Matt Lee and Jeff Parker of 2.0, f.k.a. Ever-Rise, were on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast. The two discussed their beginnings in WWE when they signed in 2018 and reported to the Performance Center in 2019.
“We get there Feb. 2019, and now, you’re just in the system,” Lee said. “You’re two guys in a system, and you got to figure out how are we going to stand out with the some of the best athletes in the world, best wrestlers, best talkers.
“It’s starting your career over again,” Parker pointed out. “It really is, unless you’re one of those guys who they’ve picked with plans.”
Ever-Rise grew a cult following thanks to their internet show that they initially released on their Twitter’s. Parker recalled the reaction it got from upper management.
“Now, office gets the attention,” Parker stated. “Hunter start seeing it. Shawn Michaels starts seeing it, and they start coming to talk to us about it at TV. We’re doing 205, but we’re not in NXT. We’ll do stuff on there when they need something to fill a gap, but now they start taking notice. There’s something really here. The ideas start coming up. Maybe we’ll just have you guys as background characters. Just be in the background, maybe you’ll say a quip and now you can talk about that on your show. Awesome and then we have stuff where we’re lowering signs on TV plugging the Ever-Rise Live.”
Their show moved to YouTube, and 2.0 discussed the breakthrough they were slowly reaching. However, they were soon cut in late June, and they revealed what they were told when they were released.
“They move the show over to WWE’s YouTube channel,” Parker recalled. “We’re like, oh, that’s a huge step, hundreds of 1000s of views. Since the month of October, we were on TV, whether 205 or NXT, every single week. We’re doing segments all the time, and now crowds are coming back in.
“We’re starting to feel that pocket of oh, they’re starting to get what we’re doing here, because at first you’re just out. ‘They’re jobbers,’ which is kind of what you want, but then eventually, it’s ‘yeah, they’re jobbers, but I kind of low key like these guys,’ and then that grows. Now we’re starting to talk ideas of okay, we’re going here.
“We had plans moving forward,” Lee added. “Then they pulled the rug under us. I think it’s budget cuts, A, and we were told they were moving in a different direction, whatever that means,” Parker said. “Youth and big. I think it’s back to the the six foot, former athletes, and if that’s what it is, well, I can understand why some people don’t fit that bill.”
After their releases, they admitted they were shocked and didn’t see it coming. They noted their life situations, but Parker revealed what he immediately did after the news.
“Well, we’re both married. I have a child on the way, any day now,” Lee noted. “It’s dread. Just this sinking feeling in your stomach and the first thought is, well, you got to figure out how do we stay here, legally. So that’s been a whole process this past month. Looks like it’s figured out.
“My thought was, I had the 15 minutes of wow, this sucks, and then it was, what do we do next? Luckily, we got fired on a Friday afternoon,” Parker noted. “What comes after Friday? Well, it’s Saturday morning. So the show must go on. We got fired at 3:30. By 7:30, shows in the can. Saturday morning, we released it on Twitter, and now we started a full YouTube and started with a whole bunch of other stuff because hey, this is ours so let’s just roll with this. This is something that has a following. Yeah, we’re not working there, but this show still goes on.”
Chris Jericho did not know it at the time, but 2.0 are currently signed with AEW, which is what they most likely meant when they said they had everything “figured out.” 2.0 did reveal what they were working on before they were cut as well as how hasty the decision may have been.
“It feels like everybody reached out,” Lee expressed. “Everybody reached out said they’re sorry.
“A lot of surprise,” Parker stated. “A lot of people were just like, ‘I couldn’t believe this,’ because I don’t even know if internally they knew about these cuts that happened because that day, we were talking with the writers about what we’re going to do for the Great American Bash like noon. ‘Maybe we’ll do this,’ and then we get the call.
“Typically, when you went to the PC, if there’s going to be people getting let go, they don’t let you enter,” Lee revealed. “They just call you into a room, and they say we’re sorry. You’re gonna have to go, but we worked out at the PC that morning.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.