Former WWE star Summer Rae joined The Sessions with Renee Paquette Tuesday morning and, in addition to talking about her announced appearance at the 2022 WWE Women’s Royal Rumble, she also talked about why she originally left WWE in 2017.
“I had a bone spur in my vertebrae in my neck, my C4,” Summer said. “And then I had thoracic outlet syndrome. I think you can live with bone spurs. Old people have them from car accidents and stuff like that, though I’m very young to have them. But thoracic outlet syndrome is horrible. A lot of Major League pitchers have it and it’s called TOS. Any time I kind of flex my hand, it’s like shooting pain. To lift weights, I do five to ten pounds because its nerve damage basically. What they wanted to do is remove the first rib. I was like ‘absolutely not, I’m not doing that. I’m just always going to have physical therapy or a chiropractor.'”
When Paquette asked if the injuries were caused by wrestling, Summer Rae confirmed that was in fact the case. She believes the constant trauma helped lead to the injuries, though she doesn’t believe it will keep her from wrestling every once in a while if she wants.
“It’s from constant trauma,” Summer said. “The bone spurs are from constantly doing this (wrestling). You can only do so much. And the nerve damage probably comes from compressed nerves. I probably could’ve gotten more PT during it, I probably should’ve been treated once a week. So it’s weird. It wasn’t just one bump. When Nikki Bella, she can track it down to where it was, and I’m really happy she got cleared to compete.
“For me, it wasn’t a ‘do I get cleared or not?’ situation. I don’t really know. Like I’ll be fine, but then I’ll need to get adjusted and stuff. Personally, I don’t think I could ever be on the road 300 days a year again bumping. But I can definitely do some things. I’m also not looking to get in there and do suplexes, I’d rather just do whatever out there and have the adrenaline going. But I’ve also rolled around with some people and stuff and done some MMA stuff, and I didn’t feel rusty.”
Ultimately the injuries kept Summer Rae from wrestling for over a year, and the inactivity ultimately led to her release. Summer believes things were handled well between her and WWE on the way out, however, and ultimately thinks the release allowed her the opportunity to pursue other ventures.
“So when all that happened, I just kind of took a chill from WWE and got treatment and was going to rehab three to four times a week and was off the road,” Summer said. “And then when I kind of started to feel better, it was so long ago that I don’t remember if I asked to go back on the road. I wanted to be used in like an acting capacity or a managing capacity.
“I definitely remember that I had a really great talk with Vince, and I’m just very honest with him. With the company back then, it’s different than now. I was in Maxim Hot 100, or I had this company wanting to do a shoot with me, but legally they would have to go through WWE to book me. So I was all ‘if I’m just sitting at home collecting a paycheck, that’s nice to the viewers at home, but for me, I’m just not advancing. I’m just getting older every year and not doing anything creatively.’
“So I just had really good talks with him. He loved me as a voice and as a manager and he was like ‘yeah, let’s find a space with you.’ But I totally understood I’m also not Randy Orton, and it’s out of sight, out of mind. When you’re at home, you’re very much out of sight. I was proud of myself for speaking up a lot towards the end, but I also think now I’m just a very different human and I’ve gone through so many things since I left and learned how to navigate business more.
“Eventually they let me go, which is great because then you have a different set of royalties than if you quit. Technically I was fired, but it was with great communication. It was always knowing that I personally think I never would’ve left if I wasn’t injured. I definitely think the universe gave me the injury to set me free and let me go do that. There were so many times I felt I should’ve left before, and I just didn’t. It’s also comfortable and it’s nice to have consistent money after the pandemic. You realize how amazing that is.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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