Cathy Kelley opened up about her first WWE run and the struggles she had during this time in an interview with Out of Character.
She has been back with the company for nearly a year after leaving in 2020. Here are the highlights:
Her struggles during her first run in WWE:
“It was really challenging. I think at the time, I said it was for reasons to pursue other things and I still believe I could have pursued all of those things in WWE, but I felt like at the time that I really needed to step away. My mental health had really declined, I’ve struggled with depression and panic attacks and anxiety, basically from high school on and off. It was really tough. Like I said, I felt the initial week of messing up on live TV loomed over me for a little while, but I struggled with trying to get to that place I wanted to be at, which is the backstage interviewer on one of the main shows. I was told that I was too tall, I was told I had brown hair, and they had too many girls with brown hair so I dyed my hair blonde. There was so many things that I tried to do, whether that was creating shows that were live for the digital aspect of things so I can prove that I can do live, it was this constant uphill battle of trying to prove myself and it felt like I’d hit that point where it just wasn’t going to happen. I remember having a conversation with Michael Cole, who wasn’t even my boss at the time, but after doing all of these live hits with NXT and being told that it wasn’t gonna happen. It was really defeating. I remember the last few months, I was crying every single day, my close friends and my family knew that. I smiled through it at work most of the time, I think there were like one or two times that I broke. It felt like the dream that I had, and whether or not that was promised at the beginning, it wasn’t gonna happen there. I was told at the time that I’d have a job there until I’m 87 if I wanted it. I could have coasted doing the digital stuff and producing and creating content, but that ultimately wasn’t my goal.”
“It really is such a defeating thing when you have this goal you want to accomplish. I would be written into a script, and then they would tell me that the segment wasn’t actually going to happen on the pay-per-view and then you’d see someone else in that position. It gets really discouraging after a while, I ended up burning myself out towards the end too. I was trying to prove myself, prove that I was right option to be in that position. I was not just going to NXT, not just doing the in-studio stuff in Stamford, not just going to the main roster shows and the pay-per-views at the time, but I was coming up with other concepts and you end up burning out, and that’s really what it is.”
Being competitive with herself:
“I don’t think it was necessarily that comparison, it was just me wanting to be in that position. I was competitive with myself, I don’t think I was competitive with anyone else. I want to see my friends succeed, I want to see people on both sides of me succeed, I think it was just in that position specifically, that’s what I wanted to do. It’s the role that I felt like I was best in.”