On Dec. 29, Toni Storm was granted her release from the WWE. Storm had asked for her release prior to this and WWE accepted her request. This left a lot of people scratching their heads as to why she left the company.
Toni Storm Signs With WWE- May 2018
Prior to signing with the company, Storm wrestled in the inaugural Mae Young Classic back in the summer of 2017. Storm made it to the semi-finals before she was eliminated by Kairi Sane. Over the course of the tournament, she knocked off Ayesha Raymond, Lacey Evans, and Piper Niven, now known as Doudrop.
When Storm signed with the company, she was sent to NXT and put in the NXT Women’s Championship picture almost immediately. She had won a triple threat match to earn the right to face the NXT Women’s Champion at the time, Shayna Baszler. Storm, however, was unsuccessful in that bout.
Toni Storm was put in the Mae Young Classic again in 2018; this time she won. Storm beat Io Shirai at WWE Evolution to become the second-ever winner of the Mae Young Classic. Toni Storm was then sent to NXT UK where she spent most of her time in the company.
Storm had bouts with Rhea Ripley, including one in which she won her first and only NXT UK Women’s Championship; it was also the only title reign she had in the company. She held the championship for 231 days before losing it to Kay Lee Ray at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff in August of 2019.
After that, she spent more time in NXT and NXT UK, sometimes switching between the two. She had incredible matches wherever she went and showed the world why she was as good as she says she is. Then, she got called up to SmackDown in July of 2021. It all went downhill from here.
Toni Storm’s Main Roster Run- July 2021
Toni Storm had her debut match on the July 23 edition of SmackDown where she faced and beat Zelina Vega. However, after that, she faced off against Zelina again in the opening round of the Queen’s Crown tournament and she lost, very quickly.
Most recently, Storm was featured in a program with Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. This had to be the perfect chance to put the championship on someone new to lead us into the future, right? Wrong. Storm quickly lost to Charlotte and to make matters worse, WWE had Charlotte throw a pie in her face during the build to the title match.
WWE is known for notoriously messing up main roster call-ups from NXT. Karrion Kross is just one example of that, but this was notoriously bad. Storm has all the talent and charisma in the world, and she got nowhere on the main roster.
If given the chance, Storm could have had a long SmackDown (or Raw) Women’s Championship run. However, Storm was never given a chance at that opportunity. As per Dave Meltzer (h/t to Sportskeeda’s Lennard Surrao for the transcription), it’s said that the reason Storm asked for her release was “burnout, essentially.” It’s hard to blame her when you’re that talented and you get booked like that.
WWE has a ton of stars in the developmental; all you need to do is watch one NXT or NXT UK TakeOver for proof. However, none of that matters if as soon as they get called up, they are booked to look terribly (i.e. Kross, again).
Storm could have been something extremely special in that company. That said, Storm will kill it wherever she goes, and if we know one thing for sure, it’s that this is just the beginning.