Former WWE referee Artemis details her departure from NXT UK, cites the pay as a big issue

Artemis spoke about her departure from WWE. She worked for the company on their NXT UK brand and was there for several years

Photo Courtesy: WWE

The former WWE referee dives into her exit from the company.

After participating in a WWE tryout in 2019, Artemis was formally brought onboard in 2020 and assigned to the NXT UK brand. She finished up with the company this year and confirmed that she was no longer with WWE in April.

Artemis spoke in detail about her exit when she appeared on Cultaholic’s Desert Island Graps show. She started off by saying she would be blunt about why she left and cited the pay as a big issue. Artemis shared that she has never made as little money than when she worked for WWE.

She offered to do more jobs to increase her pay, but was told there was nothing available. She expressed her grievances and there was an attempt to negotiate so WWE extended her contract for two months. This past April, she was supposed to do one more taping, but was told since she did not want to accept their two-year extension, she did not need to come to the taping.

I’m gonna be very blunt and very honest [about why I’m no longer with WWE]. The pay, the pay’s a big issue. I’ve never earned as little money as I did in WWE, which I never thought I would say that because I thought that was going to be my full-time job and that was going to be it, it was great. I took a massive pay cut from being a teacher to referee, which is weird considering you’re on TV every week in several countries. So, during my two years under contract because I did almost a year without a contract and then two years contracted. I offered to do other jobs to help and also to increase the pay but, I got told there was nothing and then in — just before my contract expired, they offered me a new two-year contract and when I asked what the pay was going to be, they said it was going to be the same. So, I said, ‘I can’t do it. I’ve got a mortgage, I’ve got to take care of my mom. I can’t stay on that little money,’ and it’s a shame, but I need to take care of my family basically and so they extended my contract for two months hoping to be able to negotiate and they came back to me. I was supposed to do one last camp in April, end of April and they called me just a few days before to tell me, ‘Okay, you don’t want to accept that contract, we’ve got nothing better for you so there’s no need for you to come next week’ and I thought that was really sh*tty, pardon my language. But, because then, I had already told the wrestlers and my crew, my friends, my family, my referees that it was highly likely that I wasn’t going to renew my contract but we all knew we had one last camp to spend together, properly say goodbye to each other, enjoy each other one last time and also, I was on 96 WWE matches so one last camp would have brought me to 100 at least and I’m a bit O.C.D. with numbers so I’m like, I’m really annoyed with that [she laughed].

Following up on that, she was asked if she thinks there are personnel or talents within NXT UK who are unsure about the pay and she said yes. When it comes to the future of the brand, she does not know where it is going. Artemis said pre-pandemic, there were discussions about NXT UK going to Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

Yes [I do think there are people in NXT UK who are asking similar questions about pay].

I don’t know where the brand is going. Before the pandemic, I know they wanted to expand, I know they wanted to do these tours, like go to Paris, Berlin, Madrid, everything which would have been great. Now, with all the NXT 2.0, all the rebranding, I have no idea and also the fact that they didn’t replace me and they’re flying in a ref from the U.S. every time, I’m thinking that’s maybe not going to change.

She later added that she is grateful for the time she spent in WWE. Artemis feels it is a shame the way things ended but she’s glad to have her freedom back in terms of getting to officiate wherever she chooses.

I’m not ungrateful for them [WWE]. It’s a shame it ended up that way but, I had a good time nevertheless. So yeah, so, I’m really happy to have my freedom back because I can work for anybody now which wasn’t the case when I was under contract.

Several months after Artemis signed with WWE, the COVID-19 pandemic began. She was scheduled to head over to NXT in the U.S. before the borders closed.

As time moved on, she asked if the opportunity to go over to NXT in the U.S. was still on the table but the borders remained closed for a long time. Referees from the U.S. were eventually sent over to the U.K. to help train NXT UK referees.

So the first thing that happened to me, I was supposed to go to the U.S. to NXT. So we [NXT UK] came back from a taping. I think it was York?… Our last taping, I don’t know. Can’t remember which one.

So that was the last one. I was supposed to go home for five days and then fly to the U.S. on that Sunday and on Friday, they closed the borders. You couldn’t fly to the U.S. anymore. So, I was devastated, because I was just so happy to be able to go there.

I asked again if I could go but the borders remained shut for a long time, a very long time and after that, it was more a case of, okay, we’re going to send a U.S. referee to you guys in London to train you a bit more, stuff like that. It was more that. They weren’t talking about bringing any of us referees at least back to the US.

Prior to her WWE tryout in 2019, Artemis underwent surgery for endometriosis which is a disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of a uterus, grows outside the uterus.

It took her three months to get walking again post-surgery and said she lost 10 kilos of weight. The ring rust was rough on her and she explained how much pain she was in.

I was super anxious because it took me three months to walk again after the [endometriosis] surgery because like, it was really bad and then for the three months between the time I walked again and the [WWE] tryout, I only had a very limited time to get a bit of cardio in, a bit of muscle in because I lost 10 kilos post-surgery and so I was really weak and rusty. The ring rust was real. It came back in the ring after three years. It was just, ugh. I was in so much pain. I had bruises everywhere, I was so tired.

Artemis is the first French woman to sign with WWE. She started her career in wrestling as an in-ring competitor but stepped away from that portion of the business due to an injury.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Cultaholic’s Desert Island Graps with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions. 

About Andrew Thompson 8744 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.