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Jade Cargill explains why she chose AEW over WWE

The TBS champ had an offer from Vince McMahon’s company, but pressure to put business over family and fear of becoming ‘just a number’ led her to be All Elite instead.

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Jade Cargill’s resume is impressive. Basketball player, model, Master’s degree, mother, and now champion pro wrestler.

That last bit could have been sports entertainment Superstar instead. The TBS titleholder discussed her offer from WWE, and why she turned it down, on the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho.

“They called me back. I’m not going to name the person’s hand that I shook. They wanted me.

“The problem they found that they had mixed feelings about was that, like I mentioned, I don’t need wrestling. I don’t need to do this. And a lot of people — especially at the tryout — need this. This is how they feed their families. They’ve been doing this forever, and for them to get to this point, they will give any and everything to do it. So they were like, ‘We want you, we want you, we’re going to sign you, but we’re kind of worried about how bad you want this, and we’re not just some reality show... We’re not just glitter and lights and camera.’ I was like, okay.”

“He was like, ‘Also you have a child?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you know, I do’, and they were like, ‘Well, what are you going to do?’, cause at that time my daughter was two... I was like, ‘Well, thankfully, because I have money, we can pay a tutor to help tutor my child, being that we have to relocate to Orlando... I can have a 24-hour nanny, to take care of that as well.

“But they were really grilling me about it, in which I was kind of cut off. I was like, ‘Well, my spouse can travel with me wherever we go. This could be easy for me. I thought about all the precautions to this, like, I’ve been warned about the traveling — I get it.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I get what you’re saying, but this is your family now. I want you to know that.’ I was like, ‘I get it. I totally understand that, but I’ve thought about it, and I want it. I’ve been training for this, this is what I want.’ They’re like, ‘Alright, well, we’ll see.’”

“So they sent the contract, they wanted me to do it. AEW came about, and I came here, I got the experience, and I felt calm. I remember you [Chris Jericho] and I had this conversation in the car. It made me feel at ease about the decision that I wanted to make.”

“I didn’t have to relocate. I felt at home. I could call the owner of our company [Tony Khan] and talk to him — he knew my name. He knew my purpose. He knew that I wanted to do this. And that mattered to me. I wasn’t just a number. I wasn’t just this person, like who was this person? He knew exactly who I was. So that made me feel comfortable. And yes, the other company was pissed off that they sent me this 100 page contract, but I made the best decision for my family, and I made the best decision for myself. I mean look at me — I don’t think I would be anywhere close [to my current position if I was in WWE].”

Jade and Jericho discussed the pros and cons of both company’s developmental programs. WWE’s desire to teach everyone to work their way, and the way that turns a lot of their talents into cogs in the machine, was a big factor in Cargill joining Tony “TK” Khan’s upstart promotion:

“Cookie-cutter system — and that’s what I didn’t want. I didn’t want that, I didn’t want to be a number. But like I said, one thing that stood out to me was that I could call TK, I could text TK, and he knows exactly who I am. That mattered to me. I’ve always been a believer, and I’ve always been the underdog. I love being the underdog — we’re hungry. I want to be part of something that’s hungry, that wants to change things. That’s why I came here. And again, the locker room — I felt at ease. I didn’t feel like it was a bullying system, or athlete vs. wrestler type of system. It felt natural. It felt easy — just really at ease.”

How easily WWE will discard of one of the cookies they’ve cut was also something that influenced the 29 year old. It was something she say first hand with her friend EJ Nduka, who was cut last year after two years at the Orlando Performance Center:

“There’s more security. There’s a safety net here. And I didn’t want — like I said, I just named one of my friends [EJ Nduka] who gave up everything he had, had a newborn baby, and got cut — with no warning. He gave everything. I remember when I told him I was thinking about coming here [to AEW], he couldn’t believe it. ‘Why would you ever choose this [AEW] over this [WWE]?’

“And I’m like, ‘You don’t understand. I feel good here. I don’t want to be cut. I don’t want to have to worry... I feel like somebody, and I don’t want to be a number. He was so for this company [WWE], and look at him. And I’m just like, ‘Damn, that sucks. You were all about this company, we talked about this. You tried to convince me to come over, you just had a baby, your wife passed the bar in Florida for your career here. It sucks. I know I made the best decision.”

Hard to argue with Cargill’s reasoning. She continues to bring positive press & ratings for TK, too — so despite some fan grumbling, I think AEW is also happy Jade made the decision she did.

You can listen to her entire conversation with Jericho here.