Zelina Vega

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Zelina Vega (Wrestler)

Thea Megan Trinidad Büdgen, known professionally as Zelina Vega, embodies the spirit of American professional wrestling. With her dynamic presence, she graces the ring on WWE’s SmackDown brand as a proud member of the esteemed Latino World Order. Within the WWE universe, she holds the distinction of being a former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion and the victor of the inaugural Queen’s Crown tournament in 2021.

Beyond her tenure in WWE, Trinidad’s journey in the world of wrestling includes a memorable stint in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where she dazzled audiences as Rosita alongside Sarita, capturing the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. Her versatility shines through as she has left her mark on various independent promotions under her birth name.

In 2017, Trinidad’s narrative took an exciting turn as she made her debut on WWE’s NXT stage under the moniker Zelina Vega. In this chapter, she notably assumed the role of Andrade “Cien” Almas’s manager, elevating his career to new heights with her undeniable charisma and strategic acumen. Despite a brief hiatus from WWE when she was released in November 2020, Trinidad’s triumphant return less than six months later demonstrated her resilience and unwavering commitment to her craft.

Following her victory in the Queen’s Crown tournament, Trinidad’s persona underwent a fitting evolution, embracing the regal title of Queen Zelina. Her achievements extend beyond the squared circle, as she brought to life the compelling character of AJ Lee in the acclaimed 2019 biographical film Fighting with My Family, further solidifying her status as a multifaceted talent in the realm of entertainment.

Queens, New York City, U.S.

New York City, U.S.
Zelina Vega
Name Thea Megan Trinidad
Date of Birth December 27, 1990
Birth Place Queens, New York City, U.S.
Spouse(s) Malakai Black ​(m. 2018)​
Ring name(s)
  • Divina Fly
  • Queen Zelina
  • Rosita
  • Thea Trinidad
  • Zelina Vega
Billed Height 5 ft 1 in (155 cm)
Billed From
  •  Queens, New York, U.S.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Trained by
  • Javi-Air
  • Azrieal
  • Arturo Beristain
  • Tony Salazar
  • WWE Performance Center
Debut February 20, 2010
Career 2020–present
Genres
  • Gaming
  • Just Chatting
Channel  theatrinidad
Followers 98K
Weight 45 kg
Parents Michael Trinidad, Monique Ferrer

Early Life

Thea Megan Trinidad was born on December 27, 1990, in Queens, New York City, and proudly embraces her Puerto Rican heritage. Raised alongside her younger brother Timothy by their father Michael, Thea developed a deep passion for professional wrestling at an early age. Inspired by the likes of Rey Mysterio and Lita, she found herself drawn to the athleticism and storytelling within the ring.

Tragically, Thea’s childhood was marked by profound loss. At the tender age of 10, her world was shattered by the events of September 11, 2001, when her father, a telecom analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, perished in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Despite the devastation, Thea’s family persevered, finding solace in their enduring bond and cherished memories.

In the aftermath of her father’s passing, Thea’s mother, Monique Ferrer, courageously shared their family’s story with StoryCorps, a touching tribute that was immortalized in the animated short film “Always a Family.” This poignant retelling not only honored her father’s memory but also underscored the resilience of love in the face of tragedy.

Fuelled by her father’s memory and inspired by his love for wrestling, Thea embarked on a journey into the world of professional wrestling. Her determination and talent caught the attention of a broader audience when she was featured in the NBC special “Children of 9/11” in 2011. 

Beyond her pursuits in wrestling, Thea remained committed to serving her community. She volunteered as a counselor at a camp for children who lost parents on 9/11. Additionally, she lent her support to charitable initiatives such as Habitat for Humanity and Tuesday’s Children following Hurricane Katrina.

Throughout her life, Thea Megan Trinidad has exemplified resilience, compassion, and strength. She embodies the spirit of her father’s legacy while forging her own path in the world of sports and philanthropy.

Wrestling Career

At just 17 years old, Trinidad embarked on her wrestling journey, honing her skills under the tutelage of seasoned veterans such as Javi-Air, Azrieal, and T. J. Perkins. Her professional debut came on February 20, 2010, for National Wrestling Superstars (NWS) in Bloomfield, New Jersey, where she grappled with Brittney Savage under the ring name Divina Fly, unfortunately tasting defeat. Undeterred, she continued to pursue her passion, facing challenges and setbacks along the way.

Throughout her early career, Trinidad’s determination remained unwavering. Transitioning to Women Superstars Uncensored (WSU) on February 20, 2010, she once again stepped into the ring as Divina Fly, this time against Brittney Savage. Despite the loss, her resilience was evident.

Teaming up with Niya, they formed the formidable duo known as The Fly Girls, vying for the WSU Tag Team Championships on June 26, 2010. Although victory eluded them against reigning champions Cindy Rogers and Jana, their tenacity shone through.

September 11, 2010, marked a turning point for Trinidad, as she secured a victory against newcomer Candy Cartwright with her signature move, the Fly Cutter. Each match was not just a display of athleticism but a testament to her dedication and growth as a wrestler.

Triumphs and Challenges as Rosita (2011–2013)

Following her discovery by Tommy Dreamer, Trinidad embarked on her wrestling journey with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), making her first appearance in a tryout dark match on January 11, 2011. Despite facing Angelina Love and suffering a loss, Trinidad’s potential caught the eye of TNA officials. Subsequently, news broke on January 27 that Trinidad had inked a contract with TNA, marking the beginning of an impactful chapter in her career.

Debuting under the ring name Rosita on the February 10 episode of Impact!, Trinidad entered the TNA scene as the storyline cousin of Sarita. Their on-screen partnership kicked off with a victorious eight-woman tag team match, where Rosita, Sarita, Madison Rayne, and Tara triumphed over a formidable lineup. Rosita’s emergence brought a fresh dynamic to TNA, setting the stage for future triumphs and challenges.

In the ensuing months, Rosita and Sarita’s partnership blossomed, culminating in a monumental victory at Victory Road on March 13. They clinched the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship, symbolizing not just a personal triumph but also signaling the dawn of a ‘Mexican takeover’ in TNA, as proclaimed by Sarita. This reign of dominance, however, was not without its hurdles, as Rosita, Sarita, and their ally Hernandez faced formidable opposition, including memorable clashes against Love, Winter, and Matt Morgan.

Despite their initial success, challenges arose for Rosita and Sarita, leading to losses in crucial matches. Their tenure with TNA saw both victories and setbacks, with notable encounters at events like Lockdown and Hardcore Justice. Ultimately, as their storyline concluded, Rosita and Sarita bid farewell to TNA, marking the end of an era. Reports surfaced in 2013 confirming Trinidad’s departure from TNA, signaling a new chapter in her wrestling journey.

This period in Trinidad’s career not only showcased her in-ring prowess but also highlighted her ability to adapt to evolving storylines and challenges within the wrestling world. As she departed TNA, Trinidad left behind a legacy of resilience and determination, setting the stage for future endeavors in her storied career.

FWE, GFW, and Beyond

In late August 2011, Rosita embarked on a journey to Mexico to participate in an event organized by the Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) promotion, where Sarita, known in the ring as Dark Angel, regularly performs. During her time in Mexico, she underwent training sessions conducted by CMLL trainers Arturo Beristain and Tony Salazar.

Subsequently, she received an offer to join the promotion, which unfortunately she couldn’t accept due to contractual obligations with TNA, which had ties with rival promotion AAA. Shortly after this, Rosita made an appearance on AAA’s television program, Sin Límite, as part of a storyline involving TNA wrestlers infiltrating the promotion.

Rosita’s in-ring debut for Family Wrestling Entertainment (FWE) occurred on May 14, 2011, at the Meltdown pay-per-view. She faced Winter, with Christy Hemme serving as the special guest referee. Despite her efforts, Rosita fell short in this match.

She later engaged in three rematches against Winter. These took place on August 20 at Empire City Showdown, November 15 at Fallout, and December 17 at Haastility. Unfortunately, all of these matches ended in victory for Winter.

Rosita returned to FWE on March 24, 2012, at the Welcome to the Rumble pay-per-view. She competed in a three-way match for the FWE Women’s Championship. However, the victory ultimately went to Winter after she pinned Rosita.

On May 6, 2015, Rosita was announced as part of the roster for Global Force Wrestling (GFW). Her debut for the promotion took place on June 12, 2015, at the GFW Grand Slam Tour in Jackson, Tennessee, where she emerged victorious against Lei’D Tapa. However, her tenure with GFW was short-lived, as her profile was removed from the website on August 20, 2015.

Rosita’s venture into Ring of Honor (ROH) began on July 17, 2015, where she debuted as the manager for Austin Aries. She further expanded her presence in the wrestling scene by joining Shine Wrestling on September 2, 2016, debuting at Shine 37 with a win against Stormie Lee. Her international exploits continued as she made her debut in World Wonder Ring Stardom on September 20, 2016, securing a victory over Kris Wolf.

SmackDown Success and In-Ring Challenges

On March 4, 2013, Trinidad underwent a tryout for WWE, marking the beginning of her journey with the company. Her initial appearances were sporadic, including stints as one of Adam Rose’s “rosebuds” in 2014. A notable moment came on the October 26, 2016, episode of NXT, where she faced off against NXT Women’s Champion Asuka.

