Renee Paquette on transitioning out of WWE, Jon Moxley’s recovery and return to AEW, the one-year non-compete clause in her WWE contract

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

CBS Sports interview with Renee Paquette
Host: Shakiel Mahjouri
Podcast available via
Video available at SHAK Wrestling YouTube Page

On successfully transitioning out of WWE: First of all, I’m very tired. I’m constantly working, which is great. You always want to have a busy schedule. That’s the way that I function. When I’m not busy, my brain is like, ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ And that can definitely be a bit of a place of anxiety for me, where I always feel like I need to keep going and working and working. One thing that I’ve learned over the course of this year and a half is patience. I think when I first left WWE, it was sort of that feeling of like, ‘What am I going to do? What’s going to make the most sense’ and kind of figuring like, ‘You know, maybe I’ll go work for another network, maybe I’ll go do another studio show somewhere.’

“But when I left in like peak COVID time, that was not the case. I mean, all productions had halted. Nobody was hiring new people. That just was not the case, which was really that kind of a blessing in disguise where it’s like, ‘Well, I’m going to start doing something myself anyways.’ And I’ve always really wanted to be in control of what my own narrative was. I’ve always wanted to really, I guess, create my own content and be able to put that out there.

“But that being said, it’s a lot more work than just turning on a camera and turning a microphone and making something happen. It’s like there’s so much more behind that. So I was really lucky to join up with The Volume really quickly after I had launched the ‘Oral Sessions’, which is now ‘The Sessions.’ But yeah, I was able to jump on with them really quickly and that’s been super beneficial to me in the sense of their production over there is awesome. They helped me a ton with getting the social clips and getting the stuff ready for YouTube. All that stuff. There’s no way I would be able to do that without them.

“Being able to do the segment on NHL Network with Jackie Redmond, was one of the things that kind of popped up. I’ve been a hockey fan, obviously my whole life. You grew up in Canada, you don’t really have a choice but to lean into the sport. So it was really cool to be able to circle back around and work with Jackie. For her and I did just get to have a little bit more of a fun, loose interview-style segment that we do with NHL Network. So that’s been a ton of fun. And then jumping into the radio world. That was not something I had really thought much about. That has been a learning curve as well of realizing, ‘Yes, we are recording it in the sense that we are now. But it’s not television. It’s long-form.’ Learning to take my time.

“It’s finding that right energy level. It doesn’t have to be the energy of TV, but kind of brings it down so that you can go the duration of three hours while also dabbling in a sport that I had not really worked in at all. I mean, we talk pro wrestling, but we actually talk a lot of MMA and combat sports a lot more. It’s really just been such a learning curve and the patience of not being like, I need to have that one thing right now. I kind of put my iron in a couple of fires and I’ve been letting them all kind of burn and build on their own. And there’s something really organic and cool about that that that I get to have ownership over. It’s awesome.”

On having a 12-month no-compete clause in her WWE deal: “It didn’t really affect it because, truly, when I was leaving WWE, I wasn’t looking to go from one place to another. At the time, everything I was able to do with WWE, I did so much there. You know, I literally wore every hat I could possibly wear there and it was awesome, but I wanted to take that and turn it into something different. I didn’t want to take that and — I don’t want to say it’s a parallel move. It’s not that because I don’t know what the opportunity would be within AEW. Maybe there would be something really great there, but I really wanted to take what I had done with WWE and move it into just a different path. I really just wanted to kind of use that as my way to kind of create something for myself.”

Expanding beyond pro wrestling: “It really made me have to say ‘OK, what are we going to do?’ I am known for pro wrestling. I’m never going to not be in that world in some capacity. That’s why ‘The Sessions’ is cool because I get to interview all of these people that I have built these incredible relationships with over the years. I just had an episode with Dax Harwood come out. That’s one that I think is a prime example of really being able to peel back the layers of this person that you see on TV versus who he is as a man. I don’t think that that conversation would have happened had he and I not had the relationship that we already have. In order to know that you’re in a good, safe, trusted space and we can have this conversation.

