On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with former WWE NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush where they discussed Rush’s release that came this past April as part of cost-cutting measures WWE made during the COVID-19 pandemic. While Rush said he was surprised at the timing of his release, he was not surprised he was let go from WWE.
“During the pandemic, yes, it surprised me,” Rush admitted. “Am I surprised that they released me? I don’t think I am. I’m not surprised that they released me, but I am surprised that they released me along with 100 plus people during the pandemic. That’s pretty shi–y. Like I said, things happen for a reason. I’m sure my reason is going to come up really really soon if it hasn’t already. So things are moving in a positive direction for me. Me being let go by WWE, it was not something that was so pivotal that it changed my life forever and now I’m ruined and I can’t do anything.”
Rush was and has been outspoken about his time in WWE, which has led to some fans believing that his outspokenness is a crux to his career. Rush gave his thoughts on those types of comments noting that there is a lot more to the situation than what many fans know.
“People are going to say what they’re going to say. A lot of people that say things like that are ignorant,” Rush said. “They don’t know what the situation is. They don’t know exactly what’s going on. They’re just going off of what one fan is saying and then that story turns into a different story, and then it’s just like a domino effect. So I don’t think that’s the case at all because if that was the case, I wouldn’t have got signed to Ring of Honor.
“If that was the case, I wouldn’t have gotten signed to the WWE. Things have been being said about me for years now. What’s true, what isn’t true, I’m still getting opportunities. I’m still able to work with so many talented people. Like I said, it just came down to me seeing my value within the company just a little bit differently than what Hunter (Triple H) and the rest of the powers that be saw for me. So it’s all good.”
Hausman asked why there was a disconnect between him and WWE management. Rush noted that not only being young but also being a young African-American who is confident in their abilities can be viewed by some as cocky. He noted that if he was not confident in himself, then he would not have accomplished what he has so far in his career.
“I’m not gonna say that there weren’t mistakes made by me. I’m sure that even if I was right or wrong, I feel like on my part maybe, it could have been handled a little bit differently,” Rush admitted. “I think my feelings with certain situations were right, and I had a right to feel that way, but I’m not going to just put the blame completely on one person on one side of the story. There’s a difference between somebody who’s been doing this for years and for a long time and somebody in my position that started out when I was 18 years old and accomplished so many things in the time span that I accomplished them.
“I hate bringing this up, and I never want this to be a topic of discussion, but in my world it plays a part. It plays a part being young. It plays a part being a young African-American, and it plays a part with me being confident in myself. And I feel like a lot of the confusion with everybody–there’s a very fine line between cockiness and confidence, and I feel like a lot of people think that I’m more on the the cocky side because I am so young, but I just believe in myself.
“I held myself to a certain point where I put my all into whatever I’m doing, and I push myself. And a lot of people don’t like that I guess. I’m not sure, but if I wasn’t that way, I wouldn’t be in the position that I’m in today. I wouldn’t have accomplished the things that I’ve accomplished, so I’m not ashamed of being who I am because it has made me successful.”
Lio Rush can be seen as part of MLW’s The Restart starting Wednesday November 18th. For more information please visit www.MLW.com. Lio’s full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.