Q&A With Celeste Bonin, former WWE Divas Champion Kaitlyn

Wrestler says she's taking some time away from the industry after appearance in Joppa this weekend

(Handout photo )
July 17, 2014|By Aaron Oster | The Baltimore Sun

Celeste Bonin, formerly known as Kaitlyn in WWE, is making an appearance at Maryland Championship Wrestling's Shane Shamrock Memorial Cup 14 on Saturday night in Joppa. I had a chance to talk to her about her departure from the WWE in January, her thoughts on the WWE divas division, why Baltimore is a memorable city for her and more.

Ring Posts: You left the WWE in January. What has your life been like for the past six months?

Celeste Bonin: When I retired, it was a bit of a last-minute decision. I had been thinking about it for a while because there was a lot of things happening in my life and it was a transitional time for me. I had just gotten engaged, and I wanted to plan my wedding. I also had this project on the backburner, with this business site, that I wanted to wait to start until I retired from WWE. When I made the decision, rather quickly, to leave the WWE, I went full throttle into making my business work, while also planning a wedding. So it's been pretty hectic.

You say your decision to leave WWE was a last-minute decision. Was it a situation where you had thought about it for a while, and just the timing was last-minute, or was it more of a spur-of-the-moment decision based on feel?

It was a little bit of both, actually. I had a great run. I was with the WWE for three-and-a-half years, and most of that time I was on the road. I didn't spend very much time in the developmental program because I was in the right place at the right time.

I got called up to NXT, when it was a reality-based competition show, in the first few weeks I was there because they needed a last-minute replacement for someone. I had no wrestling experience at the time, I didn't know the difference between a headlock and an arm drag (laughs). I just got put in this position to be in the spotlight. It was a do or die moment. Ever since I was put on TV and made it to the main roster, I spent my entire career on the road and didn't spend any time in the developmental program. There were a lot of ups and downs.

For the first year-and-a-half, it was really hard for me. Being in the WWE is hard in general because there's so much travel and there's a lot of physical and emotional stress. It's a tough business. So for the first year-and-a-half, I was questioning if I had made the right decision [to join the company]. I wasn't on TV a lot, I didn't really have a character, and I was just in the background. During that time, I was traveling every week with the main roster, but I wasn't in the spotlight at all. When I first had a chance to make an impression and earn my spot, I did.

After that it skyrocketed. I became champ and had awesome storylines with Eve and AJ and it was awesome. And during that time, even though I was on screen a lot, and had a lot going on, it was still very tough. There are a lot of peaks and valleys, and once I lost the title, I was back in the background, which was fine, we all have our turns. But there was other things brewing. I had recently gotten engaged, and there were other things I wanted to pursue. So it was all these things happening at once, not being in a storyline at the time, and not being able to spend time with my fiance, and feeling like I had more to offer. So it all came to a head in January. I kind of wanted to plan it out when I wanted to leave the company and start the next chapter with my new business, but I had a really rough week.

It's funny that this appearance is in Baltimore because I actually asked for my release in Baltimore. Actually, I also debuted there. I had a really hard travel day to get to RAW in Baltimore. There were bad storms and snow, and had a horrible day where I had to get up at 4 a.m., and then I got stuck in Miami airport, and stuck in another airport. It was truly, truly hectic. I went through all that, and finally got to RAW, and then I looked and I wasn't even booked for the show. I got to the building, and thought “Hey, this is where I debuted, how cool is this?” And it felt very right to end my WWE journey right there where it started. And it's cool that this appearance is in Baltimore, because this is going to be my last wrestling-related appearance for a long time.

So this is it for you when it comes to wrestling, at least for a while?

I mean, I love meeting my fans, and I love doing stuff like this. But right now, it's such a hectic time for me. I just launched my business a few weeks ago, I just got married and we haven't even had time to take a honeymoon yet. There's so many things I want to focus on. Traveling and doing these appearances are really hard at this point. At this time, this is the last appearance I have scheduled, so this is very meaningful to me. I won't say that I'll never do another one again, but for right now, this is the last one for probably a long time.

Do you still watch WWE at all?

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