Tegan Nox Talks WWE NXT Comeback & Battling Her Best Friend in a Cage
When you think of activities best friends like to do together, fighting in a steel cage most likely isn’t at the top of the list. That is unless you’re Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai. “Team Kick” imploded after Kai turned on her beloved partner at NXT TakeOVer: War Games last November. Since then the two have been embroiled in a heated feud that writes its next chapter this week inside the confines of a cage.
“I think the thing that is going to set us out is the passion. We’re so into this entire thing ourselves. We’re going to step it up,” Nox said of her upcoming match. “We’re going to beat the hell out of each other. She thinks she has done right. I think I’ve done right. This is such an explosive storyline I think that is what is going to keep the fans gripped.
“I’ve been preparing by watching as many steel cage matches as I can trying to get ideas, so if she tries to push me off the top I’m not going to allow it. Yesterday I watched Bret Hart versus Owen Hart from SummerSlam. I have been studying so many steel cage matches I think I’m a pro at it now. I think I’ve got it covered.”
The hard work has paid off for Nox, who made a remarkable comeback from a series of unfortunate events and devastating injuries. A hush came over the Full Sail Live crowd seeing the 25-year-old in pain after hurting her knee during the 2018 Mae Young Classic against Rhea Ripley.
“I got through it because of the support system I had,” she said. “People like Candice [LeRae], Dakota, Jessamyn Duke, Shayna [Baszler], Sarah Logan, Ruby Riott. All these people I can just read off a complete list who are there for me and still there for me regardless of what I need. They are the reason I got through and why I’m wrestling today.
“It’s so much more than a physical battle. The physical stuff is so much easier in a sense than the mental stuff. Mentally, I still struggle today. Having that support system though makes every day a little bit easier. I’m so incredibly lucky to have these people.”
Here the grateful Welsh superstar sat down to talk more about her comeback and building a compelling story with Kai.
When you got back in the mix, you didn’t just have regular wrestling matches. You’re brawling, participating in street fights and now entering a cage. Knowing you had these injuries, does that weigh on you? How has it been pushing through any hesitation or doubt you might have in the back of your head?
Tegan Nox: A lot of the negative comments are a source of power for not only myself but Dakota as well. We get told on the regular, if not on a daily basis, that we should quit because we had these knee injuries. Those negative comments help as well as hinder. Sometimes when you’re having a bad day they do affect you. In the end it all just adds to the fire like, “Okay, I’m going to prove you wrong. You think I should quit, but I’m going to go out and kill this street fight.” I’m going to have an incredible steel cage match. Then we’re going to see whose jaw is on the floor.” This is what we do. We watched wrestling when it was the Hardy Boys in ladder matches.
We watched when it was Undertaker and Mankind in the Hell in a Cell. All these matches showed what we wanted to do, which we may have done some before WWE. Though we wanted to do them in WWE and under the WWE banner. Having that trust with Triple H, Coach [Sarah] Amato, Shawn Michaels. To be able to do these sorts of matches after these injuries, it’s always a big push for us. So when we go into these matches it’s like, “Okay, you may be having a bad day, but they trust us to do this. They know we can do this.” Just having that is also another big deal for us.
You’ve had the chance to tell such a great story with Dakota Kai. Having the TV time to go from the betrayal and resulting rivalry over the course of months isn’t always seen in today’s product. You both have also been able to show different sides, more aggressive layers to your respective personas. What has it been like to collaborate the way you have?
I think it’s definitely helped to have such a close friendship outside of wrestling as well. Then bringing into wrestling was incredible with the YouTube series. First it was Dakota’s comeback. Then it was my comeback. It showed how close we were and helped tell this story. When Dakota turned, there was such an incredible atmosphere in the building that even though people may have assumed it was going to happen, they didn’t expect it to happen like that.
Seeing Dakota’s character develop as such a horrible person is incredible. We’re not on speaking terms. We’re just going to beat the hell out of each other Wednesday. Being able to tell this story I think has helped along with our friendship being so public.
A big highlight for you was competing in the Royal Rumble alongside your idol in Molly Holly. The street fight with Dakota you pulled out the Molly Go Round as a tribute. Did you get a chance to interact with her much backstage? What kind of impact has she had on your career?
I met her first at Evolution. Molly Holly was the nicest person I’d ever met. She was the sweetest lady. She took time out of her day to come and speak to me, which she didn’t have to do. She was told that an NXT superstar is injured and wants to meet her. She is the reason I wrestle. We met and at Royal Rumble we met again. We had a conversation. I thanked her for letting me use the Molly Go Round because she gave me permission personally to use it. She didn’t have to do that. I thanked her again at Rumble. I really wanted to be in the ring with her. The child in me thought, “Maybe I’ll get my Molly moment. This will be great.”
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out like that. I was in the ring with another inspiration of mine in Beth Phoenix. She destroyed me with the Glam Slam, which as much as it hurts, was one of the coolest moments of my wrestling career. It was insane to me. Being able to use the Molly Go Round at TakeOver, I feel like out of everything in the match that was my favorite. It was the move, but that she passed it on to me. She allowed me to use it. If she hadn’t, there was no way I would have done that in the match out of respect. The reaction that it got from the crowd helped make it that much more special.
Speaking of moves, you also have the nod to Kane with the chokeslam. Have you guys physically met beyond his surprise appearance with you on The Bump ?
I don’t know if I can handle it to be honest. I’ve run away from him twice. I didn’t mean to, but I wasn’t prepared. I shook his hand once, but it was very brief and didn’t say anything beyond that it was nice to meet him. I think I’m at a stage where I need to meet him in person after The Bump, have a conversation with him and not run away this time.
Is there one Kane question you’ve always wanted to ask him?
I don’t know. I really need to think about it. They asked me about it on The Bump, and I was taken by surprise. I didn’t know. I don’t think I have anything to ask him beyond the obvious one of if he had any advice. I think I would just thank him for being such an impact in my career and life. I think that is what I would want to say. Thank him for being Kane.
WWE NXT, Wednesdays, 8/7c, USA Network