The Scottish grappler – who defends her NXT UK Women’s Championship against the legendary Meiko Satamura on this week’s episode – opened up about the way she’s grown as a performer since debuting aged 16 in 2009.
She exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘I think I’ve changed a lot since then. I feel like everybody does. I like to describe it as a Pokemon evolution – you get the start, the middle and then the end, we’ve all got our final character.’
KLR – who admitted she’d have to be Charizard – also revealed her knack for taking inspiration from all areas of life and art.
‘Just in daily life if those wee things come up I’ll write them down. I’ve got a book, so they all go down,’ she explained.
‘Sometimes those ideas might get used, sometimes they don’t. I’m also very big on “don’t imitate, innovate”.
‘If you get something that you like, don’t just copy it – take it and make it your own, make it something that’s good for you.’
Her Pokemon analogy is a fitting one, as she’ll be battling the so-called Final Boss this week with the gold on the line.
Satamura arrived in NXT UK earlier this year with a rich legacy in the business, and Kay Lee Ray has thrived on testing herself against the living legend.
‘Meiko Satamura is one of the best wrestlers – the best wrestler, in my opinion – in the world today, and I’ve beat her twice,’ she smiled confidently. ‘So, I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna beat her a third time.’
Having such an experienced star coming into the locker room has been a major boost for everyone at BT Sport Studio, and the Forever Champion has noticed the instant impact it’s had behind the scenes.
‘She’s a phenomenal person, and I’ve seen the way girls react to her. There’s a buzz about that locker room just now, and that gets me fired up as well, because I know I need to watch my back,’ she said.
‘I know there’s a lot of really, really talented girls in that PC. With someone like her around, we are all just taking these wee steps, just getting better and better.’
Looking to the future, Kay Lee Ray – who has already made history with her 649-day-and-counting reign – has some goals to achieve in NXT UK before she turns her head to the US for Raw, SmackDown or NXT.
She insisted: ‘I still have my title so I think I’ve got quite a bit of work to do here first. There’s a few TakeOvers and stuff that need to be stamped at first, but after that, who knows?
‘I would love to go to the States! Whether that’s while I’m champion or whatever, we’ll see!’
While the champ is keen to explore her options – she agreed with our suggestion of NXT UK getting involved at Survivor Series so she can face the other brands’ standard bearers in a Fatal Four Way – she also has some pretty big goals on these shores.
As well as a major Glasgow event – once fans can return en masse and Dublin has had its rescheduled show – Kay Lee Ray wants other wrestlers to experience the buzz of a TakeOver crowd.
‘I think I would like to do a multi,’ said, pondering her dream scenario for the first TakeOver back after the pandemic. ‘I would like three other girls against me for my NXT UK Women’s Championship, just so they can experience that as well.
‘The more people the merrier, in fact. If you wanna go five – let everybody. I just want those girls to experience that because that is some crowd!’
*Kay Lee Ray defends the NXT UK Women’s Championship against Meiko Satamura this week. Watch on the WWE Network on Thursday at 8pm or BT Sport on Friday at 10pm.
If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us email@example.com, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
For more stories like this, check our entertainment page.
Follow Metro.co.uk Entertainment on Twitter and Facebook for the latest celeb and entertainment updates. You can now also get Metro.co.uk articles sent straight to your device. Sign up for our daily push alerts here.