After joining WWE almost eight years ago, Renee Young has officially made her exit from the worldwide leader in sports entertainment. While rumors had circulated for nearly a week, the move was made official during the SummerSlam pre-show Sunday night, followed by Young herself weighing in on her transition later Monday.
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This November would mark 8 years in WWE. 8 years!! An opportunity of a lifetime with a global company to learn, grow, make history and do things beyond my wildest dreams before I left Toronto for this adventure. I made friends, family- literally family- I met my husband here (what a fucking dreamboat) and people that will be a part of my life forever. I did things Icouldn’t have even imagined or dreamt up. From backstage interviews, a reality show, Talking Smack, being the first woman to be a part of a WWE broadcast in Saudi Arabia, tbeing the first woman to sit at the commentary desk full time on Monday Night Raw, calling Wrestlemania, anchoring a brand new show with Fox Sports (which you guys will still be able to catch me on!) I’ve been so lucky. But it’s also been a lot of my hard work, drive and passion that’s landed me in these amazing spots. I’ve had such an incredible run with WWE. It’s changed my life. But that all leads me to now. What’s next? Do I stay satisfied with what I’ve done? Or do I go in pursuit of new barriers and goals in mind? I always choose the latter. I have no idea what that means or looks like, but it’s time for me to go. Time to roll the dice again and shake things up. Time to light that fire again and forge on. Time to say bye to Renee Young and reconnect with Renee Paquette and remember why I started this journey to begin with. And as the ride slows down- as the world slows down, I see it as my opportunity to make a move. So I just wanted to say thanks to WWE and to the all the fans that have been so damn cool to me over the years. And send a crap ton of love to all of my people. I’m excited for the future! Thanks for everything ❤️
Despite current WWE talent, fans and media paying their respects to Young, it somehow doesn’t do her time in the organization justice. Young really hit her stride hosting Talking Smack alongside Daniel Bryan, leading to one of the transcendent moments of the show’s short tenure.
Young would call her time on the weekly show the “single thing” she enjoyed the most during her time in WWE in an op-ed in the Players Tribune.
“Like I finally got a chance to do something approaching ‘my thing.’ I could be fun, I could be sassy, I could be a little messy and a little rough around the edges and real — and that’s just always been my M.O. I think it worked, too: talent got to be themselves on Talking Smack: there was sort of this IDGAF attitude, but at the same time you were seeing work. Like, some of the character work that guys did on our show was just unreal. And PEOPLE GOT OVER!!”
It was understandable then — and obviously now — why it hurt for Young to learn the show was moving from weekly to monthly. On Twitter of all places.
Hmmmm that's one way to get news. https://t.co/sNIYUZfD7N
— Renee Paquette (@ReneePaquette) July 14, 2017
Really disappointed about #TalkingSmack. We tried to make that show great. Guess I'll go back to welcoming my guest at this time.
— Renee Paquette (@ReneePaquette) July 14, 2017
The work she put into that show was outstanding and her talent shined through in an undeniable way. From there, Young would set on a trailblazing path over the next three years, lining up what the future could look like for aspiring broadcasters. She joined the broadcast team for the first-ever Mae Young Classic, became the first woman to take on a permanent role on the Raw announce team and was a member of the broadcast team for the first-ever all women’s Evolution event.
As Young reflects on her time in WWE, she recognizes the moments — like being the first woman to call a full episode of Raw — as untouchable, but wishes she fought for herself a bit more when moments got tough.
“I wish I’d fought for myself a little more, just in general, in those moments when I felt like I was drowning or even just treading water. And I wish I’d gone to more of the right people for more of the right advice, instead of letting my emotions or my insecurities get the better of me,” Young wrote. “I also think that’s the gift and the curse of going first, though, you know what I mean? No one said blazing trails was easy.”
Despite those second thoughts on her career, Young’s work will be remembered fondly on the impact she made throughout the Women’s Evolution. While stars like Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley will top the Hall of Fame list as their careers come to a close, there’s no question Young should be right there in the spotlight as well.
Who knows what’s next for Young. She acknowledged in her Instagram post that fans can still find her on Fox Sports. But outside of that, there’s no real knowledge of where she’ll end up next.
Fans will try to make the connection with AEW, where her husband is the reigning World Champion. And while she may end up there, that speculation does nothing but do a disservice to the work Young has done. She has established herself as a top personality that has the talent to do whatever she wants, whether that be in the scope of wrestling or not. And as young women grow up with aspirations to main event WrestleManias and call weekly episodic wrestling episodes, they’ll do so following the steps of women like Young, knowing fully that it’s well within their reach.