In-depth comments from Kylie Rae about her WWE experience.
On a December 2022 taping of WWE ‘Main Event’, Kylie Rae made her debut for the company in a match against Dana Brooke.
Rae donned the name ‘Briana Ray’ for her appearance. Prior to that, she had a tryout at the Performance Center in Orlando.
The Going Broadway Podcast conducted a Q&A with Kylie and they dove into her experience at WWE. She mentioned that talents from the Freelance Wrestling school were asked to contact WWE about coming in for their show in the Midwest. Kylie shared that Gabe Sapolsky initiated that contact. She was no longer under contract to the National Wrestling Alliance when the opportunity was thrown out there.
I don’t know how far in the woods or how early we want to get into this and I apologize. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m allowed to say and what I’m not allowed to say but I’m kind of an open book so, blessing and a curse. But, as far as when WWE goes to towns, I’m sure you all are familiar, they’ll use local talent to come in and do extra work. So they were coming to Chicago and from my understanding, again, Freelance Wrestling is like my home, it’s where I started, it’s where I continue to train and they were asking people from our school to reach out to WWE. I don’t know how many people know about this but, it’s Gabe Sapolsky and he’s just such a sweet — I just wanna say he’s one of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
I can’t even express enough how much he’s helped me just throughout this entire process so and that’s genuine, honest to God, that’s who we were reaching out to for extra work and whatnot… Y’all know wrestling. The ratio, men to women, it’s gotten better but there’s still a heck of a lot more men than there are women so, at this point, I was not contracted with NWA anymore. So I was able to throw my name in the hat for people for extra work. So I just kind of said, ‘Hey, if y’all need any women, I’m more than happy to be considered for this opportunity. Please let me know. If not, I completely understand’ because let’s be honest, for the ones who know, I come with some baggage, just a couple extra checked bags, right?
Rae went on to state that she felt her past in prior companies would limit the opportunities she would have in the future. She described it as ‘baggage’ and expressed her gratitude for Freelance Wrestling for always being there for her.
So what I was getting at is — and again, I tend to be hard on myself anyways so I had just assumed any type of opportunity moving forward was going to be few and far between if any so, and I was okay with that and it got to a point where I was so grateful for anything that did come my way and again, I talk about Freelance Wrestling but I’m so loyal to this company because they have given me chances after chances and opportunity after opportunity when nothing was even coming in so, and it just goes to show how good people are there and I’m not the only one that they’ve done this for so, what I’m getting at is it could be something that one person might consider to be the smallest opportunity and they might complain about it but to me, I’m genuinely grateful to be in a position — like for example, it could just be a match and I’m grateful that I get to have that match because there was a time that I wasn’t even having that as an opportunity.
She dove into the conversation she had with Sapolsky. Kylie shared that Sapolsky wanted to make sure she was in the right headspace to take the opportunity. Her sobriety came up in their conversation.
So I talked to Gabe [Sapolsky] and he was — from what I understood, he was surprised that I was even reaching out for extra work because he’s like, ‘I think we could try to get you a tryout if you’re able to’ and one thing that I really appreciated is that we had a conversation of where my mental health is, the sobriety came up, we were able to talk about that… He wasn’t focusing on the past. He was more so like, ‘What do you have in place right now that’s going to keep you on the route that you’re currently on?’ Of like, God forbid if I do start going off course, what will keep me on this good road? So yeah, it was a good conversation and again… y’all know when people say, ‘Oh yeah, this is gonna happen for you…’ Unintentionally take it with a grain of salt and in a sense of like, oh yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it kind of thing but, I appreciate you even considering me for this opportunity so, yeah, he was like, ‘We’ll get you this tryout. I think I’m gonna kind of have to pull some strings type of thing. I just wanna make sure you’re in a good place because please be honest with me. If you’re not ready for this, I don’t even want to go down this road yet until you are ready’ and I was like, ‘I can’t predict the future but I feel as good as I ever felt.’
Going into the tryout, Kylie did not have the thought in her head that she would come out of it as a signed WWE talent.
She added that her mindset going into it was the opportunity itself is the big moment instead of thinking would could happen afterwards and that helped her alleviate some pressure.
