Former WWE and Tough Enough star, Nidia, has opened up about her departure from WWE in 2004 and why she decided to leave professional wrestling behind her.
When the talent show favourite first stepped onto WWE’s stage in a main role, it was by the side of on-screen boyfriend Jamie Noble to wage a war against ex-lover The Hurricane over the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
Dressed and portrayed as straight from the trailer park, Nidia was a thorn in the side of Helms through 2002 and watched on from ringside as her newest muse dethroned the superhero at King of the Ring.
What followed was a middling storyline where she was blinded by Tajiri, exploited by Noble who would use her as cannon fodder and an eventual babyface turn on the man who had used her disability in order to win matches. The culmination of this was Nidia vs. Jamie Noble at No Way Out 2004 in a bout where the latter was forced to wear a blindfold.
The writing was on the wall for the star when she was drafted to Monday Night Raw in 2004. Though she was booked in bouts against Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Jazz and more top talents, the talent was released from her contract in November along with Test, A-Train, Johnny The Bull, Chuck Palumbo, Billy Gunn, Rodney Mack, Gail Kim, Rico and Lamont.
Now, Nidia has sat down with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful in order to discuss her release from the company and how it was easier for her as she’d already planned to depart:
“I wanted to (quit). I was actually afraid of breaching my contract. So, when Johnny Ace called and he told me that. He was like, ‘Are you okay?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ I go, ‘How are you?’ He’s like, ‘Ugh. It’s been an awful day. I still have a few more phone calls to make.’ So, I was actually consoling him. ‘Oh, Johnny, it’ll be okay. Just keep at it, bud.’ But, yeah, I was ready to go. Like I said, I wasn’t being a good employee. I wasn’t really trying. They made the right choice. It’s really hard to maintain a good [attitude.] I don’t know how it is right now, but back then there was just so many politics. It was like, I even came back home and I hung out with friends that I’d known all my life and I said something and I’d go, ‘But I didn’t mean it that way! What I meant was—’ They were like, ‘Dude, you’re really paranoid about the things that you say. You’re not speaking freely.’ I was like, ‘Man, because over there you have to watch what you say.’ This is more of a RAW thing. Like, on Smackdown everybody was cool, but on RAW, you have to watch what you say because everything was taken so out of context. So, for me it was a very hard way to live, you know? Yeah. It feels like a lot of those guys… When you perform, it’s like this adrenaline rush. I think some people really can’t separate themselves from that and they will continue to be in this really bad relationship just for that high, you know?”
Following her release, Nidia attempted to make it on her own on the indies, but instead of staying in America, she ventured into Europe and Asia in order to gain as much experience as she could.
IWA: Puerto Rico pitted her in a mini-feud against La Tigresa, she linked up with fellow WWE alumni Gail Kim for a one and done for NWA/Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in South Korea and competed in Mexico alongside Kim and Tough Enough pal Linda Miles for Toryumon Mexico.
For her final bouts in the industry, Nidia again met up with Gail Kim in Australia where she teamed with Christopher Daniels against her friend and AJ Styles before bowing out with a loss to Jackie Gayda in Italy for New Wrestling Entertainment:
“I didn’t do any shows in the US. I only did shows in places that I wanted to go to, and then I would extend my stay, right? So, it was just like, ‘Oh, cool, free ticket to Italy! Awesome. Three weeks? Make it for six. That’s fine, you guys go home, I will stay here for a little bit.’ But, it was great because I got to do so much traveling. When I was in the WWE, I did a lot of traveling, but everything was so condensed that we didn’t really have the time to see the places. This was just a perfect opportunity. I mean, you flew there for free, you did a few shows, and then it’s like a paid vacation. I was very lucky that I knew I wasn’t going to do it for very long and I had enough money saved to where I could have a little fun with it. It’s like I would pick jobs where I was working with people that I was familiar with. Because, and you know this, there’s a lot of people that are not trained well out there. They will put you at risk. I was like, ‘Man, there’s gotta be somebody trained by the [WWE] if we’re going to do this.'”
Nidia decided to close the door on professional wrestling for good in 2005 and pursue a culinary career while starting a family with husband David Krichmar. When pressed on if she’d ever return to the ring if the offer came her way, Nidia had one definitive answer:
“No way, man. That stuff hurts. You know this. Wrestling hurts. It beats you up. Your body, your bones. I can’t take that stuff anymore.”
Nidia will go down in WWE history as the first female winner of Tough Enough, alongside her counterpart, Maven, who took home the distinction of first male winner of the popular competition.
Credit for the interview and transcription: Fightful