WWE Welcomes Its First Full-Time African American Female Referee Aja Smith

"Let's change the world! #BlackGirlMagic"

Aja Smith is now in the history books.

What We Know:

  • The company released a video showing the moment Canyon Ceman, senior director of talent development, told Smith she was officially hired.
  • “Referees are really the unsung heroes and they put in so much work and they’re seemingly invisible, but without them there would be no wrestling, honestly,” Smith said in the WWE video.
  • In December, the WWE Performance Center held its winter tryouts for both in-ring talent and referees. Aja Penera tried out along with Elaine Simon under the watchful eye of head coach Matt Bloom, head referee Drake Wurtz and other personnel.
  • Prior to becoming a referee, Smith was a wrestler who went by the name Aja Perera and competed across the US, Japan, and Mexico. She also won two championships.
  • Smith tweeted, “Your love and support over the years has gotten me to this moment. This is bigger than me. To follow a dream. TO MAKE HISTORY. And I’m just getting started. We can do it all and I’m honored to be lighting the way. Let’s change the world! #BlackGirlMagic.”
  • The WWE also tweeted: “For Aja Smith, a dream has now become history.
  • Pro Wrestler Mercedez Martinez also congratulated Smith on Twitter stating, “I AM SOOOO proud of @PereraPower…. Live and enjoy every moment…. take every opportunity and learn. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for U! HERstory…history.
  • Jessica Carr was the first female referee in NXT and moved up to the main roster in November 2019.

As Aja Smith moves onto this new chapter of her career, her strong work ethic and positive attitude for change will continue to shine on.




Dominique Browder is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo.