It was at NXT's Great American Bash that Tegan Nox earned her shot at the current NXT Women's Champion Io Shirai, surviving a hard-fought match against Mia Yim, Dakota Kai, and Candice LeRae to become the No. 1 Contender. Now she'll take on Shirai in tonight's NXT Women's Championship match, and it could be the first step in a new era in her career. ComicBook.com had the chance to talk to Nox all about the big match, as well as going through some of her previous adversaries to get the title shot, though we also talk about the Women's Evolution, how she feels about her comeback story, her dream match at Evolution 2, and even the possibility of getting some Captain Marvel into that NXT Women's Title if she can take down Shirai.
First though we had to ask about what she was feeling when she earned that title shot, as those who watched it live could see she was probably feeling a lot of emotions. Of course, it had to be even sweeter to take down thorns like Kai and LeRae in the process, right?
"There were three other incredible athletes in the match," Nox aid. "I mean, they're three of the best wrestlers in general in the world, and somehow I managed to come out on top. I think that's what shocked me, that I was able to outlast these three other incredible athletes, and yeah, it was super sweet to get a victory over Dakota Kai, because she's been a right pain in my bum the last couple of months, and to see what Candace had to say about it. You know, I won at the end of the day. I won, they didn't, and now I'm going for the NXT Women's Championship. That's why I'm shocked, like, I shouldn't be doing that!"
Shirai quickly filmed a promo taking shots at Nox, saying she relies too much on others and that it's a weakness, but Nox doesn't feel that way in the least, and also points to Shira being a little hypocritical.
"I mean, first of all, she said that having friends or relying on friends was a weakness, but it's far from a weakness," Nox said. "Friends are not weaknesses. Admittedly, I haven't picked the greatest friends quite recently, but she also had help from Asuka last week, or two weeks ago. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that relying on someone, too?"
"But yeah, Io is such an incredible athlete," Nox said. "We've seen what she can do. She's totally unpredictable and she's so hard to read as a person, but I just have to go into tonight with my fist held up and give her back everything that she gives me, but 10 times more. She's going to be hard to take down, but if that's what it means to become the new NXT Women's Champion, then that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to fight Io, and I'm going to ... I'm scared, but I'm going to do it."
Nox has overcome some big injuries to get to this point, something that is often highlighted by WWE and fans, all framed as her comeback story. In a recent promo, Nox expressed frustration at that always being the focus when it comes to her career, and she's more than ready to move on and leave that comeback story angle in the past.
"I was pretty fed up with it as soon as it started," Nox said. "I understand that my knees are a part of my story, they're a part of me. It's part of my legacy, I guess, but I think the thing that irritates me most is that people try to use my knees as a weakness against me. They say that my knees are weak, that they are just going to explode, that my career is not going to be a long one, and all this negative stuff, which honestly doesn't really get to me that much. At the start, it did, when I was going through my rough patch, but now that I'm happy in my career and my life, it's like water off a duck's back. It doesn't bother me anymore."
"But the fact that people think that my knees are weaker than they used to be is crazy to me because my knees are stronger than they've ever been, and any normal knees. So when people are like, 'Oh, they're just going to fail, they're going to explode again' No, no, no. They're not. They're stronger than yours, thank you very much."
This also happens to be the five-year anniversary of the Women's Evolution in WWE, and while we've all seen it from the outside, she's had a front row seat to all of it. Many are going that WWE builds upon the success of its first Evolution pay-per-view with a second one this year, and if that happens Nox already knows who she wants to take on for it.
"It's got to be Ruby Riott," Nox said. "She's right at the top for me, but if it's a legends dream match, obviously it's Molly Holly, but Ruby Riott is my next pick. I mean, she's incredible. She's such a good friend, and an incredible athlete and an incredible wrestler. She's my main pick that I want to wrestle, so Ruby Riott at Evolution 2."
Nox has enjoyed seeing the evolution of women's wrestling in WWE and looks forward to seeing what the next 10 years holds.
"I've loved just witnessing the Evolution and seeing the doors open with people like Molly Holly, Lita, and Trish, and then 5 years ago with Bayley, Sasha, Charlotte, Becky, and then Shayna Baszler, who opened doors for so many others," Nox said. "Now we get a chance to elevate that even more and have fun doing it, and break even more boundaries by having In Your House, and Great American Bash and doing some cool things, and having the trust to be able to do Street Fights and be able to do Ladder Matches. I mean, who knows what the next generation is going to do, and how much they're going to skyrocket that, because there's only one way for this to go, and that's up, and I'm super excited to see what happens in the next 10 years."
Now, if Nox can take that Championship from Io, we proposed a first in NXT. Up to this point, no one has really tweaked the NXT title, and with good reason, as it's one of the best looking belts in WWE. That said, it really is begging for a personal touch from the right superstar, and if Nox can take it, it would look pretty sweet with Captain Marvel's Hala Star worked into the design, and Nox agreed.
"Oh, the Hala Star would look real good in the middle of that X," Nox said. "Oh, maybe. The design is fantastic as it is now. It's such a beautiful title, but who knows? I have to win first before I go changing things. I'll see what I can do. I'll talk to people and see what I can do."
You can watch Nox take on Shirai for the NXT Women's Championship tonight on NXT, which airs every Wednesday on the USA Network at 8 PM EST/7 PM CST.
Let us know who you think is going to win in the comments or as always you can talk all things WWE and NXT with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!0comments