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Renee Paquette Reveals She Initially Asked For Her WWE Release In 2016

Renee Paquette

Renee Paquette has revealed that she asked for her release from WWE five years ago before her stint on commentary on Raw and was surprised when she was turned down.

Paquette was part of the broadcast team in WWE where she was known as Renee Young from 2012 until her departure from the company after SummerSlam in 2020.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani, Renee Paquette discussed how she had first asked for her WWE release several years before actually exiting the company:

“Probably about five years ago, I had asked for my release from WWE and I wasn’t granted it. This was before I did commentary, this was before I did a lot of other things. And I’m glad I didn’t leave at that point, I’m glad I wasn’t granted my release because my resume wouldn’t be what it is today if I had left during that point.”

“I think, for me, it was really– I still sort of had stars in my eyes, and I still have stars in my eyes about things I want to do with my career. And I kept feeling like I was hitting a wall of being told ‘you cannot be a star within this company’ because it was not about me, and I get that because I’m the broadcaster.”

“I’m the personality, I’m not the roster. I understand I’m not putting asses in seats, I’m not selling merch, I’m not selling tickets. I get it. But that was sort of the thing that just felt very stunting to me and my career.”

“Being like ‘damn, I feel like I have so much more to offer, there’s so many more things I want to do, and yes, you’ve given me this amazing platform. But I do see where that ceiling is at, and I see more for me outside of this. And if you guys don’t see that, or if that opportunity doesn’t exist?’”

Paquette went on to discuss the formation of the WWE Network and says the content on the Network chopped and changed so much in the beginning she wasn’t able to set her stall out on the platform:

“I don’t even know if they didn’t see that, the opportunities just weren’t even there. With the Network starting and having the WWE Network and the different versions of that, from when it first started to just being all interview shows to it being all documentaries. They were really going through their growth spurts of figuring out what the Network was, and I couldn’t find out the place I wanted to land within that.”

The host of the Oral Sessions podcast then discussed any unhappiness she felt at the time came from knowing she had more to offer than what she was being allowed to showcase:

“I was just unhappy in the sense of just knowing that I had more to offer. Then I was just doing backstage interviews. I was still doing kickoff shows and whatnot, but on the day-to-day, weekly schedule, I was just doing backstage interviews, which I actually loved doing. I always liked doing backstage issues because that felt more to me like getting to flex a little bit of that acting muscle.”

“I’ve always loved that, so I enjoyed doing that. I loved having the subtle reactions to a heel or babyface and being able to help those storylines along any way I could through that. But there wasn’t that other thing for me to sink my teeth into.”

“There’d be times where I would sit there at Raw or SmackDown and I wasn’t on the show. If there was no backstage interviews, you’d just sit there, waiting for something to do. And I felt like I was really wasting time, really important years of my career when I could be out doing more things.”

“Even if I was doing something on the show, it was a quick little ‘hey ladies and gentlemen, let me welcome my guest, blah, blah, blah.’ They cut me off and I’m left staring off into the abyss for the camera cut. As much as I love doing that, I know that there is more that I really had to offer and other things I really wanted to do.”

It was then Renee Paquette went to WWE EVP Kevin Dunn and asked for her release and her surprise at Dunn’s response:

“So it was just trying to find that right thing to do, and then when I spoke to Kevin Dunn, I asked for my release and he said no. And I was like ‘wait, you can say no?!’”

“I wasn’t expecting that. I was like ‘oh sh*t, okay.’ They were like ‘well we’ve got other plans for you. We’ve got things we want you to do.’ So I’m glad that the doors did not close. We did not end our relationship at that point and time, because there was stuff still for me to do there.”

h/t Wrestling Inc. for the transcription