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Welsh woman triumphs to obtain place on global WWE ‘Smackdown’ stage

Last weekend (July 9) saw the debut of a young Welsh woman on the global stage of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) show Smackdown. 

Tegan Nox, who is tipped to be a shining light for Wales on the world stage will be rubbing shoulders with global wrestling superstars like Brock Lesner, Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Drew McIntyre and Alexa Bliss.

Nox’s real name is Steffanie Newell , who was born in Bargoed. As a little girl, Newell played football for a number of teams in her area and at one point took part in trials for both Cardiff City and the Welsh national team. 

At age 13, she suffered a knee injury which would ultimately cost her a place on the Wales Under-16 team. When she finally turned 16, she gave up football, instead planning on taking a long hiatus from all sports, citing her knee injury and a lack of passion for the sport as her reasons.

Shortly after quitting football, she found a professional wrestling school in Port Talbot and began training under Dave Stewart and “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman. 

She said that the encouragement of her late grandfather to pursue a career in professional wrestling was her main inspiration. 

Outside of football, she played netball and tag rugby. Despite playing football for the majority of her youth, Newell grew up as a fan of professional wrestling after being introduced to it at the age of five and cites Molly Holly as her favourite female wrestler and dream opponent.

Newell previously wrestled on the British independent circuit under the ring name Nixon Newell, most notably for promotions such as Attack! Pro Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, What Culture Pro Wrestling, and Fight Club: Pro.

In April 2017, it was reported that Newell had signed a contract with WWEs NXT division which develope and trains wrestlers for the bigger stage and had alot of success, however her knee injury was going to come back to haunt her and she’s had to battle through multiple setbacks along the way. 

Originally slated to compete in the inaugural Mae Young Classic in 2017, Nox missed the tournament with a torn right ACL. 

After 10 months on the shelf, the Welsh Superstar returned for the 2018 tournament, making it to the quarterfinals, where a catastrophic dive resulted in a devastating injury to Nox’s left leg —torn menisci, MCL, LCL and ACL.  

After scratching and clawing back to the ring, Nox quickly showed that she belonged at the top in the Women’s Title picture and on an even bigger stage of one of WWEs flagship shows, Smackdown.

On the July 9 2021 episode of SmackDown she made her main roster debut teaming with Shotzi to defeat the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions, Natalya and Tamina in a non-title match.