Karrion Kross Recalls Backstage Reaction After WWE Loss To Jeff Hardy

Karrion Kross' quick loss to Jeff Hardy in his main roster debut in 2021 left many pro wrestling fans upset over WWE's decision to "bury" one of its best "NXT" stars.

But the former two-time NXT Champion said his willingness to do the job for Hardy earned him plenty of fans –- and handshakes -– backstage. "I got a lot of people coming up to me and shaking hands for doing that, actually," Kross told Peter Rosenburg on the "Cheap Heat" podcast. "I won't drop names, but people that are many, many years in were saying like, 'This guy gets it.' It's not a one-man show. It's not about coming up here and making crazy demands. I got a lot of respect actually from my peers over doing that."

Kross said he would've done it for anybody as he was grateful for his undefeated run on "NXT." "They put me on course to be a star," he said. "This one thing that they were asking me to do, [I was like] it's nothing. It's no problem."

Kross told Rosenburg that playing a heel and taking a loss is sometimes a part of the job.

"There's a black hat and a white hat," he said. "So, with the Jeff thing, I heard them react and I was like, 'Hey, I did my job.' And it was arguably disadvantageous to me, like, it wasn't good for me, is what I'm trying to say, but that's how I approached it. I looked at this as work that night."

The surprising loss to Hardy once appeared to be the death knell for Kross' WWE career. He was released less than four months later but has since enjoyed a career resurgence after returning to WWE this fall.