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Top NXT heel moving to Friday Night SmackDown – 4 WWE stars who could replace Dakota Kai in Damage CTRL

ByRD Media

May 25, 2023

WWE’s Damage CTRL is in for a major shakeup. While a storyline has been teased with dissension among the members, a legitimate injury has forced one to get surgery.

The heel stable consists of Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO SKY. The group formed at SummerSlam 2022, Triple H’s first major show, as head of creative for the main roster. The trio has been a dominant force ever since, often kayfabe-injuring opposition and winning tag team gold twice.

Unfortunately, Dakota Kai suffered an injury on a recent episode of SmackDown. Seemingly in an attempt to protect Liv Morgan, who also suffered an injury in the bout, Kai tore her ACL. It has been reported that she can’t return to action for six to nine months.

Damage CTRL is now down a member, but that could change in the near future. There’s a chance that somebody new will join the group and replace Dakota, even if just until she’s healthy. Who could be the newest member of the fearsome faction?

#4. Xia Li could be Damage CTRL’s enforcer

Xia Li on SmackDown
Xia Li on SmackDown

Xia Li is a talented WWE Superstar. She began training with the company in 2017 and went on to be on both NXT and compete in the Mae Young Classic. She was drafted to the main roster in 2021.

The Protector was drafted to Monday Night RAW recently, but she is yet to debut on the brand. It wouldn’t be difficult for her to be quietly moved back over to WWE SmackDown, either via a trade or without any explanation at all.

Li could dramatically shake up what Damage CTRL is. While all three members of the faction are talented, Xia’s fearsome strikes would give them a brand-new edge. Could Li become the enforcer of the group moving forward, helping IYO & Bayley find success? It’d benefit everybody involved, so perhaps it would be the correct move.

#3. Cora Jade could join the main roster

Cora Jade on NXT
Cora Jade on NXT

Cora Jade is one of the top female stars on WWE NXT. She recently made it to the semi-finals of the NXT Women’s Championship Tournament and even once held the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles. She’s accomplished all of this despite only being 22.

The young star is one of the most villainous wrestlers on WWE NXT. She turned her back on Roxanne Perez when the two were NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions and has terrorized the division ever since.

Cora’s snarky attitude would make her a perfect fit for Damage CTRL. Bayley is also one of her role models, which only helps further influence Jade to join the group upon a main roster debut. Working with IYO SKY and Bayley will only make Cora a better performer, and the new addition would do wonders for the faction.

#2. Raquel Rodriguez could replace her former friend in Damage CTRL


Raquel Rodriguez is one of the most successful women in NXT history. She won the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, the NXT Women’s Tag Team Titles twice, and even held the NXT Women’s Championship. Raquel has held tag team gold multiple times on WWE’s main roster too.

The powerful woman was recently one-half of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Unfortunately, Liv Morgan was injured in the same bout as Dakota Kai, thus forcing the duo to vacate their titles. Raquel is now going to team up with Shotzi.

While Rodriguez and Damage CTRL have been enemies in the past, a swerve could see her betray Shotzi and join the heel stable. Like Xia, Raquel would dramatically shake up the group’s identity, and she could be the enforcer or even the face of the faction.

#1. Tegan Nox has been working as a heel on WWE Main Event


Tegan Nox is one of the most underrated and underutilized wrestlers in WWE today. She signed with the company in 2017 before being released in 2021. Thankfully, she was re-hired by Triple H in 2022.

The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard was recently drafted to Monday Night RAW. Much like Xia, she’s yet to officially debut, but she has been working dark matches & on Main Event. While in the secondary program, Tegan has been working as a heel.

It would make a lot of sense for Tegan to join Damage CTRL. She has similar NXT ties and the necessary respect for Bayley. Nox was also once Dakota’s best friend and partner, so the two interacting upon Kai’s return could be interesting television. Tegan joining Damage CTRL would benefit everybody involved.


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