Nia Jax

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Nia Jax
Nia Jax Axxess2018 crop.jpg
Jax in April 2018
Birth nameSavelina Fanene
Born (1984-05-29) May 29, 1984 (age 36)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Alma materPalomar College
RelativesDwayne Johnson (cousin)

Roman Reigns (cousin)

The Usos (cousins)
FamilyAnoa'i
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Lina[1]
Nia Jax
Zada[1]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[2]
Billed weight272 lb (123 kg)[3]
Billed fromSan Diego, California[4]
Trained byWWE Performance Center[4]
DebutMay 7, 2015[1]

Savelina Fanene (born May 29, 1984) is an Australian-born American professional wrestler and model signed to WWE, where she performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Nia Jax and is one half of the current WWE Women's Tag Team Champions with Shayna Baszler in their first reign. She is also a former WWE Raw Women's Champion.

Early life[edit]

Savelina Fanene was born in on May 29, 1984 in Sydney, Australia,[5][6] and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.[7] Fanene is of Samoan and German ancestry. She is a relative of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson;[8][9] her father, Joseph Fanene, was a first cousin of Peter Maivia, Johnson's grandfather.[2] She has also lived in San Diego, California and attended Carlsbad High School.[2] She attended Palomar College in San Marcos, California, where she played college basketball.[6] Prior to professional wrestling, Fanene was a plus-size model.[10]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

WWE[edit]

NXT (2014–2016)[edit]

She was signed by WWE in early 2014 and was assigned to their developmental territory NXT, based at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. She made her in-ring debut on May 7, 2015 at an NXT house show under the ring name Zada, where she and Devin Taylor were defeated by Bayley and Carmella in a tag team match.[1] In August, her ring name was changed to Nia Jax.[1][11]

After a series of introductory vignettes throughout September,[12][13][14][15] Jax made her debut on October 14 episode of NXT, defeating Evie in a singles match.[16] Following her debut, she was shown slowly turning villainous while going on a winning streak, defeating various enhancement talents and NXT Diva Carmella.[17][18][19] In November, Jax formed an alliance with Eva Marie[17] and started her first feud with Bayley over the NXT Women's Championship, cementing Jax's heel persona.[20][21][22] Jax earned a title match on December 16 at NXT TakeOver: London, but she was unsuccessful in winning the title.[23]

On the January 27, 2016 episode of NXT, Jax returned to the ring after a month of inactivity due to a storyline injury with a win over Liv Morgan.[24] On the February 10 episode of NXT, Jax assisted Marie in an attack on Bayley and Carmella after their championship match until Asuka made the save,[25][26] which led to a tag team match on the February 24 episode of NXT, where Jax and Marie scored the victory.[27] On the May 25 episode of NXT, Jax won a triple threat match over Alexa Bliss and Carmella to become the number one contender to Asuka's NXT Women's Championship.[28] On June 8, Jax lost her title match at NXT TakeOver: The End.[29] On July 20 episode of NXT, Jax was defeated by Bayley.[30] On December 28 episode of NXT, Jax lost to Asuka for the NXT Women's Championship in her last match in NXT.[31]

Main roster beginnings (2016–2018)[edit]

Jax in May 2017

Shortly after being drafted from NXT to the Raw brand as part of the 2016 WWE draft, which took place on July 19, 2016,[32][33] Jax started a winning streak against various competitors.[34][35][36] In September, Jax was placed in her first feud with Alicia Fox,[37] which led to a match between the two on the September 12 episode of Raw that ended in a no contest after she performed a spear on Fox through the ringside barricade.[38] In a rematch between the two that took place at the Clash of Champions pre-show on September 25, Jax defeated Fox via pinfall.[39] On November 20 at Survivor Series, Jax was a part of Team Raw in a five-on-five elimination tag team match and was eliminated via submission by Becky Lynch.[40][41]

In December, Jax started a feud with Sasha Banks, whom she injured as part of the storyline.[42][43] This led to two matches between the two, where Jax was first victorious at the Royal Rumble pre-show on January 29, 2017,[44][45] but lost on March 5 at Fastlane.[46][47] On April 3 at WrestleMania 33, Jax competed in a fatal four-way elimination match against Banks, Bayley and Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women's Championship, but she was eliminated first.[48] On the June 26 episode of Raw, Jax competed in a gauntlet match to determine a number one contender for Alexa Bliss's Raw Women's Championship, eliminating Bayley, Mickie James, Dana Brooke and Emma consecutively before being defeated by Banks.[49] On September 24 at No Mercy, Jax took part of a fatal five-way match for the Raw Women's Championship, but she failed to win the title.[50] On November 19 at Survivor Series, Jax once again was a part of Team Raw in a five-on-five elimination tag team match from which she was eliminated by countout.[51]

Starting from December 4 episode of Raw, Jax was placed in an on-screen relationship with then WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, which was dropped when Amore was released from the WWE in January 2018.[52][53][54][55] On January 28 at the Royal Rumble, Jax participated in the first women's royal rumble match where she entered at number 22 and eliminated Jacqueline, Kelly Kelly, Ruby Riott and Naomi before being eliminated by six women.[56] Throughout January and February, Jax started a feud with the undefeated Asuka,[57][58][59][60][61][62] whom she failed to defeat on February 25 at Elimination Chamber[63] and a week later on Raw.[64]

Raw Women's Champion and alliance with Tamina (2018–2019)[edit]

