Kacy Catanzaro
Kacy Catanzaro, Dec. 2016.jpg
Catanzaro in 2016
Kacy Esther Catanzaro[1]

(1990-01-14) January 14, 1990 (age 33)[2]
Glen Ridge, New Jersey, United States
Other namesMighty Kacy
Alma materTowson University
  • Alpha Warrior (2013–2017)
  • WWE (2017–present)
Ring name(s)Kacy Catanzaro
Katana Chance
Trained byWWE Performance Center
DebutApril 19, 2018[3]

Kacy Esther Catanzaro (born January 14, 1990) is an American professional wrestler, gymnast and athletics-based television personality. She is currently signed with WWE on the NXT brand under the ring name Katana Chance. She is a current NXT Women's Tag Team Champion with Kayden Carter.[4] She competed at the television sports show American Ninja Warrior and became the first woman to complete a City Qualifiers course and the first woman to complete a City Finals course.[5] Since signing with WWE, she has competed in the 2018 Mae Young Classic and participated in the 2019 Royal Rumble match.

Early life and education

Born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey,[6] Catanzaro grew up in nearby Belleville, where she attended Belleville High School.[7] She is of Italian descent.[8][9] She stands about 5 ft (1.524 m) tall and weighs 100 pounds (45 kg). She began doing gymnastics at age 5. She attended Towson University in Towson, Maryland, from 2009 until 2012, studying early childhood education on an athletic scholarship.[2][10]

Gymnastics career

Junior Olympic

Catanzaro was a Junior Olympic gymnast, having started training at age 6.[11] She reached level 10 in 2007 and competed at the 2007 New Jersey Level 10 State Championships where she placed fifth in the Senior-A division.[12] The following year Catanzaro competed at the 2008 New Jersey Level 10 State Championships where she placed third[13] and advanced to the 2008 Junior Olympic National Championships. She finished 23rd overall but finished 6th on the balance beam.[14]


Catanzaro competed in gymnastics for Towson in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. She made her debut in the 2009 season. Catanzaro helped the Towson Tigers gymnastics team win the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships in 2009 and 2010.[15] In her senior year she was named the Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year in 2012.[16] She was also named the 2012 Eastern College Athletic Conference Gymnast of the Year and was the top-ranked competitor in that conference for that year.[17]

Obstacle competitor career

American Ninja Warrior

She worked for Alpha Warrior, an obstacle-course gym in San Antonio, Texas, from February 2013.[2]

Catanzaro spent two years training for American Ninja Warrior alongside her then-boyfriend and co-competitor Brent Steffensen.[18] She did not complete the qualifying course in Venice, California, but was an invited wildcard at the 2013 finals,[19] where she fell early on the Giant cycle/ring.

In 2014, Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the qualifying course of American Ninja Warrior (season 6), making it up the warped wall on her second try at 5:26.18 at the Dallas qualifiers, ranking her 21 out of 30; this also makes her the first woman to make it up the warped wall in competition. Later in 2014, Catanzaro competed in the Dallas finals of American Ninja Warrior. She was the first woman ever to complete a city finals course (and the second woman to attempt it after Jessie Graff in season 5), qualifying for the national finals in Las Vegas with a time of 8 minutes, 59 seconds.[20][21] (Not until five years later, during the 2019 season, was her accomplishment of a woman completing a City Finals course matched.)[22]

Of the 2014 city finals run, host commentator Akbar Gbaja-Biamila remarked "I've seen greatness during my NFL career...And I've been in awe of people, but I am really in awe of Kacy".[23] The run had been especially notable because due to her short stature, many of the obstacles looked difficult to manage and in one case, she had to leap between boards whereas other competitors could traverse them. Her achievement made her a social media phenomenon, with her run being viewed over 100 million times; supporters on Twitter coined the hashtag #MightyKacy.[19][24]

Catanzaro failed to complete the first stage of the National Finals in Las Vegas. She made it past the first three obstacles, including the Giant Ring and the Silk Slider, before she fell attempting the Jumping Spider, where her full extension was simply too short to hold the position.

Subsequent seasons

In the 2015 Houston Qualifying round (season 7), Catanzaro failed to complete the course after falling on the cargo crossing. She was given a wild card spot in Vegas and she failed due to a mistimed trampoline jump at the Propeller Bar at Stage 1 of the national finals. By this time the pressure she felt to live up to her broadcast reputation as Ninja's greatest female competitor was reportedly showing and she was tearful in her post-run interview with Kristine Leahy.

In 2016, Catanzaro was invited to compete in the 32nd competition of the original Japanese version of ANW, Sasuke. Catanzaro performed well, completing 8 of the stage 1 obstacles before timing out on the final obstacle, the Lumberjack Climb. Since the course's renewal and increased difficulty, Catanzaro set the record for the furthest a female athlete has gone and the closest a female athlete has gotten to completing stage 1 since the 2nd competition (until 2017 when Jessie Graff completed stage 1 and became the first woman ever to complete stage 2.)

