Dakota Kai has had many eyes on her since her heel turn in November at TakeOver:WarGames. No one has kept a closer eye on her than her former best friend and tag team partner Tegan Nox. It was at WarGames that Kai turned on Nox which opened the flood gates to some high profiled matches between the two.
Some fans questioned the change to a heel character for Kai. She is a natural baby face. The addition of Raquel Gonzalez by her side has helped her heel turn get further over. The two team up to face Tegan Nox and Shotzi Blackheart on this week’s NXT.
Prior to her tag team match this week, Kai spoke with Pro Wrestling Sheet in an exclusive interview about a variety of things. Most notably was her heel persona and being coupled with Gonzalez.
As a comparison to Johnny Gargano, Ryan Satin asked Kai if she was finding it enjoyable to play a different character after being a good guy through most of her career.
“One-hundred percent. When it all started for me at WarGames, it was crazy and a little bit intimidating to me just because it’s so natural for me to play a babyface. It’s an easy role, but this was such a challenge. And with the addition of Raquel coming along a few months later, that added a whole new level to what I wanted to play with. So it’s been really, really fun and a lot of the coaches and producers have been giving me a lot of good feedback to sort of use to take my character to the next level.
It’s been such a creative outlet for me. Before it was fine, but I really needed something to sort of take me to the next level and give me more to play with. It’s still scary to me, but it’s a lot of fun.”
She was asked if making that turn was something she had been wanting to do or if she was approached with it.
“A little bit of both. Because I saw it coming back when they sort of sat us all down and told us how WarGames was going to go. It was still a ‘oh, this is really happening. This is actually …’ You know what I mean? They hinted at it and they really did want a lot of the things I was doing, and Tegan as well, leading up to that to feed into this narrative. But even when they told us that WarGames was going to go down the way it did, it was still very like, ‘OH, oh okay. You guys really do want me to do this. Okay. Cool!’ So I did my best to give them what they wanted. And for me personally it’s so refreshing. It’s just a change of pace. It’s such a good challenge for me. I love it.”
A big part of this transition has been the addition of Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s look alone is intimidating that it gives her that natural feel presence. Kai was asked how this pairing came about and she started that conversation by explaining the two have known each other for a while.
“Honestly, I’ve known Raquel for a long time. She was actually signed before I was. We get along so well. That aside, she has been waiting a long time for this opportunity and a lot of us backstage felt the same way because she’s so good. She’s got such a good attitude about everything.
It was a long time coming for her, so I love it. I love being able to play off of her. She’s such a strong girl too, so being able to have her in my corner helps so much. In ring and outside, because she is such a good person. So myself and a lot of us are super stoked that she’s finally getting her break basically.”
Satin said that he has noticed a newfound confidence in Gonzalez ever since she officially made her presence known at TakeOver: Portland. She has been with the company for a while now, but she hasn’t been utilized much on-screen. Kai talks about how she agrees with the sentiment.
“It’s crazy! She is outgoing, but she’s quite soft-spoken behind the screen and things like that. So being able to see her transform into this amazing, confident person, it’s like – I don’t want to be weird – but it’s like I’m sending my child off to school and I’m like a proud mom! She has really come into her own and it’s only gonna go up from here for her. The more opportunity she gets, she just meets them every time and she exceeds everyone’s expectations. I’m so happy for her.”
Lastly, Kai was asked about what prompted the addition of Gonzalez. Was this something she pushed for, or was it brought to her? She had previously mentioned that many people behind the scenes were pushing for this opportunity for her.
“It was brought to me by Triple H himself.
He really wanted to utilize Raquel in a way that would highlight everything that she has to offer. As soon as that was a thing that was told to me leading up to Tegan and my TakeOver match in Portland, when they told me that she would be getting involved at the end, I was – obviously it’s a surprise, cause everything that they tell you is like, ‘What?! Really?! Crazy!’ – but as soon as I knew it was her, and I knew that we get along so well and she’s so talented, I was like, ‘This is great.’
This gives me also as a performer another level to play with. Ya know? So, it’s cool. I was so happy.”
What are your thoughts on the pairing of Kai and Gonzalez? What have you thought of Kai’s heel work thus far? Leave what you are thinking in the comment section below.
All credit for this exclusive interview and transcription goes to Pro Wrestling Sheet. You can read the entire interview by clicking here.