WWE: Dakota Kai on what she misses about New Zealand and her quest to be NXT champion

Kiwi Dakota Kai
Kiwi Dakota Kai Photo credit: WWE.com

Missing home is the only downside for Dakota Kai, as she continues her World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) journey.

The Aucklander is at the top of her game, currently starring on the NXT brand, where Kai (Cheree Crowley) is living out her lifelong dream of wrestling for the No.1 sports entertainment promotion on the planet.

But that doesn't stop the 32-year-old longing for the Kiwi beaches and Big Ben pies of her home country.

Speaking to Newshub, the Kiwi leader of 'Team Kick' says the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to a planned trip home in May. 

"I was meant to go home for Christmas," Kai says. "A scheduling conflict meant I couldn't, so then I was supposed to be there in May, but couldn't fly home because of quarantine requirements. 

"So it's been almost two years. I miss New Zealand so much - my friends, my family, but more importantly, the food!

"I miss a good old-fashioned Kiwi meat pie. They don't have meat pies in America.

"The pies they have here are fruit pies, which are great, but that's not a meat pie."

The WWE planned to showcase its talent in August at Auckland's Spark Arena, but the event has been cancelled, due to coronavirus.

Kai is unsure if she would have been part of that tour, but she is determined to bring NXT downunder and perform in front of her fellow New Zealanders.

The former 'Evie' on the Australasian independent wrestling circuit, Kai hasn't wrestled in New Zealand for five years, since her 2015 WWE debut. 

"100 percent," she says. "That would be one of the most amazing moments for me, personally, to bring NXT to New Zealand.

"Not sure when that will be possible, given the COVID-19 restrictions, but I know New Zealand has handled the pandemic superbly, so who knows.

"It would have to be on top of an Australian tour, but I would put forward the idea of an Auckland show or pretty much anywhere really.

"I'd love to be able to show my people what I am capable of."

And when that event does happen, don't rule out Kai wearing a shiny gold belt in front of her home crowd.

Following a well-executed heel turn - she's a bad guy now - in November, Kai's star has risen as high as it has been during her WWE stay.

Now a regular on NXT's weekly US television show, Kai is well and truly in the mix for the women's championship. 

That would be a major feat for Kai, given the NXT women's division provides the best in-ring women's wrestling product in the world. 

"It's hard for us to look at ourselves as the best women's division in the world. We kind of just work together to raise that bar.

"A lot of these girls have come from independent wrestling, so having that mentality really pushes us to be the best.

"We love and trust each other completely, and I think that a genuine bond enables us to take things to another level inside the ring.

"We all have a lot to say in how we want to tell a story. They [producers] trust us, because of what we have done in elevating the women of NXT to a certain level.

"They [producers] are always coming to us for creative ideas and where we see our characters going.

"We just keep rolling with what we have got, and we work together as  a team and continue to raise that bar."

Kai has thrived in her new role as a heel
Kai has thrived in her new role as a heel Photo credit: Supplied (WWE)
Kai in action on NXT
Kai in action on NXT Photo credit: Supplied (WWE)

That push towards the title begins at The Great American Bash, streaming on the WWE Network, where Kai will engage with three other talented women for a shot at NXT champion Io Shirai.

"The other women in this match are just a means to an end for me - I have my eye firmly planted on the women's championship. This match is just something I have to do to get to where I want to be.  

"She [Shirai] is one of the best, if not the best, women's wrestler in the world. 

"We have never faced each other one v one - we had a couple of multi-women matches together, but never a singles match.

"She's phenomenal and I am aware of what she's capable of - we will see how that plays out."