Paige VanZant has confirmed that WWE wanted to sign her to an exclusive deal before she joined AEW.
By the time that former UFC star Paige VanZant put pen to paper on her contract with AEW, it was no secret that WWE had also held a strong interest in the 27-year-old.
Despite the interest, VanZant has previously explained that WWE held a different vision for her wrestling future than AEW.
Speaking on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the BKFC star said that it was actually Dan Lambert who played a large part in her choosing AEW. She added that after attending her first AEW show, there was only one place that she wanted to be.
“[Dan Lambert] was definitely a big part of it, I went with him in a few instances, he’s a big part of AEW. Watching them, I knew my career was going to take me to WWE or AEW, I was watching both of them, huge fan of both, the first AEW show I went to though, the feeling, the audience, the crowd, everything about it, I just knew I belonged and it would be something I’d be really good at. The whole atmosphere of the show they put on is iconic. I knew that was the place for me,”
Expanding further, Paige VanZant confirmed that she had spoken to WWE around a year ago, before dismissing suggestions that there had been a bidding war for her services.
“I went down to the training centre about a year ago. I did have some things in the works, but AEW kind of said what they needed to say and said all the right words to get me to come over to AEW…
“Not a bidding war, no. There were different contract details and styles. There were things that AEW, they’re working hand-in-hand with BKFC and letting me be a professional fighter. I still get to be myself. It’s not an exclusive full-time wrestling contract. I’m in AEW and going to wrestle for them, but they’re also letting me be a part of BKFC, so I’m definitely not done boxing and definitely not done fighting. It was an amazing partnership that they’re willing to work with me and all the other things I still want to do,”
When asked if this meant that WWE wanted her to be exclusive, she replied “exactly.” But looking ahead to her in-ring debut, VanZant said that she expects to be ready in a month or two.
“In a perfect world, there in the next few months, honestly. Between the coaches and everybody seeing as quickly as I’m picking it up, I truly believe I’ll be ready to get in there in a month or two.”
On the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite, Paige VanZant became All Elite, signing her contract on the fallen bodies of Tay Conti and Sammy Guevara.
It was later confirmed that VanZant will be trained by former WWE Superstar Gangrel.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.