AEW's Paige VanZant on Why She Turned Down WWE

Paige VanZant officially signed with AEW earlier this month, bringing the former UFC fighter and Dancing With The Stars competitor to the pro wrestling promotion's roster. VanZant revealed on this week's Throwing Down With Renee Paquette and Miesha Tate that she nearly wound up in WWE a year before she started popping up in AEW, but disagreed with what the company had in mind for her. VanZant has yet to wrestle a match, though she has begun training and has been involved in programs alongside Dan Lambert since last September.

"I did know my career would take me to pro wrestling eventually. I wasn't sure what venue that would be, if it would be WWE or AEW. I've been a fan of both, I made it out about a year ago to WWE headquarters," VanZant said (h/t Fightful). "They had a different plan for what they wanted for me. With AEW, I'm so excited they were happy to partner with me and let me continue to fight MMA and do bare-knuckle boxing. They're on board to build my career, build me as a wrestler, and let me be myself."

VanZant initially teased a rivalry with Brandi Rhodes, but the former Chief Branding Officer left the company last month alongside her husband, Cody Rhodes. She then got involved in the TNT Championship match between Sammy Guevara and Scorpio Sky, attacking Tay Conti (Guevara's girlfriend) at ringside and signing her contract on top of both of them while they were unconscious. 

"12 Gauge" talked about joining the WWE as far back as 2017, telling Sports Illustrated at the time, "It's definitely something I see myself competing in, I think it's an amazing organization and I would love to transfer into the WWE. Right now I am making a run at the UFC and I'm still really strong and confident in what I'm doing now but eventually, yeah I'd love to transfer over."