When Nia Jax thundered back to the WWE Universe with a bang, leaving a string of bodies in her wake and putting the most dominant female performer in the entire promotion, Rhea Ripley, on the shelf for close to a month, it got folks talking around the professional wrestling world.
Sure, when booked correctly, Jax can be a compelling addition to any storyline, as she’s the sort of dominant force who can serve as a very good Premium Live Event bad guy that elevates her babyface foil in victory but in professional wrestling, that storyline has a defined end-point; factor in Jax’s pension for injuring opposing performers due to her brash in-ring style and fans have to wonder how her return came into being.
Well, as it turns out, Jax was willing to break it down, as she explained in an appearance on After The Bell with Corey Graves and Kevin Patrick.
“I started watching the product again. Before, I kind of was like, I don’t want to see it, but then I sort of, ‘Oh, let me watch the product and see how it’s going.’ And looking at it all, there’s so much new talent, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s so much new talent I could work with,’” Nia Jax said via WrestleZone.
“Then hearing the reaction at Rumble knowing that people still kind of remember the Nia Jax character, I was like, oh, I wonder if my character could kind of help any of these new girls like possibly. I’m not sitting here saying that I’m some guru, but I know that without a shadow of a doubt, Nia Jax is a great heel.
“I believe that every babyface needs an incredible heel to feed off of. And I thought, well, a good monster heel could possibly be needed at the moment. And I remember I was talking to Sarah Amato because she was my coach back at NXT, and she was like, ‘You look great. You look incredible. I really think that you’re made for wrestling. I feel like you should try it again.’”
On paper, bringing Jax back as the sort of super-sized Superstar heel who can be the foil for a babyface like Becky Lynch is a good idea, especially if a promotion has a long-term plan to make it work a la the feud between Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth Rollins that played out over multiple Premium Live Events. Putting Jax opposite someone like Ripley, who is supposed to be a heel but, frankly, has become something of a tweener due to the campiness of her act, however, makes things a bit less clear moving forward, as their interactions have been short and sporadic versus Judgment Day’s other angles.
Nia Jax explains how she dealt with the WWE Universe’s hate.
Elsewhere in her conversation on After The Bell, Nia Jax revealed what it was like to receive so much criticism from the WWE Universe and how she was able to overcome the hate to live comfortably within her skin as both as a wrestler and a person.
“I obviously can’t deny that I get a lot of hatred online. In the beginning, I was like, ‘Oh, this will be good. This would be good for, you know, like, the character will keep going on’, but at the end of the day, like, when you’re by yourself, and you’re on your phone, and you’re looking at the constant hate, hate hate, you’re like, okay, then you’re second guessing yourself. I’m second-guessing everything I’ve done.”
“Like, I need to improve and I need to do this, and I need to impress them, like the internet is really hating what I’m doing right now, and it really, really messed me up. It got me into such a sad place of like, when I got released, I’m like, ‘Yeah, of course, why not? I suck. Everybody hates me. Like, there’s no need for me to be here anymore.”
Jax then revealed how she went to therapy and how talking about things helped her to get more comfortable in her own skin.
“When I got into my therapy, and I’ve said this before, I don’t think anybody who’s a happy person goes online and (bleeps) on other people. I had to put it into perspective, like okay, this is a character. When they see me in the street, people are like, ‘Nia, you suck, or whatever,’ but Lena over here is actually a good person.”
While there’s nothing wrong per se in fans voicing their opinions on performers, it is worth remembering that there are people behind the gimmicks created by Vince McMahon, Paul Levesque, and the rest of WWE Creative. Fortunately for Jax, she was able to find peace within herself, and as a result, her return to WWE should be a much less emotionally damaging experience.