In the 2016 Oklahoma City Qualifying round (season 8), Catanzaro failed to complete the course after falling on an early obstacle, the Log Runner; however, she was again given a Wild Card spot in Las Vegas. In the Las Vegas National Finals, Stage 1, she fell on the second obstacle.

In December 2016 Catanzaro co-hosted as a broadcaster the Team Ninja Warrior College Madness series of shows.

In 2017, Catanzaro competed in American Ninja Warrior season 9 in the San Antonio city qualifier and finals. In the former she failed on the fourth obstacle, but did well enough to qualify for city finals under the show's new rules. In that latter run she had her best performance since 2014, making it past the Sky Hooks and the fifth obstacle to get the now-higher Warped Wall, which she failed to surmount. Nonetheless she qualified for the national finals. At the national finals, she failed on Stage 1 at the Double Dipper.

In 2017, Catanzaro announced her retirement from American Ninja Warrior, with season 9 being her last.[25]

Professional wrestling career

WWE (2017–present)

Early years (2017–2020)

On January 4, 2017, Catanzaro received a tryout with WWE at their WWE Performance Center.[26] It was announced on August 28 during the Mae Young Classic that Catanzaro had been signed to a contract with WWE.[27] On January 18, 2018, WWE officially announced Catanzaro had reported to the WWE Performance Center.[28] She made her in-ring debut at a NXT live event on April 19, in Sanford, Florida, in a losing effort to Reina González.[3]

Catanzaro continued to make appearances during 2018, both in house shows and on NXT television; she wrestled as a face and took inspiration from WWE's Alexa Bliss's slogan "Five Feet of Fury", making reference to Catanzaro's own diminutive size.[29] The 2nd episode of the Mae Young Classic aired on September 12, Catanzaro made her televised debut in a winning effort against Reina Gonzalez in the first round match. On Episode 5, she lost in the second round to Rhea Ripley. On January 27, 2019, Catanzaro made her main roster debut, entering the Royal Rumble at number 19 and lasting 10:45, before being eliminated by Ripley.[30][31] She would make her NXT debut afterwards, on March 13.

In September 2019, it was reported that Catanzaro had resigned from WWE and retired from professional wrestling due to an ongoing back injury she suffered.[32][33] She returned on the January 15, 2020 episode of NXT as a surprise entrant in a women's battle royal. Catanzaro revealed in an interview that she took some time off because she had doubts about continuing in the Professional Wrestling business.[34][35]

Teaming with Kayden Carter (2020–present)

On the September 16 episode of NXT, Cartanzaro teamed with Kayden Carter in a winning effort against Jessi Kamea and Xia Li.[36] They participated in the 2021 Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, defeating Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm in the quarterfinals,[37] but were beaten by Dakota Kai and Raquel González in the semifinals.[38] They would then feud with Xia Li after constantly being attacked by her throughout the following weeks. Catanzaro lost to Li on the February 24 episode of NXT and got her leg injured afterwards.[39] The next year they participated in the 2022 Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic where they defeated Diamond Mine's Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley in the first round[40] but lost to Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai in the semi-finals.[41] In April 2022, Catanzaro's ring name was changed to Katana Chance. Chance and Carter won the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship in a fatal four-way tag team elimination match, lastly eliminating Toxic Attraction (Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne), on the August 2 episode of NXT, marking Kacy's first professional wrestling championship.[42]

Other media

Catanzaro made her video game debut in the Banzai Pack DLC for WWE 2K22.[43][44]

