars in WWE – while avoiding future sunset flip powerbombs onto ladders – there's no limit to what Zoey Stark can achieve in 2023 and beyond.

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's SummerSlam on August 5. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock as well.

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