Zelina Vega Honors Her Late Father, Matt Hardy On WWE Locker Room’s Reaction To 9/11 Attacks

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On a recent edition of the “Busted Open Radio” podcast, Zelina Vega honored her late father who was a victim of the 9/11 attacks, and commented on how her title pursuit is motivated by his legacy.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:


On not challenging for a title in WWE on September 11 this year: “I’d like to think that maybe part of it has to do with the fact that they wouldn’t want to do it just to do it because of the day. I think either way, you’re gonna get, ‘Oh, they only gave it to her because it’s 9/11 and they wanted to throw her a bone after blah-blah-blah happened at MSG,’ or ‘They just gave it to her in Puerto Rico because she’s from there.’ I’d like to think that they’d want to give it to me because I deserve it. That’s what I’m looking for. I don’t want to be thrown a bone because this is a sympathy bone that you get on the day. As much as it would be literally everything I could have wanted, I want to get it because I deserve it.”

On the audience support for her matches and title hunt to date: “I genuinely believe that it has to [happen]. There’s no reason that it shouldn’t. I had a dark match this past Friday, and whether it was the dark match Friday, the live events on Saturday and Sunday, the crowd was so, obviously it wasn’t like Puerto Rico high, but they were so high for me. I feel like a part of it was because of that, but it was also just them showing them that they loved me for me. There’s just so much you can ignore the people, and what they want. I feel like if this continues that way, a decision’s gonna have to be forced at some point. So it’s just on me to keep doing what I’m doing because there’s nothing else I can do. I’m gonna do it for him.”

On carrying her father’s legacy into the future: “I think a part of it definitely is feeling unfulfilled in this way. Because I started it because of him. I started because I made a promise, and even when I did get let go in 2020, I felt unfulfilled. I felt like I didn’t complete my promise, and I still don’t feel like I have until that’s complete. I think because I genuinely feel like it will happen, I still keep going. I have that, I have my husband, who supports me so much, and my family that do. I feel like I have so many reasons to look forward that I don’t feel like it’s complete yet. One of the things that happened that really made me feel like, ‘Wow, this is real’ was when Dwayne [Johnson] went to the 9/11 memorial with Simone. When they went there and took a picture and I said his name, knowing that that was his favorite wrestler, I felt like that was such a ‘wow’ moment, I’m like, ’I have to keep doing this. I have to keep pushing forward.’ I know, it’s just something in me that just feels it has to. It has to. There’s no reason why, like why not?”

On a recent edition of his “The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy” podcast, Matt Hardy recalled the WWE locker room’s reaction to the tragic 9/11 attacks and the SmackDown taping which took place two days later.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On the locker room’s reaction to the attack: “I remember we were waiting like, ‘What is going to happen?’ because we have SmackDown [in Houston, Texas]. This happened at what 9 [or] 10 o’clock is when the planes hit the buildings, right? Early in the morning. Our call time is noon, 1 o’clock. I know we’re on Central Time in Houston. We’re just like, ‘What is going on about the show?’ We were trying to find out, and then there was a company-wide email, and they were texting people, whatever. And they said, ‘We’re not sure what we’re going to do; just everybody stand by. Everybody stand by. We’ll have you an answer by this afternoon.’

“So we don’t know if the show was [going ahead], whatever. And then, obviously, everything shut down, so the show was not a go. And they said, ‘So we’re going to get back with you.’ I remember me and Jeff [Hardy], we just wanted to drive home. I just wanted to get home and be with my dad, be with my family, because we didn’t know. And everybody was like that. Shane [Helms] was like that. Nobody knew what was happening or what was coming … Everybody wanted to go home.”

On Vince McMahon’s speech that opened Smackdown: “Vince is a fearless human being. He wasn’t afraid of stuff. There were so many people that were just worried, like, ‘If we’re the first big public gathering, does that make us a target?’ I felt like that. It was very strange. I was very concerned and worried during that day, but Vince had his mind made up. He was like, ‘Nobody stops me, nobody stops World Wrestling Entertainment, and we’re going to do the show, dammit.’”

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