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MJ Jenkins discusses her WWE release, losing a loved one to COVID-19, and what's next [Exclusive]

MJ Jenkins has opened up about her WWE release
MJ Jenkins has opened up about her WWE release
Gary Cassidy
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Just three weeks ago, more than 25 WWE Superstars were released from their contracts as the company battled economic obstacles in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. While more than 20 Superstars were named in the official WWE.com article, most of the NXT names released were not- one of whom was MJ Jenkins. In the same week, though, the former NXT Superstar also tragically lost her brother-in-law to the Coronavirus.

Shortly after interviewing Deonna Purrazzo, who was also released by WWE, I had the pleasure of chatting with MJ Jenkins to find out how she stays positive and what message she would send to people at this time, as well as how she felt when she was released from WWE, her YouTube channel and new website, and where A Whole Lot of Woman would like to go next!

Sportskeeda meets MJ Jenkins

You can watch the entire video below or read on for a transcription.

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The one place we need to start off, you were recently released by WWE after a lengthy little spell in NXT. Was it expected or did it come straight out of the blue?

Regarding my release, I definitely wasn't expecting it. Mainly because where I stood with the company. We'd come so far in developing everything that A Whole Lot of Woman is. Ring work, promo work, creative work. Like digging deep into it and so, when I got released, it was just, it was very confusing for me.

Especially because, like, the last conversations I've had with them was, you know, "Hey, we're not going to put you out there just to put you out there. When we put you out there, we want it to be about you and right now is just not the time for you", so when they told me that it was just, right now, there were other people that was in line for it, it was like, "Keep doing what you're doing, you're doing great, now is not the right time".

I took that as my time will come and, until then, I'm going to keep on doing what I have to do and everything will fall into place.

So when I got released, it was just like... You know, I was like, "Why?". Then on top of that, you know, it was just like a hard blow, mainly because of everything that I was dealing with personally, too. Definitely was not expecting it.


Next: MJ Jenkins discusses the highlight of her WWE run

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Looking back at your WWE run, you did some amazing stuff. Mae Young Classic, a rare mixed tag match, etc - how you feel about it overall when you look back, and what was your highlight of your time there?

Oh, man, there are so many because I can say the Mae Young Classic was definitely like the beginning. That was the kick off, because the year before that, I wasn't able to compete in that because I was already signed to a different company and that was when I was with IMPACT at the time, and so this year round, it was just like, "Yes!"

That was the kick off because that was one of my main goals, I was like, "I'm going to come in here and I'm going to kill it", and everything just felt so raw and authentic with all the fans, and it was like this huge rush of adrenaline pumped even with my entrance and we were rehearsing things and there are doing the whole thing of every girl standing on the ramp.

Definitely working with Denzel Dejournette. We came in the same class and Denzel is such a ball of energy. And I, as A Whole Lot Of Woman, am also a ball of energy. I'm sassy and all that, fierce. It wasn't even supposed to happen, that tag match that we had. It just happened that the card got switched around and it was like, "Who can we put with Denzel?" And I was like, "Hello!". That was fun, too.

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I can say one of my other highlights was, we had the WrestleMania 36 pre-party and I got to work with Raquel Gonzalez and, oh my gosh. That was just like another great moment for me because, you know, they only put people out there who can really go and who can really get the crowd going, and who really is like all that and a bag of chips. And, honey, MJ Jenkins is all that and a bag of chips, you know what I'm saying? So, that was a lot of fun.

Even like the small... I can't say small because it is a big deal now that I look back at it. I've had a lot of time to reflect on everything that I've done and now that I look back at it, even when it was me, Kayden Carter and Mia Yim, and one girl who just had her debut match, Jessi Kamea, I believe.

It was all of us and we are in the locker room, and in comes barging the rest of the four horsewomen from MMA - Shayna Basler, Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke - and all hell breaks loose. I was just like, "You get out of my face!"

It was just like... You know, even that spilled over in NXT and we wound up coming out and trying to fight them. That was so... looking back at it now, I'm like, "Whoa". That was insane and it was fun, and it was just like, it was like everything that I'd hoped for.

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Even like, we've had corporate sponsors come through, like Fox, we had ESPN come by and the person they put there was guess who? Yours truly! A Whole Lot Of Woman MJ Jenkins because nobody rips that might like me. All of a sudden, I'm getting my family, like, "Oh, my God, we just seen you on ESPN". People are calling my family, saying, "Isn't that your aunt? Isn't that your sister?" I'm like, "Yes!"


Next: MJ Jenkins discusses losing a loved one to Covid-19

MJ Jenkins at the Performance Center
MJ Jenkins at the Performance Center

Without bringing the tone down too much, I think there are a couple of things we need to approach in a realistic manner, because losing your job wasn't the only heartbreak you suffered recently. In the same week, you lost your brother-in-law to COVID-19. Speaking with you, though, you seem like such a positive person! How do you stay positive despite suffering such setbacks?

The truth is, you have to be realistic with yourself. You have to accept what's going on and you have to allow yourself to feel. If you block it out, and you don't deal with those emotions, and you don't embrace those emotions, that's what makes everything ten times worse. It was easy for people to say, "Just keep your head up, things will get better", and it's like, it's not even about my career, it's about someone I've lost.

As I said online, I grew up in foster care, I was in different homes and this was someone who treated me like his daughter. He was really good to me. I had to just allow myself to cry, I had to allow myself to have those sorrow moments and those pity moments.

I'm just like everyone else - because other people have lost their jobs and their career paths, and you just have to deal with it, accept it, embrace it and then somehow find a way to have this inner strength because we all have inner strength.

