Ellsworth appeared on RAW as a jobber to Braun Strowman in 2016 and his unique look immediately endeared him to the WWE Universe. The fans' reaction to him convinced WWE officials to continue booking him and he eventually earned a contract. Ellsworth said it had always been his dream to be a pro wrestler since he was a young child.
"I can't remember ever not wanting to be a pro wrestler. I started watching it at a young age. In kindergarten and first grade, they would ask us what we wanted to be when we grew up. People would dress as doctors or police officers, nurses, but I would come dressed as a wrestler. My dad would try to dress me up as a baseball player, but I'm like, no, I want to dress up like the Ultimate Warrior because I want to be a professional wrestler when I grow up," Ellsworth said. "I can't remember not wanting to be a professional wrestler my whole life. I started watching wrestling at a young age; around 4 or 5 years old. Ricky Morton was the first pro wrestler that I noticed in the NWA around 1988, 1989 when I was 4 or 5 years old. Then I noticed 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior. I was just hooked right away."
Ellsworth attended a professional wrestling school to pursue his dream. He said his parents were originally vehemently against him trying to become a pro wrestler because they didn't believe he would have a future in sports entertainment, But eventually, they knew he was going to pursue his dream no matter what.
"They were like, look, you're not going to make it big. You're going to get hurt. You shouldn't do this. You're going to take your graduation money you made and putting it into pro wrestling school, it's not very smart, but we know we're not going to stop you from doing it," Ellsworth said. "So they were supportive in that way when they told me all the A, B and C why you shouldn't do it, but then they were like we know you want to do it, so go get them and see what happens."
Ellsworth also discussed when he realized he was over with the WWE Universe. He said he was initially skeptical about how he would be received, but the fans' reaction to him starting a storyline with WWE Champion AJ Styles was eye-opening to him.
"After the six weeks, and I knew I would be appearing on TV, I was like, man, is this just an internet thing where guys were just having fun on the internet or did people really care? So, that first appearance on SmackDown AJ Styles was looking for a partner when AJ Styles was a heel. Daniel Bryan said that if you couldn't look for a partner then we would find one for you. I was going to be revealed as a partner. I was thinking, man, hopefully they react when I walk into the camera into the shot," he said. "So AJ Styles couldn't find a partner, nobody wanted to team with him. It was a match against Dean Ambrose and John Cena. When I walked into the camera I heard the crowd react. It was a live shot, and we did the shot, afterwards Shane McMahon came to me and said, 'Kid, did you hear that pop?' He was all excited for me. You know Shane; he's one of the boys. Once he started doing that I realized that it was real and people wanted to see the character, and see it do something. That night before I debuted, Miz beat me up on the stage and stole the spot in the match and then you didn't see me again for a month and that was when I came in to wrestle AJ Styles for the first time."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.