Lexis King Breaks Down His Journey Through The Indies & AEW Before WWE NXT Arrival

Lexis King – formerly known as Brian Pillman Jr. – made his official in-ring debut for "WWE NXT" last month, defeating Dante Chen on night one of "NXT" Halloween Havoc. Before his arrival to WWE, King spent several years building his resume across the wrestling landscape. Along his journey, King landed opportunities with Major League Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, and numerous promotions on the independent circuit. During an interview with "The Hall of Fame" podcast, King provided a more detailed breakdown of the path that eventually led to him signing with WWE in 2023.

"I had an opportunity when I was about 23 [or] 24 to come here and train and it just didn't feel right. It felt too soon," King said. "They always said you should 'despise a free lunch' and I felt like getting a shot that soon while I was still green, I didn't really appreciate or respect the business enough to be here. I was still resentful towards it, and I just wanted to get out there and do some indies and see if eventually it would click. And I did, I fell in love with it. It clicked. I traveled and I got on with MLW. My trainer Lance Storm recommended, he said, 'You got nothing to lose to go with this small TV production.' I got experience doing TV-style stuff with them. It was great."

King first signed with MLW in 2018. Two years later, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the company to pause their operations, opening the door for Pillman to entertain more work with AEW. Once his MLW contract expired in 2021, King was promoted to a full-time AEW talent. 

In analyzing his AEW run, King noted that he particularly enjoyed working with Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley. King also received valuable guidance from the likes of Jerry Lynn and Billy Gunn during this time. In the summer of 2023, King's contract with AEW had expired, paving the way for him to finally sign with WWE.

If you use quotes in this article, please credit "The Hall of Fame" and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.