Kris Statlander was on a recent episode of AEW Unrestricted where she discussed her return from injury. Since her return, Statlander has joined the Best Friends and Orange Cassidy. She revealed how long those plans have been in place.
“Well, I feel like the whole me and Orange Cassidy type thing, we’ve talked about doing this since before both of us were signed with AEW,” Statlander revealed. “We had done a mixed tag team match together, and we had wrestled each other twice actually. And our characters are just so similar and just complement each other so well that it had to have come to to fruition at some point. So when I first got signed, we were doing a whole lot of skits on BTE, and then we were told that would never happen on TV. This is going to stay on BTE just because of personal reasons and what not.
“Not our reasons but it was just something that wasn’t wanted for TV, and then how we made me joining them become my actual return, it’s still incredibly mind-blowing to me. How often do you see a woman wrestler return in a men’s main event gimmick match to team up with them and save them? When does that happen ever? Never does so it was kind of a huge moment for me, and I didn’t realize that. I was just like, oh, I’m just doing a goofy ass spot right here, but it’s to make amends with my friends that I’ve been here with for this whole time and stuff.
“So I think it was just really cool how it all actually happened and the fact that it actually is happening now, and I feel now that it’s being seen what we’re doing, it’s like, ‘Oh, why haven’t we done this all along?’ And I see so many people like tweets and stuff where it’s like, ‘I feel like Kris joining the Best Friends is a little bit too tailored to my specific needs as a wrestling fan and stuff like that.’ They’re actually getting exactly what they wanted, and it’s one of the most feel good things that people have. I’m so happy I get to be a part of that. It’s so nice to be that joy for people.”
Statlander made her return during the Arcade Anarchy match between Kip Sabian and Miro vs. Chucky Taylor and Orange Cassidy. Trent also made his return, and Statlander’s return was memorable with her coming out of a claw machine and pushing the glass at Penelope Ford. Statlander revealed who was originally supposed to come out of the claw machine.
“I know that was originally supposed to be Orange Cassidy’s spot, which I don’t get because he was in the match,” Statlander pointed out. “Trying to think about it, would he just not be a part of the match and the entrance and then Chuck would just be getting double teamed the whole time and then Orange Cassidy pops out of it? To me, that didn’t make sense, but I don’t write or book anything, so it’s not my decision.
“But I got cleared that week and was told I was doing something that week. I got cleared the Tuesday, I believe, that we fly out to go to tapings, and then I was not expecting anything at all to happen because you gotta build up storylines and stuff like that. I know they were talking about maybe teasing a return and everything. I just got told that I was going to be in the claw machine, and I was just like, ‘Okay, that’s cool.’ And then I was so worried that the plexiglass wasn’t going to come off.
“Me and Penelope were like, ‘It’s just got to be full force. Just got to do it’ and then I was worried that I was going to Shockmaster myself getting out of the claw machine. It’s pretty tall to get over there. My leg can’t bend all the way with a brace on. I was like, ‘If my foot gets stuck and I f**king eat s**t, oh God.’ I was so worried that I was just going to face plant, but they told me they were going to put a step in there for me, and I’ll be able to grab onto the top.”
Statlander then revealed how long she was in the claw machine. Tony Schiavone also revealed whether or not he and commentary knew that Statlander would pop out of the claw machine.
“I was in there before they did entrances. I was in there the entire match,” Statlander revealed. “So suffering and there were times Penelope, she would walk over to me and be like, ‘Hey, you hear all those you suck chants? They’re talking about you,’ and she’d just walk away.
“It was a great moment,” Schiavone said. “As a matter of fact Kris, I don’t know about Excalibur, but JR and I were not smartened up enough that you were in the machine. So it was a surprise for us.
“I feel like that was the case with a lot of people,” Statlander added. “When they were talking about it, they saw me standing out there with them, but they didn’t know where I went when the match actually started. So I don’t think a lot of people saw me get into the claw machine because it was before the match started. I was in there for a solid two – three minutes before they even started doing entrances.”
During Statlander’s return, Ford took the plexiglass right on her face. Statlander recalled the spot and working on it with Ford.
“For everyone that’s going to ask about it, she was going to put her hands up. It just came out so much easier than we thought that it was going to that she just didn’t have time to,” Statlander said. “But we got such a perfect moment out of it, and she was fine. She is fine for anyone that thinks I might have broken her nose or anything. She was fine. It was just so unexpected in the best way possible that that happened. It’s (the plexiglass) in the prop truck. That’s something we’re saving.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.