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 The Hybrid Athlete
Birth name: Savelina Fanene aka Nia Jax
Born: May 29th, 1984
From: Sydney, Australia
NXT Debut: October 14th, 2015
Billed: San Diego, California
WWE Debut: July 25th, 2016
Nia Jax is a force to be reckoned with in the women's division. She aims to prove to be the most dominant and fierce competitor that stepped in the ring. Jax is of Samoan and German ancestry, and a member of the Anoa'i family. She is also the cousin of Dwayne Johnson (The Rock). Jax signed with WWE in early 2014, where she started out in the developmental. Jax eventually made her in-ring debut on May 9th at an NXT house show in Jacksonville, Florida, where she teamed up with Devin Taylor against Bayley and Carmella. On August 22, during the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn pay per view event, a vignette aired teasing Jax's on screen debut. After making her NXT debut in October, Jax has been an unstoppable force taking on the likes of Bayley and Asuka.
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"Anyone can be born with or buy pretty features, but that doesn’t make you truly beautiful. True beauty comes from your soul!"

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Nia Jax Talks Embracing Her Curves, Creating Her Own Path, and M...
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Nia Jax recently conducted an interview with Sky Sports WWE Editor, Anton Toloui. They discussed various topics ranging from Nia embracing her body size, the Samoan legacy, SummSlam and more! Read the interview below.

Nia Jax has made a big impact in a relatively short time in WWE. Nia Jax insists WWE is an inclusive place to work despite being the only plus size woman on the RAW roster.

The superstar has backed the company’s ‘Women’s Evolution’ drive to get the division taken more seriously and is adamant a competitor’s size and weight is no longer an issue.

“I feel I can embrace my body and person in the ring,” Jax told Sky Sports. “Being bigger and curvier gives fans something to emulate. I’m not size one or two and yet I can be an athlete.”

“Women have always had the talent but can now be portrayed in different ways. I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Jax has gained a lot of plaudits for being honest about body image issues that has affected her over the years and the 33-year old hopes she can help others.

She said: “I get emotional about this. I have a niece and hope she doesn’t have to deal with these problems when she’s older, especially with social media. Confidence is so inspirational”

Jax is actually part of wrestling royalty with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson one of her cousins and Roman Reigns an extended family member.

That Samoan heritage has been used heavily in the men’s WWE storylines but Jax doesn’t want to rely on the family name, not even The Rock’s.

“I’m enjoying making my own name, creating havoc in the division, kicking butt and creating my own path,” she said.

“But I’m proud my legacy and would sure enjoy getting in the ring with Dwayne and kicking his butt!”

Jax remains close to her cousin, despite a life on the road in WWE, and insists the Hollywood star has offered vital support throughout her career.

“He really is disgustingly nice,” she said. “I look up to him so much, he’s a real mentor.

“I know I can always hit up Dwayne no matter where he is. I always love and miss him. It doesn’t matter how busy he is he always makes time to send messages and we share in each others’ good times.”

Jax hopes to get a big match at SummerSlam, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the early hours of August 21.

She hasn’t given up hopes of a title shot in the not so distant future and has her sights set on making history in the Women’s Division.

“I’d love to take the title from my best friend Alexa Bliss sometime soon,” she added.

“Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks set the tone for women at pay-per-views but I want to take part in a women’s Elimination Chamber, a Royal Rumble for the girls too but I won’t get too far ahead of myself.”

Nia Jax seizing her opportunity on RAW
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Nia Jax’s path to professional wrestling can be defined as unique

“It’s been fun,” says Jax (real name Savelina Fanene) on her current run with the WWE. “I’ve always been a part-time model since I graduated from high school. I was hired by one of the major agencies, Wilhelmina in New York, so I modeled there and played basketball during the school season.”

Unlike many other wrestlers who enter the business after being professional athletes, the 33-year-old performer put sports on the back burner to continue her passion in modeling. Even while she attended Palomar College in California on scholarship as a basketball player and played for the 2002-03 team that won the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship, she also was a professional model.

Jax realized that basketball wasn’t going to be part of her future post-college and chose modeling over the court, until her urge to enter the squared circle a few years ago. Being athletic and ready for the ring wasn’t a problem.

