Knoxville's 'NXT' Champion: Local standout athlete, battle's for wrestling championship

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WVLT) -- Knoxville native Bianca Blair, also known as NXT's 'Bianca Belair,' could add gold around her waist in Brooklyn Friday.

Blair will be in a women's Fatal Four-Way match tonight at Brooklyn's Barclays Center for the NXT Women's Championship at the special called "NXT Takeover: Brooklyn."

Friday's show is the biggest show of the year from NXT, the training and performance organization that develops wrestlers for WWE's main roster.


Blair is no stranger to championships. As a track athlete at Austin-East, Blair swept TSSAA state titles in the 100m hurdles and 300m in 2006 and 2007, helping the Roadrunners win the 2007 state title.

Before coming back home to the University of Tennessee in 2011 as a walk-on, Blair spent the 2008 track season at the University of South Carolina and the 2009 season at Texas A&M. She was also named SEC Academic Honor Roll in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, she was named the Herb Neff Award recipient, which goes to the best Lady Vol walk-on.

Check out Blair's last match before her championship bout Friday.

Bianca Belair burst onto the wrestling scene nationally, showing off her skills during the inaugural Mae Young Class, a women's wrestling tournament for up-and-coming female talent. She also impressed WWE trainers at WWE's Performance Center in Orlando, deadlifting 415 pounds at the 2016 and 2017 NXT Combines.

Blair will battle the current champion Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane and Io Shirai. NXT Takeover: Brooklyn is set to start Friday at 8 p.m on the WWE Network.