I spoke to former WWE Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson recently for an exclusive interview. Jackson, real name Rycklon Stephens, performed for Lucha Underground's first season, before leaving the company. According to Ezekiel, his exits from the two companies were much different.
"I still haven't received a phone call saying that (WWE) weren't re-signing me," Ezekiel said while laughing. "I knew my contract was going to expire the same day as WrestleMania. I asked if I was being brought in for WrestleMania for anything and was told no. I asked if I could look for bookings the day after and was told yes, and that's basically how we parted ways. Never got a phone call, an e-mail, a text message, not a 'hey dude, we're not bringing you back.'"
Jackson said the WWE allowing his contract to expire wasn't a surprise, but he's glad that he was able to get injuries taken care of while under WWE contract. He attributes the decision to get shoulder surgery when he did
"I had been off TV for almost 8 months before that. My last match was a Superstars match. I was wrestling with torn rotator cuffs for about six months. I figured they weren't doing anything with me after taking the IC title off of me, so I figured I'd check out that shoulder. I tore the rotator cuff completely and almost couldn't wrestle or lift ever again, so I caught it in time and saved my body," Jackson said.
Jackson also spoke out about his Lucha Underground departure, saying that he simply doesn't want to travel as much these days.
"Not one thing on my end or their end. It's a transition for me and them. I no longer live in LA, and I didn't want to be a traveling wrestler. I have to be away from my kids and my family, and they're the most important thing in my life right now. I just don't want to be a traveling wrestler anymore. It just wasn't working for me and my family. I enjoyed it. Most people think a move from LA to the Bay is a one hour trip, but that one hour trip turned into three days for me. I have two kids I want to see grow and a wife I want to sleep in the same bed with," Jackson said.
We'll have the full interview with Ezekiel Jackson up soon, exclusively on WrestlingINC.