Following in the footsteps of fellow Canadians, like Bret Hart and Trish Stratus, who left a mark in the WWE, Renee Young is making an impression. Having signed with the WWE in October 2012, she did not make her on-air debut until a February 2013 fimed segment for WWE Active.
Introduced by Matt Striker as Renee Young, the reality is that Canadian sports fans know her as Renee Paquette. Prior to signing with the Federation, she was a popular sports announcer with the television network The Score (since acquired by Rogers). One of her first hosting duties for the network was an amateur boxing show called Gotta Grudge? The premise was two people looking to settle a dispute (either at work or personal) putting on the gloves and settle their issues through an aggressive display of pugilism.
With that problem establishing her likeability and easy going demeanor, she would host a live program aired after Smack Down with a unique quality to it known as Aftermath. The first of its kind, it broke ground as the first-ever program that featured a rundown of events from a live WWE broadcast.
Along with Arda Ocal and former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas, the three discussed their favorite matches, least favorite matches, which superstars impressed and pay per view predictions. While very few women have made a mark as on-air announcers in wrestling, viewers could tell that Renee was a genuine wrestling fan and that interest just showed episode after episode. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of her tenure with The Score is the way she enjoyed getting her face painted like Goldust.
While her workload with the WWE has shifted from NXT, pre-shows on pay per view and programming for international territories, there have been particular avenues in which she has shined. Of note, she had the opportunity to interview The Big Show at the WrestleMania XXIX post-show. Along with WWE Hall of Famer Mean Gene Okerlund, she co-hosts WWE Vintage Collection, which broadcast matches from wrestling’s golden age in the 1980’s along with memorable moments from the 1990’s.
The other was her hosting duties on the reunion of Total Divas, a reality show on E! Television. Broadcast immediately after their mid-season cliffhanger, Young did her best version of Andy Cohen with a roomful of Divas. Clearly the glue that held the reunion show together, her effervescence was the most redeeming part of the program. Young kept prompting the Divas for replies while keeping things light with the discussion regarding Nattie Neidhart’s wedding.
One can only hope that the WWE does not tarnish her golden image. Her charm, fun-loving and energetic side needs to be preserved. During Lillian Garcia’s first run with WWE, there was a segment where she had (supposedly) hot coffee thrown on her by Stephanie McMahon. Then, she was in a relationship with wrestler Viscera. Sadly, many female on-air personalities have been looked upon as either airheads or bimbos (of which Renee is certainly neither). Such things only demean and add no value to the on-air product.
With a star that is shining brightly and on the rise, Renee Young is a gem for the WWE. When Topps Trading Cards releases their 2014 series of WWE cards, hopefully Young’s image shall grace one of those cardboard collectibles. Perhaps one day she will get to be part of the announce team for a WrestleMania or a flag ship program like Raw. While the potential to break ground and shatter the glass ceiling is strong, Young’s wrestling fans in Canada are proud to see a local girl done good.