Toni Storm’s spoken on several occasions about her decision to leave WWE at the end of last year. But she hadn’t spoken to Renee Paquette on The Sessions, and if you haven’t talked to Renee about the end of your WWE run, is it even really over?
No matter, because Storm’s on the latest edition of Paquette’s pod. Much of what she has to say about her release — which she requested after leaving the house show circuit amidst a frustratingly booked main roster run — she’s already said elsewhere. But Renee gets a more unfiltered version, and like most wrestling fans, we’re messy bitches who love drama, so...
“My main goal in wrestling was to be on RAW or SmackDown, main roster WWE TV. Then I got there and figured it out pretty soon, I realized this is just not going to work out. Also, I’m 26. — I want to have a really good time at this job. I want to have a really good career and I want to enjoy part of it. I just wasn’t enjoying it for so long and I abruptly quit. I woke up that morning having no idea that I was going to quit by that night.
“It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. A lot of people don’t enjoy it at all. For some people it just works out and for others — it just makes them miserable. I guess I just fell into that category. I guess it just wasn’t for me at that point.
“Let’s face it. They just fire people left, right, and center out of the blue. I could be fired next week and then it’s like, ‘What’s the point?’ It just got very pointless to be honest. It’s been hard to convey that, especially to fans, especially to people that just aren’t in this business, and will never understand. I must sound ridiculous to those people, but it’s the reality of what it’s actually like.
“I’m not mad about the booking. I certainly don’t want to bury it. I don’t want to say bad things about the place. I think I had a great time there for the most part.
“There were times I had very great memories. It made me who I am. I feel like I grew up with them. I did the first Mae Young Classic. I did the second one. Immediately following that, NXT UK. Eventually I worked my way up to going over to NXT. I got to do the Royal Rumble and Survivor Series randomly. I’m lucky that I got to experience all of this. I got to work with some amazing coaches.”
“I’m not mad. I’m not angry at WWE. I don’t have anything against them. I’m sure they got bigger fish to fry than me. You know what I mean? Like, why do they care? People get let go from that place constantly. People move around constantly. It doesn’t matter if I’m there, but what matters is I’m not having a very good time, and why shouldn’t I be having a good time?”
As to what prompted her to make the “abrupt” decision to walk away, Storm said:
“It was a complicated ordeal. I had built up frustrations with the place for a very long time, like a lot of people do.
“They don’t give a shit, so why should I? This isn’t going to work. I know what’s going to happen here. I’m just going to be sent back to catering again. I’m not going to succeed here, I can just see it. I know they see me as I’m such a kid and I’m such a newbie and this that and the other, but I like to think that I’ve been around wrestling long enough to know — I just know what’s right and what’s wrong for me and what I like and what I don’t like and I just didn’t like it in the end.
“I didn’t feel that appreciated. And I just felt like they, at times, didn’t have very much respect for me. I feel like over time they just crushed my love for wrestling, it just wasn’t even wrestling anymore. You’re not even allowed to say wrestling.
“I thought my whole purpose in life was to go to WWE but then over time I realized it’s just pro wrestling that I love, it’s not a company that I love.”
Jokes aside, the key quote is probably, “For some people it just works out and for others — it just makes them miserable.” If a performer is of a temperament that WWE’s bureaucracy and politics don’t bother them, or they can learn to work around those things without getting too stressed out, there are a lot of benefits of being in their system. If they can’t... it’s probably best to get out when you can.
Check out all of Toni’s time on The Sessions here.