Nia Jax: Destined for greatness?
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 WWE.com.
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.”