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Savelina Fanene[1] (born May 29, 1984) is an American[4] professional wrestler and plus-size model signed to WWE, where she performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Nia Jax. She is a former WWE Raw Women's Champion.

Nia Jax
Nia Jax Axxess2018 crop.jpg
Jax in April 2018
Birth nameSavelina Fanene[1]
Born (1984-05-29) May 29, 1984 (age 35)[1]
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Alma materPalomar College
RelativesDwayne Johnson (cousin)
FamilyAnoa'i
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Lina[1]
Nia Jax
Zada[1]
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[2][3]
Billed fromSan Diego, California[2]
Trained byWWE Performance Center[2]
DebutMay 7, 2015[1]

Early life

Fanene was born in Sydney, Australia, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She also spent time in San Diego, California.[5] She is the daughter of Joseph and Renate Fanene.[1] She attended Palomar College in San Marcos, California, where she played college basketball. Prior to professional wrestling, Fanene was a plus-size model.[6]

Professional wrestling career

WWE

NXT (2014–2016)

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][7]

After a series of introductory vignettes throughout September,[8][9][10][11] Jax made her debut on October 14 episode of NXT, defeating Evie in a singles match.[12] Following her debut, she was shown slowly turning into a villainess while going on a winning streak, defeating various enhancement talents and NXT Diva Carmella.[13][14][15] In November, Jax formed an alliance with Eva Marie[13] and started her first feud with Bayley over the NXT Women's Championship, cementing Jax's heel persona.[16][17][18] Jax earned a title match on December 16 at NXT TakeOver: London, but she was unsuccessful in winning the title.[19]

On 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.[20] On February 10 episode of NXT, Jax assisted Marie in an attack on Bayley and Carmella after their championship match until Asuka made the save,[21][22] which led to a tag team match on February 24 episode of NXT, where Jax and Marie scored the victory.[23] On the 25 May 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.[24] On June 8, Jax lost her title match at NXT TakeOver: The End.[25] On July 20 episode of NXT, Jax was defeated by Bayley.[26] On December 28 episode of NXT, Jax lost to Asuka for the NXT Women's Championship in her last match in NXT.[27]

Various feuds and storylines (2016–2018)

 
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,[28][29] Jax started a winning streak against various competitors.[30][31][32] In September, Jax was placed in her first feud with Alicia Fox,[33] which led to a match between the two on September 12 episode of Raw that ended in a no contest after she performed a spear on Fox through the ringside barricade.[34] In a rematch between the two which took place at the Clash of Champions pre-show on September 25, Jax defeated Fox via pinfall.[35] 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.[36][37]

In December, Jax started a feud with Sasha Banks, whom she injured as part of the storyline.[38][39] This led to two matches between the two: Jax was victorious at the Royal Rumble pre-show on January 29, 2017,[40][41] but she lost on March 5 at Fastlane.[42][43] 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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47]

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.[48][49][50][51] 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.[52] Throughout January and February, Jax started a feud with the undefeated Asuka,[53][54][55][56][57][58] whom she failed to defeat on February 25 at Elimination Chamber[59] and a week later on Raw.[60]

Raw Women's Champion (2018)

In March, Jax turned face for the first time in her 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.[61] 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.[62][63][64][65][66] 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.[67] In May, Jax started a feud with Ronda Rousey whom she challenged to a title match at Money in the Bank pay–per–view.[68] During that feud, Jax briefly returned to her villainous theatrics.[69][70][71][72][73] 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).[74] 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.[75][76]

Alliance with Tamina, and injury (2018–present)

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 and the two went 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.[77][78][79] 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[80][81]) and attacked Moon.[82] 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.[83][84][85] The following month, on December 16, at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs event, Jax failed to regain the Raw Women's Championship from Rousey.[86]

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 was eliminated by 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.[87]

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 being eliminated by two teams.[88] In April, at WrestleMania 35, Jax and Tamina took part of a fatal four–way match for the Women's Tag Team Championship,[89][90][91] however, the match was won by The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce).[92] Shortly after, it was announced that Jax has suffered anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears on both of her knees and will require surgery to repair them which will sideline her from in–ring competition for at least nine months.[93]

Other media

Jax appears in four WWE video games, making her in-game debut in WWE 2K17 as a DLC playable character[94] and appearing as a playable character in WWE 2K18, WWE 2K19,[95] and WWE 2K20.[96]

Jax participated in the seventh season of Total Divas.[97] In August 2017, rapper Magneto Dayo released a song dedicated to her, titled "Nia Jax".[98]

Personal life

Fanene is of Samoan and German ancestry. She is a relative of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson; her father, Joseph Fanene, was the cousin of Peter Maivia, Johnson's grandfather, making her his second cousin once removed.[99][100] She was born in Sydney, Australia, where her grandmother lives.[4]

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 (subsequently charged with driving under the influence) in Clermont, Florida.[101]

Championships and accomplishments

 
Jax is a one-time Raw Women's Champion

References

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