In June 2017, Trinidad officially signed with WWE and commenced training at the prestigious WWE Performance Center. Her on-screen debut occurred on the June 9 episode of NXT, where she confronted Andrade “Cien” Almas, eventually becoming his manager. This partnership was solidified on the July 19 episode of NXT when she accompanied Almas during an attack on Cezar Bononi and No Way Jose. Under the persona of Zelina Vega, she played a pivotal role in Almas’ matches, including his victory over No Way Jose on August 9.

Zelina Vega presence became synonymous with Almas’ success, as she continued to manage him through several high-profile matches. Notably, at NXT TakeOver: WarGames on November 18, she interfered in Almas’ match against Drew McIntyre for the NXT Championship, aiding Almas in capturing the title. Their alliance faced challenges, such as during Almas’ title defense against Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia on January 27, 2018, where Vega’s interference was met with retaliation from Gargano’s wife, Candice LeRae.

Zelina Vega role expanded beyond NXT as she made her first main roster appearance at the Royal Rumble on January 28, 2018, accompanying Almas during the match. Their journey on the main roster continued as they were both drafted to the SmackDown brand during the Superstar Shake-up on April 17. Zelina Vega made her SmackDown in-ring debut on July 31, defeating Lana. Their partnership saw success, including a victory over Lana and Rusev at SummerSlam on August 19.

Despite her managerial duties, Zelina Vega occasionally stepped into the ring herself. She competed in the 2018 Evolution battle royal and the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35 in 2019. As the draft and shake-up events unfolded, Zelina Vega and Almas found themselves on different brands but continued to work together. Their partnership faced challenges, culminating in Zelina Vega confronting Asuka on the September 14, 2020, edition of Raw, leading to a feud between the two.

However, their association came to an end when Zelina Vega interrupted a match between Asuka and Mickie James to earn a title match against Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship at Clash of Champions on September 27, which she lost via submission. Vega’s journey with WWE took another turn when she was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2020 Draft in October. Unfortunately, her time with WWE came to an unexpected halt when she was released from her contract on November 13, 2020. This decision reportedly stemmed from her opposition to WWE’s policy regarding talents’ control over their accounts on third-party platforms.

Return to WWE

After nearly eight months since her initial departure, Zelina Vega made a triumphant return to the wrestling scene on the July 2, 2021, episode of SmackDown. Her comeback was marked by the announcement of her participation in the 2021 Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. The same night, she stepped back into the ring, facing Liv Morgan in a match that ended in defeat for Vega. Despite her valiant efforts, she fell short at the event on July 18, failing to secure victory in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Vega’s determination persisted as she competed in a fatal four-way elimination match on the August 27 episode of SmackDown, vying for the coveted #1 contender spot for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, ultimately won by Bianca Belair.

Zelina Vega journey took an unexpected turn when she was slated to compete on the September 10, 2021, episode of SmackDown at Madison Square Garden. However, her match was unexpectedly cut due to time constraints. In a surprising gesture, Vince McMahon himself extended a personal apology to Vega for the unfortunate turn of events. Amidst these developments, Zelina Vega found herself drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2021 Draft, effective October 22.

Prior to her brand shift, Zelina Vega made waves in the inaugural Queen’s Crown tournament, representing SmackDown with pride. She emerged victorious against formidable opponents, defeating Toni Storm in the first round and Carmella in the semi-finals. The pinnacle of her success came at Crown Jewel on October 21, where she clinched victory over Raw’s Doudrop in the finals, earning the prestigious title of “Queen” and her first major accolade in WWE. With her coronation on the subsequent episode of Raw, Zelina Vega’s persona transformed into Queen Zelina, complete with regal attire and a regal bearing. She solidified her reign by triumphing over Doudrop once again, this time wielding her scepter.

Queen Zelina’s ascent continued as she battled for opportunities in the competitive landscape of WWE. Despite setbacks, such as her elimination by Liv Morgan in a fatal five-way match on the November 8 episode of Raw, Queen Zelina remained undeterred. Her partnership with Carmella yielded significant success when they clinched the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship on the following episode of Raw, securing Queen Zelina’s first title in WWE. Their reign saw formidable defenses, including a successful rematch against Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. at the beginning of 2022.

However, adversity struck as Queen Zelina suffered an in-ring injury, necessitating surgery and sidelining her from action. Despite the setback, Queen Zelina’s determination and resilience remain unwavering, poised to overcome any obstacle on her path to dominance in the world of professional wrestling.

A Dynamic Return to SmackDown (2022–present)

Following a seven-month absence, Zelina Vega made a dramatic return to the ring on the October 7, 2022, episode of SmackDown, aligning herself with Legado Del Fantasma and launching a vicious assault on Hit Row. Her re-entry into the fray signaled a bold new chapter in her WWE journey. The Royal Rumble on January 28, 2023, witnessed Vega’s entry into the Women’s Royal Rumble match at a formidable #21. Despite a valiant effort that saw her eliminate Xia Li, Zelina Vega’s journey in the Rumble was halted by Lacey Evans.

A significant turning point arrived on the March 10 episode of SmackDown when Zelina Vega took a surprising step, joining forces with Legado Del Fantasma to aid Rey Mysterio against Judgment Day. This marked a notable shift in Zelina Vega’s alignment, as she embraced a face persona for the first time in her WWE tenure. The alliance between Rey Mysterio and Legado Del Fantasma deepened on the March 31 episode of SmackDown when Rey reassembled the Latino World Order, extending an invitation to Legado Del Fantasma as a gesture of gratitude for their support against Judgment Day.

Zelina Vega’s pursuit of championship gold intensified on the April 21 episode of SmackDown when she boldly requested a showdown with The Judgment Day’s Rhea Ripley for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Backlash. Her request was granted by WWE Official Adam Pearce, setting the stage for a high-stakes encounter. While Vega fell short of capturing the title at Backlash, her spirited performance earned her a well-deserved ovation from the appreciative hometown crowd.

Determined to secure her spot among WWE’s elite, Zelina Vega seized an opportunity to compete in the 2023 women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, earning her place by defeating Lacey Evans on the June 2 episode of SmackDown. Alongside her stablemate Escobar, Vega ventured into the heart-pounding chaos of the Money in the Bank event, aiming to grasp the elusive briefcase. Despite their efforts, victory eluded them on this occasion.

As Zelina Vega’s journey unfolded, unforeseen twists emerged on the August 25 episode of SmackDown. Armed with her previous victory over WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky, Vega boldly challenged Sky for the championship. Despite a formidable challenge, Vega fell short in her quest for the title, underscoring the relentless competition that defines the WWE landscape.

However, the road ahead took an unexpected turn on the November 10 episode of SmackDown when Escobar’s allegiance shifted, leading to Zelina Vega removal from Legado del Fantasma the following week. As Vega navigated the tumultuous seas of WWE, each challenge and setback only fueled her determination to etch her name in the annals of wrestling history.

Other

She has made notable appearances beyond the wrestling ring, including in the documentary “Children of 9/11.” On both the first and twentieth anniversaries of the September 11 Memorial Ceremony, Trinidad contributed by participating in the reading of victim names, reflecting her commitment to honoring the memory of those affected by the tragedy. Trinidad has openly credited Dwayne Johnson, also known as The Rock, for inspiring her interest in pursuing acting roles in films.

Beyond her wrestling career, Trinidad has left her mark in the realm of gaming. She first appeared as a non-playable manager in WWE 2K19 before transitioning to a playable character in various WWE gaming titles such as WWE Mayhem, WWE Universe, WWE Champions, WWE SuperCard, WWE 2K20, WWE 2K23, and WWE 2K24, showcasing her popularity and influence within the gaming community. Not limiting herself to wrestling games, Trinidad also appears in Street Fighter 6 as an in-game commentator, expanding her presence across different gaming genres.

In August 2023, Trinidad embarked on a new venture alongside New Zealand professional wrestler Cheree Crowley, widely known as Dakota Kai. Together, they launched a captivating podcast titled “ZELVXandCharlieGirl,” offering listeners insights into their lives, careers, and the world of professional wrestling. This podcast serves as another avenue for Trinidad to engage with her fans and share her experiences beyond the wrestling ring.

Personal Life

In 2018, Trinidad tied the knot with Dutch professional wrestler Tom Büdgen, widely recognized as Malakai Black. The couple shares their life together in Tampa, Florida, where they’ve settled down. Beyond her wrestling career, Trinidad has delved into personal matters close to her heart. On the poignant occasion of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, she opened up about her father’s tragic demise in the terrorist attack. In a rare out-of-character interview during TNA’s No Surrender pay-per-view, Trinidad paid heartfelt tribute to her late father, reflecting on the impact of his loss. She continued to honor his memory at the 20th anniversary of the attacks, solemnly reading out his name as a mark of remembrance. Outside the ring, Trinidad is vocal about her lifestyle choices, proudly identifying as a “vegan athlete” across her social media platforms, including YouTube.

Filmography

YearTitleRoleRef.
2012Dorothy and the Witches of OzAstoria 
2013Army of the DamnedLawson 
2015Hope BridgeAmanda 
2019Fighting with My FamilyAJ Lee 

 

Awards

OrganizationAwardYear
Pro Wrestling IllustratedInspirational Wrestler of the Year2011
 Ranked No. 31 in PWI Female 502011
Total Nonstop Action WrestlingTNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship 
 – with Sarita 
Women’s Wrestling Fan AwardsBest Manager of the Year2017
WWEWWE Women’s Tag Team Championship 
 – with Carmella 
 WWE Queen’s Crown tournament2021

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