You have to find it and you have to grab it, and you have to say, "Okay, this has happened but this is also going to be my driving force to keep going", and the most important thing is have a strong people in your corner, too. Because a lot of times, we can't do it on our own. Especially when we're vulnerable and we're weak.

You can stay positive, you can accept and embrace the feeling but also have that supportive team because that's what actually gets you going through, even from there, they've encouraged me to keep a schedule, keep myself busy. So that everything just doesn't weigh too heavily on me. That's the best advice I can give anybody that's going through what I'm going through right now.


I don't think many people will be going through exactly what you're going through but that's incredible advice for everyone. Do you have a message for people out there who may be struggling?

I would say... if you have anything that's left unsaid to someone that you love, you know, take that time, check on them, care for them, call them. Really, stay safe. And that means not only being clean with your hands, flush out your body too because then that helps your mind and just know that, no matter what happens, we are going to be all right. We are all going to be all right. At the end of the day, just know that. It all starts here - the mind. If you have that here, then everything else will take care of itself.


Next: MJ Jenkins discusses A Whole Lot Of Woman

MJ Jenkins is A Whole Lot Of Woman!
MJ Jenkins is A Whole Lot Of Woman!

Your latest character is "A Whole Lotta Woman" which I thought was brilliant and so, so different. In fact, so much so, it doesn't even seem like a character! It jut seems like you. Who came up with that, and how easy it was for you to be so confident in that role?

It comes from all the influences around me. Music, I am an avid fan of Beyoncé. Even from Destiny's Child Era. I always followed her career, her movies and, not for nothing, I love to sing as well!

It's just been developing as I've developed as a woman, as I've developed as a performer and a professional. Even on the independent scene, I've done AIW, with Girls Night Out, and shows everywhere. I would literally be like, "I want to sing my own entrance". That was a part of it. Then I added dance moves to it, and then the whole aura of her, she's just confident, she's sassy, she's full of herself but in a good feeling way.

And what was interesting is what I did altogether was when I first got signed they said, they sent out these little highlight videos of everybody that got signed, they said what your message to the world? I said, "My name is MJ Jenkins and I'm a whole lot of woman!"

And that was literally like... Beyoncé, Goldmember, Foxy Cleopatra. It was just taking things that I love - music, I love movies - then morphing them around me. A Whole Lot Of Woman is really just like an extension of who I am. The true person. That's why it's so easy to play her because, in instances, it actually is me, you know?

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Being there with WWE, I had a lot of creative direction and they gave me a lot of leeway to do what I wanted and we've had like showcases where I've pitched me singing my entrance and they were like... "Whoa". They liked the whole entrance, I had the whole red carpet, I had the lights flashing, the music background of dancing moving behind me. It was just that and then, you know, it really is basically an extension of me and my influences. It makes me glow!


Next: What's next for MJ Jenkins?

MJ Jenkins in NXT
MJ Jenkins in NXT

One thing I'd like to confirm - is your non-compete 30 days like the other NXT talents?

Yes, it is.

Okay, so you can't wrestle elsewhere for 30 days. Hopefully we'll see you in a ring as soon as that time is up - but what are you doing to pass the time?

So, if you may, if you want to know, I have a sewing machine. I'd never opened it but now that I have so much time on my hands, I'm like, "Okay, let me try and sew". So I've been making...facemasks!

I've just been really keeping myself busy with doing different things. I've been doing that, I've been opening my YouTube channel, Marvelous MJ Jenkins, I'm going to be doing that.

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Oh, yeah, and my website! I was working on AWholeLotOfWoman.com because of so much support that I've been getting from the fans, I wanted to give them something back so I was like, "Why wouldn't I have a website? Hello!". Like, "let's give them merch, let's do all these things that, ideas that I've had in my mind but I haven't done it yet".

Yeah, I've been doing that and preparing for the future.


So, to the future then! You've wrestled in NXT, Evolve, Impact, EVERYWHERE! Where's next for MJ Jenkins?

Oh, man... You know, there is so much wrestling out there and... [MJ laughs] ..I can say, from what I've seen, the main place I would love to go to is AEW. I can't lie!

To say that I haven't been watching would be a complete lie. I think what they're doing is amazing. Sonny Kiss has been one of my friends for the longest. I met him so long ago in New Jersey when I was wrestling and he was wrestling at a smaller indie company.

Britt Baker is there, and me and Britt had our first ever tryout match in front of the whole WWE locker room at SmackDown. And we killed it!

You just have so much great performers there. Ariel Monroe, Big Swole is what she goes by now... But I would love to go there because I believe in what they're doing and I believe in their women's division.

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Also, even like Ring of Honor. I've always admired Ring of Honor. I could tell you a little scoop of something. There was a time where I may have had the opportunity to wrestle for them but I had signed with another company. I was backstage with my gear and everything, and I was like, "No!"

It's almost like a blessing in disguise because now there's still another opportunity and now I'm even ten times better than I was a year ago, three years ago or whenever, when I did have those opportunities with those companies.

Definitely AEW. Definitely Ring of Honor. I would love to work with Maria Manic. She is just incredible and her transformation, "Oh, Lord". I know we would be something interesting.

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There's just so much talent there and I'd love to revisit IMPACT Wrestling. That was the company that gave me my first break and I'll never forget it. I'll never forget Gail Kim calling me and she's like, "Well, if you want, you can come here". I was like... she's like, "I hope I'm not bothering you". I'm like, "Gail, honey, do you know who you are?! You are Gail Kim, you're not bothering me. Call me anytime you want!"

I'm ready to get back out there and take it all. One main goal is I would love to go to Japan also, and Mexico for sure. I want it all now.


Thank you to MJ Jenkins for chatting with me on behalf of Sportskeeda Wrestling. You can follow MJ Jenkins here, and check out her official website here!

Edited by Atharva Papnoi
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