Welcome to our WrestlingINC live coverage of the “Saraya: Turning the Page” panel from Starrcast V! Don’t forget to share our Viewing Party with your friends on social media and be sure to chime in with your thoughts about the show in the comments section below. Make sure you keep hitting that refresh button to stay up to date with all of the latest coverage.

The panel begins with Jon Alba and Sam Leterna greeting fans at home and promoting Ric Flair’s Last Match later today. We head to the stage where host Brian Zane comes out and greets the audience. He gives a brief overview of Saraya’s career and introduces the former Diva’s Champion.

Saraya says that she’s anxious because she hasn’t done a panel in a while. Saraya says she’ll never talk s**t about WWE, but she knew that when John Laurenitis called her during the middle of “Smackdown”, she knew she was going to be released. She said hat she was fine with it because she was tired of sitting at home doing nothing, but she said she missed the pay check.

Saraya reveals that she’s currently writing a book to be released next year. She then went on to say that while she loves AEW, she isn’t headed there. She mentioned she wants to face Dr. Britt Baker.

Zane asks her if she’ll ever return to the ring and Saraya says she would love to. She says that she remembers feeling paralyzed when she first re-injured her neck, but she doesn’t blame Sasha Banks for and was upset that she took so much heat. Saraya said that her first neck injury felt like a pop before she later lost all strength in her arm.

Zane then asked her about Absolution. She revealed that they didn’t know if they were going to put her with Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan or Sarah Logan. She said that they put her with Rose and Deville because they had history when she judged them on their season of “Tough Enough”. She said it was ultimately Vince McMahon’s idea from the group. Zane asked if the plan was for the group to be heel, and Saraya said that she was happy the group was a heel faction because she loves being a heel. She said that it’s easier to get reactions from fans as a heel. Saraya reminisced over her first appearance on the main roster as a baby face the night after WrestleMania and said she wished she was heel. She said she thought that being a baby face could be boring at times. Zane asked her about the long term plans for Absolution and she said you never know what the long term plans are in WWE. She said promos constantly change and you never know what’s happening on a day to day basis until the show starts. She said it was even harder to manage it as the general manager.

Zane then asked her when she smartened up about the business and she says it took her a long time to realize wrestling “isn’t real”. She says that she started rolling around in the ring when she was young and had her first match when she was 13 after her dad needed a girl. She said she got hooked after the first bump in the match. Zane asked what the difference was between training schools in America and the UK and Saraya said she thinks Britain doesn’t care as much about kids being 18. She said that Britain has kids shows as well for young kids who want to wrestle.

Zane then asked Saraya about her time in Shimmer Wrestling with her mother at age 13. She said she started travelling her own at 14 and she began sending her own resume. She said an Irish promotion didn’t accept her resume because she was a woman, and continued to say that a Norwegian promotion accepted her application first. Saraya revealed she met fellow wrestler Jessica McKay while at the company. Zane asked what it was like p for her to move to America alone at 18 when she was signed to NXT. She said that back then, you were on your own for accommodations and things like that. She said she didn’t know many people in the country and she was scared, but the owner of Shimmer helped her out loads. She said she didn’t have money, but her friend sent her a bunch of money so she could buy furniture for her apartment. She revealed she also bought a dog. Saraya said that it was only her and four other girls that didn’t like her at first because they were intimidated by her and she looked very different from them with her gothic style.

Zane asked the advice she got when she left for America and Saraya said her dad told her “don’t f*** up”. She said that she called her dad because she felt so alone after about 3 months and he motivated her to keep going. She said that it was also hard on her family back in the UK and her father posted about her all the time on his Facebook.

Zane asked if she was under the impression that the Women’s Revolution would be happening in a few years and she said she hoped it would at some point. She said that she was miserable while she had to do a bikini contest before she was even 21 and after that, she spoke to her fellow colleagues. They went to management and they scrapped it. Saraya revealed that when Bill DeMot took over NXT, he gave her a hard time. She said he told her to “wear more colour” and “look more like a Diva”. She even revealed that during her first tryout, she dyed her hair blonde and got a spray tan to try to fit in with everyone else. Saraya continued on to say that during her second tryout, she wore her piercings and had her dark hair. She wrestled against a bunch of men (including her brother) and was the only women at the tryout. She got signed after that and she started to freak out because she was the only one from the tryout who was signed.

