Mojo Rawley joined Insight with Chris Van Vliet to talk about his WWE career and recent release from the promotion. Rawley went into his heel run upon turning on Zack Ryder, an idea that he feels didn’t get the development it should’ve.

“I can’t remember whose idea it was,” Rawley said. “It was mine or Vince’s I think. Zack got hurt and I had my singles run, I had a good stretch there. Zack came back and we teamed up again. Everyone knew we were going to break up because we prefaced it for months. But I don’t I think anyone knew who was going to turn on who. We didn’t really know either. Then the thought came down to have me do the heel turn and I was all for it. I know they wanted me to get as far from the hype persona as possible, they didn’t want me to mention the word hype at all. We had a good run there.

“I would have preferred if Zack and I could have had our run for a bit. I turned on him, then they aired a dot com exclusive on the breakup. We had our one match on the kick-off on a pay per view. When you are doing a kick-off, you have so many handicaps. You can’t swing for the fences and show people what you got. Me and Zack instead went ‘lets just cut promos on each other on socials.’ I did one in my garage that got good traction. But that was it, the turn, the kick off match then that was it. I would have loved to do more but it is what it is. As long as you did all you could, that is what will propel you through the years.”

After the split of the Hype Bros Rawley took on a gimmick where he painted his face and cut promos into a mirror. Rawley revealed he was against the face paint idea, thought his vignettes ultimately didn’t work and that a planned program with Apollo Crews ultimately went nowhere.

“I was so against that,” Rawley said with a laugh. “I really didn’t want to do that. But truthfully the sketches didn’t look half bad. I remember thinking ‘I hope when I wear this it looks this cool.’ It couldn’t be furthest from. I pitched this idea of ‘everyone looks at themselves in the mirror and everyone hypes themselves up. Everyone has that degree of vanity, let me run with it. Let me cut promos where I am berating them for their shortcoming, and you don’t know who I am talking to. You find out later it’s me, and we can take this whole new attitude and run with it.’ Somehow that lead to me losing my mind and drawing on my face, I don’t know what it became.

“We literally did one match with that character. Me and Apollo Crews were paired together on a Europe tour. I remember it was like 2 and half weeks of everyday working together, we put on some great matches. There was so much that we pitched together. We put on matches that nobody was really expecting out of us and the fans gravitated towards. It’s hard though. You got 2 guys with no TV time going after these guys with established rivalries. But it was in the reports every night. ‘These two are onto something, lets give them a run.’ So they booked Apollo for my debut match in this new run. We were stoked, we were like lets go out and kill it, show them what we got. Then we found out it was a 60 second match that was written out entirely for us. Two and a half weeks, then it’s that, then it’s over. I just painted my face like an idiot for nothing.”

Rawley was among the first wave of cuts from WWE this year, being released in April. He is grateful both for his time in WWE, even if it wasn’t always the best, and for the change, feeling that it was time for him to try something else.

“Truth be told there’s some other stuff going on there,” Rawley said. “All I can say is I’m grateful to have been with the company as long as I was. I mean putting in almost a decade, that’s a hell of a run. Truthfully I am happy it happened. It was time for a change. Sometimes you never want to be the one to necessarily initiate that, but you needed it to happen. It was a thought that was going through my head for a while. Let’s give this another year or two, if this amounts to nothing, or very little, then yeah it is time for a change. I am going to turn 35 shortly. If I am thinking about starting another industry, the more you wait, the less is on the table.

“I got pigeonholed a lot as being this big hyped up guy that very much did a lot outside of the ring. I was one of the few guys they used for the community service drives. There aren’t a lot of guys in the company that can do those. I know that Titus O’Neil is the poster boy for that stuff. Honestly in my opinion I think Titus is one of the top 3 most valuable people in all of WWE. I know that might come of a shock to some people, but we got tons of guys that can wrestle. Almost everyone on the roster can put on a hell of match. But how many guys can go out there and make change and bring in a new fanbase from all of the promos that he does. There is no one that does more in that space than Titus. I felt like I was used for both, but again, sometimes those guys don’t get the big Roman Reigns career. But sometimes change needs to happen, whether it comes from you or them.”

So what is next for Rawley? While he says he wants to wrestle again, there are many things he would like to try before getting  back into the squared circle.

“I want to do everything,” Rawley explained. “Right now, it has been almost 10 years I just put in. You know how the commitment to WWE is, you can’t do anything outside of it. I want to do anything and everything. I definitely want to wrestle again, but right now I just need a little bit of time for me to get all of my stuff in line. I’ve got a lot of stuff I am working on. I also want to take some time to let my body recover. I mean ask Rob Gronkowski, he took a year off football and now he could go another 10. Sometimes getting hurt is the best thing that can happen. Your brain can rest up and some nagging injuries can heal up too. You can look at things from a fresh perspective and see what thigs will entail. That is where I am at right now, I am busier now than I ever have been. But I hate resting, so it’s a cool thing. I know it’s daunting leaving that career with the constant pay check and security, but I am loving that freedom.”

You can watch the full interview below.

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