In an appearance on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette over SummerSlam weekend, WWE star Eva Marie talked about her initial run with WWE. She looks back fondly on the time, especially when she worked the NXT brand and wrestled several stars who are now big names on RAW and Smackdown.

“I really feel like I came in at such a beautiful time,” Eva Marie said. “The girls that I did come in with, immediately on the main roster, now aren’t there. But I did get to go back down to NXT and work without the girls that are killing it now up on the roster. One of my favorite times, when I was still in the company, was when I went back down to NXT and I got to work with Bayley. She’s absolutely incredible. (That’s) my favorite storyline thus far, besides the one I’m currently in.

“But that was obviously going for the title at NXT, and just to learn from her and appreciate the psychology of storytelling and make it compelling was such a cool experience for me. Bayley makes everything look so damn simple, when I’m like ‘what?! What’s going on?!’ So to really kind of have that, and then also be able to work with all the other girls. From Becky to Charlotte to Sasha to Alexa to Carmela, it’s awesome. It’s kind of like a weird deja vu because I’m back with the same crew that I used to work with there.”

Before her NXT run, Eva’s claim to fame with WWE was being part of Total Divas when the show began in 2013. She reflected on how crazy filming the show was and also how she feels Total Divas helped the growth of women’s wrestling.

“So many things were happening at once,” Eva Marie recalled. “And then on top of that you have to think ‘it’s not just a reality show. This is your job.’ You’re trying to be a WWE superstar at the same time you’re trying to navigate and learn the backstage etiquette. You’re trying to learn all of the things. It was definitely interesting, but I wouldn’t change it for the world because I feel like Total Divas also opened up such a different demographic for the wrestling world. It showcased so many women killing it out there.

“There’s so many guys out here that I met that are fans and were like ‘oh my god, thank god for Total Divas. Now my wife, my girlfriend, now she’s going to tune into Monday Night RAW or Smackdown because they saw these girls interacting, good bad or indifferent, while also trying to navigate relationships.’ And that whole kind of situation, as well as travel, TV and the other girls and at the end of the day, chaos. But at the end of the day, (they’re) being a bad ass. So I really feel like Total Divas helped put more of a light on the women’s division.”

Other big stars from Total Divas were Brie and Nikki Bella, who like Eva have gone on to establish brands away from wrestling. While she keeps in contact with former WWE performer Maryse more than the Bellas, Eva is thrilled to see how well they are doing.

“Maryse and I actually talk quite often,” Eva Marie said. “The twins and I don’t bounce ideas off one another, but obviously through social media and stuff we stay in contact. But it’s one of those things where there’s nothing better to see other women, especially women that you worked with, out there murdering it. And I know obviously on Total Divas it showed me and the twins always butting heads and things of that nature, them being the veterans and me just being that rookie. But it’s one of those things where it’s kind of like a sisterhood. You go through the pains and the trials, but then you work through it and you get over it. And then you’re better for it. And now they’re killing it, entrepreneurs, moms. They’re crushing it.”

Eva returned to WWE earlier this year. Eva noted that she reached out to Vince McMahon directly regarding her return to WWE.

“I had a conversation with Vince through emails,” Eva Marie said. “So that’s kind of how it started. Just always keeping in contact via email of things that I was doing outside of WWE, making sure he was fully aware that ‘Eva Marie was ready and willing to come back, whenever you see fit.’ And that door was open on my end. It’s one of those things too where if you want something, go ask for it. Or go get it. And make sure that other person or avenue knows about it so they’re not fully closed off. What’s the worst that can happen? You’re just in the position before, where you were originally.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription