Former WWE Superstar Summer Rae says she has social media to thank for her main roster call-up as the company was hesitant to pair her with Fandango long term.
Recently announced Royal Rumble entrant Danielle Moinet, better known to WWE fans as Summer Rae, signed a WWE contract in late 2011 and began her career serving as both ring announcer and then General Manager of FCW. After FCW was merged into the rebooted NXT brand in 2012, she went back to ring announcing for a time before transitioning into a role as an in-ring competitor, feuding with names such as Paige and Emma during her time on the brand.
Summer Rae is best known for being partnered with Fandango. When the former Johnny Curtis debuted in his new persona as a ballroom dancer in 2013, he was originally paired with trained dancer Andrea Lynn and also cycled through local dance partners before ultimately being paired with Summer Rae as a permanent valet until their split in April of 2014.
While the two had undeniable chemistry and participated in a number of memorable feuds throughout the years, the pairing was never supposed to be a permanent thing and originated because Fandango’s dance partner couldn’t travel with the company for a tour of the UK.
Speaking to Renee Paquette on the Oral Sessions Podcast, Moinet recalled Triple H telling her that the only reason she was permanently called up to the main roster was that Twitter users demanded to see more of her following her stint with Fandango on that UK tour.
The thing that I like about WWE is that because they’re so so socially active, they really do take into consideration what’s happening on socials. When I debuted with Fandango, maybe this isn’t a story that’s ever been told, but when I debuted with Fandango on Monday Night Raw, it was in London, and it was because that backup dancer girl – well first they were hiring a different girl in every city and that one girl stuck, I hate her, my arch nemesis. [laughs] Just kidding!
And so she couldn’t go over there because she wasn’t an employee – well, none of us are employees, but she wasn’t independent contracted to WWE – and she couldn’t go over there so they were like cool, bring up Summer, teach her a little dancy dance, no rehearsal, nothing. They were like let’s just send her, and she’ll stay on the tour with Dango the whole time, and then she’ll come back, and they’ll replace her.
So I went up, live events, I did Raw, trended like crazy, like people had thought I debuted. Then I went back, and I think that Monday in America I even went on TV because it was just like we ended up there in a loop so why not have her come on.
Summer Rae went on to recall that after this initial stint on the main roster, she was sent down to NXT as the assignment had only been temporary. However, fans were not receptive to Fandango being re-paired with his original dancer and launched a campaign on social media to have Moinet be his dance partner long term.
The next week they had the girl back on Raw. The fans went wild. Like they loved her, but they were like ‘No, where’s Summer, what’s going on?’ Blah blah blah, they couldn’t believe it.
While the company hoped the fervor would die down after a couple weeks, Summer Rae revealed that this wasn’t the case, and she was called back up to TV after just weeks away.
I remember Hunter being like ‘Well, you’re here because Twitter threw a fit.’ And he was like ‘They wanted you to be here.’
And I understand why they didn’t want me with him, because like he was the main attraction in that pairing at that time, like it was his big debut. And like, me being a name, vs a no name dancer, it would be us. And so Hunter was like ‘It’s very much like Chyna with me.’
When asked how she felt about being told that she shouldn’t be the main attraction and that she should do everything she could to focus on Fandango, Summer Rae said that she had no qualms about the situation and was just happy to be getting work on main roster television.
I just loved that I was getting any kind of direction. Like I feel like you’re very much thrown to the wild and they want to see how you do it and then you get in trouble, instead of like x, y, z, so I feel like it’s best to do x, y, z, and then if it doesn’t get over, it’s like, ‘Well I told you to do that.’ Dusty would always be like ‘Do it and ask for an apology afterwards,’ you know?
Summer Rae was recently announced for the women’s Royal Rumble match, which will be her first WWE appearance since being released from the company in 2017. A full list of Royal Rumble participants can be found here.
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