Recently on The Ross Report, ‘Good Ol’ J.R.’ Jim Ross spoke with former WWE Superstar Alex Riley, also known as Kevin Kiley, Jr. Among other things, Riley talked about the high profile departures of Cody Rhodes and CM Punk. Also, Riley said he would like to work with Dolph Ziggler.

On Rhodes’ WWE departure, Riley says it took a lot of courage to walk away from WWE because not many people would have made that difficult choice.

“First of all, I think he’s a tremendous person and I only say that because it’s the truth. I’d never say that if I didn’t believe it. He loved what he did and when I see that and when I keep up on his story, and [Ross] bring it up. To me, he’s a guy that, he just wanted to perform the way he wanted to. As a wrestler, as a creative artist, whatever you want to call it, singer, actor, it’s really all the same. You have to have a love for what you’re doing. A true love, not a ‘okay, well, I’m going to show up here and they’re going to pay me this, so I’m going to say that and because I’m here 12 hours a day, it means I love it.’ That doesn’t mean you really love it. What Cody did means he really loves it. He was tired. It wasn’t a matter of where he was [on the card] or exposure he had or what opportunity he may or may not get. He believed in something and it wasn’t what they thought he was and he made a choice to go out on his own. And, honestly, I don’t think you can get any more courageous than that. And people say that, ‘oh, he’s so [fortunate].’ And he is. He’s a very fortunate man and he certainly works for it to have been given the opportunity that he did to be allowed the opportunity to make the money that he has made; however, to leave the money that he has made to go out on his own, a lot of people would not make that choice.”

As for CM Punk, Riley indicated that he does not have much sympathy for the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era. According to Riley, Punk should have expected the toll being WWE Champion takes on a person and ‘A-Ry’ did not seem to agree with the way in which Punk walked away from the world’s biggest professional wrestling promotion.  

“I was in the locker rooms with him a lot, actually, on his rise to stardom. Yeah. Me and CM Punk were never buddies, per se. I certainly spent a lot of time with him, on the road with him. He was WWE Champion for most of it, for a lot of it, or certainly one of the top players there. If you don’t know that when you put yourself in the circle of people that are going to be considered for the WWE Championship that you are going to get your brains beat out, both physically and emotionally, then you’re nuts. I don’t understand. I didn’t really keep up on much of the details of how things went down, but there were maybe some complaints there about maybe a medical thing or something, but that’s the gig, man. I mean, that’s what you signed up for. I don’t know what he ended up making or if it was even disclosed, but it was a lot. Now, if somebody’s going to pay me, what three, over a million [dollars], it doesn’t matter! If you’re making that kind of money, if you’re breathing, you’re working. I was begging for somebody to give me an opportunity to work. Begging, asking people every day, ‘why am I not being used? Why can’t I do this? How about I do this?’ and never really getting an answer. ‘We’re waiting for this,’ or ‘we’re waiting for that,’ or ‘it’s going to be okay,’ so to hear him kind of push for that opportunity, get it, and then, exit in the fashion he exited, I don’t know. I can’t sympathize with that because I don’t know if I would do that. That being said, I don’t know the exact details of what he went through, so who knows?”

When asked who he would like to face if he had another run in WWE, Riley named Dolph Ziggler immediately. ‘The Varsity Villain’ stated that Ziggler is a great guy and a great worker.

“Dolph Ziggler. Yeah, I think he’s a great guy. I think he’s extremely talented. I think he’s tough as nails, Dolph. He really has lasted there and I’ve always said this too. I think that people can hang on in WWE, if you can become a champion of WWE of any kind, if you can last on the roster for, s–t, even a year, you’re talking about Dolph being there at this point, 10, 12 years, you’re one of the toughest people on the planet. I’m not saying that for any other reason than it is the truth. It challenges you in every way you can be challenged.” Riley added, “for Dolph to have the type of success that he has had there, I can’t say enough about him and I’d love to do a run with him. It would be pretty cool.”

Also, Riley said that Ziggler has an incredible passion for the professional wrestling business.

“What he does better than anybody. And I think you have to have this about you if you’re going to be there, you have to have real passion for what he does. And that is, he’ll sacrifice anything for that company. He’ll be on the road by himself. I don’t know if he has a girlfriend now or if he’s married or what his deal is, but he has, if he’s with the WWE he has no other interests. He wants to be the best WWE Superstar that he possibly can [be] every single day of his life and I’m very, very good friends with him or at least was when I was there and he walks into that building every Monday and Tuesday expecting to be the WWE Champion and believing he could be. And when they tell him ‘no, you’re not today going to be the WWE Champion,’ he has enough in him just to shake it and reload again the next day and it doesn’t bother him. He fights through it and he cares about it more than most.”

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Source: The Ross Report