Savelina Fanene (May 29, 1984) is an American Hawaiian-born professional wrestler of Samoan and German descent. She is currently signed to WWE, performing on the Raw brand under the ring name Nia Jax. Already she has gained notice for her family wrestling heritage as she is the cousin of WWE wrestling icon The Rock.
Fanene was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is the daughter of Renate and Joseph Fanene. She attended Palomar College in San Marcos, California, where she played college basketball.
WWE NXT (2014-2016)
On May 5, 2014, it was reported that Fanene signed a contract with the WWE. She reported to the WWE Performance Center where she began training. Fanene debuted under her ring name of Lina. On May 7, 2015 during the live show of NXT in Jacksonville, Florida, Lina teamed with Devin Taylor in a losing tag team match against Bayley & Carmella. Two days later on May 9, Lina and Taylor teamed with Dana Brooke in a losing 6-woman tag match against Alexa Bliss, Bayley & Carmella. From May 23, 29 and May 30 on NXT, Lina suffered a consecutive string of losses against Becky Lynch during her first series of singles matches. Lina returned to tag team action, picking up victories with Dana Brooke first against Devin Taylor and Jessie McKay on the June 19th edition of NXT and then with Alexa Bliss & Jasmin Areebi against Carmella, Cassie and Devin Taylor on June 20. In August, Lina's ring name was changed to Nia Jax.
Beginning with NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, video promos aired teasing Jax's debut. Jax made her debut on the October 14 episode of NXT, defeating Evie in singles action. On the October 28 episode of NXT, Jax defeated Kay Lee Ray. After her début, Jax was shown slowly turning heel while going on a winning streak, defeating various enhancement talents and NXT Diva Carmella. In November, Jax cemented herself as a villainess by forming an alliance with Eva Marie, and started her first rivalry, with Bayley, over the NXT Women's Championship. Jax earned a title match on December 16, at NXT TakeOver: London, where she was unsuccessful in winning the title.
On the January 27, 2016 episode of NXT, she returned to the ring after a month of inactivity due to a storyline injury, with a win over Liv Morgan. On the February 10 episode of NXT, Jax assisted Eva Marie in an attack on Carmella and Bayley after their championship match, until Asuka made the save, which led to a tag team match on the February 24 episode of NXT, where Jax and Marie scored the victory. On the May 25 episode of NXT, Jax won a triple–threat match over Carmella and Alexa Bliss to become the number one contender to Asuka's NXT Women's Championship. Jax received her title match on June 8, at NXT TakeOver: The End, but was unsuccessful in capturing the title. On the July 20 episode of NXT, Jax was defeated by Bayley, in what would be her last match in NXT.
Shortly after being drafted from NXT to the Raw brand as part of the 2016 WWE draft, which took place on 19 July 2016, Jax started a winning streak against various competitors. In September, Jax was placed in her first feud with Alicia Fox, which led to a match between the two on the 12 September episode of Raw, that ended in a no contest after Jax speared Fox through the ringside barricade. In a rematch between the two, which took place at the Clash of Champions pre–show, Jax then defeated Fox via pinfall. On 20 November, at the Survivor Series pay–per–view, Jax took part of the traditional five–on–five elimination tag team match, representing Team Raw where she was eliminated via submission by Becky Lynch, but Team Raw went on to defeat Team SmackDown.
In December, Jax started a feud with Sasha Banks, whom she injured as part of the storyline. This led to two matches between the two, first one taking place at the Royal Rumble pre–show on 29 January 2017, where Jax was victorious, and a second that took place at Fastlane, on 5 March, where Banks defeated Jax. On 2 April, Jax made her Wrestlemania debut, competing at WrestleMania 33 in a fatal four–way elimination match against Banks, Bayley and Charlotte for the Raw Women's Championship, which was ultimately won by Bayley. On the 26 June episode of Raw, Jax competed in a number one contender's gauntlet match for Alexa Bliss's Raw Women's Championship, eliminating Bayley, Mickie James, Dana Brooke and Emma consecutively, before being defeated by Banks via submission. On 24 September, at the No Mercy pay–per–view, Jax took part of a fatal five–way match for the Raw Women's Championship that was won by Bliss. In November, at Survivor Series, Jax took part of the traditional five–on–five elimination tag team match, once again representing Team Raw which was victorious over Team Smackdown, despite her being eliminated by countout.
