Zelina Vega was pulled from the WWE Friday Night SmackDown show on the eve of September 11. Vega’s father was one of the victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. She was scheduled to be in a tag match on the show but plans changed.
Speaking on the Cheap Heat podcast, Vega provided more details on the situation.
“It was weird. I didn’t think this was going to be a question that would keep coming up because I didn’t think it was going to be so massive. It was such a thing and I had no idea the kind of support I was going to get from that. People don’t understand that when you’re doing live TV, you can’t really predict certain things. You can’t predict if someone is going to go over time. We have times, know how this works, you have times you have to hit, but if you’re doing a promo, you don’t have anyone talking to you in your ear telling you, ‘you have a minute left.’ I think it was Edge and Seth [Rollins], they went over, and Roman [Reigns] and Brock [Lesnar] went over. By that time, they had both used an extra four minutes. By that time in the show, the only thing they could cut was our match. It wasn’t a personal thing, it wasn’t. I say it because I was upset and broken-hearted because I wanted to be part of it. At the same time, it’s not like I knew Vince was going, ‘I’m going to do this to her,’ because he would never do that. By the time it did get cut, I spoke to them, and they knew it hurt me. They didn’t want that to be the case. They just let me do 9/11 the way I needed to with my family.”
“The next day, Vince called me and he must have apologized 30 times. It was him expressing how sorry he was and it wasn’t personal. ‘I know how you can see it as a personal thing, but it wasn’t. I’m so sorry, I would never do that to you. Let’s work together and make this right and do this together. Let’s meet on Friday and talk about it.’ We did. It ended up being something that…would I have traded four minutes at a MSG show for the sake of doing it for my dad versus now being The Queen and being Tag Team Champion? Not saying that’s why it happened.”
H/T to Fightful for the transcription