Nikki A.S.H. put a lot of work into her 'almost a superhero' character.
It was on the June 21 episode of WWE Raw that Nikki (formerly Cross) debuted her new inspirational character. Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp ahead of SummerSlam 2021, Nikki recalled pitching the idea, figuring out how to make it relatable, and whether or not she was nervous about it.
"So I believed in this idea," Nikki began by saying. "I had self-confidence in this idea. So I’m going to put the work in when I pitch it because as a businesswoman, as a professional, that makes sense. I really believed in the message, I wanted something that connected with younger fans. So, for me, I believed in the idea, it made sense business-wise and as a message that I believe in with all my heart. So, for me, there wasn’t really nerves like that. We spoke with creative and then went to the office and the idea got greenlit and here we are. I believe in collaboration and I love ideas. I like the fact that I’m a creative person. So, for me, there’s no nerves, there’s always just excitement. Okay, what can we do? How do we make this relatable? How do we make this grounded? How do we make this appeal to the younger members of the audience? So, for me, yay! Let’s go!"
Now a member of their ranks, Nikki complemented the heroes that came before her and, in particular, praised Hurrican Helms and Molly Holly for their support during this transition.
"The Hurricane" Shane Helms has been absolutely amazing. He has been so wonderful. When I debuted the character, when I won the Money in the Bank contract, when I won the RAW Women’s Championship, he’s always been there. He’s one of the first people I see in Gorilla when I come from the back. He’s always there with a big hug and a smile on his face. So, I feel like a Super Hero in Training, Almost a Super Hero and having Mighty Molly backstage—I watched Molly when I started watching WWE when I was ten years old, and Lita and Trish, Mickie James, Beth Phoenix. Then Molly was one of the ones I would watch on Sunday Night Heat. One of my favorite matches I ever saw was Molly Holly versus Jacqueline. It was Sunday Night Heat, they showed it on channel four in Scotland. This was one of my favorite matches, Molly Holly and Jacqueline on Sunday Night Heat. So, having her backstage is wonderful, too. I keep saying to them we need to get the Nikki Mobile, the Nikki Cave and we’ll have a good old tag match," Nikki said.
Inspired by Marvel's X-Men (1992) and Spider-Man (1994) animated series', Nikki shared that she also commissioned an artist to draw herself as a cartoon superhero.
"So, for me, I commissioned an artist to draw Nikki Cross as a cartoon superhero. The idea got green-lit. We were researching a lot. The success of WandaVision, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, it was so much. We had the female-led franchises that were like, ‘This is cool.’ So, for me, that feels like it was eight months ago," she said. "You look at the last eight months and I’m here as the RAW Women’s Champion. Well, that was a wild eight months. So, yeah, I’m super proud of it. Seeing it come to life after months of hard work and collaboration between all the teams at WWE and I don’t think I was the only one that was proud of it and satisfied because everything came together really well. Like a good old Scottish hot pot."
On July 18, 2021, Nikki was victorious at Money in the Bank, besting Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Tamina, and Zelina Vega to capture the prized briefcase and secure a guaranteed championship opportunity. The very next night on Raw, Nikki "cashed-in," defeating Charlotte Flair to win the Raw Women's Championship for the first time in her career.
Just 33 days after winning the title, Nikki would drop it to Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam in a triple threat match that also involved Rhea Ripley. On the August 23 episode of WWE Raw, Nikki teamed up with Rhea in a winning effort over former Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. She has been in Rhea's corner in the weeks since.
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