AEW’s Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone welcomed Nyla Rose onto the AEW Unrestricted podcast, where they talked about Rose being the first openly transgender wrestler in a major promotion. They also talked about in time wrestling in Japan for Chigusa Nagayo’s Marvelous promotion.
Rose has many critics, and many unproven criticisms surrounding transgender athletes is that they have a significant advantage over cisgendered athletes. Rose had a tongue-in-cheek response when asked if working in Japan has helped her in AEW working with wrestlers like Riho and Hikaru Shida.
“Nyla Rose does have an unfair advantage in pro wrestling,” Rose stated. “It’s that I have spent so much time in Japan, that I know how to speak some Japanese, and I work well with the Joshi’s. There you go ladies and gentlemen. That’s the unfair advantage that I have.”
Rose wrestled in Japan off and on from 2016 until wrestling with AEW full time in 2019. She admits that carrying a conversation in Japanese was difficult, and she explained one method she used to overcome the language barrier.
“After my first tour of Japan, I was still having a little bit of trouble breaking down the wall,” Rose admitted. “I could say a few things here and there, but I went to the Dollar Tree and I bought some dolls. Those became my translators.
“So anytime I was in the locker room, I would be like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’ll do this and brainbuster,’ and everybody was like looking at me like, ‘Huh? Nani?’ I’m like, ‘Ah, chottomatte, like, hang on a sec.’ I grabbed my dolls, and I would illustrate the move, and they were like, ‘Ah, sugoi. Sugoi.’ OK, cool. We’re on the same page, like, there’s no messing that up.”
AEW Executive Vice President Kenny Omega was the one that recruited Rose to AEW. Rose had a nickname in Japan where people called her “Kenny Omega Hair” in reference to her curly hair, similar to Omega’s. That was one reason why she thought that a Twitter DM from Omega was a joke, until she saw that it came from his verified account.
“It started with what I thought was a rib from some friends of mine,” Rose revealed. “Kenny Omega, one of my favorites. I got the Kenny Omega hair, right? It’s no secret it. I got a message. Oh, Kenny Omega, and I just looked at it just ‘Yeah, right, whatever.’ I totally ignored it. I went back on my Twitter feed just kept scrolling. Then later on, maybe an hour or two hours later, I was like, alright, who is this? Kenny Omega. Oh, that’s got a check mark, huh?
“I was like, ‘hey Siri, can you fake check marks on Twitter?’ No, you can’t fake those. That’s legit. That’s really Kenny Omega. Oh my God. What is this? What is happening? I read the thing, and it was like, ‘Hey, I’d love to talk with you about some opportunities. Here’s my number. Let’s talk.’ I was like, oh my God! I don’t even know what life is right now. So, I did [call him], and here we are.”
Rose elaborated a bit more on her conversation with Omega. She says she later found out that Omega discovered her work in Japan, but is not sure how he came across it. She’s definitely glad he did.
“There was a little bit more to it than just like, ‘Hey, you want a job? Here’s a job.’ It wasn’t that at all,” Rose explained. “We exchanged numbers. We talked. He told me what was expected of me as far as what they were doing. What he’d like me to do. He asked me if I was interested. The typical thing.
“I didn’t know that at the time, but that’s what later came to be known from my stuff in Japan. How he got a hold of that or maybe he just heard my name? I don’t know how that came about, but I’m glad it did. Glad I got on his radar somehow. I must have been doing something right.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.