“I’ve been an athlete my whole life, I’ve played every sport including soccer, baseball, softball, basketball,” Jax recalled. “I almost played football until I started developing boobs, and my mother said no, but yes, college basketball was one of the first things I did in major athletic sports.

“Then I moved to Olympic weightlifting with my brother, because it was something like a passion he had and I was more or less his guinea pig,” Jax said. “It was something cool, I got involved in it and I was pretty good and now I wrestle.”

Jax is of German and Samoan ancestry and is a cousin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Her passion for professional wrestling began at a young age, and she finally decided to try to jump into the business after seeing The Rock perform at WrestleMania XXVIII.

She went to a tryout at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, and found her niche and her marketability with her slogan “I’m not like most girls.”

“The Performance Center in Orlando is the best place to go if you want to be a professional wrestler,” Jax said. “It has everything. Seven rings, we can watch film there, we have the promo room, the Green room … everything. So I had a tryout there, [and it] was very strict and intense and truly shaped me into the wrestler I am today.”

During her stay in Orlando, after signing a developmental contract with WWE in 2014, Jax made her first appearance in the NXT brand in 2015, using the name Zada. Sometime later, her character was changed to the present one. Jax credits the coaching of Sara Amato, who wrestled for many years in independent promotions as Sara Del Rey, as the person who has helped her the most. Amato is currently the assistant head trainer at Performance Center under Matt Bloom.

“Sara Amato was the female head coach and she’s by far the best coach I’ve ever had,” Jax admitted. “I still go back there to continue developing my character.”

At present, in the Raw brand, Jax is one of the top heels and often allied with Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss, against Sasha Banks and Bayley, with whom she had what Jax, defined as her best feud in NXT. Jax would love to renew their rivalry from the development brand.

“My favorite rivalry? I did not really have a chance to rival Bayley [on RAW], although we had a touch, but at NXT I had a feud with Bayley that was probably my favorite,” Jax said.

The creative team has flirted with Jax having a potential run as a champion at some point. Jax says she’s prepared for whatever the company decides and for the direction her career is going.

“It definitely feels good,” Jax said of her current positioning. “I’m definitely a person who works well under pressure. I have no problems with that, and I’m very excited to bring everything I can to this brand because I have so much respect for it.”

Credit: ESPN Interview

Alexa Bliss Talks Relationship With Nia Jax and More With Fox Sp...
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Alexa Bliss recently conducted an interview with Fox Sports, where she discussed the Superstar Shakeup, her relationship with Nia Jax and more. Read on to see what she had to say about Nia Jax.

Fox Sports: There was a moment you had with Nia Jax on Raw Monday, who I know is someone you’re very close with. What’s it been like to reconnect with her now that you’re on Raw?

Alexa Bliss: “I was so excited! Nia and I, we used to room together on the NXT trips, and we’re super, super close. We’re best friends. It’s awesome that we can be on the same brand together.

I feel like if we could ever be aligned together on Raw, that would be awesome – because, you know, I can just talk a lot of crap and she can back it up for me. Basically kind of like what our friendship’s like anyway.

It was a lot of fun, I’m super excited. She’s the best, and I’m so excited to be able to hang out with her more and work with her more in the ring.”

Fox Sports: How hard was it to keep in touch with your friends on Raw when you were on the other brand?

Alexa Bliss: “I would definitely say… especially with Nia Jax, we had been super close in NXT, pretty much inseparable. And then it got to the point where we spoke to each other maybe like once a month? Because our schedules are the complete opposite, with Raw and SmackDown.

I saw her one night on the U.K. tour because both brands were in London for a night. I got to see her then, but it’s definitely hard to keep in contact with people on the other brand because everyone is so busy and we’re all traveling at completely different times. It’s difficult, but that’s when we try to utilize FaceTime and texting and all that technology stuff.”

Nia Jax Talks Her German Roots and More With Sports1
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Munich – German-born wrestler Nia Jax is on tour with WWE. At SPORT1 she speaks her roots, her prehistory and Tim Wiese.

