AEW star Nyla Rose recently spoke with Sports Illustrated's Dan Greene about quietly making history as AEW's first transgender wrestler.
SI noted that Rose is still adjusting to a new level of visibility after working the women's match at AEW Double Or Nothing. Rose estimated around 85% of the near-12,000 Twitter followers came after debuting with AEW. It was noted that AEW Executive Vice President Kenny Omega reached out to Rose via Twitter direct message around 6 months ago, and that's how Rose went from a low-level indie career to AEW. SI also noted that Rose became the first out transgender wrestler signed by a major United States wrestling promotion after inking a full-time AEW deal earlier this year.
"A few months ago here you are thinking you're this little speck on this giant blue planet," Rose said. "Now suddenly you're thrust into this position like, oh holy crap, I can make a difference. So I don't take that lightly."
Rose was relieved that her gender played little role in the larger discussion of the Fatal 4 Way women's match at Double Or Nothing, which was won by Britt Baker. Rose also said she's encouraged by the balance of the diversity conversation. She said she's also ready for the set of detractors that may come with the increased visibility.
"If I can bear the weight, if I can hold up all the hatred and everything and carry that on my back, I know that I'm strong enough to do it," Rose said. "If the people out there need to beat me up and I need to absorb that so that the next generation, the youth, can have an easier time, I gladly welcome that."
Rose is also looking forward to establishing the AEW women's division as the kind of place for bar-setting performances that she experienced while wrestling overseas in Japan.
"I'm really hoping to set the tone and set the pace and create that environment that's going to fuel the next generation," Rose said. "Not just trans people, but inspire anybody to say, 'Hey, these women lit that on fire. I want to be that. I want to do that.'"
Regarding the skeptics, Rose said is prepared to win them over and is confident that they can be won over.
"AEW has felt that I am worthy of a chance," Rose said. "All I can ask is that some of the people out there, the fans who might be a little bit tight-minded, just give me a chance to show you what I can do in the ring. That's all."