IYO SKY Reveals How Close She Was to Leaving WWE in 2022, Dakota Kai Reacts to Early Criticism of Damage CTRL

MMA Knockout spoke to both IYO SKY and Dakota Kai ahead of WrestleMania 40.
IYO SKY and Dakota Kai of Damage CTRL
IYO SKY and Dakota Kai of Damage CTRL / (via WWE)

IYO SKY and Dakota Kai are two key members of Damage CTRL, but their time as stablemates almost never came to fruition.

It's difficult to imagine now for newer fans. After all, SKY and Kai are set for separate matches at WWE WrestleMania 40. SKY will defend the WWE Women's Championship against Bayley on WrestleMania Sunday, while Dakota Kai teams with fellow Damage CTRL members Asuka and Kairi Sane to take on Jade Cargill, Bianca Belair and Naomi on Saturday.

Kai even admitted to MMA Knockout that there's some nerves going into her match.

"Absolutely, it's WrestleMania," Kai said. "It's just crazy that it crept up on us super quick, but WrestleMania is WrestleMania and you can't get any bigger than that. So, I think for us, no matter how much experience we have it's still gonna be an incredibly tough moment and just a great opportunity."

SKY is happy she gets to continue representing her home country of Japan, especially on "The Grandest Stage of Them All."

"So, now so many Japanese fans so excited about what's going on, WrestleMania of course," SKY said. "I'm so proud, proud of myself."

Speaking of Japan, reports surfaced that IYO SKY had been considering leaving WWE and returning home back in 2022. As it turns out, there was some truth to that claim.

"The rumor is kind of true," SKY said. "Of course I'm from Japan, so my home is Japan. So, I tried to think should I stay here or back to Japan before joining Damage CTRL, before joining Raw, but now after joining Damage CTRL I'm so happy."

Kai pointed out just how close we were to missing out on the formation of Damage CTRL.

"It's weird how that worked out too, 'cause I wasn't with the company, she was thinking about going back to Japan, and then like SummerSlam 2022," Kai said.

IYO SKY, Bayley, and Dakota Kai
IYO SKY, Bayley, and Dakota Kai / (via Bayley's social media)

Damage CTRL didn't exactly take off in the early going. While SKY and Kai captured the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship, some were wondering if the Damage CTRL faction should be broken up. Once IYO rose to prominence as a main event player in WWE, just as she was in Stardom, Damage CTRL gained a much-needed boost.

While some believe fans and critics were being impatient with Damage CTRL, Dakota Kai shared why she feels it took the stable time to ascend.

"I think it was just a matter of needing to find ourselves in terms of having the evolution and that growth," Kai said. "I think that was important because the whole journey of Damage CTRL has been evolution and growth. We've been through so many highs, we've been through so many lows, but we've all done it together."

Damage CTRL underwent a drastic change when the group kicked Bayley out. Kai shed light on the decision to oust the 2024 women's Royal Rumble winner.

"I think so [it was time to move on from Bayley]," Kai said. "I like to equate it to like you know when your mom is a little bit overbearing and you kind of just wanna be like, 'Mom, just let me do it, I got it.' I think that's how we needed to get to the next level of that in terms of evolving and being a level playing field because that's what this is. There is no leader we're just equal playing field across the board. So, without Bayley we can take it to a new level."

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Fernando Quiles Jr.