Dakota Kai recently spoke with Sports Illustrated to promote tonight’s WWE NXT episode, which will feature Kai and Raquel Gonzalez taking on Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox in tag team action. Kai was asked how she’s been able to elevate her work ever since the heel turn in late 2019, and how Gonzalez has played a role in her success.
Kai said there was a lot of pressure on her to perform following the turn at “Takeover: WarGames” last year. She said Gonzalez helped her take it to the next level.
“After WarGames, there was a lot of pressure for me to perform,” Kai revealed. “I needed another element to take it to the next level, and Raquel was that piece. She’s the muscle, and that gave me so much more to play with inside the ring. Initially, this was such a big change for me. Being a babyface came so naturally to me, and it’s what I’d done in NXT and on the independent scene. It was terrifying to me to completely change, but it was also the best for me. I didn’t want to become stagnant—this has allowed me to let my creativity flow. And adding Raquel has been such a huge help. I wouldn’t say it has been easy, but it’s been creatively fulfilling.”
Kai was also asked if one title is enough for the NXT women’s division. The title is currently held by Charlotte Flair, and Kai believes they could make a second title or women’s tag team titles work.
“Having another title within the women’s division would be so feasible for us,” Kai said. “There are so many talented women. There are storylines outside of the title picture, and with another title, those would be fighting for something. Last summer at TakeOver: Toronto, Io Shirai and Candice LeRae had a match on the card—and this year at TakeOver in Portland, Tegan and I had a match, so another title would be used well. There are so many talented women, so a secondary title isn’t a crazy idea.”
Regarding a main roster move to RAW or SmackDown, Kai said she would love that but her heart is with NXT. She was asked if it’s necessary to go to the main roster, or if it’s possible that the best long-term career for her is in NXT.
“I would absolutely love that. My heart is with the NXT brand,” Kai said. “Ever since we went live on USA last year, it’s now more realistic than we can stay in NXT. That’s not to say that, in the future, Raw or SmackDown are completely off the table to me, but there is a certain family element in NXT that you can’t get anywhere else. That comes back to what I was saying about the NXT women’s division. We all want the best for the brand, and that’s hard to come by. I would love to stay here.”