Taynara Conti originally didn’t accept WWE’s initial offer.
In an interview with Ring The Belle, Conti revealed WWE offered her a contract after seeing one of her photo shoots, but that she wasn’t sure what they were. Conti said the company was looking for Brazilian talent like her.
“(The photographer) asked what if we do a photo shoot in (a judo) kimono,” Conti said. “Then he was like, ‘Let’s do a sexy one,’ and I wanted to do it to piss (off) my ex-boyfriend. When he posted the pictures on his Instagram. He was from France so he had a lot of followers, and WWE found my pictures. They were looking for Brazilian talents. They figured out that I was not just a model, and someone contacted me. I was like, ‘No.’ I didn’t have any idea what it is. To be honest, I thought it was something with like prostitution.”
Conti’s name in WWE came from combining her name with her husband’s last name, which was perfect for her since she didn’t change her name after marrying him. Although she was the butt of some jokes because of her name, Conti said it didn’t bother her.
“I don’t care,” she said. “You need to do so much to really affect me. If they’re having fun, it’s whatever.
“It is my husband’s last name. My husband is half Italian, ‘Conti’ is an Italian name. But then I think WWE found out all the jokes and stuff, and they changed it. They took out ‘Conti.'”
Conti signed with WWE at the tail end of 2016 and was sent to the Performance Center to train. She wrestled in both iterations of the Mae Young Classic, though didn’t find much success during her time in NXT.
Conti was released from WWE in April amid the many coronavirus related cutbacks and releases. She said being released was tough to deal with at first.
“I was not expecting it at all,” she said. “When I talked to them a couple of months ago, they told me that they are not letting me go. Not gonna lie, what a bad moment. When I got the call, I was by myself at home, and I was just crying. I just started crying, and they were like, ‘Okay I’m gonna, you know, let you digest.’
“I was feeling really bad for a couple of days, but after that I was happy. Of course, that was not the right time for me, because I was not expecting that in the middle of the pandemic. I don’t know much about indie or other companies, but I know I can learn, and it’s exciting. There’s no chance I’m going back to Brazil and forgetting about wrestling.”
Conti is excited to continue her career in wrestling on the indie scene. She said she was grateful for her time in WWE, but she wasn’t happy in her final months working there.
“I was not happy there in the last couple of months,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I will never forget that it changed my whole life, and I will be forever grateful. But at the same point, I need to get better. I need to think about my future. I need to feel that I’m useful. I was trying to have conversations asking for opportunities. I never asked for something big. I never asked for a TakeOver. I never asked for a title shot, because I know everything’s step by step. But I was like, ‘Oh I have been doing this for a long time.’
“I think it’s time to get better. It’s time to show them more about me. I have never done a promo. I was never in a storyline. (WWE kept) saying that I’m good, that I’ll be a star. All the feedback was always amazing. I tried to change like a hundred times. Believe me, I pitched like a hundred different gimmicks. They were like, ‘No keep doing what you’re doing. Just keep going, the opportunity is coming.’ But opportunities never came.”
During her time in WWE, Conti showed how proud she was of her Brazillian roots. She represented the country during her Mae Young Classic runs and poses with the Brazilian flag often. She said no matter what she does next, she hopes to represent her country proudly.
“I feel in my heart, that I was born to represent my country and to represent my people,” she said. “I don’t know where. I don’t know how. But somehow I will represent them. I will always do my best to represent my people and my country.”
You can see Ring The Belle’s entire interview with Conti above.