Recently on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, WWE Legends Edge and Christian spoke with fellow Canadian, WWE personality Renee Young. Young talked about getting her start hosting a pro wrestling TV show in Canada, growing up a fan of the genre, having a bad audition with WWE, and having reservations about her WWE character's name.
According to Young, she fell into a pro wrestling gig while working for The Score Television Network in Canada. Young, also known as Renee Paquette, claimed she had to do copious amounts of research on pro wrestling for the Aftermath show because of the 'fickleness' of fans.
"I was doing a whole bunch of different interviews, going down [and] doing stuff with the Raptors and with the Leafs, and stuff like 'man-on-the-street' kind of stuff." Young continued, "and then, they asked if I wanted to do a [pro] wrestling show and I was like, 'okay'. And then, yeah, I had to do a whole bunch of research and figure everything out because we all know that wrestling fans can be somewhat fickle-minded. You can't step on their toes in any manner, so I had to do a whole bunch of research and make sure I knew what I was talking about. And, yeah, a few years later, I moved to WWE. It's very odd."
Young indicated that she grew up a fan of pro wrestling, but fell off as she got older.
"So I was [a pro wrestling fan growing up]. I was when I was younger, when I was a kid, but I had fallen out from watching it. I mean, I was always playing a bunch of sports growing up. I was always a busy kid doing stuff, so I did fall out from watching it. But yeah, once I kind of resubmerged myself in it, I got back in it seeing who was still around, what was going on, what the storylines were, and everything." Young added, "I knew enough about it, but I didn't know everything about it. I wasn't like the voice of wrestling by any stretch at that point, so yeah, I had to figure some stuff out."
Also during the podcast, Young admitted that she had some reservations about leaving her Canadian TV gig, though she had a few outstanding offers at the time as well as a great audition with ESPN a week prior to getting a call from WWE.
"Yeah, I definitely did - I certainly had some reservations in the sense that I was winding down at The Score no matter what, so I was looking for my next step. And I knew that I wanted my next step to be in the U.S. And I did, at the time, have a couple of different offers on the table or a lot of different career path opportunities." Young recalled, "but the week of my audition at WWE, I think it was later in the week or maybe it was a Monday to a Monday kind of situation, but the week prior, I had gone to ESPN because they were really heavily considering bringing me in to take over SportsNation when Michelle Beadle first left. Yeah, so I was down there, went in, had a great audition, like, you know when you have a s--t audition, but this was like a good audition, everyone was giving me high-fives."
Although Young believes she had a bad audition with WWE, she got the job anyway.
"The next week, my agent was like, 'hey, WWE wants to bring you in.' I was like, 'okay, cool,' went down, had, like, not a great audition with WWE by any stretch," Young acknowledged. "I went for my audition, went and did commentary with [an unnamed former WWE commentator], which was brutal, brutalious, it was quite heinous. And I was like, 'wait, what am I doing? What?' And it was just a feeling of a lot of pressure figuring out what doing commentary does, which I still haven't figured out, and they gave me a battery and they were like, 'sell this to me.' They put me through the gauntlet, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen. Lo and behold, here I am and I got the job, you guys."
Apparently. 'Renee Sterling' was Young's original WWE name. The subject of having a 'ring name' became a source of some tension for Young, as she already began her TV career using the Paquette name and did not realize a name change was part of the deal with WWE.
"When I got the job, it was still a weeks weeks after that and I was going back and forth from like Stamford [Connecticut] to Toronto, and figuring out my visa, blah, blah, blah, whatever." Young remembered, "and I got an email with my new name change, which was Renee Sterling and I was so stressed out about this. Yeah, it was Renee Sterling. I didn't know that my name was going to change and that kind of threw me for a loop because, as [Edge and Christian] said, I was working in Canada before and had been on TV before, so I felt very odd about changing my name. And then, they let me give a few other name options and I ended up with Young."
Young noted that 'ring names' may no longer be required for WWE commentators now.
"Yeah, it's super odd and, like, I do get it in the way of like, it's different now. A lot of people got to keep their name." Young explained, "we've hired a few other people that are down in NXT now and they've all got to keep their name, so it seems like that may be dying off, but I felt like that kind of put me into the machine of WWE for all rights and whatnot for them to just own the name. But yeah, that was the biggest thing I had reservations about. I just felt like I didn't know that was going to be part of the deal and it threw me for a loop. And it was not met with good reception when I didn't want to change my name, but that was somebody else who also doesn't work here."
Brother brother. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness