NXT Star Dakota Kai Reinvents Herself Post-Injury
Professional wrestler Auckland-born Dakota Kai, 31, is quickly becoming an indispensable piece of popular television programme, WWE NXT’s success, Jason Barrosso reports for Sports Illustrated magazine.
Kai, real name Cheree Crowley, played the underdog babyface exceptionally well, but she just turned on longtime partner Tegan Nox and is now showing off her ability as an antagonist, Barrosso writes. The character change allows her to work a different style, which is especially important in NXT, which offers perhaps the most talented collection of female stars in all of wrestling.
Barrosso asks Kai: “What went into the decision to unveil a more dangerous and vicious version of yourself on-screen? Wouldn’t it have been easier to remain the underdog character you were playing?”
“It would have been easy for me to keep playing that role. The start of my NXT career, up until I got injured, was very much playing that role. Deep down, I knew I had so much more to offer than that. When the opportunity came, I seized it,” Kai replies.
“I wanted to show a lot of people what I wanted them to see. I promised people that I would hit the ground running when I came back from injury, including a whole new aggressive side.”
“Auckland is a long way from Orlando. Can you believe you’re here now, taking your place as a rising star in WWE?” Barrosso asks.
“No way. I’ve been wrestling since 2007, which is weird to even say, and when I started watching wrestling, the focus wasn’t really on the women. Not in the way it is now. And New Zealand is so far away from the rest of the world that this never really seemed like a realistic goal,” she says.
Original article by Jason Barrosso, Sports Illustrated, December 11, 2019.