NXT referee Aja Smith has received a new name and will now be going by Daphanie LaShaunn. She has updated her social media to reflect this name change.
It was reported by Fightful on Nov. 16 that WWE has trademarked the name ‘Daphanie LaShaunn’ and now we know who it belongs to. Smith joined WWE in February 2020 and has been seen weekly on NXT. She has now been working on both RAW and SmackDown. She became a trailblazer upon her signing becoming the first African American woman to become a full-time referee in WWE’s history.
She provided a fast count shortly into the match that had Natalya pin Naomi. Naomi, and more recently Aliyah, has been treated poorly by WWE Authority Sonya Deville. Smith had a speaking role backstage asking Deville if she did a good job. Deville pretended she didn’t know who Smith was and said she doesn’t associate with crooked referees.
Smith isn’t the only referee who has received a name change recently. NXT official Chloe Christmas is now on her second name. Her name was originally changed to the name of Paige and now is going by Blair Baldwin.
Prior to joining WWE, Smith was an in-ring performer under the name Aja Perera. She is a former SHINE Nova Champion and SHINE Tag Team Champion with Big Swole.
In addition to the change in referee names, it appears that Karen Q who was formerly known as Mei Ying will now be Wendy Choo. Performance Center trainee Kellie Morga will go by the ring name Mila Malani.
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