Zane asked Saraya what she learned from Dusty Rhodes and she said he told her to be herself. She recounted the story of the time she ran out of promo class with him in NXT, while working along with Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Jon Moxley. She said that he helped her learn how to do promos better and how to think quick on her feet.

Zane then asks her about crowning the inaugural NXT Women’s Championship. She says that she wasn’t supposed to wrestle that day because she had a surgery to remove a benign cyst the day of the finals. She said it was supposed to go to Shaul Guerrero, but she had a neck injury. She was cleared to compete against Tenille Dashwood and said that she thought it was cool that she was able to do a superplex off the top rope. She said it was really cool to be the first champion and complimented Mandy Rose on her current title reign, aging she couldn’t be more proud.

Zane then asks her about her main roster debut the night after WrestleMania when she won the Diva’s Title to become the youngest champion ever. Saraya recalls being backstage with a couple other NXT women at the pay per view and getting a text from the Rock. She says someone came to take her to him and he said that he saw her documentary. The Rock said he loved it and he wanted to turn it into a movie. Saraya started crying and he told her that she’s winning the Diva’s Championship tomorrow, but she can’t tell anyone yet. She said Fit Finlay later confirmed the news to her before they told AJ Lee and Tamina the plan. Saraya revealed that she hated the Paige Turner, but her life changed after that day.

Saraya said that she put tons of pressure on herself and said she was still insecure about her looks. Zane then asks her about how she changed from her initial debut to WrestleMania 31 and she said her gear change made her more confident. She said she enjoyed her match, where she teamed up with AJ Lee to take on the Bella Twins, but she thought she could’ve done more.

Saraya said that the women were frustrated in the locker room when #GiveDivasAChance started. She said the women would be cut or given a shorter time frame to do segments if the men went over, and they were all tired of it. She said that the crowd took notice of the women being improperly utilized and the fan support made them feel good. She said the fan support really spear headed the change and thanked them.

Zane then asked Team PCB, Team Bella and Team BAD. Saraya said that while it’s great they brought up all these new women, they didn’t know how to use them at all. Saraya said that fans seemed to be happy when they broke up fans after. Zane asks about the Reid Flair promo in her feud with Charlotte Flair for the Diva’s Championship and Saraya says that it wasn’t her idea at all. Charlotte brought up the idea of making a comment like that and Saraya said that she didn’t have to do it. Saraya said that when she said that, she felt the crowd’s shock. She said she could see how upset Charlotte was and says she said that it is the only thing she regrets in her entire career.

Zane asks Saraya about her retirement speech. She said it was nice to have a big farewell (because women don’t often get a big goodbye) and mentioned that it was Vince’s idea to have her retire in New Orleans. She said that her voice was gone due to stress from the night before and Vince told her to rest it up for the promo. Saraya says that when she got there the next day, tons of people approached her and told her she was going to be the new general manager of “Smackdown”, but no one else knew. She said that she had fun as her time as the GM, but her time came to an end because the company didn’t want any GM’s anymore. She said after that, she wasn’t used because of her neck (aside from the Kabuki Warriors).

Zane asked if she missed being in the ring wrestling, and she said that while she wished she could wrestle, she had a good time cutting all the promos. Zane asked if Saraya saw herself in a producer or creative role and she said she would like to start a training school.

Zane asked Saraya about her fan experiences and she said that people think she’s had plastic surgery done now that she wears less makeup. Zane asks her about Twitch and Saraya says she loves it. She says she can’t play Call of Duty because she gets vertigo, but she loves to do things like cook and build legos. Zane asked her about WWE taking away third party platforms from performers and she said she was very upset. She said she fought hard to keep her Twitch account and she kept doing it anyways. She said she thought the company should let performers have their own thing outside of the company.

Zane wrapped things up and asked Saraya what’s in the next chapter for her. Saraya says that she still finds it weird that people are calling her by her actual name now and says she has a lot of projects in the works right now. Zane thanks Saraya and the fans as the panel comes to a close.

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