Following SummerSlam, Renee Young (Renee Paquette) left WWE after eight years with the company.
Paquette recently appeared on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast to discuss her time in the company. During the conversation, she revealed she decided to leave after WWE Backstage was cancelled and she was diagnosed with COVID-19. With everything happening at once, it made her think about her future and she realised she had done everything she could with the company.
Young said: "I don't know that there was like a definitive, 'I'm leaving now.' I think when (WWE) Backstage got cancelled, that was really the moment for me… I got COVID. A lot of s**t just kind of happened. The COVID thing aside, that was just sort of like the icing on the cake. I'm at home, I get my diagnosis, that same day I find out that Backstage gets cancelled. But it was really with Backstage being cancelled that I was like, 'What am I doing? Like I'm not really doing anything anymore. And my skill set of being a host there's just nowhere for me to do it anymore.'
"Even with Talking Smack, and you know, I had heard the rumblings that Talking Smack was making its way back and I was planning on perhaps maybe doing that. But I was like, 'You know what? I just feel like I'm taking steps backwards. I'm sort of spinning my wheels.' To go back and do a show, to not be doing it with Bryan, to not be doing it with Mike Mansury who also is no longer with WWE. But that was sort of the magic of what that show was to me…
"It was all that stuff kind of happening at once and just being like, 'What am I doing here? I've checked off all of the things I've been able to do.'"
Renee later talked about her Special Contributor role on SmackDown, which she felt never really turned into anything. Even when she would pitch new ideas for the role, they would often be ignored which caused her to become "disheartened."
Young added: "So, yeah, you get a little bit disheartened and just go, 'Okay, I guess this just isn't for me anymore.' And, yeah, showing up to just do interviews again was like I've been there and I've done that and I think I'm beyond that at this point. That to do that and just be a presence on the show just for it didn't feel like the right move to me anymore."