Following his signing with All Elite Wrestling two weeks ago, Paul Wight joined Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions to discuss what has transpired since joining WWE’s biggest rival in North America. Now that he has a different position and outlook, Wight is ready to continue to inspire younger talent towards becoming main event stars – similar to what he did towards the end of his WWE career. He explains that even though he was facing life-altering injuries like his hip surgery, for example, he never wanted to let his co-workers down, so he continued pushing through his injuries.
“I don’t care about the titles I’ve won. I don’t care about great matches. I don’t care about bad matches. What I’ve done yesterday I can’t change,” Paul Wight began. “I’m about today and tomorrow. “I could have sat in WWE and sat on my ass, but I’m not done yet.
“For me personally, when I was doing that angle with Braun [Strowman], I had holes in my ball joint of my hip. I worked a year-and-a-half with that because I felt a duty to the guys in the locker room to be there for them and to keep the angles going. Like, even when I did the thing with The Bar, I came to The Bar that night because I didn’t want to leave them hanging, but the metal device in my hip was broken. I had surgery the next day. But I still came to Minneapolis because I didn’t want to let Sheamus and Cesaro down.”
While speaking of his injuries, Wight told Paquette the grueling struggle he faced following his hip surgery three years ago. After his surgery was a success, life-threatening infections like MRSA appeared, which almost cost Wight his life.
“The first surgery I had was a resurfacing. It was a titanium cap over the ball joint with a titanium reciprocal in the hip that helps you keep 98 percent of your bone,” he described. “So, they shave the bone, put the cap over it and then rock and roll. Eighteen days after surgery, I was walking on a treadmill. Then on day 21 or 22, I had to go for my follow-up, and I had a little red bump. It was weird; it just came out of nowhere. The doctor in New York thought it might have been a cyst. He tried to aspirate it or drain it. That didn’t work. It just kept getting worse.
“Come to find out we had an infection. So, there was a 33 percent chance they could open me up again, flush it out, clean out the infection, put on some antibiotic powder, and sew it up again and you go through rehab all over again. So, we took the 33 percent chance. So, now, I’m 10 weeks down in WWE.”
Following his first MRSA extraction procedure, Wight went through three more after seeing his leg turn purple while he went to a charity event.
“So, I do the surgery and clean out and all of that. Rehab was going good. I felt like I was doing good. I think I’m coming back. I take one flight to do something for the Special Olympics, and my whole leg turns purple. The infection came back,” he continued. “So then, they had to put a PICC line, which into my arm and it goes to my heart. I had three IV bags. They drip, and then they come in and switch it out. It was like that for 10 weeks. Before this surgery, I was in the best shape of my life.
“So, we did the PICC line and the surgery and all of that. That was my third debridement. So, I ended up having three of those where they cut you open. Mine was a bilateral scar, so it goes across the hip. So I had to go through all of that rehab all over again…I went through some horrible s–t.”
Once he finally completed rehab and had a clean bill of health from all of his prior injuries throughout the years, WWE’s Talent and Relations didn’t give him the welcome back celebration he expected. Instead, they informed him where his career was going to go moving forward.
“I got pulled into a Talent and Relations office,” Wight was told five years ago. “And [I was told] I will never main event WrestleMania again. I will never main event a pay-per-view again. And I will only be used to get over NXT talent. That was said to my face. There’s your f–king inspiration, now go work hard. Vince didn’t say it to me; it wasn’t him. But you know where it comes from. It hurt a little bit. It was like, is this really where we’re at?
“Again, I’m not making any excuses. I understand where they’re coming from. But they were trying to give me the heads up like, ‘Hey, you’ve done everything that you could do. You’ve had a great career. Maybe it’s time for you to start thinking about slowing down.’ F–k that, Jack!”
In more detail, Wight reveals that after that meeting, as well as lack of creative freedom, those two things were what drove him away from continuing with WWE.
“For me, it was creative frustration,” he replied on why he chose to go to AEW over WWE. “I’ve gone back and forth with Paul Heyman and Bruce Prichard and Vince [McMahon]. You know how things are there: If you kind of get out of the loop for a little bit, it’s real hard for them to work you back in no matter how much talent you have and no matter how much you have to offer.
“It was frustrating to me because, sure, I was making money, and I worked against Drew [McIntyre] after WrestleMania. Then, I came in and teamed with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, but I need more. I’ve never been a sit on the bench [kind of] guy. I’m not going to take money and sit at home and be a happy little princess. No. I like to work for my money.”
Wight wanted to make it clear that he will never bury WWE, especially since that was the company that jumpstarted his career after WCW. In fact, his 21 years of service there paid off when Vince McMahon called and kindly wished Wight the best of luck in his future endeavors with AEW.
“Vince called me and wished me all the luck,” he noted. “He said I was going to be a big asset for AEW and to have a good time.”
You can listen to Paul Wight’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.