Dakota Kai is currently on the best run of her NXT career. Along with Raquel Gonzalez, she made history, becoming the first-ever women’s Dusty Classic winners. But it has been a long and challenging journey to success for Kai, who came back from a near career-threatening injury in 2019.
In a recent interview with Wrestling Inc, Kai spoke about her recovery and why NXT’s stacked women’s division is so successful.
Kai debuted for NXT in 2017 at the inaugural Mae Young Classic and quickly became a fan-favourite. Toward the end of 2018, she began a feud with NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler. But Kai suffered a torn ACL at a live event, which kept her out of action for nine months, cutting the rivalry short.
During the interview, Kai revealed the mental and physical anguish she faced on her road to recovery;
“I had to undergo surgery and be out 8-9 months. While the physical side of rehab is tough, that’s so easy compared to the emotional and mental side of it. That’s where the struggle lies. Even after I came back and made my re-debut and returned to NXT TV, you’re still in a weird mind space. You’re worried. You’re paranoid. You don’t want to have that happen again with the risk of tearing your ACL a little higher just because you rehabbed and strengthened the knee so much that they might not be evened out.” Kai added, “I really couldn’t afford to be paranoid or unsure. I had to be sure of myself because I feel like at the end of the day that’s the only thing that could break me out of the mental struggle.”
Since Kai’s return from injury, she hasn’t looked back.
Her wonderful heel turn at 2019’s NXT TakeOver: WarGames proved highly-successful and rejuvenated her career. Kai’s feud with Tegan Nox was heated, intense and well told. Her rivalry with Io Shirai saw her hang with one of the best in the world. More recently her partnership with Gonzalez is history-making.
Kai is one of NXT’s best wrestlers in a division of incredible talent. NXT’s women’s division is arguably the best in the world, and Kai credits that success to several reasons;
“We are so selfless. At the end of the day, we want to put on the best story and show possible and whatever that is, we’re going to work together to do that. We all trust each other 100 percent. That locker room is so full of crazily talented ladies. But at the end of the day, the reason why we are so successful and put on great stories and matches, we’re genuinely like a big family.”
Kai and Gonzalez challenge Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships on the March 3rd episode of NXT.
Big thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcript.
What do you make of Dakota Kai’s comments? Do you think she gets her first taste of WWE gold next week? Let us know in the comments below.