“I was not working anymore, and it was like, well, do I want to be in wrestling? So I was kind of questioning myself, but it was like, no, I love wrestling,” Conti stated. “That’s what I want. I’m gonna keep trying, and then Luchasaurus was the one that contacted me, and then he tagged Kenny [Omega] in one of my videos on my Twitter. And then he sent me a message like, ‘Hey, I hope everything’s good and blah, blah, blah,’ and I didn’t know Luchasaurus.
“We never talked before, and then I guess Kenny asked for my number. And Luchasaurus was like, ‘Hey, Kenny saw your video. He wants your number,’ so he contacted me. To be honest, there was a different match that they had in mind that didn’t work. After that, I was like, oh, okay, I’m gonna go there and see how I like it and everything to see if they like me. When I got there for the first time, I was super nervous because I didn’t know anyone, and Brandi [Rhodes], Cody, Tony [Khan], everyone was so friendly.
“It was like, oh my god, I really like it here. It’s so different. The first five minutes that I got there, I was like holy crap, it’s totally different from my previous job. So I really liked it, and then I stayed there for the whole day and then after, Tony, Brandi, and Cody talked to me about the opportunity to go for the tag tournament. And I was like, yeah, let’s do it.”
Conti made her AEW debut in the Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament teaming up with Anna Jay. Conti and Jay have become great friends, and Conti revealed whether their team of “TayJay” was something planned beforehand.
“Well, I had no idea,” Conti admitted. “I was sitting on the stands by myself, just looking around. Anna popped up next to me like, ‘Oh my god, you’re beautiful.’ Then we started talking. I was like, yeah you too, and that’s how it started. We started talking about life, work and everything, and she sat with me for the whole day to super late, midnight or whatever.
“And that’s when I had the meeting, the conversation with Tony, Brandi and everyone. They told me like, ‘You’re gonna be a team with Anna Jay. I’m like, wait, what? Hell yeah. So I texted her because we exchanged numbers. ‘Oh my god, guess what? We’re going to be a team.’ We started to come up with ideas and everything. So that was supernatural. We didn’t know. It just happened.”
After the tournament, AEW officially signed Conti. She discussed her mindset about signing a contract after her time in WWE, and she recalled her reaction in her first match after being signed.
“I was not expecting it. That was super fast,” Conti noted. “It was like, I will keep coming and let’s see if we like each other because that was the conversation because since I was not really happy in my previous job, I was like, I don’t know if I want to sign a contract long-term and be unhappy again.
“When they offered it to me, I was like, you know what, I’m pretty sure that I’m happy here. So I’m gonna sign it. I remember my first match after they announced that I got signed, I was so emotional. Let me tell you, I cry a lot. I couldn’t handle myself because that was a new beginning for me.
“A couple of months ago, I thought my career in wrestling was over and here I am in a big platform in a place that I’m happy. I’m actually happy. I can be myself. I don’t feel I’m a judged. When I was like doing my entrance, I was like, damn, I forgot that I had to be Tay Conti. I was Taynara in that moment. I’m so damn grateful. That’s how I feel right now. Every time I gotta go there, It’s like, damn, I gotta go to work. Yes, let’s go! Let’s do it!”
Many fans have pointed out that Conti has developed faster while wrestling in AEW than her time in WWE’s Performance Center. During the fan questions portion of the podcast, one fan asked this exact question, and Conti have her explanation.
“Because I’m happy 100%,” Conti said. “Of course, I have a great trainer. Dustin’s doing great work with me, and I’m grateful for him. I have more time to watch matches, but all of this is happening because I’m happy with myself. I can be who I am without being judged. I can try things. I feel that people trust me.
“I don’t have that pressure on my back every single time like, oh, should I say hi. Should I walk with my right foot or my left? I don’t have that. So that’s why I’m happy, and I can do better. I feel like every time you are happy, everything is better. You can do your best.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.