Since her arrival at WWE, Renee Young has created many career-defining accolades as a backstage interviewer, commentator and host. For eight years, Young devoted her career to bringing in new and old fans to come together and witness some of the most exciting moments in WWE history. After announcing her official departure, Young has received an outpour of love and appreciation for the work she has done for WWE. In her final interview, she took a moment to thank everyone who sent such positive messages out to her.
“It’s crazy! You look back and say eight years, you know, I had such a great connection with WWE, and [also] with the WWE Universe. To read all this stuff…and to see this affectionate outpour, it really is crazy,” Young noted in her final interview on WWE’s The Bump. “Thank you.”
Throughout her interview, she was asked to reflect on the many roles she’s portrayed. When asked about her backstage interview role, the panel wanted to know who were her favorite Superstars to conduct interviews with. With all the big names she’s had the pleasure of meeting, she says Paul Heyman, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe were the three interviewees that brought out the best in her as a reporter.
“I always love a good heel interview,” she began. “I’ve had some great moments with Paul Heyman. He brought me up a level when I was doing my backstage interviews. He helped me flex my acting chops a bit. Kevin Owens is also great. He always said ridiculous things and tried to get me to pop, and Samoa Joe too.
“Joe was, at the time, doing a program with my husband, and he would say things to me about Jon [to get under my skin]. You try to be professional, but everyone knows that Jon and I are married, so I had to create this undertone where I’d be like, ‘How dare you say that about my husband.’ I’d have to say those would have to be some of my favorite interviews.”
Once Young signed her WWE contract, her breakout role began as the host of “Vintage,” with “Mean” Gene Okerlund. With the knowledge she had from watching wrestling at a young age, she gradually started to shake off the nerves, and enjoy her newly established position with Okerlund.
“So, the very first job I had with WWE, was hosting Vintage with Gene Okerlund,” she recalled. “I was familiar with the show because they aired it on the network that I was working at in Canada. When they told me I was going to be hosting it with him, I was like, ‘Who, me?’
“I’ll never forget my first time [working with him]. I was shaking in my boots. I didn’t know what to do with myself, but I was also so excited to work with him. We worked together on that show for like, gosh, five years or so. When we’d get done filming, we would go out and grab some cocktails. He would tell me all his stories from the road, and what it was like working with Andre [The Giant] and [Hulk] Hogan.
Young said that his presence was something she truly admired. In fact, she claims it was hard to keep her composure, especially because of his comedic gestures.
“He was, to the very end, such a firecracker. He always had that big personality. In between our takes, he always cracked me up; the stuff the flew out of his mouth, he had me in stitches. He was like family to me; we were really close.”
Young made history when she became the first-ever full-time female commentator to call all the action both on WWE’s weekly programming and during their big pay-per-view events. She says opening and closing WrestleMania 35, as well as Crown Jewel, were two monumental moments in her career.
“For commentary, obviously, doing WrestleMania  was a proud moment,” she reflected. “Being able to open and close the show was really cool.
“Also, in Saudi Arabia, that was a great moment. Obviously, calling the show was really cool, but realizing the scope of WWE, and how little girls knew who I was, really put things in perspective for me. It was really wild.”
Before the main event of SummerSlam started, Young gave what she called her “last hurrah” during the pre-show, in front of millions of fans watching worldwide. For many, it’s hard to see such a bright light leave, but for her, she knew it was her time to draw the curtain on what has been a glass-shattering performance on her end.
“I’ve had a lot of great times in WWE, but there have been times where I questioned, ‘Hey, when should I make the jump, what should I do next?’ It’s not easy to walk away from all these people,” she said teary-eyed. “If you don’t think I was crying walking into the airport the other day, you’re wrong. I held on all day, and then I let it all out.”
You can watch Renee Young’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.