Taylor Wilde, known in WWE’s developmental system as Shantelle Taylor, spoke about her WWE experience on her podcast. Check out the highlights below.
On how she began her wrestling career:
When I was working at the gym, I was approached by another employee who was a local independent wrestler. He said there was a wrestling school in Toronto always looking for women. I’ve always been in the contact sports and I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie, so it sounded like something fun to try. After my first class, I was hooked. It’s like it changed my brain chemistry. Every thought I had from that moment forward was wrestling. Fast forward, two years later, there I was, in McDonough, Georgia, in the WWE developmental system, training 5 days a week and performing weekly at DSW.
On getting the call to the main roster:
Then I got the call. I was being called up to do some dark matches for the main roster on SmackDown. WWE told me I was going to be wrestling as a man, actually a Japanese boy named Sendai. I said ‘Hell yes, this is what I’ve been dreaming of.’ But I had to wear a mask with double mash on the eyes and mouth, a shoulder padded bodysuit with abs, baggy pants, and kickpads. I couldn’t train in the outfit or let anyone see me in it. I couldn’t even tell the person making the costume that it was for me. Here I was at SmackDown, my debut match was going to be against Jamie Noble. I had a sitdown meeting one on one with Vince McMahon and he loved the idea of me wrestling as a man. So we shook hands and that was it, I thought my career was only going up from there. This was everything I had dreamed of.
On how it felt wrestling under the gimmick:
When I walked out, I wasn’t dreaming, I had a full-on nightmare. I couldn’t see a single thing. My mask did not fit, my eye holes were placed wrong, my kickpads were massive. I was f*cked. I had prided myself on in ring ability, I was supposed to be judged on an acrobatic, hard hitting male performance. I couldn’t even see the ropes. I tripped, I couldn’t even breathe. For some unknown reason, I was able to attempt it two more times.
On the idea for her to win the Cruiserweight title:
The idea behind Sendai is he was gunning for the Cruiserweight title and eventually would win and be unmasked as a female. Me, the newest member of the SmackDown Divas division. However, the person, who will remain nameless, who was the Cruiserweight champion at the time, had a full-fledged man tantrum. Refused to drop the title to a woman. The tantrum worked, the idea was crushed.
On her release:
After a year of employment, I was released from my WWE contract. I knew it was because the idea they had for me was nullified and instead of going back to the drawing board, I was disposable. It was easier and cheaper to hire a model who they could mold into whatever they needed. I wasn’t mad, I just felt deflated. It was an incredible opportunity and I’m thankful.