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Saraya Admits To Moving Slower At AEW Full Gear, Talks About Who Got Her Ready To Come Back

December 8, 2022 | Posted by Joseph Lee
Saraya AEW Full Gear Image Credit: AEW

In an interview with Bleacher Report, Saraya spoke about her comeback match at AEW Full Gear against Britt Baker and the fact that she was slower than she used to be. Here are highlights:

On her comeback match: “So when it came to taking bumps, I wasn’t bumping like crazy until Halloween. But before that, I was already in the mindset that I wanted to get back in the ring again, whether AEW let me or before that if WWE had let me. I was just in the UK, and I was rolling around with my family out there. But also in rings around here to just get off some ring rust so I’m not completely dying. Well, I say that. And then once I got into the match, I was definitely a lot slower. It’s a whole different kettle of fish once you start adding all the elements to it. I was like, ‘Man, I did this for so long. And I wasn’t winded? This is crazy.’ So effectively, I got 100 percent cleared and ready to go and start bumping like crazy on Halloween.”

On who helped her prepare for her return: “Mainly, it was my brother, Zak. He’s obviously been around my whole life and he’s the one who gave me my first wrestling match dressed like the pink Power Ranger. He was there for my trials with WWE, so it just felt more fitting to have Zak around a lot of the time. So, when I was in the UK, me and him trained consistently, and then he flew out just for this, just for the training. He wasn’t even going to stay for the actual show because he had bookings back in the UK. But luckily the promoters were like, ‘You can stay, it’s totally fine. We totally get it.’ Zak was the main culprit in my training. And then I was training a bit at the shows with Dean Malenko. And the match structure itself, that was a lot to do with B.J. [Whitmer] who’s a producer. He’s fantastic. And he has the same neck injury as me. So, he knew the limit that I could go and how hard I can push it.”

On if she had a backup plan if she wasn’t cleared: “I was always going to have a place, whether it be behind the scenes or even kind of like a GM role or a manager. They were always going to find a position for me there. But straight out the gate, I said to Tony, ‘I want to be able to wrestle.’ And he was just like, ‘Well, maybe we can do it where it’s just tag matches. Once you get cleared.’ I said, ‘Nope, I want to have a singles match. That’s what I want.’ And he said, “OK, well if you get 100 percent clear, then absolutely fine.’ So, then it was Dr. Sampson. That’s another thing that people kind of decided they were going to have an opinion on [via] the internet. They thought it was all AEW doctors who cleared me, and it wasn’t. They actually didn’t want to clear me until they had a full rundown from an outside doctor. Just to see everyone’s opinions on it. And luckily, everyone’s opinions were the same. And my neck was 100 percent ready to go.”

On if she felt any difference in her mobility: “Actually, no. I was really surprised with that. Like, my neck felt absolutely fine in the ring. And it felt fine after. But everything felt very, very sore afterward, I had to take like a three-day nap [laughs]. But yeah, I feel 100 percent. And I can go again. I feel like the more reps I get in, the better it’s going to be for me in the long run. Because as much as I don’t want to deep dive into a billion matches, I definitely need to get the repetition of being in matches again, so I can get my wind up. That was my nemesis in the match. I got backstage and [AEW producer and coach] Jerry Lynn said, ‘Oh, your head was down a lot.’ I was like, “Yeah, I was f–king blown up.’ [laughs]. But Britt really took care of me too. She really did.”

On her first promo back: “I was very rusty at the beginning with my promos, and I f–king hate that first promo I did. And luckily, we had redemption, and me and Britt said, ‘OK, we need to make this promo like really good for people to really sink their teeth into the storyline.’ And we’ve been working with [Jon] Moxley a lot. He was very hands-on with it. And Renee Paquette. A lot of people don’t realize how creative she is. She was helping with this promo, so mum and dad were helping out, I like to call them. I was so scared. You have no idea. I’ve never been this terrified walking into a new company, to then doing this first promo. And that was the most terrifying experience of my life. I was thinking, ‘Did I make a mistake coming back to wrestling like this? Does the wrestling world hate me now?’ The week after, we started getting in the swing of things.”

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Saraya, Joseph Lee