The Wrestling Inc. Daily welcomed former WWE Superstar Ariane Andrew onto the podcast after she made her return to wrestling since 2016. Andrew was set to return for GameChanger Wrestling at WrestleMania weekend, but those events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrew revealed on The Wrestling Inc. Daily that her AEW Dynamite appearance was her first time back in the ring since January of this year with very little preparation beforehand.
"So that's the crazy thing because I feel like the response is definitely positive compared to back in the day where literally the wrestling community is ripping me a new a--hole, but I actually had not been training at all, except for preparing for the match for Effy's 'Big Gay Brunch,'" Andrew revealed. "I was trained by Rikishi's school. I decided to take it upon myself to go back to obviously train. Was doing a little bit of that. It was just such a small like stint because I had gotten super busy with everything else I was working on, and then Corona hit, so I literally had not stepped in the ring probably since January. And that was only for a little bit.
"So it's crazy when people are like, 'wow, she's improved.' I was like little do people know I have less than a week when everything even happened with AEW. I literally went out with zero training. We didn't get to go over anything except for the finish. So literally it was like I am praying to Jesus Christ and the universe that I do not f--k this up because I know people are waiting for me to fail. So that's actually the real, and I don't think most people know that because like, 'oh, yeah, she's been training.' I'm like, 'no, I haven't' because I just a back in the ring in January, and then coronavirus. So it's like I wasn't training."
Andrew also revealed that AEW Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes was the one to reach out to her for her AEW appearances. Andrew admitted that she considered declining Rhodes' offer since it had been so long since she had wrestled and was worried about any potential backlash. However, she decided to do it for herself and not live to regret not going to AEW.
"Brandi actually reached out to me, and like I said, it was super last minute," Andrew noted. "At the time, I was visiting my boyfriend in Phoenix, so I was like, OK, I gotta get back to LA. Corona is happening. So I have to get back. I have no gear. My weave is falling off. I haven't gotten my weave done, and I almost said no because I felt like I wasn't prepared. And again, out of all the projects I do, wrestling scares me the most because I know I didn't have much training, and I know how particular fans are. And I just wanted to make sure that I succeed it. So I was like, I just need more time, but in life, when things happen, when are you ever really prepared?
"So it's like, you know what, I'm going to go out there and regardless of what happens, regardless of what people think, I'm doing something for me. It's not for fans. It's not for [the] management team and what they think. I'm doing it for myself because I really truly do have a passion for the ring, and I missed it. And I was like, you know what, maybe this never happens again, and I never want to look back at life and regret it. No matter what the outcome was going to be."
Rhodes spent a few years in WWE at the same time as Andrew. Andrew noted though that she and Rhodes were never too close with one another since Rhodes was mainly a ring announcer, but the two maintained a friendly relationship to the point where Andrew reached out to Rhodes saying that she was available for any opportunities that could potentially open up.
"No, not really. FCW was kind of in the transition at the time as I got called up on the road," Andrew recalled. "We would practice, but she was more of the ring announcer. I don't think I ever worked with Brandi at all in the ring. I mean she's always a super sweet girl, and I'm very happy to see what she's doing. We were never like super close.
"I just think the opportunity was there. She was like, 'you know what, I'm going to reach out.' I will say this. Back in August, I did reach out to her saying, 'hey putting it out there. If you ever need me or if there's ever room for us to work together, hit me up.' So then a week before she was like, 'hey girl, remember I told you I would keep you in mind,' and then here we are."
After competing on Dynamite, Andrew was paired with Nyla Rose for "The Deadly Draw" tag team tournament. Andrew said that AEW was very welcoming, and she enjoyed tagging with Rose pointing out the dynamics of their characters.
"She's amazing," Andrew said. "Actually, everybody in the AEW world is super welcoming, which [was] another thing I was scared about because I was like, 'how are people going to feel with me being here? It was just a completely different environment of what I was used to. So to be able to work with her, I think, was super cool because she is a top person in the division, and I think it was very fitting for her storyline of what she represents as being in that beast mode.
"At first I was like well, this is a very interesting dynamic. I'm very sassy, and that's my character. She's very like, I'm going to f--k a b--ch up. So I was like, 'I wonder how this is gonna play out,' but it worked out like how it was supposed to work out. I think it worked out good."
Andrew's AEW appearances have been met with praise with many remarking at how much Andrew has improved from her time in WWE. However, Andrew revealed how nervous she was because of the how long she had been away from wrestling.
"I was ready to s--t my pants. I'm not gonna lie," Andrew admitted. "I already suffer from anxiety. So I feel like my anxiety was on a 1000% because if I'm being real, I felt like I wasn't comfortable. I guess because where my biggest strength is, I know where my strengths are and where my weakness is, entertaining. In the ring, it's like, 'OK, am I delivering this right?' I'm so in my head about that.
"That's what made me feel uncomfortable and just for being away for four years and never having a match, that was what scared me. Again, wanting to deliver and not get ridiculed, but then I feel like what helps me get through is when I turn on my charisma and using that moment to shine because that's where that's where my strengths are."
Ariane can be heard every week via her Sippin' The Tea TV Show. For more information on that and all of her projects please follow her on Twitter @ArianeAndrew. Ariane's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.