“The wrestling aspect of that I will always love and I love having those chats. But also on the other side, when you branch out and want to do things that aren’t wrestling. I had on a marriage and sex therapist on my podcast. It was one of those episodes where I was like, ‘Oh my God, that was so fun.’ I went into it feeling so tired, a little overwhelmed with what the week had thrown at me. But then I sat down with Dr. Lisa Paz and we had this amazing conversation and it was completely enlightening. I had so many people, like my friends, reaching out to me.

“People that I didn’t even know were actually always listening to the podcast being like, ‘Holy. That conversation was amazing.’ That’s the thing for me is being able to take my platform and branch out into things that are of interest to me. Even though some wrestling fans might be like, ‘Oh, well, if you’re not talking about X, Y and Z,’ I’m not going to tune in, but to know that some people are still listening and following me into some of those other avenues is really cool.”

Interviewing talent you know personally: “It can definitely be difficult. There are times that I’ll be sitting down with someone and as I’m interviewing them, I’m like, ‘Oh, I personally know this nugget of information about you, but it’s a conversation that we have had away from any microphones, away from any cameras.’ So is that something that I think at that moment is something that you want to talk about or something that you want other people to know about? Sometimes, depending on what it is, I may buzz the person ahead of time to just be like, ‘Do you want to get into this, don’t you?’ I don’t do that often. It’s kind of a feeling-out process. I do think the good thing is now is, we’re 115 episodes in, something like that, I think people kind of know what to expect when they’re getting these interviews.

“It’s funny because I mean, from the number of people that I’ve had get emotional and really tap into some serious stuff on the podcast, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m becoming the Barbara Walters of these interviews?’ I’m not looking to be the person to make people get really emotional on the podcast. I think that oftentimes people get wrestlers on and they want to just get those juicy dirt sheet headlines. That’s never the M.O. for me. I want to have conversations about you as a human being. That’s way more interesting to me than some backstage heat kind of situation that may have happened and whatnot. I mean, every now and then, I will bring some stuff up like that. It can definitely be difficult to navigate and remain neutral on certain things.”

Jon Moxley’s recovery and AEW return: “I just think I think he is such a shining example of somebody going through something and taking the time for himself. AEW was great as well of giving him that time and giving him that space. All those things aside, just to see the difference in him and the health aspects, all of those things to see. He’s so stubborn, but he’s also got this really crazy work ethic that I know when he sets his mind to something, he’s locked in on it. So to see that and then to see him have that moment of coming back and getting back in the wrestling world. I was watching from home. As soon as his music hit and he came out, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ It made me feel a way I wasn’t really expecting to feel.

“I just put on Dynamite to watch it, knowing he was coming back. I knew he had a promo. I had no idea what he was going to say. He had no idea what he was going to say. Which again, is just another testament to how good he is at promos because he went out there and was like, ‘Oh my God, that was poetic.’ It was amazing. He is the best man. He went and he did what he had to do for himself. He did what he had to do for our family. It’s just it’s so nice to see him on the other side of things. It’s not one of those things that is one and done. There is always work to be done and things to work on. But yeah, it’s awesome. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Having a husband in the same/similar industry: “It’s awesome. It really is cool… But for him and I, it’s really cool that we met in WWE. We spent years on the road together. So I think it’s cool in terms of just being able to relate to him, especially now while he’s still on the road, but I am not. We’ve got a young daughter at home. I do have a good idea when he comes home of, ‘I know you’re tired. I know you’ve been on a plane. I know you’ve wrestled. I know what your day has been like that there are these long TV days.’ So I have a good aspect of what his schedule looks like and the things that he’s gone through. But also just business things into it as well.

“Depending on what he’s going through, if he’s got a match he’s worried about or a pay-per-view thing that’s coming up or something that he wants to do or whatever, it’s nice to be able to have those conversations with somebody that does understand what you’re talking about, rather than me just being like, ‘What? I don’t know. I don’t have a clue.’ I get that might be nice sometimes for some people to be able to have that outside perspective. But I do think it’s nice to sort of have that ally and a partner that really understands your line of work.


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