The wrestling world is well familiar with Naomi, yet it has never encountered a force like Trinity.
Trinity Fatu, who starred previously as Naomi, has brought her talents to Impact Wrestling. Her debut match in the company against KiLynn King illustrated a range that she was rarely afforded the time to explore in WWE, where she had worked since 2009.
“I had a great journey in WWE,” says Fatu, who is using just her first name as her ring name in Impact. “That was my introduction to wrestling, and it was a great 14 years with the company. I thought I would retire with WWE. Never would I have thought I’d be with another company, but that’s the world of wrestling. As scary as it was, I’m here. I’m looking forward to the opportunities and the chance for growth.”
A year ago, Fatu would never have predicted how her ensuing year would unfold. Fatu and Mercedes Moné (who was known in WWE as Sasha Banks) were scheduled to defend their tag team titles on an episode of Raw, but the match never occurred. The narrative is that they were frustrated over the creative—but that is the furthest thing from the truth. A lot more occurred, which ultimately inspired both women to exit the company.
Neither Fatu nor Fatu and Moné have shared those details yet, but it was alarming to see how certain people in WWE painted a picture that they were problematic, unprofessional or entitled. The reality is that they stuck to their principles, even when the company hurled insults at the two women on ensuing broadcasts proclaiming that they walked out of the company and refused to fulfill their obligations.
“I understand the game, I understand the business, and I knew what I was walking away from that day,” says Fatu. “I just didn’t expect to go through it publicly. Mercedes didn’t let me go through it by myself, so having each other made that a lot easier. But to go through that public humiliation together, it was a lot.
“To be taught a lesson while sitting back, that was hard and hurtful. But it got me to this point, and I’m pretty happy to be where I am right now.”
In the aftermath, Fatu and Varnado stayed out of the public eye. Varnado eventually returned in spectacular fashion at New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom in January, then, soon afterward, won the IWGP women’s championship.
But a hurt soul does not mend quickly. Fatu took her time before returning, and she looked spectacular—physical and violent in a manner that is different from the WWE product—in her Impact premiere.
“I wasn’t singing; I wasn’t dancing,” says Fatu. “That’s the first time in my life I wasn’t doing any type of performing. The whole process was challenging, and it was difficult to maneuver through in the beginning. But I evaluated what I wanted in my life and I’m better for it.
“The difficult times, those are going to make victory even sweeter. I have an incredible locker room of women to work with. There are new possibilities, like wrestling the guys in intergender matches. There’s so much talent there—Killer Kelly, Jordynne [Grace], Jessicka [Havok], Rosemary, Tasha [Steelz], Masha [Slamovich], Taylor Wilde—those are some badass women. My goal is to bring more eyes to the division.”
Fatu’s time away from the ring allowed for deep introspection. As much as she relished wrestling for WWE, she realized, what she loved even more was wrestling for her fans.
“There was a lot of hate and negativity in this situation, but the fans were always there to counter it, speaking for me when I couldn’t speak for myself,” says Fatu. “That motivated me. I love my fans. I love wrestling fans. They’re very loyal. They’ve been on this journey with me for over a decade.
“I’ve got a new pep in my step. I know what I want—I have ambitions to do Broadway, more modeling, acting, and I want to wrestle. With the Impact schedule and support system, I can live my dream as a women’s wrestler and pursue my other passions, too.”
Fatu is now in her new home, bringing her loaded skill set to Impact Wrestling. She adds a flair and in-ring precision not currently present in an already talented division, and this represents an opportunity for her to shine in an entirely new light. She will wrestle Gisele Shaw on Friday night at Under Siege, ready and hungry to showcase what makes her distinct from every other performer in the industry.
Pro wrestling is built around a battle of good against bad. Inevitably, the beloved babyface finds a way to overcome insurmountable odds and taste victory. That is the real-life script Fatu should follow. She bled, cried and toiled in pursuit of her dreams—and now is her time to seize them.
Even in the toughest of times, Fatu held true to her principles. She resisted the urge to become bitter, and still championed the work of her friends and loved ones. With a blank canvas awaiting her, finally comes her chance to show the wrestling world that she belongs in the spotlight.
“I’m super excited for what’s next,” says Fatu. “We’re going to create something very special together.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.