Paige VanZant is now confirmed to be All Elite, and has given some details why she chose to sign with Tony Khan over proposed deals from WWE.
It was little secret that the 27-year-old was being courted by both organisations, with WWE believed to have a strong interest in signing her to a contract.
However, it would appear the vision AEW had for her and not being tied down to an exclusive deal with them became a huge factor in Paige VanZant joining AEW.
Speaking on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the BKFC star commented that Dan Lambert had a major influence in her decision when it came to becoming a wrestler. She also reminisced about the first AEW show she attended and how that became a key factor.
[Dan Lambert] was definitely a big part of it, I went with him in a few instances, he’s a big part of AEW. Watching them, I knew my career was going to take me to WWE or AEW, I was watching both of them, huge fan of both, the first AEW show I went to though, the feeling, the audience, the crowd, everything about it, I just knew I belonged and it would be something I’d be really good at. The whole atmosphere of the show they put on is iconic. I knew that was the place for me.
Paige VanZant also confirmed she had spoken to WWE initially about a year ago, although there wasn’t a bidding war once AEW showed their interest.
I went down to the training centre about a year ago. I did have some things in the works, but AEW kind of said what they needed to say and said all the right words to get me to come over to AEW…
Not a bidding war, no. There were different contract details and styles. There were things that AEW, they’re working hand-in-hand with BKFC and letting me be a professional fighter. I still get to be myself. It’s not an exclusive full-time wrestling contract. I’m in AEW and going to wrestle for them, but they’re also letting me be a part of BKFC, so I’m definitely not done boxing and definitely not done fighting. It was an amazing partnership that they’re willing to work with me and all the other things I still want to do.
VanZant replied “exactly” when asked if WWE had wanted her to be exclusive to them as part of the deal. She went on to comment that she thinks it won’t be long before having her first match, expecting to be ready in the next couple of months.
In a perfect world, there in the next few months, honestly. Between the coaches and everybody seeing as quickly as I’m picking it up, I truly believe I’ll be ready to get in there in a month or two.
Paige VanZant officially signed with AEW on the 9th March edition of Dynamite, putting pen to paper on the contract on the fallen bodies of Sammy Guevara and Tay Conti.
With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.