Renee Young Reveals When She Decided To Leave WWE, Talks Backstage Being Cancelled

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During a recent interview with the Sports Illustrated podcast, Renee Young commented on when she decided to leave WWE, her reaction to the cancellation of “WWE Backstage”, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On when she decided that she was leaving: “So, I don’t know that there was like a definitive, ‘I’m leaving now.’ I think when Backstage got cancelled, that was really the moment for me. You know, Backstage got cancelled, I got COVID, a lot of s**t just kind of happened. But you know, the COVID thing aside, it was just, that was just sort of like the icing on the cake that I’m at home, I get my diagnosis. That same day I find out that Backstage gets cancelled. But it was really with Backstage being cancelled that I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ Like, I’m not really doing anything anymore and my skill set of being a host — there’s just nowhere for me to do it anymore. Even with Talking Smack coming back — and you know, I had heard the rumblings that Talking Smack was making its way back. And I was planning on perhaps maybe doing that. But I was like, ‘You know what? I’m just feeling like I’m taking steps backwards. I’m sort of spinning my wheels.’ To go back and do a show, to not be doing it with [Daniel] Bryan, to not be doing it with Michael Mansury, who is also no longer with WWE. But that was sort of the magic of what that show was to me. I mean, it’s doing its own cool thing right now. Kudos to Big E, and Miz and Kayla Braxton with everything that they’ve been doing. But yeah, it was all that stuff kinda happening at once and just being like, ‘What am I doing here? I’ve checked off all the things I’ve been able to do.’ Stepping away from doing commentary, which ultimately kind of left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. So going and working for FOX was incredible. And I’ll still be doing stuff for FOX, as we’re kind of figuring out what that looks like with WWE and FOX, but I’m still gonna be working with them on that side of things. So that’s cool but yeah, it’s just not really having any platforms within WWE, and just spinning my wheels. And I’m turning 35, it’s like kinda, ‘S**t or get off the boat. It’s time to start making some other moves, other-wise I’m just gonna stay here forever and not really be proud of my accomplishments anymore.’”

On if she was surprised by Backstage’s cancellation: “I was a little bit surprised, I mean in the sense that you get kind of like this vague email of, ‘We all have to have a Zoom call today.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ So I messaged one of the producers, and I was like, ‘Hey, what’s going on? Is this like bad news?’ And he’s normally really great with keeping me in the loop and stuff, and he didn’t respond to me. And I was like, ‘Oh s**t, something is up.’ Because he didn’t want to like, lie to me so he just turned the other cheek a little bit, waiting until we all had the conversation.”

On her reaction to the cancellation: “Yeah, it sucks that Backstage got cancelled. I think that it was starting to get in its groove. But also, I think that the show still could’ve been so much more than it was. To me, it started to feel like it was just another WWE Kickoff show. And that was not what the heart of the project started out as. And I think that was another thing though that was just a little bit disheartening to me. Because going to work for FOX, I was like, ‘Oh hell yeah. Now we can like, really kind of get out from under the thumb.’ I mean you guys always hear the stories of being overproduced and what not. So to be able to get away from that and get under the FOX umbrella, I was like, ‘Oh my god, we can finally start doing some stuff. And then it was like, ‘No, we can’t. Our hands are still kind of tied.’ So we had a great crew, I loved doing that show. We were getting onto something. But yeah, it’s a bummer.”


On stuff they weren’t allowed to do on Backstage: “I think it was just some more of the controversial stuff. I mean, you know, you have [CM] Punk on the show too, it’s a little like, ‘Ooh, are we gonna say something that’s gonna upset like people and ruffle the feathers?’ Where you know, not even that that’s the case of what we’re trying to do, but you’re trying to do a show where you can be authentic and talk about stuff. I mean, even if you want to ‘bury something’ so to speak, it just would feel like it was becoming a little bit sensitive to talk about things. It felt like we just kind of had to put everything over that was good or kinda skirt over stuff that was bad and have that omitted from the show.”


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