Championships and accomplishments


  1. ^ Catanzaro, Kacy (July 22, 2014). "@middlenamegame Esther". Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Dan Reilly (July 17, 2014). "14 things #MightyKacy told us after her huge victory on American Ninja Warrior". Esquire.
  3. ^ a b NXT Sanford, FL, live results: Kacy Catanzaro makes her debut
  4. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro tries to explain her new WWE name". April 20, 2022.
  5. ^ Mallenbaum, Carly (August 31, 2017). "Will 'Mighty Kacy' be a heel for the WWE? The 'Ninja Warrior' star explains her career move". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Edmonson, Jonathan. "Kacy Catanzaro fails to complete American Ninja Warrior qualifying round", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, June 9, 2015, updated January 17, 2019. Accessed November 12, 2020. "Catanzaro, a Glen Ridge native who made history when she became the first woman to qualify for the finals on season six of NBC's American Ninja Warrior, was derailed at the Houston qualifying round last night."
  7. ^ Schneider, Jeremy. "From N.J. to WWE: Kacy Catanzaro begins pro wrestling journey", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, January 30, 2018, updated January 30, 2019. Accessed November 12, 2020. "World Wrestling Entertainment announced on Jan. 18 that Catanzaro, a Belleville High School graduate who was born in Glen Ridge, has joined WWE's NXT, the organization's developmental system."
  8. ^ Allison Takeda (July 16, 2014). "Kacy Catanzaro owns American Ninja Warrior, is first female finalist". US Magazine.
  9. ^ "14 Things #MightyKacy Told Us After Her Huge Victory on American Ninja Warrior". Esquire. Esquire. July 17, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro sets the bar high on American Ninja Warrior". CBS Baltimore. July 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "2009-10 Women's Gymnastics Roster: Kacy Catanzaro". Towson Tigers.
  12. ^ "2007 New Jersey Level 10 State Championships". My Meet Scores. April 1, 2007.
  13. ^ "2008 New Jersey Level 10 State Championships". My Meet Scores. March 30, 2008.
  14. ^ "Meet Results Level 10 - Senior D" (PDF). USA Gymnastics. May 18, 2008.
  15. ^ "Past Champions Women's Gymnastics". Eastern College Athletic Conference.
  16. ^ Kyle Newport (July 15, 2014). "Former NCAA gymnast becomes 1st woman to finish 'American Ninja Warrior' course". Bleacher Report.
  17. ^ "Catanzaro named as NCAA Regional Gymnast of the Year". Towson Tigers. April 7, 2012.
  18. ^ Alex Heigl (July 17, 2014). "Kacy Catanzaro becomes first woman to complete American Ninja Warrior course". People.
  19. ^ a b Nina Mandell (July 18, 2014). "American Ninja Warrior phenom Kacy Catanzaro: 'I had no idea so many people would care so much'". USA Today.
  20. ^ Avery Thompson (July 17, 2014). "'American Ninja Warrior': Kacy Catanzaro is first woman to finish course". Hollywood Life.
  21. ^ Sophia Rosenbaum (July 16, 2014). "First woman advances to 'American Ninja Warrior' finals". New York Post.
  22. ^ By Ninja veterans Michelle Warnky and Jesse "Flex" Labreck.
  23. ^ Bruna Nessif (July 16, 2014). "Gymnast Kacy Catanzaro completing the American Ninja Warrior course is the most exciting thing you'll watch all day". E! Online.
  24. ^ David Young (July 16, 2014). "The Mighty Kacy strikes back on American Ninja Warrior". SportsGrid.
  25. ^ "Denver City Finals". American Ninja Warrior. Season 9. August 28, 2017. NBC.
  26. ^ "'Ninja Warrior' star Kacy Catanzaro, Saints LB work out for WWE". FOX Sports. January 8, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  27. ^ "Two New WWE Signings Announced During Mae Young Classic". PWInsider. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  28. ^ Anthony, Benigno (January 18, 2018). ""American Ninja Warrior" alum Kacy Catanzaro reports to the WWE Performance Center". WWE. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  29. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro on Making the Jump from 'American Ninja Warrior' to WWE". TV Insider. May 30, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  30. ^ Johnson, Mike (January 27, 2019). "Complete WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Coverage". PWInsider. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  31. ^ Benigno, Anthony. "Becky Lynch won the 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match". WWE. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  32. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro Reportedly Done With WWE". 411Mania. September 1, 2019.
  33. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro Finishes With WWE". Squared Circle Sirens. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  34. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro revela el motivo de su ausencia en WWE NXT". January 23, 2020.
  35. ^ "Kacy Catanzaro On Why She Left WWE Last Summer, What Led To Her Return". Wrestling Inc. January 22, 2020.
  36. ^ Beaston, Erik (September 16, 2020). "WWE NXT Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 16". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on September 28, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  37. ^ Moore, John (January 20, 2021). "1/20 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher in the NXT Fight Pit, Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter vs. Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm, Kushida and Leon Ruff vs. The Way, and LHP vs. Imperium in Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on February 20, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  38. ^ Moore, John (February 3, 2021). "2/3 NXT TV results: Moore's review of Royal Rumble winner Edge's appearance, Santos Escobar vs. Curt Stallion for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher vs. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic match, additional Dusty Classic matches". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Archived from the original on February 21, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  39. ^ Juon, Steve (February 24, 2021). "WWE NXT results, live blog (Feb. 24, 2021): Adam Cole explains". Cageside Seats. Archived from the original on March 5, 2021. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  40. ^ Moore, John (February 22, 2022). "2/22 NXT 2.0 results: Moore's review of Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dolph Ziggler for a shot at the NXT Title, LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller, and Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray vs. Amari Miller and Lash Legend, and Ivy Nile and Tatum Paxley vs. Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro in Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved December 13, 2022.
  41. ^ Moore, John (March 8, 2022). "3/8 NXT 2.0 results: Moore's review of the Roadblock themed show featuring Bron Breakker vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Title, Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel vs. The Creed Brothers for the NXT Tag Titles, LA Knight vs. Grayson Waller in a Last Man Standing match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  42. ^ Wells, Kelly (August 2, 2022). "7/12 NXT 2.0 REPORT: Wells's report on Creeds vs. D'Angelo & Stacks, Four-Way for Vacant Women's Tag Titles, Sikoa vs. Wagner in a Falls Count Anywhere match, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  43. ^ "Yokozuna and Rikishi Headline WWE 2K22 Banzai DLC Pack". 2K. Archived from the original on June 26, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  44. ^ Wilson, Ben (July 6, 2022). "WWE 2K22 wrestlers list sorted by Raw, Smackdown, AEW and more". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
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