The wrestling stars of WWE are starting today on Germany tour – among them: an aspiring power woman with German roots.

The 109 kg Nia Jax has a German mother and is also a member of the legendary Samoan show fighting family.

The 32-year-old Hawaiian was formerly a college basketball, bodybuilder and oversized model, before her famous cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson inspired her to become a wrestler herself.

SPORT1: The Germany Tour is also a journey to your personal roots.

Jax: Yes, my mother was born and raised in Germany, near Hamburg. My grandmother (Jax says “my grandmother”, note of the Red) still lives in Germany, also many other relatives, in Bavaria and elsewhere – my grandmother was one of eight children. On the last tour in Munich, my German family was in the audience and saw their first wrestling show.

SPORT1: Another part of your relationship is the great Samoan wrestling family. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is your cousin. How close is the gang?

Jax: Dwayne is not only part of the family, he is also one of my best friends and mentor, he inspired me to become a wrestler myself. We have a close relationship, I talk a lot with him, he is a great person and a hero for me.

SPORT1: At the aforementioned show in Munich, Tim Wiese also made his debut match for WWE . How did you find it?

Jax: It was cool to watch. Tim Wiese had no easy task to compete as a star of another sport a WWE match. He did it well and when it was over, we all came to him in the backstage area and congratulated him.

SPORT1: He is not announced for the start of the tour. Do you hope he’ll come back?

Jax: You have to see that. If he does not enjoy it, he should not, but if he does, he is definitely well equipped, he has shown.

SPORT1: In the past, some wrestlers have also risen against men in the ring. Would that be for you?

Jax: I would not mind. I am strong and I can take care of myself. My father used to play basketball, football and baseball with boys as a kid. It has helped me develop my sporting ambition. I grew up among guys and got along well with the guys at WWE, even behind the scenes.

SPORT1: Her motto at WWE is “I’m not like most girls”. This has a personal history, which is also related to your previous career as an oversize model.

Jax: Yeah, it’s my heart. I grew up with my Samoan-German origin differently than many others, I also look different, I was always big and strong, not like the thin, pretty models on the magazines. When I myself came to modeling, I realized that I am also beautiful in my way and others can see. And that I am athletic and I could fulfill my WWE dream, I finally also noticed. And that is the message I now want to send to the young girls, who are themselves different, that they can do it.

SPORT1: In WWE, jokes were often made at the expense of wrestlers who did not correspond to the classic beauty ideals. Do not you fear that this will happen to you?

Jax: Oh, you know this is part of the job, so I have no problem. The WWE viewers are loyal fans, they can love, hate, mock, I know they have respect for me.

Web.De Interview: WWE Royal Rumble 2017 – Nia Jax has Germ...
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She is the hardest woman in wrestling: Nia Jax. In the Megaevent “WWE Royal Rumble”, the cousin of Actionstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson meets the former title holder Sasha Banks. In the interview, Nia Jax tells why she is a rather unusual show-fighter and which (evil) German word she likes best.

Nia Jax, you are Samoan, but your mother Renate comes from Germany. What is typical of you German?

Nia Jax: I am stubborn, very disciplined in any case and working hard. And I have definitely got the great personality inherited from my mother. Also in my eyes one sees totally that I have German roots.

Do they also speak German?

Nia Jax: (In German) A bit of German.

Do you have a favorite German word?

Nia Jax: Oh, but this is not a nice word. An evil word.

Just say …

A … loch (laughs). But another is more beautiful: my mother always called me “my darling”.

How strong are your connections to Germany?

Nia Jax: During our last tour in Europe we were in Germany. I had never been there before. My mother and my older brother came along. We still have a family in Munich. We saw them for the first time in our lives, before only in pictures. We had talked only once on the phone. And for her it was the first WWE-Liveshow. It was really cool.

Then to the wrestling: You are bigger, heavier and stronger than your opponents at the TV shows “RAW” and “NXT”, but you have never won a title. Why?

Nia Jax: Definitely, I am all that. For a title but I am not yet mature. When I get so far, I’ll target her and get her. Trust me. I do not worry about that.

