Karrion Kross Lays Out The Various Inspirations For His In-Ring Persona

It's been a year since Paul "Triple H" Levesque took the reigns of WWE Creative, and in that time many stars have returned to WWE that were once one of the apples of his eye. One of those stars is former "WWE NXT" Champion Karrion Kross. Although he returned with a very different look, his character is similar to his first run in "NXT." On "The Undisputed Podcast," Kross talked through his inspirations throughout his career and how he landed on his current WWE persona.


"From a performance standpoint, in-ring, what I always really liked a lot growing up in a family of amateur wrestlers and boxing was pro wrestling that kind of married the theatrics with stuff that really looks like legitimate combat sports. I was always involved with practices and stuff like that, and when I got to see all of my superheroes in WWE on TV doing stuff like that, and later on in my life ECW, AJPW, King's Road, I was like, 'Oh my god, that's so cool," Kross said.

"I knew some of this stuff wouldn't work, and then you see the things that do work, and that always looked more devastating to me. When I began training as a wrestler, I wanted to utilize some of that stuff because it spoke to me," Kross continued, "and I knew it would speak to other athletes and people with a legitimate background. That was just the way I wanted to perform."


Inspirations and Changes for WWE

Kross went on to talk through his hitman-esque persona on the independent scene. With the lower budget of indie wrestling, he noted that he couldn't and didn't rely on presentation, but rather used mic time to sell tickets to his target audience. He specifically named wrestlers such as Taz, Toshiaki Kawada, Gary Albright, and Steve Williams as inspirations.


Kross contrasted that with also drawing inspiration from Rick Rude and Gangrel on the theatrics side, which would come up for him when going to WWE. "When I went to WWE I knew with it being a story-based company that coming in as a shoot fighter, wrestler type thing wasn't going to cut it, so I really began to lean in and embrace their process of creating a larger-than-life type character."

"I had several conversations with Hunter about it to just explore what we could do with that," Kross said, "I wanted, most importantly, his feedback on my ideas because they're the billionaires, I'm the guy wrestling on the Indies. I said, 'Here are my concepts, if we put this on a world stage what do you think about it?' I just kind of kept my ring style, hoping to be able to appease both types of fans. Fans that are looking for that and then fans that are looking for the classic larger-than-life type of character."


If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "The Undisputed Podcast" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.