AEW star Toni Storm has discussed the reasons which led to her walking out of WWE, and how she didn’t feel respected or appreciated whilst there.
Following a triple-threat match against Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks on a house show in Washington D.C., former NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm walked out of the company, with reports the following day soon being confirmed that she had officially been released.
Now speaking with Renee Paquette on The Sessions podcast, Toni Storm has detailed how her time in NXT was very different from when she was called up to the main roster, and how that was the point things started taking a turn.
I had some good times in WWE, it was cool at one point and then it wasn’t. It changed and I didn’t want anything to do with it.
[Things changed] When I went from NXT to SmackDown. My main goal in wrestling was to be on Raw or SmackDown, main roster, WWE TV. I got there, I figured it out pretty soon and realised this is just not gonna work out. Also, I’m 26 and I wanna have a really good time in this job, I wanna have a really good career and I wanna enjoy part of it and I wasn’t enjoying it for so long. And I abruptly quit.
I didn’t even intend – I woke up that morning having no idea I was gonna quit by that night. I just snapped out of the blue and all of a sudden I was on this ninety days. During that time I wasn’t expecting to have all this time off, I thought for sure I was just gonna continue working there forever. Then all of a sudden this ninety days hits me and I don’t know what – I don’t know if AEW would have me, I don’t know what I’m gonna do but my first thought was probably ‘maybe I’ll go back to Japan’ because I liked it out there.
I was going back and forth for a while in my own head going ‘do I even wanna do this anymore?’ because I was so frustrated as you can imagine, it can be frustrating. Really it got me pretty down and then that ninety days it was just about figuring out what’s next. I went back to Australia because I hadn’t been home in two and a half years. It was good to go back, I went back for a month and reset.
Toni Storm went on to discuss how she wanted to have a good time rather than being miserable, but had already been warned that life in WWE doesn’t suit everyone.
I say it wasn’t what I thought it was gonna be like people were telling me it was probably gonna be terrible for years. I heard that of so many people, so many people were like a lot of people don’t enjoy it at all and for some people, it works out, and for some people, it just makes them miserable and I guess I fell into that category. It just wasn’t for me at that point.
Let’s face it, they just fire people left, right, and centre out of the blue. I could be fired next week and like, what’s the point? It just felt very pointless, to be honest. It’s been hard to convey that, especially to fans, especially to people that aren’t in this business and they’ll never understand. I must sound ridiculous to these people.”
I’m not mad about the booking and I certainly don’t want to bury WWE, I don’t want to say bad things about the place. I had a great time there, for the most part, there were times – I have very great memories. It made me who I am essentially. I feel like I grew up with them, I had a very unique relationship with them.
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’ve got bigger fish to fry than me, 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. What matters is well I’m not having a very good time, why shouldn’t I be having a good time?
Continuing further, Toni Storm commented on the frustrations she felt just prior to the end of her time with WWE.
It was a complicated ordeal. I had built up frustrations with the place for a very long time, a lot of people do, just like the next guy, a lot of people do. They don’t give a sh*t so why should I?
I know what’s gonna happen here, I’m just gonna be sent back to catering again. I’m not gonna succeed here, I know they see me like I’m such a kid, and I’m such a newbie and this, that, and the other but I like to think I’ve been around wrestling long enough to know what’s right and what’s wrong for me, and what I like and what I don’t like and I didn’t like it at the end of the day.
I didn’t feel that appreciated. I felt that they didn’t, at times, have very much respect for me. It totally – I feel like over time they just crushed my love for wrestling, it wasn’t even wrestling anymore. You’re not even allowed to say wrestling, you get given in the group texts ‘don’t say professional wrestling in promos’ and this that and the other and I understand but whatever.
There’s so much f*ckery, there’s so much bullsh*t, each to their own, some people don’t get that and some people do. I was just sick of it. I was tired of [thinking] what am I doing this for? What am I trying to prove to anyone? Will anyone think any different of me really? Do people really care where I go and do fake wrestling moves?
Do people really care that I’ve gotta be miserable day in, day out? Just because people go ‘that was ungrateful, she shouldn’t have done that blah blah.’ Well, I was unhappy, why should I be unhappy? So that I can do WrestleMania, well that’s nice and everything but I’m still gonna be miserable the next day.
When it comes to the day she finally left, Toni Storm says it was built-up frustration which led to her needing to walk away.
It was a very complicated day. It just all built up, pent-up frustration. I’m not being funny but they call you out like a paramedic, you’re on call – I’m not an open heart surgeon you know? This is wrestling. You don’t need to have full control over every second of my life.
People think I was just burnt out from the hard schedule but it’s not the hard schedule because quite frankly, my indy schedule was ballistic, I never went home, I never go home. I’m chasing those busy days, I’m chasing working a lot and working really hard. I love that but not like that.
Toni Storm has also spoken recently of the pie-throwing angle she had with Charlotte Flair on SmackDown shortly before she left WWE.
With thanks to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.