Tay Conti was on a recent episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. Conti was released last year as part of WWE’s cost-cutting releases during the pandemic. She recalled the meetings she had with WWE and what was said in them, and she recalled her reaction to her release.
“I was asking for my release for a couple months. I was not happy,” Conti stated. “I was so unhappy there that I didn’t have any plans. I was just like, I want to get out of here. I’m not happy, and I never thought about, oh, what am I gonna do if they give me my release? I never thought about it. I was like, I just need to be done with them, and of course, they said no a couple times. We were having a bunch of meetings. I was like, nope, I’m just done. Please let me go. So at the last one, they told me, ‘No, you’re not going,’ and they mentioned AEW.
“I remember they told me, ‘No, you’re not gonna go to AEW. ‘We put a lot of money on you. You are star blah, blah, blah.’ I’m like, ‘Yes, you guys don’t use me here. So I gotta go somewhere, but it’s not there. I know nobody there. I have no plans to go to AEW.’ I had no plans because I had no contacts at all. At end of the day, we figured it out. They said, no, and I still had two years in my contract. And I was like, well, what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna be here. They told me, ‘Okay, you can be at home. We’re going to pay you. You can be at home.’ I’m like, ‘No, because I know everybody’s going to forget about me, and I won’t be able to work.’ And I was like, no, it’s okay. I’m going to make it two more years.
“I’m going to keep working, I have no choice right? We decided to keep working, and everything was good. We got in good terms, and then something had to change because I was not with training the schedule, whatever. I was back to work normally. Out of nowhere, they called me because of — I mean, not out of nowhere. Everybody knew was what was going on because of COVID, but I was not expecting the call since we were okay. They told me ‘we are finally letting you go’ not in a really good, I don’t how to explain it without being too mean, they’re not too nice.”
Conti reflected on her time in WWE. She also revealed what she did after her WWE release.
“I’m so grateful for them because honestly, they changed my life,” Conti expressed. “I came to the U.S. They bet on me, and they helped me a lot. They really changed my life, and I’m grateful for it, but the last year, I was not happy. I gotta go. So that was super hard. That was one of the worst days of my life to be honest. I was lost, sad, upset and everything.
“It was like, damn, what am I gonna do now? It turns out that was the best thing that ever happened to me because after this, I had no job, and I bought a house. How did I do that? I don’t know. After a couple weeks, I was like, damn, I’m happy. That’s what I want. I was figuring out my life. ‘What I can do with the money that I saved?’ I came from a really poor neighborhood. My family was really poor. So having a house and a car was something that was not a thing for me to be honest.
“I had those dreams, but they were so far from me that when I did them, I was like, damn, I have no job, I’m happy, I just bought a house and I bought the car that I always wanted, what a good life! And then after this, I got my contract at AEW. I was like, oh my god, I have nothing to complain about. I live a good life. I’m just so grateful.”
Edwards and Schiavone then asked Conti about her time before WWE. She revealed her reaction to WWE’s interest in her.
“I never ever watched wrestling before. I had no idea what wrestling was before,” Conti admitted. “Wrestling, it’s not a big thing in Brazil like here in the U.S. So when they contacted me, that was through a friend. He was like, ‘Hey, this opportunity, blah, blah, blah.’ I’m like, ‘Hell no! I’m not getting out of my country to go to a different country that does something that I don’t even know what it is. It may be prostitution.’ He was like, ‘No let’s look on the internet or whatever,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s let’s see what it is.’ I was looking at it, I was like, oh, it looks fun, but in my view, I had no idea.
“I contacted, not a friend because Adrian Jaoude, he was working for WWE at that time, and I knew him from competitions because he was an athlete before. And I was like, well, I kind of know him. He’s not gonna lie to me. His family’s well respected in Brazil. I’m gonna go talk to him and see what it is. And he was like, ‘Hey, it’s a great opportunity and blah, blah, blah. You should try it.’ And I was like, okay, let’s try it. I came up for a tryout, and in my first day of my tryout, they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re signed.’ I’m like, ‘Well, we still have two days.’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, you’re gonna do it, but you’re signed.'”
Schiavone then asked Conti what she learned from her time in WWE.
“Honestly, I learned a lot. First of all, I learned that I need to speak up when I’m not happy, not in a bad way but in a nice way” Conti said. “I was holding for so long, and I was accepting everything that people told me that hurt me and everything that I never said [anything]. When I started talking, that’s when things were ugly there because when you speak up there, that’s when people are like, ‘Oh, why are you doing this? You should be quiet.’ And I learned a lot about the business like how to be respectful? A lot of people there were really important to me to help me grow a lot.
“I remember people were saying, ‘Hey, you just got here. He has 10 years of experience. You get out of the chair and give him the chair,’ and that’s how I learned. I was happy to do it because in judo, it’s the same thing. It’s a respect, and we have to respect people who have more experience than us. I gotta prove my worth here, and that’s what I’m going to do. That was hard because a couple of people were disrespectful, which is different, but I learned a lot. I learned how to love and respect the business. I feel that’s the most important thing for me that I learned there. I do love, and I do respect wrestling a lot.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.