I went in there thinking, oh, I’m not gonna get signed so let me just enjoy this. Let me make the most of it and just enjoy being there and learn everything that I can learn and again, I’m sorry to go back to the baggage thing but that was my mindset of, oh, well this is the opportunity. It’s not what can come after it. The opportunity I am being afforded is going to this tryout. I don’t think anything will come after so let me enjoy this right now because this alone is huge for me because I thought it was done (she laughed). So yeah, and I think that probably helped because it took some pressure off of like, let me do everything perfectly… That kind of stuff and walking on eggshells and let me impress the right people and who do I talk to and who do I not? Because things like that, yeah, it can be very intimidating being there but… I was genuinely just having fun. Who wouldn’t? You’re literally at the Performance Center.
There was a portion of the tryout when Rae had to do promos which made her nervous. She was able to get through it and spoke candidly about her ADHD.
Her practice matches were with NXT’s Thea Hail and Fallon Henley. Rae heaped praise onto both and said Fallon had been a dream match of hers and remembered seeing her wrestle for RISE when she was known as ‘Tesha Price’.
Promos, they are a struggle but it was wonderful. I got to talk about my ADHD which is genuine, clearly if you haven’t already noticed (she laughed). So, yeah, it was awesome. It felt real and authentic and then I got to have two practice matches, one was with Thea Hail and she’s just such a sweetheart. She knew how nervous I was and she just helped me so much and the other one was Fallon Henley who I knew her as Tesha Price and I met her years ago at RISE that they used to have before the SHIMMER shows… oh stop, I’m gonna cry… She was a dream match of mine years ago and then to have a match, the first match we ever had is in a WWE ring in front of Shawn Michaels… There’s no words to describe that so yeah, that’s awesome.
Circling back to the ‘Main Event’ bout, she went by the name ‘Briana Ray’ and had no issue with the change. It was not her decision to go by the name and if she had her pick, she would’ve went with ‘Kylie Rae’.
So I will start off by saying Dana Brooke is amazing, just such a sweet human being. You know how there’s just some people, you meet them and instantly, you’re just like, you can tell they’re just a wonderful person. That’s what it was like and the name, I genuinely don’t know the reason but I just assumed that you’re not allowed to keep your name… No, it wasn’t (my decision to go by ‘Briana Ray’). Oh, I would’ve picked Kylie Rae if I could but then again, I don’t have another name that I go by aside from my real name so it was one of those. Earlier, they had asked, ‘Hey, do you know what name you’re gonna go by? Because it just says Kylie Rae on the board’ and I was like, ‘Oh. I don’t know.’ I was like, ‘I only wrestle under the name Kylie Rae’ so they’re like, ‘Either we’ll get back to you or get back to us’ kind of thing and ten minutes before we were going out there, ‘So, you can’t use the name Kylie Rae.’ I was like, ‘Totally understand. Not a big deal.’ I didn’t even ask why because again, that’s their business… And they’re like, ‘Do you have another name that you go by?’ I’m like, ‘No. Do you have any recommendations?’…
As of the podcast recording, there was no offer made to Kylie. She mentioned that she got the ‘not right now’ response.
She is continuing to do extra work and was at WWE this past Friday for SmackDown. She feels if she’s meant to be there, that’s how it’ll play out and mentioned that people seemed happy after her performance on Main Event.
Again, never say never but to my knowledge, not in the [Royal] Rumble. As far as something long-term at this point, I got the ‘not right now’ deal which is okay because if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen and if it was meant to be, it would have happened kind of thing so it’s more so, they’re having me still come back for extra work. I was just there this past Friday and the Friday before but from what it felt like — I can’t speak on their behalf because I don’t know but from what it felt like after the match, maybe I’m naïve but they seemed very happy with it and it feels good being there. The environment, it legitimately feels very positive and genuine and people are happy so like, again, maybe I’m naïve (she laughed). So I don’t know because again, I’m not signed there, I’m not contracted, I don’t have to be there every single week kind of thing so I don’t know anybody else’s experience but from my experience, it’s been wonderful, I’ve loved it there and I grew up on WWE… I’m a product of the system, what can I say?
In 2022, Rae explained her departure from IMPACT Wrestling in detail and to read those comments, click here.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Going Broadway Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.