Tiffany Stratton talks shining on WWE SmackDown, Backlash and befriending Nia Jax

Ahead of WWE Backlash, SmackDown newcomer Tiffany Stratton discusses her main roster run so far and how winning over the audience may lead to her becoming WWE Women's champion sooner rather than later.
SmackDown standout Tiffany Stratton is riding high ahead of a golden opportunity at WWE Backlash.
SmackDown standout Tiffany Stratton is riding high ahead of a golden opportunity at WWE Backlash. / WWE/GettyImages

Of the many fresh faces from NXT that have been called up to WWE's main roster in recent years, Tiffany Stratton seems to be finding her footing faster than most.

In just over three months, she's debuted in the women's Royal Rumble, signed with SmackDown, impressed inside Elimination Chamber, and entered contention for the WWE Women's Championship.

The former NXT Women's champion will get her first big title opportunity this Saturday at Backlash in Lyon, France when she takes on Naomi and current champ Bayley in a Triple Threat match where the gold will be up for grabs.

"I love Triple Threats, they're always super fun matches and my opponents are Bayley and Naomi," Stratton told Daily DDT. "Those are two big veterans, the current women's champion and a former women's champion. I'm super excited I get to go toe-to-toe with the both of them and I can't wait to win this weekend.”

Following her successful stint in NXT, there was little doubt that she'd excel on the bigger stage. She's improved immensely in the ring and has hit her stride as a character, channeling her inner Sharpay from High School Musical mixed with Cher Horowitz from Clueless.

However, it remained to be seen how the main roster crowds would take to her. Many exceptionally skilled performers have been brought up from NXT over the years only to fall flat because of poorly-defined characters or simply not being able to translate to the larger audience.

Stratton make an immediate impact upon arriving on SmackDown at the onset of 2024 and has progressively gotten more over with the audience week by week.

"I honestly feel like I haven't really changed anything since being on NXT," she said. "I just feel like with who I am, I fit the SmackDown and Raw regimen a little bit better and it's been so amazing to see that I won the crowd over in Australia and in the United States. I feel like Australia kick-started everything for me and I'm super grateful that happened to me.”

It was at Elimination Chamber in Perth, Australia that she had her first breakout performance in the women's Elimination Chamber, where an opportunity to fight for the Women's World Championship at WrestleMania 40 was at stake.

Despite not lasting until the end, she shined and received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the Aussie faithful. As a heel, she admits it's been a challenge to not completely embrace the cheers.

"It's a little hard to not fully embrace it because I'm so new to this scene that it's cool that I have so many people behind me," Stratton said. "It's hard to not embrace it, but at the same time, why would you not cheer me, you know?”

Aside from the rigorous travel schedule that has seen her fly from Australia to France to all over the United States, the blonde bombshell has had no complaints regarding her SmackDown stint so far. She got a taste for working with top-tier talent during her time in NXT when she had back-to-back blow-away bouts with Becky Lynch, a rivalry that marked a major turning point in her burgeoning career.

"I feel like I've grown a lot since the Becky Lynch feud," Stratton said. "Coming to the main roster, you're kind of nervous as an NXT talent. You don't know about the crowd or if who you are as a person is going to translate onto the TV screen on SmackDown or Raw. The fact that I won them over like I said was super reassuring for me. At first, I was really worried, but now I feel I belong here. I had such a good, genuine reaction that I don't need to doubt myself anymore. I definitely feel so much confident with where I am, my performances, my character and overall I feel a lot more confident.”

Stratton joined SmackDown days removed from her Rumble debut and has racked up victories over the likes of Naomi, Zelina Vega, Liv Morgan and Michin. She is staying put on Friday nights after being picked by the blue brand on Night 2 of the 2024 WWE Draft.

"I wasn't too worried, I'm not too worried about whichever brand I'm going to be on," she said. "I think wherever I go, I'm going to thrive and I'm going to make the most out of it. I think SmackDown is an amazing place for me to be. There's a lot of good challengers on that brand and I'm excited for this year.”

Coming out of the Draft, there's no shortage of potential opponents for her on SmackDown, but she also now has an ally in Nia Jax, who was drafted to the blue brand on Night 1. Their interactions on WWE TV have been limited, but they've appeared in several TikTok videos to each other after becoming fast friends en route to Elimination Chamber.

"We sat next to each other on our 20-hour flight to Australia and we literally had no other option but to become best friends," she revealed. "She kind of took me under her wing and now we're besties.”

Stratton's entrance music change has had fans buzzing for the last month as many didn't see any need to change it from what it was previously, something WWE has history of with their subpar Def Rebel songs. She's in the camp who enjoys her new theme and feels it's a part of her character's evolution.

"I like it! I don't know why everybody else doesn't like it," she said. "I think the 'Tiffy Time,' I've been wanting that since the very beginning, so I'm glad that we have that now. I like my music. It's got a little beat in it where my other music was straight across the board. I don't know why people are so mad about it.”

Although her sights are set on the WWE Women's Championship at Backlash, she's already looking forward to her eventual clash with Bianca Belair, an equally-gifted athlete who has become one of WWE's biggest stars—male or female. They've teased tension in various backstage segments but have yet to wage war one-on-one.

To Stratton, it's a WrestleMania-worthy match waiting to happen.

"I think Bianca and I would have such a great match," she said. "I feel like our move-sets line up really well, but I guess we're going to be saving it for a bigger stage one day.”