Ones to Watch 2023 Spotlight: Tiana Caffey

Meet the former Jensen Beach High School soccer standout who traded her cleats for a shot at stardom as a professional wrestler with the WWE

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Tiana Caffey. Photo by Steven Martine on location at Trifecta Fitness in Port St. Lucie
Tiana Caffey. Photo by Steven Martine on location at Trifecta Fitness in Port St. Lucie

The Takedown Artist: Tiana Caffey

Tiana Caffey used to love to wrestle with her big brother when she was a child. She recalls challenging herself to do whatever he was doing when she was just 3 years old, even though her brother was four years older. “Growing up, I was around sports my whole life,” says Caffey, now 25. Her father is the football coach at Jensen Beach High School, her mom played basketball, and her brother played football.

Early on, Caffey decided soccer would be her sport. She quickly discovered she had a knack for the game and, in her junior year at Jensen Beach High School, she was selected for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Soccer Team (the under-17 league operated by U.S. Soccer). After graduating from JBHS in 2017, Caffey went on to Louisiana State University on a soccer scholarship, graduating in 2021 with a degree in sports administration and business.

Although she had suffered a torn ACL during her senior year, she was ready for Major League Soccer and registered for the draft. As she waited to learn of her destiny, she received an email—not from MLS but from the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). The American professional wrestling org wanted her to wrestle professionally, which caught her and her family totally by surprise. “When I showed it to my parents, my dad said, ‘There’s no way that’s real,’” she recalls. But it was real, and when she later received the disappointing news that she was not drafted by a MLS team, she decided to accept the invitation from the WWE. “It was life-changing emotionally,” Caffey says of the sudden change in her plans for the future.

In March 2022, she traveled to Dallas for tryouts. On the last day, as she was packing up to leave, she was called back to the stadium—where Triple H, one of the greatest pro wrestlers of all time, was waiting. He asked her point blank: “Do you want to go to WrestleMania?” Through tears of joy, she said yes. Caffey relocated from her home in Port St. Lucie to Orlando, where she began intense training as a professional wrestler before fighting in her debut match in March in Sanford, Florida. As for wrestling matches with her brother, Caffey says: “I tell him, ‘Don’t mess with me now.’”

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