Scottish wrestler Piper Niven, who competes on WWE‘s NXT UK brand as part of its women’s division, took to social media earlier this week to confirm she was recently diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.
According to Cageside Seats, Niven made the revelation in a series of Twitter posts on Friday, starting with a photo where she appeared to be sitting up in a hospital bed, flashing a thumbs-up sign with a big smile on her face. After confirming her bout of Bell’s palsy with that post, she shared another picture, one where she was wearing a black T-shirt and seemingly doing her own version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s trademark facial expression.
“On the plus side, I can now do a pretty smashing people’s eyebrow for the first time in my life so there’s that,” she tweeted.
As further cited by the outlet, the NXT UK superstar appeared to maintain her sense of humor in a subsequent tweet where she continued joking about her current condition.
Niven is not the only notable performer in the wrestling business who has had to deal with Bell’s palsy — an oftentimes temporary condition that is distinguished by the weakening or paralysis of one’s facial muscles. WWE Hall of Fame announcer Jim Ross, who has since joined All Elite Wrestling, was sidelined multiple times with Bell’s palsy during his stint with the former company. With that in mind, he tweeted a reply to Niven’s first photo, telling the 28-year-old grappler that she looks “great” and offering his best wishes for her recovery and her future in the wrestling business.
“Bell’s palsy is just another bump in the road for you. I’ve had it three times and our only option is to fight through it. Stay positive. You have a bright future.”
Who’s got two thumbs, a funny face and has Bell’s Palsy?
— Viper-Piper Niven (@viperpiperniven) December 13, 2019
Prior to joining the NXT UK roster, Niven was one of the 32 participants in the inaugural Mae Young Classic in 2017, where she reached the quarterfinal round of the all-female tournament, as recalled by Bleacher Report. Despite her impressive showing, it was only in March of this year that she became a full-time WWE superstar, making her debut that month on NXT UK’s titular WWE Network show.
As of this writing, it’s still unclear how much time Niven will have to miss due to her condition. However, she is still scheduled to face Toni Storm and reigning titleholder Kay Lee Ray in a Triple Threat Match for her brand’s Women’s Championship at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II on January 12.