Famously known as Aja Perera, 25-year-old Indie women’s wrestler Aja Smith has become the first full-time African-American female referee signed to WWE, joining Jessika Carr on the side of female referees at WWE. Carr recently moved from NXT to the SmackDown brand.
Smith, a native of Brazil currently residing outside Atlanta, GA, competed across the United States, Japan and Mexico under the name Aja Perera, and has held the SHINE Nova and Tag Team Championship, according to reports.
Smith who was at a WWE Tryout in December 2019 and offered a contract not too long after will now don the stripes and join the crew of referees who enforce the rules for NXT every week on USA Network.
“Referees are really the unsung heroes,” Smith said on the significance of referees to the pro wrestling industry. “They put in so much work and they’re seemingly invisible, but without them, there would be no wrestling, honestly.”
Somewhere in the video, Smith spoke out about how she almost skipped a championship match last year because she wanted to be with her sick mother.
However, the highlight of the video was when she was told that WWE would be hiring her.
“This is the greatest moment of my life,” Smith said. “It’s something I never thought of, and just to think to myself, I’m going to be the first African American female referee in WWE.