WWE: Dakota Kai on Ronda Rousey, women's wrestling evolution and being 'stalked' by her parents

The success of Ronda Rousey's transition from UFC phenom to WWE superstar has been seamless, but that success was moulded by a little Kiwi help.

Aucklander Dakota Kai is somewhat of a trailblazer for pro-wrestling in New Zealand, having secured a WWE contract in 2017 - the first Kiwi signed by the wrestling giant for almost three decades.

The 30-year-old can currently be seen on NXT, WWE's development territory, that helps create the superstars of tomorrow.

But earlier this year, away from the eyes of the bright lights of Vince McMahon's global enterprise, Kai was helping to teach Rousey the ropes - literally.

The former UFC champion made her WWE debut in April at Wrestlemania to glowing reviews; a performance that left Kai in awe.

"She was amazing. The live reaction backstage was unbelievable," Kai told Newshub.

"Before all of that, myself and one of the other NXT girls spent a lot of time training Ronda.

"To go from that point and then to see her performance at Wrestlemania, I felt connected to it a little because we played a small role in getting her there.

"It's so cool that they trusted a couple of us to train with her. I am so proud of the success she is attaining; she is just a lovely person who is very humble.

"This platform for her is perfect."

WWE: Dakota Kai on Ronda Rousey, women's wrestling evolution and being 'stalked' by her parents
Photo credit: WWE.com
Ronda Rousey in action.
Ronda Rousey in action. Photo credit: WWE.com

Kai had her own Wrestlemania moment hours before Rousey's.

The Kiwi was an entry in the women's Wrestlemania battle royal, and despite not winning, got a chance to announce herself to the WWE Universe as the spotlight shone on NXT's brightest female talents.

"That moment was incredible," Kai told Newshub.

"We knew that some NXT talent would be involved, but we didn't find out who that would be until the night before.

"It was insane and I still pinch myself a lot looking back that it actually did happen. It was surreal, totally-totally surreal.

"To be able to represent my country on such a global stage is very cool."

The next step for Kai might just be a spot on WWE's historic first ever all-women's pay-per-view event; WWE Evolution on October 29 (NZT).

Expected to be headlined by the likes of Rousey and fellow big names Charlotte Flair, Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks, the five-hour event will feature over 50 current and former WWE female superstars.

That's likely to include a handful of NXT's finest and Kai is hopeful to receive another call up to the big show.

"The fact that there is an all-women's pay-per-view is just crazy to me," Kai said.

"I would love to be involved, but at this point we haven't been told which NXT stars will be in play."

"All the girls here at NXT consider ourselves to very much be a part of the evolution of the women's revolution, so I really hope to be on that card.

"The best I can do is be prepared for anything at any time. You have to be ready no matter what, as you can be called upon at the very last minute.

"I will prepare to be involved just in case."

Catch WWE SummerSlam 2018, Monday August 20 on Sky Arena & WWE Network.

Kai comes from a talented family with her grandfather having played 21 times for the All Blacks in the 1940s, while her sister competes in mixed martial arts, training alongside Kiwi UFC stars Dan Hooker and Israel Adesanya.

Kai's mother, who she describes as her biggest fan, was inconsolable when told her daughter had earned a WWE contract and will certainly be hoping Kai makes the cut in October.

"What's crazy is my mum and dad have never been social media savvy," Kai said.

"But they signed up to Instagram just so they could stalk me. It's really cool.

"They know about things before even I do. They know when my matches are screening, they know about storylines before I do - I guess they miss me, but yeah it's really cool.

"They have a kid free household now so they have plenty of time to stalk their children's lives (laughs).

"It can be quite overwhelming that whenever anything cool happens in my career, mum will message me and  it hits close to home as being away from my family is such a big sacrifice."

Here's hoping for Kai and her family will have more reason to celebrate success come October 29.

Catch WWE Evolution, October 29 on Sky Arena and the WWE Network.