CJ Perry, f.k.a. Lana, was on a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho where she and Chris Jericho reflected on her run in WWE after being released. She noted how long she had been in the company for.

“July 8 would have been my eight year anniversary of starting in WWE,” Perry revealed. “2013 July 8, I started in the first group at the Performance Center, and Becky Lynch was in that group, and Braun [Strowman] was in that group. It was weird coming back to do WrestleMania.”

Perry recalled the early days of the pandemic last year. She noted how special the fans are to pro wrestling.

“It was terrifying because everything got shut down, and LA was really dramatic, way more dramatic than Florida,” Perry noted. “I was traveling through all of that, and so that was really weird and made me really anxious, and Miro wasn’t there.

“And then we had no crowd and no fans, and I realized just how much I adore the fans and that’s why I do this. This is why I don’t just do movies and television and Hollywood is because of the relationship that we have with the fans, and it separates us over anything else. It really is kind of the third character on the show.”

Perry then talked about the opening of the ThunderDome in the Amway Center last August. She discussed why she enjoyed that time period, and she revealed Vince McMahon rewriting the debut of former WWE star Chelsea Green.

“When we got to Amway, I was so excited that we were back to live television, that Vince couldn’t rethink it and rewrite it 17 times because that’s what was happening,” Perry said. “We were supposed to do on Monday’s RAW and a SmackDown afterwards, and then the following day a RAW and SmackDown afterwards.

“One time I was there for 19 hours to do a 60-second backstage. I’m not even kidding. It was insane. One time Nattie and I, we did this whole segment with Mickie James, and they debuted Chelsea [Green]. This was at the Performance Center. I was managing Nattie. It was the first time I was managing her, and Chelsea was supposed to debut with Mickie. We did it all. We went home. I’m in bed, and we get a call from one of the writers.

“Vince looked at it and said, no, cut the whole thing. And we had to go back to film another backstage, all of it. Chelsea didn’t debut. We had the match. It was just constantly weird stuff like that. Once we went to live television, I was so excited. I was like, yay, we can’t rethink it. It’s out there. Oh, well, for better or for worse.”

Green would later officially debut on SmackDown where she suffered a wrist injury. Green would end up getting released last April.

Perry also mentioned Miro’s WWE release, and she revealed who helped give her the confidence that she could be successful as a singles star. She also noted the effect of the ThunderDome set-up had on her.

“Honestly, when Miro got let go, for me personally, it was harder just in general,” Perry admitted. “I was a lot more depressed. I was a lot more sad. Don’t get me wrong, I had my days of crying and wallowing, but I think partly as a performer and artist, I allow myself to wallow. I’m like, I’m finally not feeling happy, let me wallow, so I can have more emotion when I need to do this part. But with Miro, that f**ked me up. I was, first of all, shook.

“Never in a million years would I thought he would have been fired before me, never, and that place makes you feel that way. That place makes you feel that men are more important than women. That place makes you feel, especially if you are a manager or a valet, that your secondary. Maybe you are secondary but I do feel like I was a big part of his success, and I think I’m a big part of his success behind closed doors at AEW and I can talk about that now.

“A big turn for him was when we started really talking about, let’s make your message a little bit more clear over there, and it is reassuring to me that I actually do grasp storytelling and wrestling as well. So when he got fired, I was beyond devastated. Just with the combination of the pandemic, not knowing what the world is going to hold and I remember Becky [Lynch], I would text Becky a lot, and Becky’s just like, ‘You can do it. You’re a strong woman. Hold it down, work harder than ever,’ but no one really understood why it was so much harder too, except if you were there because the business completely changed.

“All of a sudden, we’re not on live events. We’re in this big arena. There’s no fans there. We still don’t have fans. There’s not even a viewing area. There’s no sense of camaraderie over there. No one watches the show. You come and you go, and that sense of community isn’t there. There were a lot of lonely nights for me, and that was really hard because I was used to spending the last seven years of my life with my best friend. We married each other, but he’s my partner, and he’s really my best friend and so that was really hard, but I was determined that I was not going to quit.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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