Renee Young talks about battling COVID-19 and what led to her WWE departure

Renee Young's first post-WWE interview

Former WWE personality Renee Young, now going by her real name of Renee Paquette, was recently on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina to talk about her time in WWE.

Among the many topics she discussed, she talked about how WWE did not like that she announced she had COVID-19 in June.

“I generally just like to be transparent about everything. I like to just be honest. There’s no shame in having got it. Again we don’t know what’s going on with anything. We’re all trying to figure it out. So when I tweeted that I had it, I wasn’t doing it as, like, ‘I GOT COVID.’ That was not my MO when I tweeted. It was mostly, ‘Hey, I have it.’ Also, in case there were people that could’ve been around me and maybe seen that I had it, I felt a responsibility to make sure people knew that I was sick. But, yeah, it was NOT well received. They weren’t even like ‘You shouldn’t have posted it.’ But it was like, ‘We wish you gave us a heads up.’ It was bad for PR and whatnot. But again, I wouldn’t have even thought to be like, “Hey guys, I’m gonna tweet that I have Covid, ha, ha. Like, that was just not what I was thinking about when I posted it.”

Paquette also talked about feeling slighted that no one in the company appeared concerned that she contracted the virus. She also talked about how WWE is doing the best they can to fight the virus now, but it wasn’t always that way:

“Listen, anything I say on this is gonna end up seeming like controversial or like I’m shitting on it or whatever, but, yeah, did I feel a little slighted? I didn’t really feel like anyone was all that concerned that I got sick. That bothered me for sure. But, you know, it’s hard to say. Again, it’s like, shit, the show goes on and now they’re working at the Amway Center and they’re essentially doing the best that they can NOW. Now doing the proper tests. I think that was something that should’ve been implemented from the beginning. Since everything that’s gone down and however many people ended up getting sick, now it feels like a much safer environment. Even when I was there for SummerSlam, I was definitely less concerned about it knowing that everyone in the building has been properly tested with the nose swab and whatnot.”

Paquette also spoke about what led to her leaving WWE and how she felt that she had accomplished all that she could:

“When Backstage got canceled, that was really the moment for me. Backstage got canceled, I got COVID, a lot of shit happened. The COVID thing aside, that was the icing on the cake. I’m at home, I get my diagnosis, that same day I find out that Backstage got canceled. It was when Backstage got canceled that I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ I’m not really doing anything anymore and my skill set of being a host, there’s nowhere for me to do that anymore. Even with Talking Smack coming back, I heard the rumblings, and I was planning on perhaps doing that, but I was like, ‘I feel like I’m taking steps back and spinning my wheels.’ To go back to the show and not doing it with [Daniel Bryan], to not being doing it with [Former Vice President of Global Television Production] Mike Mansury, who is also no longer with WWE, that was the magic of what that show was to me. All that stuff happening at once, I was like, ‘What am I doing here?’ I checked off all the things I’ve been able to do, stepping away from doing commentary, which ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth and going to work for FOX was incredible. I’ll still be doing things for FOX as we’re trying to figure out what that looks like with WWE, so that’s cool. Just not having any platforms in WWE, I was spinning my wheels. I’m turning 35, time to shit or get off the boat, it’s time to start making moves, otherwise I would stay there forever and not be proud of my accomplishments anymore.”

Special thanks to Fightful for the transcriptions.

Renee Young’s final day with WWE was on the SummerSlam Kickoff Show as a part of the panel. To listen to the full podcast where she also speaks about he noncompete clause and WWE being deemed an essential business, click below.

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