As previously noted, WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy was recently a guest on Lillian Garcia's Chasing Glory podcast. During the thorough, in-depth interview, Murphy would discuss his journey from being a floundering NXT talent to reaching the top of the cruiserweight division on WWE 205 Live. Murphy would also admit that his "Best Kept Secret" gimmick was originally intended to maintain some form of relevancy on the independent wrestling circuit, had things not worked out with WWE.
Murphy's single career never quite took off in NXT, however, he was a successful NXT Tag Team Champion in early 2015 when he won the titles with partner, Wesley Blake and their manager at ringside, Alexa Bliss. Murphy claims that a large portion of their success as tag team wrestlers, along with the success of other former NXT Tag Team Champions around that time, should be directly attributed to The Revival's Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder. Murphy says that Dawson & Wilder lead by example and the lessons they taught in the ring eventually spread to the entire NXT tag team division.
"Our tag team wrestling skills? All Revival, Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder. They taught us tag team wrestling," Murphy stated. "We'd have these matches with them and they'd just kinda do it, and we'd just kinda learn so much, and then we would take that and we would take that to newer guys, like Enzo & Cass. We would do that with them, and then Jordan & Gable at the time, and then it just became this - the tag team [division] was good!"
Murphy and Blake gradually worked less television matches until, eventually, things like NXT Championships, TakeOver Specials and TV time began to completely allude them. Loathing the idea of complacency, Murphy set his sights on a new goal - drop 25 lbs. and become a featured talent on WWE 205 Live. It proved a difficult journey with many people trying to deter him away from new, unknown territory, but nevertheless, Murphy persisted on and would find the right people to handle the request.
"I asked for 205 like a year before it happened," Murphy revealed. "They just said no. They said, 'Nah, there's no spots there'. And I was like, 'Okay'. Then I tried it again and I had this whole idea, and I remember watching a TakeOver, and I remember watching it and I got so mad watching it, because I think it was a year after we lost the titles. And it was at the Barclays Center for TakeOver, and I remember watching it, and I just got so mad. And I turned the TV off and said, 'Why aren't I on that? I was on it last year. I was the tag team champion last year. Now, I can't do anything. Nothing's good enough.'
"I just looked in to stuff to do to keep me occupied," Murphy continued. "Alright, I'm gonna start dieting. I'm gonna start working out more. So then I started to lose weight and then I started to see some results, and I started to drop some weight. Then I pitched 205 again. 'No!' 'Alright.' So I was doing all this stuff and then they announced the Classic - the tournament - for the Crusierweight Title after it got vacated, and the winners were gonna face each other at WrestleMania. I ended up messaging Adam Pierce, who's one of the producers of 205, and I was like, 'Hey Adam, I saw there was this tournament. Not sure if it's fully booked yet, but if it isn't, I'd like to put my name in the hat.'
"And I don't know this, but I assume that, maybe Adam had to have eventually said, 'Well, what about Buddy Murphy? He's sitting there,'" Murphy imitated. They go, "'He ain't 205.' 'No, he's close.' And then all of a sudden, they're like, 'How much do you weigh?' I said, '208 or something', and they're like, 'come in on Tuesday, I need to weigh you.' So I just went in and I was like - almost 205 - just get it to 204. So then I come in, and I didn't drink any water. I sat in the sauna, I got down, I weighed myself and I was 204. And he's like, 'Alright.' And he took a photo of me and then I think he sent it to Triple H, and next thing you know, I'm just doing live events and I'm sitting at the house. I get a phone call from Ryan Katz, he goes, 'What time can you come in tomorrow?' I said, 'What are you talking about? For what?' He goes, 'You don't know?' I go, 'No.' He goes, 'We need to film vignettes, you're debuting on Tuesday."
Murphy had a backup plan set aside just in case his time in NXT was leading to being released from the company. Murphy believed that promoting his "Best Kept Secret" gimmick on his ring attire and through promos would create buzz-worthy pictures that would directly affiliate him with his time in NXT. Murphy planned on using this recognition as a way of prolonging his career on the independent circuit if WWE ultimately fell apart at the seams.
"Calling yourself the 'Best Kept Secret' is a die on your own sword," Murphy explained. "If you're saying, 'I'm good, you just don't know it yet.' And then you don't deliver? You're killed. And it was all a set up between you, and me, and everybody that's listening to this now, 'Best Kept Secret' was a thing for me to do on the indies. I though that my time was up [in WWE]. Like, I couldn't think of anything. I felt I hated wrestling. I was like, well I can go back to Australia or I can do something here.
"That whole in itself," Murphy continued, "I put the whole logo on my pants because I thought, 'Okay, if I have that on my pants, then when I go somewhere, I'll at least have a photo of me in WWE wearing that logo and that will work for merch later on. I was thinking all these things, like if it doesn't work out, I need something to fall in to. And The Best Kept Secret, well, 'they just didn't use me - that's their fault.'"
Now that Murphy has arrived at his desired destination in 205 Live, it's apparent how passionate he is to work with the roster of the show. One performer in particular, Mustafa Ali, recently got called up from 205 Live to the main roster of WWE SmackDown. Like he sees in Ali, Murphy can envision himself flourishing on one of the premier shows in WWE, however, his current focus is bringing more recognition to the brand he's fought so defiantly to be on, 205 Live.
"[Ali is] one of the most unselfish, easy-to-work-with, nice guys that I've probably met in my entire 30 years on this planet," Murphy said. "He's just a sweet dude and he loves his family, and you know it's a good person and a good man when all they do is talk about how much they love their family. I think that's just a really good quality. And working with him, we're very similar...When he got called up, I'm very happy for him and I hope he continues to kill it, and I'm certain that he will...I think I'm ready for [the main roster]. I think that it will be bittersweet because 205 gave me this opportunity, and I feel like, the guys in 205 are the best guys. We all have the same work ethic and we all want to create the best brand, and that's our baby, we're trying to create the buzz ourselves. We're the stepchild and we're trying to [say], 'Hey, we're over here too but we do it ourselves.'
You can listen to the full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.