PJ Black spent seven years with WWE under the name of Justin Gabriel before departing in 2015. Since then he’s worked on the indie circuit and also currently works for both Ring of Honor and the NWA.
He discussed the options he had as a wrestling free agent in an interview with VOC Nation.
“I had two really good offers. One was really, really good and something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while; but at the end of the day, I think I made my first pros and cons list and ROH was the easy pick for me,” said Black who then talked about why he chose ROH over the other offer.
“Creative freedom was very high on my list. I have all these ideas for this new character that I’m going to do. In the middle of the year you’re going to see a completely different [character] and I’ve been working on that for a while. They like the idea; it’s a little bit over the top, but they’re going to let me run with it and see what happens. That’s big… I’m not saying that in WWE you don’t get that, but a lot of times [your ideas] will just get squashed.”
Black reportedly quit WWE the day before he was scheduled to compete at the 2015 Royal Rumble. Thus, he likely didn’t leave on the best of terms, but he talked about his current relationship with WWE.
“Right before I signed with ROH a year ago… I walked in [to the Staples Center at Survivor Series] and I ran into Hunter and Vince and I actually talked with them for a little while. There were some talks of me coming back but obviously the ROH thing came along and I took that,” stated Black. “Hunter is an awesome dude and Vince is a crazy genius too. Me and Hunter had some misunderstandings in the past, but I mean that’s just business. I feel like you bump heads with your friends and your family all the time so that’s just normal. It’s not that I had like full time heat or anything.”
Lots of talent who work in both ROH and WWE point to the backstage politics as the biggest difference between the two promotions. Black was asked about that and why there are less barriers to creative ideas in ROH.
“If you want to get something done there are so many hoops that you have to jump through in a big company like WWE. They have all the agents and the writers and then it has to get cleared by Vince, so it takes a while.
“With ROH there is only one or two people and I can speak directly to them. All of my ideas are always appreciated and at least looked at. It’s a much easier process,” said Black.