Now you are in a feud with Sasha Banks. The title is currently held by Charlotte Flair …

Nia Jax: Sasha Banks puts such an arrogance into the day, calling herself “The Boss”. It just get on my nerves. She is definitely not my boss. On Charlotte, I have it as well. But not yet.

What do you think of the idea of ​​a “Royal Rumble” for women?

Nia Jax: That would be great. The women’s division has never been as athletic and good as today. Many have been raised by “NXT” and are arriving well. It would really be an event if you could see us all together at the “Royal Rumble” in the ring.

When you think of wrestlers, you have athletic models in mind. Is it a disadvantage to you that you do not correspond to this stereotype?

Nia Jax: Not at all. On the contrary: I have an advantage because I am unique. True, most wrestlers are pretty and in a great condition, but not every woman is like that. There are certainly a lot of German women who can identify with larger and wider women in the ring. And on me they see that it works just as well as with the other wrestlers.

How many kilos do you actually lift?

Nia Jax: That depends on what I do. With knee bends, it is about 135 kilos, while the cross-raising I manage loose 180 kilos. I have been very strong since my young age. Thanks to my Samoan-German origin, this is also clear.

Credit: Link

MiamiHerald.Com: Nia Jax Talk Getting Into The Wrestling Busines...
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WrestleMania 28 in Miami Gardens changed Savelina Fanene’s life.

That’s where she sat ringside with Ata Maivia Johnson at Sun Life Stadium in 2012 to watch John Cena battle Ata’s son in the historic main event of the annual extravaganza before 78,000 exuberant fans.

“Watching The Rock versus John Cena, I remember turning to my aunt [Ata] and saying, ‘I have to do this,’ and she said, ‘You think you can do this?,’ and I answered, ‘I know I can do this.’ It was a feeling that overcame me that I need to do this. It is something I was meant to do.”

In her blood, Nia hails from a wrestling family with her aunt, uncles, cousins involved in the business for many years.

“We talked about it, and I was going to attend Uncle Afa [the Wild Samoan’s] wrestling school [in Minneola, Florida],” Nia said. “[The Rock] got word of what I was doing, and he heard about the [WWE] Performance Center opening up [in Orlando], and he thought maybe I should tryout there and see if it was exactly what I wanted to do. After the tryout, they said, ‘We’d like to have you come on board.’”

So Nia received a little help getting her foot in the WWE door, but once she walked through, it was all up to her, and she worked extremely hard to progress, elevating herself to the NXT roster where she continues that same work ethic.

“Everything is incredibly, physically challenging,” Nia, 31, said. “Most challenging, mainly for me, learning how to bump, learning to trust your body and trust somebody else with your body, when we’re learning how to do bodyslams and suplexes and figuring out how to kick somebody right while making sure to protect each other. In the beginning, for me, a forward roll was pretty challenging.”

At about 6-foot-1, 270 pounds, her prior experience was boxing out not rolling around. Her background is basketball. Born in Hawaii, her family moved to San Diego where she later starred in hoops at Carlsbad High School. She eventually earned a scholarship to Palomar College in nearby San Marcos, Calif.

“I actually had a few scholarship offers out of high school, but I chose to go into modeling,” said Nia, who was a lovely plus-size model. “When I came back to go back to school on my time off from modeling, I went to Palomar.”

Titus, who coached women’s basketball at Palomar, said via email: “Lina was an outstanding student, amazing athlete and a fantastic person. She has tremendous athletic attributes, and it sounds like they continue to serve her well.

“She has a fun sense of humor, Blessed with great genetics and is fiercely competitive. There were moments when I had to rely on her to get the basketball and score…no matter what.”

Titus added: “To say Lina is physically talented is an understatement; she possesses discipline, dedication, and it appears her amazing drive is still with her as she takes on this challenge. She was well respected as a student athlete while here at Palomar College, and it was a pleasure having her on our team.”

Nia chose modeling over college basketball, but she still earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

I was a young girl playing basketball, WNBA was a dream,” she noted, “but when I got to college, it wasn’t as big of a dream anymore with modeling now in the picture.”

