Gayda and Haas respond to release
It has been a whirlwind summer for Jackie Gayda and Charlie Haas. In fact, June couldn't have been better for the former SmackDown! Superstars. The new couple was married on June 10 and then enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon in the Antigua, West Indies.
A clearly emotional Gayda, however, was forced to fight back tears as she spoke to WWE.com today about their releases from WWE. "For myself, I kind of put two and two together seeing all the new girls come in," said a soft-spoken Gayda. "You see all these new gorgeous models come in and you wonder what direction they're going in. It seems like they were getting away from the women wrestling."
"It's a shock," Haas, a three-time WWE Tag Team Champion, said when reached via phone. "Vince (McMahon) said two weeks ago that some of us would be let go. So we knew it was coming, we just didn't know who. You wake up one morning and you're fired. And it's not just you, but your wife as well. WWE was how we both made a living. I'm just glad they waited until after the wedding."
Gayda and Haas were among several Superstars let go by WWE, including Billy Kidman, Spike Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, D-Von Dudley, Shannon Moore, Kenzo Suzuki, Maven, Dawn Marie, Joy Giovanni and Matt Morgan.
"That's the way the industry is," Haas said. "Who knows, maybe in six months we'll get another look. You never know in this business."
Haas expects to do some tours in Japan or possibly Italy in the near future. Haas has a college degree and a background in finance, once working on Wall Street, but says he has no plans to trade in his trunks for a suit and tie anytime soon.
"I'm one of the few guys who have that experience and degree to fall back on," said Haas, who wrestled at Seton Hall. "But I didn't come this far to give up now. I had a great, crazy run. I met my wife, I met great friends like Shelton Benjamin, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. I couldn't ask for more.
"This was the first time I've been fired from any job and I've been working since I was 13," Haas added. "But when one door closes another one usually opens. The fans should keep looking for my name."
Gayda, who is just 23, plans on joining Charlie on some overseas tours, but is leaning toward finishing her degree in broadcast journalism and possibly seeking work in that field in the future.
"I was more shocked for Charlie, he put his heart and soul into the business," Gayda said. "This was such a passion for him."
Gayda was the Tough Enough 2 Champion in 2002, overcoming a painful leg injury to emerge as the winner.
"In some instances I think I got a fair shot, in other ways, I didn't," Gayda said. "I understand WWE is entertainment, but it's also wrestling, I think women being active and physical can be just as sexy as girls in a bikini. I decided not to do Playboy when I had a chance, maybe that even came back to bite me in the butt."
Still, Jackie was able to find a true silver lining when reflecting on her WWE experience: Her new husband. In March 2004, Jackie was part of a trade which sent her from RAW to SmackDown! At the time, she was emotionally, professionally and personally drained.
"After the trade, I was in shambles," Gayda said. "I had all these friends from RAW and now I was going to a new show. I had just broken up with a longtime boyfriend. It was like I woke up a different person. But then I was able to meet Charlie and I was able to get to know him and travel the world together, I wouldn't give any of that back. God does things for certain reasons."