Tenille Dashwood, formerly known as Emma, is currently working with Impact Wrestling and has made one appearance for AEW. She’s had some health problems since leaving WWE, but she seems to be back on her feet now and likely to have a bright future. In a recent interview on YouTube, Tenille looked back on her time in WWE as Emma, both how the first version of that character was born, and how her time there eventually came to an abrupt end.
As her original babyface character in NXT and WWE, Emma was known for doing a distinctive dance that sort of looked like she was popping bubbles with her hands (and sometimes, there were bubbles). In her interview with Chris Van Vliet, Tenille talked about how that dance started in the pre-NXT days at FCW:
Yeah, it was me along with Byron Saxton, actually at the time. And it was when Dusty was — we were all at FCW and I picked this new music. At the time, the music that we used was that music. But it was like, ‘This is very strange, almost like a little alien-like, wierd [song].’ So I was like, ‘What do I do? I have to do something when I come out, I can’t just like, walk out.’ So I ended up doing this weird thing with my hands, and they were like, ‘Don’t do that. But maybe a little more like this’ and we kind of adjusted it, and I just kind of kept trying it and trying it. And it evolved from that.
She was surprised by how much the crowd got into her dance, often doing it with her en masse.
Yeah, which was crazy to me. But the NXT crowds were, and still are, awesome like that, where you’re their own product, basically. And they kind of just caught on and kind of grew with me. So then before long, the whole crowd would be doing the dance with me. It just made it so much more fun because I didn’t feel like an idiot anymore. [laughs] And I was like, ‘People like this! All right!’
Years later, after she had evolved into the aviator-sporting Evil Emma, Tenille played a key role in Asuka’s main roster debut, and then was almost immediately released. There were rumors at the time it might have been her choice to leave, but she makes it clear that wasn’t the case:
No, actually, it wasn’t me [who asked for the release]. It was actually a really big shock for me. I had no idea … At the time, I was in a feud with Asuka and we had just done the PPV. And that was her PPV debut. I think it was her actual debut as well. And we had an awesome match, I remember everyone loved it and then we had a match on RAW the night after. And then basically by the end of the week, I had a call saying I was released.
Not only was the release a complete surprise at the time, but according to Tenille she wasn’t given much of a reason.
From what I heard, it was just that — honestly, I don’t even know what [it was], because I feel like there is more to it than what I was told. And it was kind of a very brief conversation, and not necessarily everyone agreed, or whatever it was. But basically I think the boss wasn’t happy with something, and that was kind of it. And I was very shocked, because I literally was packed to go on the European tour. So a two-week tour overseas, had my bags packed. I was going to the airport, it was on a Sunday. I was on the way to the airport basically and got a call and was like ‘What?’
There were rumors at the time that Emma had backstage heat in WWE for the way she used social media, and there were rumors that Vince McMahon held a grudge that she didn’t commit to the Emmalina character. All of those things are certainly still possible, but that doesn’t mean she was told specific reasons at the time.