The Unfortunate Truth About Dakota Kai's Unexpected Absence From WWE

Allison DeGrushe - Author

May 24 2023, Published 12:34 p.m. ET

After being released by WWE following her stint with NXT, Dakota Kai re-signed with the wrestling promotion in July 2022 and returned at SummerSlam alongside Bayley and Iyo Sky. The trio soon became known as Damage CTRL and dominated the Raw brand, with Dakota and Iyo holding the WWE Women's Tag Team Champions two times.

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However, as part of the 2023 WWE Draft, the villainous faction was drafted to SmackDown and would now compete against the other side of the women's division. Unfortunately, this won't be the case for Dakota Kai because she'll be on the sidelines for quite a long time.

Wait, what happened? Here's what we know about Dakota's injury.

Dakota Kai cradles her knee during SmackDown's tag team match on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Source: YouTube

Dakota Kai and Liv Morgan were both injured in the tag team match on 'SmackDown.'

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What happened to Dakota Kai?

During the May 12 episode of SmackDown, Dakota Kai suffered an injury during a tag team match against Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez for the WWE Women's Tag Team titles. Bayley addressed the situation on the next episode of SmackDown, revealing Dakota suffered a "devastating" and "heartbreaking injury."

On May 22, sports journalist Dave Meltzer confirmed that Dakota tore her ACL. He also reported that she was injured after Liv Morgan "suffered her shoulder injury. Dakota's knee injury "came in a spot where she knew [Liv] Morgan was hurt and was trying to protect her." Dakota underwent surgery on Tuesday, May 23.

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The former Tag Team champ recently updated fans on her injury.

On May 23, the Damage CTRL member posted several photos to her Instagram Story. She showed off her knee post-surgery, wrapped in bandages and a post-operative knee brace. Dakota later took snaps of the flowers she received from fellow WWE superstars, as well as a video of her pup keeping her company.

Dakota shared a photo to her Instagram Story of her knee post-ACL surgery on May 23, 2023.
Source: Instagram / @imkingkota
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Dakota will likely be out of in-ring action for the rest of 2023 because, according to the Cleveland Clinic, recovering from an ACL tear takes anywhere between six to nine months. She'll eventually start physical therapy and work her way to back her strength, but it will take some time before she's ready to wrestle again.

Dakota's injury occurred during the same match Liv Morgan was injured in.

As previously stated, Liv Morgan also suffered an injury during the tag team match on Friday, May 12. The former SmackDown Women's Champion's condition remains unclear, but PWInsider reported the injury is related to her shoulder and could be a torn rotator cuff. Like Dakota Kai, she'll likely be out of action for the rest of 2023.

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According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, a torn rotator cuff often requires surgery. It'll take the repaired rotator cuff tendon around "six weeks to heal initially to the bone, three months to form a relatively strong attachment to the bone, and about six to nine months before the tendon is completely healed to the bone."

As an unfortunate result, Liv Morgan and her tag team partner, Raquel Rodriguez, were forced to vacate the WWE Women's Tag Team titles. New champions will be crowned during the May 29 episode of Raw.

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