Former WWF Tough Enough winner, Nidia, has spoken out about the 2004 WWE Draft in which she was traded to Monday Night Raw.
While Nidia’s wrestling career didn’t span decades, the professional wrestling world will know her best as Jamie Noble’s on-screen girlfriend during his 2002 WWE Cruiserweight Championship reign.
However, after the pair’s relationship turned sour following the kayfabe blinding of the talent – during which time Noble used her as a shield – Nidia was traded to the red brand in the 2004 draft where she petered out as a character and a talent prior to her exit from both the company and the industry as a whole.
Now, Nidia has sat down with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful to discuss the move to Mondays and how WWE pitched the blind angle to her which would eventually thrust her out onto a stage all on her own:
“We talked to Vince, you remember how we won that money, right? Or we inherited that money. We were going to get that money, and Torrie got into Playboy, and they were like, ‘What you’re gonna go to the best Swedish doctor and you’re gonna go,’ ‘cause I was going to get breast augmentation and I needed some time off. So, that’s a lot of information, huh? So, I was going to get a breast augmentation. I asked for the time off. They approved, so they wrote it into the storyline. What they wanted to do was to send me to the best doctor in Sweden and I was gonna come back, and we were going to highlight them, etc, etc. That was the way the story was going to go, and Jamie was like, ‘That’s kind of anticlimactic. How far is that going to go?’ Which, in hindsight, it probably would have gone far, right? But, we pitched a different direction and he said, ‘Yes,’ and they made me blind. I was just like, ‘We shouldn’t have messed with him. Now he’s messing with me. He made me blind!’”
After Nidia battled Jamie Noble at No Way Out 2003 in a Blindfold Match, the star began to tread water when it was evident that she was struggling between the ropes and without a storyline as hot as the one she’d just vacated. With a new beginning awaiting her, the inaugural Tough Enough winner went from SmackDown to Raw which, in her own words, she wasn’t a fan of:
“Yeah. They called it the A show. They tried to move me to RAW before. They’d been trying to move me to RAW for a bit. It wasn’t the first conversation they had about moving to RAW. They were like, ‘You wrestle really well, and that’s where the belt is. You need to move to RAW.’ We talked them out of it. (Smackdown) was a really tight group. I didn’t want to leave and they didn’t want me to leave. So, we would corner Johnny Ace or Vince (McMahon) or Dean (Malenko) and kind of plead our cases. Like, ‘Man, do you really need it? Anyway, you got this person and you got this person and you got this person? I don’t even want the belt, just leave me over here,’ and it worked. Like it bought me some time on Smackdown. That last one, there was nothing we could say. They’d heard it all. They were just like, ‘Dude, you’re going to RAW.’”
I wasn’t a fan of RAW. I mean, I already knew, and I might have gone in with a bad attitude ‘cause I didn’t want to leave SmackDown. They pretty much had to drag me while I’m holding onto the door. ‘No!’ Yeah, I didn’t want to be there. I probably didn’t have the best attitude about it. It was just so different. There were a lot more egos, I feel, on RAW than there were on Smackdown. I remember the first time I realize it, somebody asked me, I was on RAW, they were like, ‘What are you going to do tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t have any plans. What are you going to do tonight?’ They were like, ‘On the show.’ I was like, ‘Ohh, on SmackDown ‘what are you going to do tonight’ means something completely different.’ It was a very social group and on RAW it was mostly work. They were there to work.”
At first, it appeared that the switch was going to benefit the star when she was placed in WWE Women’s Championship Match with Trish Stratus. Though Nidia had hoped that the promotion would lead to something bigger, in the end it turned out to be just a filler position when she was booked to lose in three seconds flat.
As the talent said, by Summer 2004 the fun of the industry wasn’t present for her anymore and she had already given up making the industry a long-term career:
“I think by then I had already tapped out. It was so hard to put matches together on RAW. Because on SmackDown it was a team effort, you know? It’s like Torrie or with Dawn or even with the guys—whenever you put your piece together, it was for the good of the match. So, it’s like, ‘You’re gonna do this, you’re gonna do that, you’re gonna do this.’ For RAW, in order to even make it fair, it was such a huge fight that by then I had already given up. ‘Just do whatever you want. I’m not gonna do this for six hours so that I can get in a clothesline.’”
Nidia was released from her contract on November 3, 2004 and less than a year later the star walked away from the industry completely. However, though her reign was short, she will always be remembered as Jamie Noble’s trailer park belle who opened the eyes of many a teenage boy every time she appeared at ringside.
Credit for the interview and transcription: Fightful