Jax after winning the Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 34

In March, Jax turned face for the first time in her WWE career after being insulted and betrayed by former best friend, Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss, who body shamed her and made fun of her personality.[65] This led to a title match between the two on April 8, 2018, at WrestleMania 34, where she won the match to capture the Raw Women's Championship, marking the first title win of her career.[66][67][68][69][70] In a rematch between the two, that took place a month later at Backlash on May 6, Jax went onto defeat Bliss and retain her title.[71] In May, Jax started a feud with Ronda Rousey whom she challenged to a title match at Money in the Bank pay-per-view.[72] During that feud, Jax briefly returned to her villainous theatrics.[73][74][75][76][77] At Money in the Bank, on June 17, Jax lost her championship back to Bliss, who interfered in her match and attacked both Jax and Rousey, cashing in her Money in the Bank contract (which she won earlier that night).[78] A month later, on July 15, Jax invoked her rematch clause at Extreme Rules, but was unsuccessful in regaining the title in an extreme rules match.[79][80]

After a short hiatus due to a minor injury, Jax returned on the September 17 episode of Raw as the mystery tag team partner of Ember Moon, with the two going on to defeat Alicia Fox and Mickie James. One month later, on October 28, at the WWE Evolution pay-per-view, Jax eliminated Moon as she won a battle royal to earn a future women's championship match.[81][82][83] On the November 5 episode of Raw, shortly after defeating Moon in a singles match, Jax once again turned heel as she aligned herself with Tamina (with whom she had multiple confrontations the past few weeks, forming the Samoan Slaughterhouse[84][85]) and attacked Moon.[86] On November 18, at Survivor Series, Jax was the sole survivor for Team Raw against Team SmackDown in an interbrand women's traditional five-on-five tag team elimination match.[87][88][89] The following month, on December 16, at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs event, Jax failed to regain the Raw Women's Championship from Rousey.[90]

On January 27, 2019, at the Royal Rumble event, Jax competed in the women's Royal Rumble match, entering at number 29 and lasting for over 11 minutes before she herself was eliminated by the eventual winner Becky Lynch. Later that night, Jax made history as she became the first person to ever compete in two Royal Rumble matches on the same night and the fourth woman to ever compete in a men's Royal Rumble match, after she attacked R-Truth and took his number 30 spot. Despite eliminating Mustafa Ali, Jax was ganged up by Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton with their finishers, before being eliminated by Mysterio.[91] On February 17, 2019, Jax and Tamina competed in a six-team Elimination Chamber match at the namesake pay-per-view to determine the inaugural holders of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, where they eliminated two teams before they themselves were eliminated.[92] In April, at WrestleMania 35, Jax and Tamina took part of a fatal four-way match for the Women's Tag Team Championship,[93][94][95] however, the match was won by The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce).[96] Shortly after, Jax underwent surgery to repair tears on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in both of her knees, which was expected to sideline her from in-ring competition for at least nine months.[97]

Tag Team Champion (2020–present)[edit]

Nia Jax returned from her injury on the April 6, 2020 edition of Raw, the night after WrestleMania, defeating Deonna Purrazzo in a squash match. On the May 25 episode of Raw, Jax defeated Charlotte Flair and Natalya in a triple threat match to challenge Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship on Backlash.[98] At Backlash, Asuka and Jax wrestled to a double count-out, therefore Asuka retained the title.[99] The next night on Raw, Jax challenged Asuka again for the title. During the match, Jax became upset with the referee and pushed him down. The referee was going to disqualify Jax, however, Asuka rolled up the distracted Jax for a fast count to retain the title.[100]

Nia Jax was suspended indefinitely from WWE for attacking a WWE official on the August 3, 2020 episode of Raw. She attacked that same WWE official after her suspension on August 3. Despite her suspension, she made her appearance on the August 17, 2020 episode of Raw, brawling with Shayna Baszler, during her tag team match with Asuka against Banks and Bayley. On the August 24 episode of Raw, Jax turned face again since 2018, after she and Baszler had another confrontation with Bayley and Banks. It was then announced that Bayley and Banks would defend the Women’s Tag Team Championships against Jax and Baszler at Payback, thus lifting Jax’s suspension. At Payback, Jax and Baszler would win both the match and the titles, giving Jax her first tag team championship and the second Australian to win a title at Payback.[101]

Professional wrestling style, persona, and reception[edit]

Jax is nicknamed "The Irresistible Force".[102] She employs a Samoan drop as a finisher, named the Annihilator.[103][104] After her return from injury in April 2020, Jax begin using a Cradle DDT, named the Ram-Paige DDT, as a finisher. She was given permission to use the move by retired professional wrestler Paige, who previously used it as her finisher.[105]

Jax has received attention and criticism for reports of her being an "unsafe worker".[106][107] In November 2018, Jax accidentally punched Becky Lynch's face during an episode of Raw, causing Lynch to suffer a broken nose, a lacerated face, and a concussion.[108][109] During a match between Jax and Kairi Sane in May 2020, Sane suffered a head cut after Jax threw her onto the ringside steel steps.[110][111] Podcaster Jim Cornette attributed incidents involving Jax to her size and suggested that she "can hurt people whether she knows it or not",[112] while fellow professional wrestler Deonna Purrazzo stated that she had "never walked away hurt" following wrestling Jax.[113]

Other media[edit]

Jax appears in four WWE video games, making her in-game debut in WWE 2K17 as a DLC playable character[114] and appearing as a playable character in WWE 2K18, WWE 2K19,[115] and WWE 2K20.[116] In August 2017, rapper Magneto Dayo released a song dedicated to her, titled "Nia Jax".[117] Jax joined the cast of the reality television series Total Divas beginning in its seventh season.[118]

Personal life[edit]

On August 2, 2014, Fanene and her aunt, Ata Maivia-Johnson (mother of Dwayne Johnson), were hospitalized after being hit head-on by a drunk driver in Clermont, Florida;[119] the driver was subsequently charged with driving under the influence.[120]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Jax is a one-time Raw Women's Champion

References[edit]

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