The poet, playwright and actor William Shakespeare wrote a line in his 1601 comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream that is used in society as an empowering phrase for women: Though she be but little, she is fierce. It is safe to assume Mr. Shakespeare might not have thought that his words would resonate well into the twenty-first century, but it perfectly describes a woman in wrestling whose passion and allure radiates in the ring and on screen! She has worn many hats as a tag team specialist, manager, competitor and even a queen. Thea Trinidad is a versatile woman of color from Queens, New York who has kept the wrestling community intrigued with her beauty, athleticism, unapologetic fandom of anime and Aaliyah, and elevation of those around her. Whether it is through volunteer work, gaming on Twitch, being an Impact Knockout or her current run as a WWE Superstar, she has given us art and fun, even though the most difficult of times. It is an honor to present the Women’s Wrestling Talk Top 5 Zelina Vega Moments! 

5) Her Impact Knockouts Tag Team Title win with Sarita against Winter and Angelina Love, Impact Victory Road, March 13, 2011

Before we knew her as the calculating Queen she is today, she got her television wrestling career started on Impact! Wrestling as Rosita, the little cousin of Sarita. They were fierce and crafty as a tag team and represented their Hispanic heritage proudly. They also defeated WWE’s Tara (Victoria), Mickie James, and Madison Rayne. Their pursuit of dominance led them to Angelina Love and Winter’s Knockouts Tag Team championship. At Victory Road 2011, Sarita and Rosita faced the seemingly solid team. Rosita struggled with Angelina Love, but she and Sarita kept going until Velvet Sky’s distraction. After a roll up pin, Sarita and Rosita became Knockouts Tag Team Champions! Rosita was only a champion once during her TNA/Impact run, but her reign with Sarita was significant for Hispanic women in Impact wrestling.

4) Her Slaptastic Debut with Andrade El Idolo, NXT TV, June 7, 2017 

During the peak of the black and gold developmental brand with five-star quality, many future wrestling stars stood tall. Drew McIntyre, Adam Cole (Bay Bay!), Athena as Ember Moon, Asuka, and others fought for their wrestling dreams. Andrade El Idolo, formerly Andrade “Cien” Almas, showed great potential in NXT, facing Bobby Roode and Shawn Spears as Tye Dillinger. After several losses, he started partying. One night, a mystery woman asked Andrade in Spanish and English, “Is this what you are now?” She slapped him after he said yes, shocking Raquel Rodriguez, Tay Melo, and former WWE star Danielle Kamela behind Andrade. Zelina Vega, Andrade’s manager, later joined him. She could inspire him to greatness. Sometimes a man needs to be cheered up.

3) Zelina Vega shines as a manager for Andrade “Cien” Almas at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia vs. Johnny Gargano, January 27, 2018

With Zelina to keep him focused, Andrade was a formidable champion in NXT. After Takeover: Chicago, Johnny Gargano was finding himself. After weeks of mind games and insults, the main event was set, and Zelina cleverly watched as her client fed Gargano blow after blow. She writhed outside the apron whenever Johnny changed the match’s momentum. Zelina used her hurricarana and distracted Andrade every time he came close to losing. After Andrade threw Johnny out of the ring, Johnny’s wife Candace LeRae jumped over the barricade and attacked Zelina! As the match went on, she chased Vega out. Andrade’s passion, emotion, and drive won the match, one of her managerial highlights.

Honorable mention: Zelina chooses herself over Andrade and Angel Garza, WWE Raw, September 14, 2020

From 2019 to 2020, Zelina Vega began to pull double duty on the main roster as both manager and athlete. Though Andrade had found moderate success on Raw and SmackDown as a multi time United States Champion, he struggled to maintain momentum as he began to lose singles matches, as well as start a brief tag team tandem with the handsome Angel Garza. After failing to qualify for the Raw Tag Team titles due to miscommunication and internal conflict, things boiled over backstage. After Angel and Andrade yelled at each other, Zelina said enough was enough. She said, “I can’t do this anymore!” and walked away. Vega challenged Raw Women’s champion Asuka to prove she could compete for gold. Zelina decided to stand on her own after this empowering moment.

2) Queen Zelina and Carmella vs. Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. for the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles, WWE Raw, November 22, 2021 

Queen Zelina and WWE’s “Most Beautiful Woman” Carmella wrecked the women’s division. They emotionally abused the superhero and accused her of holding Rhea back after seeing the Women’s Tag team titles held by the powerful Rhea Ripley and the upbeat Nikki A.S.H. As they defended their title on Raw in Brooklyn, Queen Zelina’s hometown, Rhea consoled Nikki, but the insults lingered. At the Barclays Center, Queen Z reversed Rhea’s power bomb with a DDT, Carmella kicked Ripley’s head into the ring post, and Her Royal Highness turned Nikki upside down with a Code Red pinning combo to win the tag titles! Her first WWE title win was dedicated to her “family, New York, Latinos, anime loving girls, and short ones who are underestimated” and she wore New York Mets gear. An inspiring win indeed. 

1) Zelina Vega wins the first ever Queens Crown tournament, WWE Crown Jewel, October 21, 2021

In the WWE’s next step toward equality, a women’s tournament was created to mirror King of the Ring. On October 8, 2021, SmackDown began the Queens Crown with eight women, including Toni Storm, Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Liv Morgan, and Vega. The women persevered despite online criticism of the tournament’s short match times compared to the King of the Ring, and Zelina and Doudrop faced off in the finals at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. Zelina practiced her royal waving and royal bloodline before the match. Vega’s Naruto-inspired ring awareness, agility, and sass help her defeat Doudrop. Zelina jumped on Piper Niven’s back and hit her Code Red pin to win the first Queens Crown! After a hiatus, it was amazing to watch this beautiful woman work and rise to another great wrestling moment.

Zelina Vega continues to enthrall the wrestling world with her endeavors. She is a fine example of what it means to persevere through hard times and hold on the core of what made you in order to push you towards your dreams. The future will always be bright for her, and these moments highlight that. All hail the Queen from Queens! 

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