Former WWE NXT talent Vanessa Borne (Danielle Kamela) recently spoke with PWInsider about her time with WWE, and her departure from the company. Borne was released along with other budget cuts in mid-May.
There had been reports of Borne being called to the main roster after signing a new contract. She never appeared on main roster TV, and was released on May 19 of this year. Borne revealed that she was told she was being called up to RAW during the time when Paul Heyman was working as Executive Director of the brand. Once Heyman was relieved of those duties, plans changed and then Borne was scheduled to be sent to SmackDown. Borne said she was excited to come up under Heyman, but when nothing happened, she moved back to Arizona when her lease was up in Orlando. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and WWE moved all TV production to Florida.
“I was excited, especially because Paul Heyman had brought me up and I look up to him when it comes to storytelling, his mic work, and he’s someone I want to be like,” Borne said. “It was encouraging. I had been in and out with Raw and Smackdown, and it was around March when my lease was up in Orlando, so I moved back to Arizona and that’s when COVID hit.”
Borne now found herself living across the country, during the pandemic, while WWE was taping all TV shows in Florida. She said the company stopped bringing her to TV and everything changed. When the pandemic eased up some, she was brought back to be called to the main roster in a new stable with Chelsea Green and Santana Garrett, who were also released this year. Borne revealed that they signed main roster contracts, but things never worked out and the idea was nixed.
“They stopped bringing me to TV and they changed everything. Everyone had to navigate through that. I sat home for six months and that was tough,” she said. “When COVID calmed down, they brought me back with Chelsea and Santana, and told us we were going to be in a trio, which I was super excited about. Any time you’re working with others that closely, it’s fun. Being able to bounce ideas off each other and everyone thinks differently.
“We were excited and we all got main roster contracts, which was exciting. Things just never worked out and the idea got scratched. I feel like that happens a lot.”
Borne also revealed that she was once scheduled to be brought up into the RETRIBUTION stable, which has been nixed as well. Borne, who said she’d like to see better communication between WWE officials and talents, said she asked more about the origins of RETRIBUTION, and that led to her call-up being nixed again. Borne had some concerns because of events happening around the country, and some of the attention groups like Antifa were getting. She expressed these concerns, and within a week was told that she was not being called up for RETRIBUTION.
“I wanted to know what the group was about and how I fit in,” she said. “I had some concerns because, during this time, there was stuff around the country with violence and we’re watching this unfold and it’s not pretty. I wanted to know if the group was mimicking that. I expressed those concerns, but ultimately, I wanted to do what I was told and tried to figure out how I could help.
“Within the week, I got a call from Mark Carrano saying, ‘We’re not going to have you as part of RETRIBUTION and we’re going to pull your contract. You’re getting sent back to NXT.’”
Borne said getting sent back to NXT was like a “kick in the gut” but she then made it clear to WWE officials that she was willing to do anything they wanted. However, she now had the issue of being located in Arizona, in the middle of the pandemic. She waited, and waited, and eventually told officials that she was willing to move back to Florida. She was flown to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, and returned to the ring for the first time in almost ten months. Borne then was faced with another issue as she was diagnosed with COVID-19. That required her to be driven to Texas, where she has family, from Florida.
After the coronavirus bout, Borne says she was never brought back to the Performance Center again, and had no communication with anyone in WWE until she sent a text message to Triple H. After that she began having conversations with NXT writers, but nothing ever materialized and she was released back in May.
Borne, who barely had any pro wrestling experience before WWE, intends to pursue a pro wrestling career and is currently working on a post-WWE persona and ring name, but she is also open to non-wrestling ventures. Borne did acting, TV presenting, professional dancing and professional cheerleading before wrestling.