While appearing on The Sessions with Renée Paquette podcast, Lena Fanene, (formerly WWE Superstar Nia Jax) discussed what happened before she left the WWE and what has happened since.
After taking a leave to have ACL surgery completed on both her knees, Fanene says the WWE was different when she returned in 2020.
“When I came back the energy was different. Obviously, we are trying to work through the pandemic. Everybody was scared. Nobody seemed unhappy. It was just a weird, tense feeling,” Fanene told Paquette saying the WWE has shifted away from being a family company to more of a corporate entity nowadays.
Jax asked for a break up to the Royal Rumble that year and that request was granted.
“When I was on my break, I s–t you not, I did not miss it,” she said claiming she was “relieved” when the WWE let her go. They citied budget cuts when she received the call. Fanen offered to take a pay cut but that offer was declined.
Fanene detailed how she refused to get vaccinated and that made her relationship with the WWE rocky at times.
“I stood my ground on certain things I know they were not happy about. I was choosing not to go and get the vaccine and it was a personal choice,” she said. “The entire two years I was there we were tested every day. I never popped positive. I never had COVID the whole time.”
Fanene eventually met with Vince McMahon who discussed the consequences of her decision.
“He was like…’Well, kid. You won’t be able to fulfil some of your contractual duties’. I was like…’Well, if that is the case, then that’s the case. It is a business and I understand you have to run your business’. I made the decision for myself and I stood by how I felt,” she recalled.
Fanene revealed on the show that the WWE did indeed invite her to participate in this year’s Royal Rumble. The notion made her laugh.
“I was in the middle of trying to get my stuff back. They sent me a box of stuff and half my stuff is missing. When I got the call I thought it was about my stuff. So, I answered…’Hey, what’s up?’ It was my homie in TR (talent relations). ‘We were just calling to see if you were interested in participating in the Royal Rumble?’. I started to laugh hysterically. I thought it was my friend joking with me. ‘Actually, no. This is an official call.’ I was like, ‘F–k, no. I am not coming back.’ He was like: ‘Well, we want to offer you THIS.’ I was like: ‘First of all, I am still on my ninety days. You are still going to be paying me any way so you aren’t offering me anything.’ I was like: ‘No, I am not f—–g coming back. Absolutely f—–g not,” she said.
Paquette asked Fanene if she considered the Rumble call a slap in the face?
“That’s exactly what it was. Guess what? They were accumulating a list that they send to Vince (McMahon), then he goes through the list and picks who he wants. So, they were asking me to be part of a list to go to the next step? I was like…f–k, no. How much more can you s–t on me, dude?” said Fanene.