Impact Knockout’s Champion Mickie James and Impact Knockout’s Tag Team Champions The IInspiration were approached by WWE for the 2022 edition of the Women’s Royal Rumble and chose not to return. Nia Jax was another former WWE star WWE asked back. When Renee Paquette interviewed Nia Jax on The Sessions, the WWE requested her to participate in the Rumble. It was an emphatic no from her.
“I was in the middle of trying to get my stuff back,” Jax revealed. “I had a bunch of crap; you know how it is. They’re just shoving stuff in everybody’s boxes or whatever. I’m in the middle of getting my stuff back. They sent me my stuff and more than half of it was missing. I was like ‘what’s going on?’
“So when I got the call, I thought it was about ‘where’s my stuff?’ So I answered and was like ‘hey, what’s up?’ It was my homie in TR. They were like ‘hey Savelina (my official name). We’re just calling to see if you’d be interested in participating in the Royal Rumble.’
“And I started hysterically laughing because I thought it was my friend joking with me. I was like ‘oh you’re friggin hilarious.’ And then he was like ‘actually no, this is an official call.’ And I was like ‘oh. Fu*k no. I’m not coming back.’ And he was like ‘oh, we’d like to offer you this.’ I was like ‘first of all, I already know I’m still under my 90 days. You’re still going to be paying me anyway. So you’re not offering me anything.’ I was like ‘no. I’m not fu*king coming back. Absolutely fu*king not. Is this all it was?’ And he was like ‘yes.’ I’m like ‘okay. Bye.’”
Even before Vince McMahon saw the roster, Nia Jax had put up a preliminary list of women who could be interested in taking part in the Rumble, which was then pared down by the WWE owner and chairman. It was like a smack in the face to Jax.
“That’s exactly what it was,” Jax said. “And guess what? They were accumulating a list, this is what I was told. They wanted to offer me the opportunity, to accumulate a list that they send to Vince, then Vince goes through the list and says who he wants and who he doesn’t. So I was like ‘you’re asking me to be a part of a list to go to the next step?’ I was like ‘fu*k no! How much more can you sh*t on me dude?’ Somebody was like ‘we didn’t want her to be left out. If it got around that she didn’t get asked, we didn’t want her to feel left out.’ I was like ‘fu*k you, that’s bullsh*t.’ You needed people.”
“That’s what it is that kind of sucks,” Jax said. “It’s like you are so ingratiated in this. Your whole life is in this business. I put off weddings, baby showers, family get-togethers. I’ve literally ostracized my family and friends for eight years and put this company first. And that’s because that’s what they required, even though you’re an independent contractor, right? And then when you’re gone it’s like ‘go.’ And thankfully I was smart enough to save and be really smart with my money. But it is kind of that kidnapper thing. You’ve made me think you’re the only thing that I can have, and that you’re protecting me and you have my back.”
“And for the ladies, it’s a lot different. The guys get a lot more support and a lot more money. They get a lot more money. So when sh*t like this happens, they’re not really too worried about the next step. And I hate saying that. But I do know WWE likes to play into a narrative of ‘oh, we’re so supportive of the women.’ But are you? There are a couple of women that can probably sit back and be fine. But the majority of women, they’ve got to hustle.”
After her WWE career ended in November, Nia Jax, now known as Lina Fanene addressed the events leading up to it. Fanene says that even though WWE insisted that its artists be vaccinated so that they wouldn’t have any difficulties performing in various venues and different places, the request was a non-starter for her.
“I stood my ground on certain things that I know that they weren’t happy about. I was choosing not to go and get the vaccine. It was a personal choice.” Even Vince McMahon attempted to talk to her about it, she said, but they couldn’t come to an agreement. “I remember sitting down with Vince because the entire two years I was there, we were tested every day, and I never popped positive. I never had COVID the whole time. It was like, ‘Well, kid, you’re not going to be able to fulfill some of your contractual duties’. I was like, ‘Well, if that’s the case, then that’s the case.’ Like, it’s a business, and I understand you got to run your business.”
During her time in WWE, one of Nia Jax’s most memorable incidents was when she broke Becky Lynch’s nose and forced her out of her planned Survivor Series battle with Ronda Rousey because of a concussion.
“It was right before Survivor Series where I think her and Ronda were going to have a singles match,” Jax said. “Smackdown was invading RAW. The producer of that match, I won’t name names, basically was like ‘this needs to look real. Say sorry later.’ And we were all like ‘okay, cool. Let’s go, let’s have fun’ or whatever. And being the larger person, I feel as though people feel ‘oh we can hit the s–t out of her. She’ll be fine’, which is true.
“I get wailed on and whatever, I’m okay. I just remember, right when they invaded, I feel as though everybody came after me, which is okay. But I was getting nailed. The back of my head, I’m like ‘geez Louise. Okay, I get it.’ And then finally I find Trin (Naomi), I’m all ‘Trin, sis, let’s just sit in this corner.’ We’re just talking s–t in the corner, whatever. And then I continue to get punched in the back of the friggin head. And I was like ‘good lord.’
“So I just turn around, and I really just go to clear the person. Whatever angles they show, my fist wasn’t closed, I didn’t punch her, but it did connect. I didn’t even realize it was Becky, I honestly thought it was Lana. So whatever. Did that, didn’t realize anything happened, and I go back to Trin and then we keep going. then I look around and I’m like ‘oh my gosh, there’s blood everywhere.’ Then I look and I go ‘oh crap, Becky’s down.’ Then we go through the segment, everything happens and I’m like ‘s–t, was that me?’”
When Jax met both Vince McMahon and Lynch backstage after the incident, Jax said that McMahon was OK with her and Lynch subsequently texted Jax to say that there was no ill will. McMahon later decided to capitalize on the heat Nia Jax was receiving and modified the outcome of the Survivor Series bout to put Jax over.
Watch the full interview below.