Modeling wasn’t something Nia pursued as a youth nor a career ever thought she could pursue.

“I was actually coming out of basketball practice in high school, and there was an Air Bands [lip sync] show there,” Nia said. “One of the judges was a modeling agent, and he walked up to me and said, ‘Have you ever thought about getting into plus-size modeling?’ I had never heard of that before, and I kind of laughed in his face, thinking he was kidding with me.”

Nia, who is Samoan on her father’s side, told her dad, Joseph, and he did the research.

“It was legit,” she said. “From there I got signed on with Wilhelmina in New York City. Once I graduated high school, I moved to New York and started modeling.”

Nia proves plus-size models are beautiful, too.

“Not everybody is made to be a size 0 or a size 4, and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being a size 0 or a size 4,” Nia said. “Being my [plus] size is something I’ve had to deal with my whole life. I’ve always been the big girl. I’ve always had curves, and I never could relate to any of the girls like the Victoria Secret models.

“Once I realized, when I became a plus-size model, that there were more women like me, my confidence immediately shot through the roof. When I was able to walk out there and show younger girls, who are like me when I was their age — who didn’t see girls who are curvier being put in a beautiful light — it just made me think that I have to be able to show these girls that they are just as beautiful as the girls who are size 0.”

Nia is already an inspiration, and now she is also inspiring bigger girls to attempt pro wrestling/sports entertainment as well.

Speaking of models, Nia is currently teaming in NXT with a former fitness model, the gorgeous Eva Marie, and they are collectively known as the Power Alliance.

“It’s amazing working with Eva,” Nia said. “That chick is my girl. I love Eva. She’s so much fun, and she’s so down to earth. She’s extremely hard working and driven. We have a lot of fun together.”

Except when it comes to sports teams. Eva Marie is a huge San Francisco Giants fan.

“I’m definitely not a Giants’ fan,” Nia noted. “I’m a San Diego girl all the way. I love me my Padres, and I love me my Chargers. Eva is also a Raiders’ fan, and we also clash on that. The Chargers and the Raiders have a huge rivalry, and we can not get along on that picture.”

Though they have their gridiron differences, Nia respects Eva. She also respects her coaches and trainers at the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, where she is learning and honing her skills.

“It’s surreal because we get such amazing attention from some really talented people at the Performance Center,” Nia said. “When I first got there, it was nostalgic [because of her wrestling lineage], and I was like, ‘I can’t believe that I’m actually getting coached by ‘the’ Sara Del Rey and Matt Bloom and the guest coaches. Coach [William] Regal comes in and just blows us away every time. It’s amazing to be there.”

Titus said: “I am very excited for her and hope she excels. I really have no doubt that she has the athletic ability. I don’t know much about wrestling, but if she puts her heart and soul into it, watch out wrestling world.”

Nia’s family also feels she can succeed in the squared circle. Her emotions took over when discussing her parents, especially her mother, Renate.

“I did well in school. I had a 3.5 [GPA] or above,” Nia said. “My mom always made sure…That was the first thing she always instilled in us that when we came home from school, before anything else, we had to make sure our homework was done.

“My mom came from another country [Germany]. She still has her German accent. English wasn’t her first language. So she wasn’t always able to help us with our homework, but she always made sure academics were first.”

Nia said something in German when asked if she spoke the language, but I don’t speak the language, so I can’t tell you what she said. She noted in English she can speak a little German.

An athletic family, Nia’s younger brother, Ben, played middle linebacker for Palomar College. Their brother, Patrick, played offensive guard for Fresno State University.

Nia loves her family, and she is very respectful of them and her aunt Ata.

“Nobody realizes how much she’s put into this business,” Nia said. “She’s lived, eat, breathed this business for decades. She has so much incredible knowledge. It’s insane. I don’t think anybody really realizes it because she never got in the ring to wrestle, but she used to valet her father [High Chief] Peter Maivia. She’s been to every single match that Rocky [Johnson] had and then Dwayne [The Rock] had.

“I’ll have her watch a match with me, and I will sit there, and I will listen to all her critiques, and everything she says is spot on. She’s amazing.”

