On a recent episode of WWE After the Bell, NXT wrestler Cameron Grimes talked about his up-bringing. Grimes discussed being the next door neighbor to the Hardy Boyz and learning the wrestling business through them and his father. Grimes said he remembers moments spent with the Hardyz in a wrestling ring on his front lawn and seeing them live in a mansion with fancy cars made him aspire to be a pro wrestler.
“The Hardy Boyz started wrestling, my dad wanted to be all a part of that,” Grimes said. “He was just as big a fan as them, just didn’t have the talent of them. He stored the ring in our yard, and my fondest memories are riding on the back of dirt bikes with Jeff Hardy, falling out of the ring as a child. I was the next door neighbour to Matt and Jeff Hardy. I grew up very low income and I would see these guys come home from the road driving their corvettes, driving their Cadillacs, going to their mansions and that was something that I wanted and needed.
“I lived a few years homeless, sleeping at the wrestling school on the floor. My goal was, I was going to make this. There was no way you were going to tell me I wasn’t going to make this, I had too many connections and in my head too much talent to believe I wasn’t going to make it.”
Grimes continued to talk about coming up in the pro wrestling business and receiving positive feedback from Kevin Owens on his way to becoming a WWE superstar. He also talked about Pro Wrestling Gorilla and being involved with that company in his pursuit of WWE.
“I ended up doing a show in Charlotte and I wrestled Cedric Alexander and it just so happened at that time Kevin Owens was at that show,” Grimes said. “After that, Kevin came up to me and said ‘I really like you and I think that you would be great in PWG.’ At the time, all the best independent wrestlers were at this company and at the time I was trying to try out for Ring of Honor and they just didn’t have anything for me.
“Then a year went by and I had heard nothing. I get a message from Cedric Alexander that says I need your email. I sent him my email and he goes ‘We may be booked for PWG this weekend.’ This is Wednesday and PWG was supposed to happen Saturday. I went from never being booked on a good show to now being flown all the way from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. To be able to go to Los Angeles for free to wrestle for this company that all the best guys were at right now, Roderick Strong, Kevin Owens. I remember going there and being like they’re not going to be able to tell me no.”
Grimes noted the influence his father had on his career including his relationship with Matt and Jeff Hardy. The former IMPACT star also talked about how he got into NXT and WWE by making a phone call to William Regal asking if they had a place for him.
“My father, his claim to fame was that he was an extra the night the Hardy Boyz won the Tag Team titles the first time,” Grimes said. “He was always the person to tell me that I had it, he was always the person to tell me everything that would come. Sure enough, I just reached out to Mr. Regal, I was tired of where I was at. ‘Hey, I know you guys didn’t want to sign me before, you had mentioned before that when I become 24 years old you would bring me in as a maturity thing.’ I had hit up Regal, told him I’d like to come [to NXT], and then he just messaged me back ‘Yeah, we’d like to sign you.’
“I called my father, told him the news that I had wanted to tell him my entire life, and unfortunately that was the last time I was ever able to talk to my father. The last news I was ever able to give him was that the WWE had signed me, I called him on a Wednesday and that Saturday I received a call that my father passed away of a heart attack. He would always tell me he was here for me, and then when I finally got to where I was supposed to go it was like he was able to rest. You can’t write a better story. I got signed to WWE and there was no telling me no at that point.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.