Starting from the 4 December episode of Raw, Jax was placed in an on–screen relationship with then WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore, which was soon dropped after Amore's release from the WWE. On 28 January 2018, at the Royal Rumble event, Jax participated in the first ever women's royal rumble match, where she entered at number 22, and eliminated Jacqueline, Kelly Kelly, Ruby Riott and Naomi, before being eliminated by six women. Throughout January and February, Jax started a feud with the undefeated Asuka, whom she failed to defeat, on 25 February, at the Elimination Chamber pay–per–view and a week later on Raw.
On the March 12 episode of Raw, Jax turned into a fan favorite after being insulted and betrayed by former best friend, Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss, who body shamed her and made fun of her personality. This led to a title match between the two on April 8 at WrestleMania 34, where she won the match to capture the Raw Women's Championship, marking the first title win of her career. The following night on Raw, she teamed with the debuting Ember Moon to defeat Bliss and James. On the April 23 episode of Raw, it was announced that Jax would defend the Raw Women's Championship in a rematch against Bliss at Backlash.At the event on May 6, Jax went onto defeat Bliss and retain her title at the event.
After issuing a challenge on May 14, it was announced that Jax would defend the title against Ronda Rousey at Money in the Bank. On the May 21 episode of Raw, Jax and Rousey had a contract signing to make the match official. Jax became a villainess on the following week's Raw, taunting Rousey by bragging that she was not afraid of armbars while also repeatedly beating up an enhancement talent, Michelle Webb. Despite this, Jax once again become a fan favorite on the June 4 edition of Raw, smiling during her ring entrance and later showing sympathy and concern for Natalya, who had injured herself (in storyline) after wrestling Jax, resulting in Rousey being upset with Jax. At Money in the Bank on June 17, Jax lost to Rousey via disqualification after Alexa Bliss interfered. Bliss then cashed in her Money in the Bank contract (which she won earlier that night) and pinned Jax to win the Raw Women's Championship.
Prior to entering professional wrestling, Fanene was a basketball player. She is also a cousin of semi-retired wrestler and current actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Roman Reigns, Lance Anoa'i, Sean Maluta, and Tamina Snuka. Fanene attended the University of Central Florida.
On August 2, 2014, Fanene and her aunt, Ata Maivia-Johnson, were hit head-on in the latter's Cadillac Escalade by a drunk driver as they were driving home from a charity event in Clermont, Florida. Fanene and Maivia-Johnson were hospitalized with injuries after the incident. The other driver involved was subsequently charged with driving under the influence.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Canadian backbreaker rack
- Running hip attack to an opponent seated in the corner
- Samoan drop
- Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker
- Wrestlers managed
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
|2016 PWI Top 50 Females|
|Charlotte Flair • Sasha Banks • Asuka • Becky Lynch • Bayley • Jade • Natalya • Gail Kim • Sexy Star • Sienna • Ivelisse • Madison Eagles • Nicole Savoy • Rosemary • Allie • Nicole Matthews • Kimber Lee • Candice LeRae • Paige • Heidi Lovelace • Evie • Cheerleader Melissa • Nia Jax • Santana Garrett • Naomi • Dana Brooke • Madison Rayne • Kay Lee Ray • Alexa Bliss • Lufisto • Amber Gallows • Marti Belle • Emma • Taylor Made • Vanessa Kraven • Su Yung • Ember Moon • Tessa Blanchard • Jessicka Havok • Shayna Baszler • Crazy Mary Dobson • Malia Hosaka • Thunder Rosa • Carmella • KC Spinelli • Veda Scott • Jessica James • Xandra Bale • Kaitlin Diemond • Eva Marie|
|2017 PWI Top 50 Females|
|Asuka • Charlotte Flair • Alexa Bliss • Sasha Banks • Bayley • Io Shirai • Natalya • Sienna • Naomi • Kairi Sane • Mercedes Martinez • Shayna Baszler • Rosemary • LuFisto • Mayu Iwantani • Mia Yim • Allie • Ember Moon • Becky Lynch • Madison Eagles • Nicole Savoy • Nia Jax • Candice LeRae • Toni Storm • Hiroyo Matsumoto • Chelsea Green • Saraya Knight • Shazza McKenzie • Kay Lee Ray • Mickie James • Dakota Kai • Nicole Matthews • Alex Windsor • Deonna Purrazzo • Abbey Laith • Risa Sera • Viper • Carmella • Ruby Riot • Nikki Cross • Vanessa Kraven • Santana Garrett • Tessa Blanchard • Arisa Nakajima • Lady Lory • Shotzi Blackheart • Veda Scott • Alpha Female • Marti Belle • Zoey Skye|