Back at NXT TakeOver: WarGames in November of 2019, the unthinkable happened. Dakota Kai turned on her own teammate and best friend Tegan Nox and left her lying injured on the stage. The WWE Universe will never forget the moment Kai embarked on her heel journey for the first time.
It wasn't an easy transition for Kai, but she did her best to adapt and create a new persona that has been firmly established since. But at what point did Kai believe what she was doing was actually working?
Dakota Kai recently spoke to NewsHub about all things WWE. She explained that it wasn't until her match against Io Shirai at NXT TakeOver XXX that she realized her heel turn was working.
"I'm the sort of person who gets really nervous before a big match - I guess that's what happens when you throw an introvert into an extraverted sport [laughs]. It wasn't until after the match was done and we were both safe and okay and then stepping backstage to a round of applause and amazing support from everyone. It validated a lot of the things I have been trying to do as a heel character."
Dakota Kai discusses the challenge of no longer being a babyface in WWE NXT
Sometimes positive reinforcement on a job well done can go a long way for certain people. For Dakota Kai, in particular, that reinforcement came from Triple H and Shawn Michaels.
Their comments following her match with Shirai drove the point home that she was on the right path as the heel character she was trying to portray.
"Being a heel wasn't easy for me - it wasn't first nature to me. But stepping back and hearing the comments of Hunter [Levesque] and Shawn [Michaels] and then what they said to me directly, it confirmed to me that this is the right direction for my character and I'm on the right trajectory."
Have you enjoyed Dakota Kai's heel work in WWE NXT? What would you like to see her do next? Let us know by sounding off in the comments section below.