Toni Storm’s exit from WWE wasn’t a total surprise — she was one of more than 80 people the company parted ways with last year, and there were certainly signs in how she was used on the main roster that indicated Vince McMahon & his team weren’t as high on her as most fans.
Since landing at All Elite Wrestling, the 26 year old has started to open up about what happened at the company she was with from 2017-2021. In last week’s edition of AEW’s Road To YouTube show, Storm said she was planning to hang up her boots until Tony Khan called:
“Recently, I planned on retiring from the wrestling industry, which is something I never considered in my entire life. I’ve put my entire life into becoming the best professional wrestler I could be. I lost that part of myself and it brought on a lot of feelings of emptiness and sadness that I can’t even describe.”
Today (April 15), Storm expanded on that during an appearance on Busted Open.
“When I left WWE, I wasn’t banking on going anywhere else. I kind of left suddenly and wasn’t prepared for life outside of that at all. So, I’m just so thankful that Tony Khan reached out and has given me a job, a second chance, an opportunity to really do what I love, which is pro wrestling.”
As for what happened at WWE, the Australian kept the focus on herself rather than point fingers at the company. From Storm’s perspective, it just wasn’t a good fit:
“I went two and a half years without going home — at all. And that’s after a life of about seven years of being on the road... Then, take into account the amount of negativity that you hear about WWE, and add that on top of it.
“I’m not saying that I have a problem with WWE at all, I’m actually really grateful for the time that I got to have there. I learned so much and you know what? It was so cool, it was real and it was cool but in the end it wasn’t real cool. Something just happened and I left. I felt like I was having an out of body experience, to be honest. Have you ever just lost your mind? That’s kind of what happened. The stress of not seeing family in years and then just so many overwhelming things all at once. I’ve been happier ever since...
“I guess I just freaked out and went home.”
Storm was working on the SmackDown brand and was involved in a storyline with Charlotte Flair when she left the company. She worked a house show match in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 28, 2021 and news broke she’d requested & received her release the next day.
“There was just a moment where I realized it wasn’t for me and as much as I might have romanticized it as a child and thought that this is my dream and this is what I have to accomplish, I just realized maybe it’s not. And maybe this isn’t the place for me and who am I to take someone else’s spot that actually really wants to be here? That’s not fair. I just thought, I’m still going to be a wrestler... There was really no point in going further and I didn’t leave on bad terms or anything like that but it became abundantly clear that it just wasn’t the place for me, at all. I love and respect all the women there, I think they’re amazing, they’re so hard-working, they inspire me. But that wasn’t my place...
“It wasn’t the place for me, it just wasn’t. I really thought it was and I guess I romanticized it so much in my head, I thought this is where I’ve got to be and I guess I got there and it wasn’t the same thing that I wanted. It just didn’t sit right. There’s so many reasons...”
Dave LeGreca & Mark Henry move the interview along at that point, so we don’t get into those reasons. Based on her main roster booking, we can probably make a few guesses though. Maybe those will be confirmed in a future interview.
For now, we know she’s happier in AEW.