On tonight’s edition of NXT, we witnessed NXT Superstar Dakota Kai score her first big victory in NXT, with a roll up victory of Lacey Evans. It marked a dramatic improvement over her previous appearance on NXT TV, when she was beaten by Shayna Baszler in under two minutes back on January 10. It’s been a long time coming for fans of the indie superstar, to finally see Dakota Kai being featured on NXT TV, but for many fans, this is the first introduction to the New Zealand sensation. For those people, here’s a little background on “The Captain of Team Kick”.
Well THAT was fast! @DakotaKai_WWE stands tall with an impressive victory! #WWENXT pic.twitter.com/kZZb3F31Km
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) March 15, 2018
Meet Dakota Kai, NXT’s Newest Superstar
She began training in her home of New Zealand back in 2007, making her debut under the name Evie in 2008 with Auckland’s Impact Pro Wrestling New Zealand (IPW). She would leave IPW in 2015 as a 3x IPW Women’s Champion. It didn’t take long before she began to work the Australian indie scene as well, with Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) (where she defeated Madison Eagles to become the PWA Women’s Champion) and Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW).
In 2013, she made her way to North America, becoming a regular with the top women’s promotions in the US, SHIMMER and SHINE, winning SHIMMER Tag Team gold with Team Slap Happy, alongside Heidi Lovelace (now WWE Superstar Ruby Riott). In 2015, she began working Japan regularly as well, as part of Stardom. She made an impact in Japan quickly, teaming with Hiroyo Matsumoto and Australian star Kellie Skater as The Hyper Destroyers, capturing the Artist of Stardom Championship (Stardom’s trios title).
In December of 2016, Evie signed with the WWE. Following the completion of her indie bookings, she reported to the Performance Center in May of 2017 and hit the NXT Live Events, renamed Dakota Kai, starting in June. She got her big opportunity to showcase herself to the WWE Universe when she was selected to represent her native New Zealand in the WWE Mae Young Classic last summer. She defeated India’s Kavita Devi in the first round, then advanced past the second round by defeating Australia’s Rhea Ripley (formerly Aussie indie star Demi Bennett). She was finally knocked out of the tournament in the Quarter Finals to eventual winner Kairi Sane. She made her NXT TV debut in October as part of the Qualifying Battle Royal to determine the final contestant for the NXT Women’s Title Fatal Four Way at NXT Takeover: War Games in Houston (although, while still working the indies as Evie in 2015, she had an enhancement loss to Nia Jax on an October episode of NXT). But as NXT prepares to potentially lose several women to the main roster post-WrestleMania 34 with the next rumored Superstar Shake Up, it looks like the time has come for Dakota Kai to make her name known in the NXT Women’s Division.