Mandy Rose’s first interview since her WWE release hit screens this morning (Jan. 10), and she and Tamron Hall discussed as much of the situation as the confidentiality clause in the former NXT Women’s champion’s contract would allow.
After explaining to Hall & her audience that professional wrestling is scripted but that doesn’t mean the physicality in the ring is “fake”, they first talked about Mandy losing the title on Dec. 13. Rose said she didn’t know why NXT officials moved her match with Roxanne Perez up from its original date (tonight’s New Year’s Evil episode) or why she was dropping the belt she’d held for more than a yeat, and was shocked when she was told. She did admit to having “some inclination” about what was going on, however.
Mandy claims she was never told that racy content on her FanTime page was the reason for her release, but said there was one instance where she was asked to take material down and that she did so. Asked if she felt WWE’s stance on her site was hypocritical given how the company presents her and other women on their PG programming, Rose deferred, saying she has no control over what her former employers think is right or wrong. If you’re looking for a gauge of mainstream public opinion, the studio audience did seem to think WWE was employing a double standard.
When Hall described some of what’s on MandyRoseSacs.com as “provocative” and “hot”. Rose replied that Hall shouldn’t believe everything she reads on the internet. Mandy said she’s posted “sexy” photos — just as she has on her Instagram, but clarified there’s no full nudity and that she’d never post anything ”that would harm her brand.” She doesn’t believe she was targeted by WWE, and wouldn’t say she was “wronged’ by the company either, but agreed when Hall clarified to ask if she was “hurt”.
“Because of everything that’s happened since then, everything happens for a reason. I can’t even say I was wronged, because I am so forever grateful for everything the WWE has presented me with. So, I can’t sit here and say that I was wronged or not... but I’m very hurt. Nobody wants to get that call that they’re being fired from any job, right? So I was very hurt, I was very disappointed.
“I was disappointed so much more because of everything that I put into the business, but just the last year-and-a-half. I was champion for 413 days, I unified those two titles that we just saw [the NXT and NXT UK Women’s championships], I was the third longest-reigning NXT Women’s Champion. I also created this must-see faction with two other women that I really brought up, and I got to see so many women develop their characters, and they’re all a lot younger than me, and really in the beginning of their careers. And to me, that was so important, because it was so rewarding for me.
“So losing the title was, honestly, a gut punch. It definitely — I was so disappointed. But at the end of the day, my purpose was what was gone. And that’s where I kind of felt lost. And I felt confused, because of all the hard work that I put into, and driving home from that, just a lot of things were going through my mind. You know, you always think there’s a lot of unanswered questions and all that, but at the end of the day, like I said, I love what I’ve done in the WWE, and I love what the platform presented me with. So I am forever grateful for them.”
Hall kicked it to commercial after that quote, after noting that the show asked WWE for comment and didn’t hear back. She asked Mandy about the recent death of her brother Richie, with whom she was very close. Rose said she’s doing okay after losing her older brother, and her WWE release. One of the reasons she chose to do this appearance was to again thank fans for their support, and let everyone know that she is okay.
Confirmation that Rose made $1 million on her FanTime site “in two-and-a-half weeks” got a big round of applause. She danced around the issue of how that compared to her WWE pay, but admitted it would “take me awhile, for sure” to make a million from wrestling. This experience has reinforced the importance of controlling her name, image & likeness, and she’s looking forward to controlling her brand and her interactions with fans going forward.
So would she consider a return to WWE in the future? Mandy leaned on the old “never say never” here, and clarified that if taking down her site was a condition of a return, “it would have to be a conversation.”