After returning to WWE during the Royal Rumble this past January, MVP wasn’t entirely sure if he would make a return back to the company. In his interview on Chasing Glory, he recalls the reason why he left WWE 10 years ago.
“My dream was to wrestle in Japan,” MVP stated. “When I started professional wrestling, I was first introduced to Japanese wrestling. Norman Smiley introduced me to Japanese wrestling. He wrestled in Japan for some time. [After watching some videos of Japanese wrestling] I was like Woah, that’s intense, wow! So, I had a dream that I wanted to wrestle in the Tokyo Dome. I wanted to wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling. I had a year left on my deal, and I asked Vince McMahon actually, I asked Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis] at the time, and we talked. A lot of people don’t know Johnny Ace made his career in Japan for All Japan. So, there would be times where me and John would drink a beer, and we’d talk about pro wrestling. We’d sit there, and I would drink up all of his stories about all the guys I used to watch on VHS tapes, and how he used to work with those guys.
“I had a year left on my deal, and they were trying to get me to re-sign a five-year deal. I just didn’t want to at the time. My inner flame was kind of flickering, and Japan was calling me. I needed that fire again.”
He mentions that Vince McMahon’s reaction towards his decision to leave was quite positive. He wishes that more people can see the good that he sees in McMahon.
“I will say this: love Vince McMahon or hate Vince McMahon, no matter what you feel about him, he has always treated me well,” MVP noted. “He gave me an opportunity when no one else would. He let me go fulfill a dream. He didn’t have to let me out of my contract. He could’ve said no. But, he said, ‘Ok, come back. The door is always open for you to come back. Come back in a year, two years. You’ll be a bigger star when you come back.’ Johnny Ace [agreed] saying, ‘You’ll only get better.’ It took me 10 years to get back.”
After fulfilling his dream in NJPW, MVP was close to making his return to WWE. However, an offer from TNA made him changed his mind. He would work for TNA from 2014-2015, and again in 2015, before heading to the indies, then back to WWE again.
“When I was ready to come back to WWE, I got a call from TNA, and they offered me a really good deal,” MVP recalled. “It was, you know, less workload, a consumable amount of money, and I was thinking all right, maybe I should try this for a little while. When things wrapped up over at TNA, I wasn’t ready to come back to WWE yet at that time. I was working on the indies, which I enjoyed. I was making my own schedule, working when I wanted to work and then going ok, I’m going to go back to working 52 weeks a year, 3-4 nights a week. It was a big jump.”
When making his decision to come back, MVP noted that it was his son who inspired him to return. He discusses his son’s love for the business, and how much of a WWE fan he is.
“My son is five years old and he’s a massive wrestling fan. So, the reason I came back, was because I wanted my son to see me as he calls it in ‘WW Wrestling.'”
Originally, MVP was going to hang up his boots and retire this year. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and how drastically things changed, WWE officials decided to expand his role in the company from producer to in-ring performer again.
“I had intended to retire,” MVP announced. “I’m 46 now, you know. I was ready to start winding down. They offered me a producer’s position – I accepted it. But, they still valued me as MVP. [They’d say] ‘Hey MVP, could you do an MVP Lounge segment? Hey MVP, could you do this match real quick?’ The next thing I know, I’m doing TV stuff more than I’m doing producer stuff. Then, the COVID-19 hit and the next thing I know, all these layoffs start to hit, and fortunately, I’m still on TV.”
You can view MVP’s full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory-Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.