On July 7th, Saraya left WWE when her contract expired, making her a free agent for the first time in over a decade. The former Paige hadn’t wrestled since December of 2017 as the result of a serious neck injury that forced her to announce her retirement at the young age of 26.
The star served as on-screen General Manager of SmackDown following the announcement of her retirement in April of 2018, but at the end of that year, the McMahon family took a greater on-screen management role and her time as General Manager came to a close. Saraya would go on to manage a number of stars including Absolution, the Kabuki Warriors, and the IIconics as well as serving as a contributor for WWE Backstage, but despite remaining under contract, she was absent from WWE programming throughout 2021 and 2022 until her July release.
Saraya Pitched Various On-Screen Roles While Absent, Including Managing Ronda Rousey
Speaking on a recent episode of Talk is Jericho, Saraya recalled finding out that her time as General Manager was coming to an end when Road Dogg contacted her.
“Road Dogg called me the day before I was supposed to fly out. Road Dogg is so sweet. He’s always trying to baby me. He was just like, ‘So we’re probably not gonna do the GM anymore, so you won’t have to come to work tomorrow, and then he decided that I was going to come and do a goodbye speech of GM, which I thought was really sweet too. So I ended up flying in and doing that first segment of the show and then flying back. Then I was sitting on my ass for years.”
Continuing, Saraya detailed the many pitches she gave to the company during the time she was sitting at home under contract, including a pitch to serve as mouthpiece for former UFC star Ronda Rousey.
“I remember contacting them, Mark Carrano, just everybody, even WWE studios. I contacted them and was like, ‘If you want me to do media, I can do that. If you want me to do this, I can do that. If you want me to do managerial work.’ I think Ronda needed a mouthpiece at the time. I was pitching to work on doing that.
“I was constantly pitching all these different ideas and just being a manager in general, because, you know, I was doing managerial stuff for a bunch of women. I was like,’ I can do these things. I’m available. Just let me know.’”
Saraya also detailed the frustration of sitting at home while under contract as she was limited when it came to pursuing other projects, such as her popular Twitch channel.
“But I end up sitting in my house for like, three or four years. That’s the most depressing thing because you just feel like you’re completely useless. Then you can’t go and do anything else because you’re under a contract where even though you’re an independent contractor, you still have to get permission to do stuff and then it would get turned down.”
“It used to really just get to me a lot. I never used to be vocal about it until they tried to take my Twitch away. I was just like, there’s absolutely no way you’re going to take my Twitch away from me. I remember Vince’s assistant called me at the time. He only did one phone call. He was just like, ‘Well, you need to give us a percentage of this.’ If I spoke to Vince, he would have been way more chill about it, I believe, but his assistant just had a fu**ing stick up his ass.”