– Aunty Ata

Email interview with Ata Maivia Johnson

JV: How is Nia Jax (Savelina Fanene) related to you?

AMJ: Lina’s paternal grandfather is my dad’s uncle. In other words, Lina’s paternal grandfather and my paternal grandmother are brother and sister. So Lina is my niece on my father’s side. Lina’s mother is German, and her father is Samoan.

JV: What can you say about her as a wrestler and as a person?

AMJ: As a wrestler, Lina is a hard worker and she’s driven. We’re really proud of how fast she is learning her craft. As a person, she’s strong, charming and determined. Years ago, after attending her first wrestling show, I said to her, “Do you think this is something you could do?” Like we were talking about serving ice cream – Ha. She kinda smirked and said, “Yeah, I can do it,” and the rest is history.

JV: What was it like watching her wrestle at the NXT show in Miami during the summer?

AMJ: When I first saw her in the ring, my first thought was, “Geez, she’s a beast,” and my second thought was, “Wow, she’s a natural in the wrestling ring.”

– Going back to Miami

Nia Jax will bring that natural talent to Miami-Dade County (where it all started for her) as NXT invades the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami on Thursday, March 17 in Coral Gables.

Will Aunty Ata be there?

“You know she will,” Nia said with a smile. “She always has her ringside seat.”

NXT will continue its South Florida swing the next night (Friday, March 18) at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.

“Those crowds are always so lively,” Nia said. “I can’t wait. I’m so excited to walk out there and see what they have for us.”


WWE.Com: Nia Jax Destined For Greatness?
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April 1, 2012, marked arguably one of the greatest WrestleMania main events of all time. In front of a capacity crowd of nearly 80,000 packed inside Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, John Cena went one-on-one with The Rock for the first time in WWE history. The match itself was dubbed “Once in a Lifetime,” but for Nia Jax, that one match would be enough to determine her future.

“I remember being ringside at WrestleMania 28, watching my cousin Dwayne (The Rock) face Cena, and thinking to myself, ‘I have to do this!’” Nia told

Working as a plus-size model while living in California at the time, this wasn’t the first instance Nia entertained the idea of entering the family business.

“I always had a love for the business,” she said. “I remember hearing the stories about the patriarch of our family, ‘High Chief’ Peter Maivia, starting out wrestling in a rundown gym back in Auckland, New Zealand, then traveling the world, wrestling all over. I considered wrestling at a young age, but I never could relate to any of the Divas. I have always been a bigger girl, and I did not think that WWE would want a girl my size, so I never expressed my dream to wrestle.”

It was only after speaking with The Rock and his mother, whom Nia affectionately refers to as “Aunty Ata,” that her concerns of being a larger woman in sports-entertainment were quickly dispelled. After researching a host of wrestling schools, Nia found herself with a prime opportunity to try out at WWE’s Performance Center in Orlando, Fla.

“I remember arriving to my tryout and being extremely nervous, but the second I stepped in the ring, I knew this was where I was supposed to be,” she said.

It is that same confidence that Nia has now brought to NXT for the world to see. Despite being a rookie in one of the most competitive divisions in the world, she credits her humble beginnings as motivation to succeed.

“Growing up, we were a poor, yet tightknit, family. My mother worked multiple jobs and always made sure that her kids never had to want for anything.” Nia recalled. “My parents always kept my brothers and I in sports to keep us out of trouble. Having two brothers made it tough and very competitive. My dad always had me play sports with the boys because he believed that it made me more aggressive and fearless.”

Both attributes will come in handy as Nia continues to make her mark on NXT’s women’s division. In fact, some would say she already has with her undefeated streak, which has been aided by impressive displays of strength and dominance. It’s all part of seizing an opportunity Nia says she is beyond thankful to have.

“NXT women have literally changed women’s wrestling, and being able to be a part of the division is great for me,” she said. “I am completely different than any other Diva that we have in NXT, and having the advantage of being unique allows me to expand the revolution even further by showing people what a woman of my size can do. Ultimately, I want to convey an image of a beautiful, strong and confident woman. I want young girls to be inspired to love themselves and strive to follow their dreams no matter what.”

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