Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Nia Jax opens up about her WWE release and if she sees wrestling in her future

Lina Fanene, known in WWE as Nia Jax, recently sat down with Renee Paquette to open up about her WWE release. On The Sessions, Fanene gets candid about her last couple of years with the company and how the environment felt different once she came back from her double knee surgery. She was released by WWE among many throughout 2021 on Nov. 4.

When Fanene returned in April 2020, she started seeing a shift in WWE. Due to the start of the pandemic, things obviously had to change, but it was more than just what was going on in the world. To Fanene, she describes it as a different type of energy and something in the air that didn’t feel right. it was a corporate shift.

“I had left and surgeries. I had my double ACL surgery and I was sitting at home waiting to come back and they were like, ‘we’re not going to use you.’ COVID hit and it set the tone for the whole year. I was laying in bed and I got a call from [Talent Relations], this is when we were filming at the [Performance Center]. ‘You’re needed, we’re filming your return in two hours.’ ‘Wait, what?’ I was texting Paul Heyman because at the time he was running Raw. ‘What is going on?’ I came back and the energy was different. Obviously, we’re trying to work through a pandemic and everyone was scared. Nobody seemed happy.

It was a weird and tense filming. We were at the PC and trying to make the best of it. Something in the air didn’t feel the same. There was a change in guard on the corporate side. Things just started shifting and it didn’t seem what it used to feel like. We used to have a family comrade and would get together and have a good time. something shifted and a lot of people were like, ‘What’s up?’ Then we had those massive cuts. Nothing was making sense. The whole last year, I felt like I was in a constant dryer, just being tumbled in different directions and I couldn’t get settled.” (h/t – Fightful)

Moving forward and as the months progressed, Fanene opened up and felt she needed a break. She spoke after her release that she was on a mental health break before she was notified of her release. After being written off TV in September 2021, she talks about what happened when WWE wanted her back from her break.

“I walked into Johnny’s [John Laurinaitis] office, just after a crazy couple weeks in wrestling, and I was like, ‘I need a break. Something is off. I don’t feel right. I need a break.’ He gave it to me,” she recalled. “When I was on the break, I did not miss it. I hit Johnny up and was like, ‘I know my break is coming up, but I don’t feel right, right now. Is there any way we could extend it to Rumble?’ That was on like a Wednesday, I hit him up about that. On Thursday he called me and I thought, ‘Oh, he’s calling to talk about this.’ I pick up the phone and he’s like, ‘Hey kid, I hate to do this.’ Instantly, I was like, ‘Am I getting released?’ ‘Yeah. I’m so sorry. Due to budget cuts.’ The whole spiel. ‘Okay, I’ll take a paycut if that’s what’s needed,’ just because I knew it was a whole script. ‘Oh, that’s not it.’ ‘So you just want a total different change?’ ‘Yeah, we’re going to put you on your 90-days.’ I hung up the phone and I was relieved.”

Lina Fanene as Nia Jax in WWE

Fanene has discussed prior that it is unlikely for her to continue in the wrestling industry. While speaking with Paquette she does clarify, “never say never” but she wants to start a family soon.

“I never want to say never because I do love the feeling I get in the ring and I loved wrestling. I didn’t like the shit, the politics, the BS, but I’m not getting any younger and I’m trying to find my man so I can start popping out babies.”

With the Royal Rumble just wrapping up, Paquette asks Fanene if she was asked back to participate.

“I did,” she confirmed. “I was in the middle of trying to get my stuff back. I had a bunch of crap. You know how it is, you’re just shoving stuff in everybody’s boxes. I’m in the middle of getting my stuff back, they sent me a box and more than half was missing. I’m like, ‘Yo, what is going on?’ When I got the call, I thought it was about, ‘Where is my stuff?’ It’s my homie in [Talent Relations]. ‘Hey, we’re just calling to see if you’d be interested in participating in the Royal Rumble.’ I started hysterically laughing. I thought it was my friend joking with me. ‘Oh, you’re hilarious.’ ‘Actually, this is an official call.’ ‘Oh, fuck no, I’m not coming back.’ ‘We’d like to offer you this.’ I said, ‘first of all, I’m still under my 90 days. You’re still going to be paying me anyway, so you’re not offering me anything. No, I’m not coming back. Absolutely fucking not. Is this all it was?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Okay, bye.'”

When asked by Paquette if it felt like a slap in the face, Jax said, “That’s exactly what it was. They were accumulating a list, this is what I was told, they were accumulating a list and wanted to offer me the opportunity, accumulate a list that they send to Vince, then Vince goes through the list and says who he wants and who he doesn’t. I was like, ‘You’re asking me to be part of a list to go to the next step? Fuck no. How much more can you shit on me?’ ‘We didn’t want her to feel left out. If it got around that she didn’t get ask, we didn’t want her to feel left out.’ ‘Fuck you, that’s such bullshit.’ You needed people and I definitely [nixed] that.”

She wasn’t the only recently released talent that was asked back from the Rumble. Mickie James returned after being released in 2021 and Sarah Logan after being released in 2020. The IInspiration reportedly were asked to return but declined the offer.

For the full interview, you can view it below –

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