AEW World Champion opens up on being transgender

AEW On TNT At New York Comic Con 20
AEW On TNT At New York Comic Con 20
Modified 22 Feb 2020

Pro wrestling is one of the most diverse professions in all of entertainment, bringing many different kinds of people to the screen. And nobody knows this better than Nyla Rose.

The current AEW Women's World Champion recently appeared on Chris Jericho's Talk is Jericho podcast to discuss how she found her feet in wrestling, her journey to AEW and how she transitioned from male to female.

“When I was growing up, things felt off… things didn't feel right... I knew how I felt, I knew I felt as a woman on the inside, but the outside didn’t match.”

Like many trans people, Nyla revealed she had to deal with some scary thoughts and emotions on her journey:

“Eventually I reached a breaking point… had some very dark thoughts. Either I had to take a leap or I am going to take the leap... Those inner demons, they talk to you. They tell you things in your head that aren’t true... Hopefully you reach a point where you realise… you can overcome those demons."

Nyla, who recently defeated AEW fan-favorite Riho to capture the title, also highlighted the amount of hate she's received:

“I can’t worry about other people and what they’re hung up on... They want to understand but they can’t understand, so they push back.”

But she also was quick to note just how accepted she felt in the pro wrestling community, even before her transition, when she was still "presenting" as a man:

“I was there male-presenting… I was playing a part, I was acting... Outside of wrestling, I was Nyla Rose in my own life... I wasn’t sure if there was a place for me in pro wrestling, but pro wrestling was one of the first places to really embrace me.”

As time went on, Nyla would find herself working for various different promotions, including overseas in Japan, where the fans really responded to her:

“That felt really good. People saw me as a person, as a talent, not a gimmick... I definitely felt more appreciated in Japan than in the States… I don't know if it's because people over here knew I was transgender and wanna book me a certain way, they just gave me the scraps of a booking. Once I went to Japan… I started to get a little bit of traction. People were actually taking notice of me.”
TBS + TNT Summer TCA 2019 - Presentation
TBS + TNT Summer TCA 2019 - Presentation

AEW World Champion Chris Jericho, who hosted the podcast, admitted he was still "learning" about the ins-and-outs of what it is to be transgender. He also revealed that, during his podcast with Donald Trump Jr (son of the US President), he removed part of the conversation out of respect to Nyla:

"I had the chance to interview Donald Trump Jr… One of the things we talked about was transgenders in sports… he didn’t have all the facts, I didn't have all the facts… playing it back, out of respect for you and knowing you, I said I’m gonna edit this out.”

Rounding off the podcast, Jericho brought to Rose's attention the fact that many now consider her a role model. While that is not something Nyla is totally on-board with, she did admit that the position comes with the territory:

"I don't feel like I’m a role model… but I do see people say that online… so there is a responsibility to take that title and do good with it… who else is on the platform I have at the moment?"

You can listen to the full Talk Is Jericho podcast with Nyla Rose here:

Published 22 Feb 2020
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