When Saraya returned to professional wrestling at AEW Grand Slam, it felt like an inflection point in the professional wrestling world.
One of the most popular wrestlers of the last generation who played a big part in ushering in the Women’s Revolution to WWE, the wrestler originally known as Britani Knight who then performed as Paige in Vince McMahon’s company rapidly captured the hearts of fans the world over when she defeated future CM Punk wife A.J. Lee in her main roster debut. From there, Saraya held the belt on one more occasion, wrestled for the company all over the world, and even worked WrestleMania 31 alongside Lee in a match against The Bella Twins.
But then, disaster struck.
By now, the story of Saraya’s neck injury is practically common knowledge, but ever since that fateful day in 2017, the wrestling world hasn’t seen one of its favorite daughters in the ring save some talking segments in WWE during her occasional appearances… at least until that fateful day in September, where everything changed. While Britt Baker mentioned that Saraya hasn’t been cleared to wrestle just yet, Dave Meltzer has contradicted the heel’s take, and considering the swift elbow to the face delivered by the two-time Divas champion, The Wrestling Observer’s founder may be onto something.
Jumping on her Twitch account to talk to fans on all things AEW, Saraya provided some very interesting information on that very subject, even if she still didn’t address her in-ring status.
Saraya had a lot to say on AEW and WWE in her latest Twitch stream.
Speaking to her adoring fans on her once-contentious Twitch channel, Saraya delivered a low-key Q&A for the ages, as the fine folks over at Fightful transcribed.
“When I spoke to Tony (Khan) he was so great about it, Saraya said. “He said, ‘You can still do your Twitch.’ The thing that got me was freedom. I just wanted to have the freedom to go do whatever I wanted.”
From there, Saraya talked about her time in WWE, which doesn’t sound nearly as bad as some may have assumed.
“I love WWE, I just like the opportunities I’m getting with AEW,” Saraya said. The one thing I don’t like is, ‘WWE got you that movie.’ No they didn’t. You know who got me that movie? The Rock. He made that happen. He asked WWE, ‘You can be part of this, but I’m doing this anyway,’ and WWE decided they could make money off of it and put their names on it. The Rock should get all the credit. Without him, there would be no movie. WWE were wonderful, they gave me a lot of opportunities, and I am forever grateful for that. The only downside that made me pick AEW from WWE is I don’t like sitting on my butt and not knowing what I’m doing or if I’m allowed to do certain things. I’m pro-WWE, but I love AEW and I wanted something new and I wanted freedom. That was very important.”
Wait, so the anti-WWE sentiment in Saraya’s debut promo was all for show? Goodness, she really was dishing. So what about the question that every fan really wants to know: did she talk to WWE about wrestling in the company before signing with AEW? Fortunately, Saraya had a response.
“We never had that discussion,” Saraya asserted. “I never had that discussion with WWE because they let me go. I’ve been working years to better myself and be healthier and stronger. Me, mentally, I never brought it up because I had this mental block. I want to be as safe as possible. I know what my body can do. Me and WWE never had that discussion about having a match. I never brought it up to them about me potentially wrestling. If I was to talk them about it, I’m sure they would do the research. I wasn’t mentally ready. It still makes me nervous, but I’m way smarter about it. I know what I can and can’t do. I’m not expecting to do six German suplexes off the top. I’m not that wrestler anyway.”
Elsewhere in the stream, Saraya was asked when she actually put pen to paper on her AEW contract and delivered a similarly entertaining story on the subject.
“It was like two weeks before because (Chris) Jericho, (Jon) Moxley, and Tony (Khan) were all like, ‘it would be good if you were on Grand Slam in two weeks,'” Saraya said. That’s when it all started. Everything was good, literally until it….I signed literally the day. It was the craziest two weeks.”
When asked if she has any booking control, Sereya declined, saying that she hasn’t laid out any matches but is happy to have a boss who listens to her ideas.
“All the ideas I’ve had so far, he’s [Tony Khan] been great and using them. Every week he’s said, ‘I’m not going to be able to take every idea, but I’ll try to make it happen,’ and he has.”