Saraya (fka Paige) was a recent guest on Talk Is Jericho and discussed her final years with WWE leading up to her arrival in AEW at the Grand Slam event. The former Divas Champion suffered what was believed to be a career-ending neck injury in late 2017 and had to announce her retirement the following April. Initially, WWE consistently used her on television as the SmackDown general manager but had to give up the position when WWE tried to do away with all onscreen authority figures.
"Road Dogg is so sweet and he's always trying to baby me," Saraya said when explaining how the news was broken to her. "And he was just like, 'So, we're probably not going to do the GM anymore, so you won't have to come to work tomorrow.' And then he decided that I was going to come and do a goodbye speech as GM, which I thought was really sweet, too. So, I ended up like flying in, doing that first segment of the show, and then flying back."
She'd go on to have a number of onscreen roles after that, first as the Kabuki Warriors' manager and later as a panelist on the WWE Backstage show. However, he appearances quickly dwindled during the pandemic and the company opted to let her contract expire this past Summer. While she got the chance to build up a successful streaming career in the meantime, she still described those final years as "depressing."
"But I ended up sitting in my house for three or four years," she said. "And that's the most depressing thing, because you just feel like you're completely useless. And then you can't go and do anything else because you're under a contract where even though you're an independent contractor, you still have to get permission to do stuff. And then it would get turned down."
Is Saraya Cleared to Wrestle in AEW?
Whether or not Saraya can wrestle again remains a mystery. Reports last week popped up indicating it's likely, but Saraya herself has not outright addressed it on AEW programming. She's currently in a feud with Dr. Britt Baker and was allowed to trade punches with her on a recent Dynamite, but she didn't take a bump at any point during the scuffle.