On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with Alex Zayne, formerly known as Ari Sterling in WWE. Zayne discussed his recent WWE release, and he revealed whether or not he was present when Vince McMahon made his scouting trip down to the Performance Center.
“I actually wasn’t. I know they did one day where Bruce [Prichard] and someone else came down before that, and I was there that day,” Zayne recalled. “And then they had this big day where Vince was coming through, and we have an app or whatever, and we’re told our schedule and I was not needed that day. Of course, situations like that being in the Performance Center in front of Vince, and who knows what he’s looking at or what he’s looking for, that can be very stressful.
“There’s always that kind of sigh of relief if you’re not having to do that, but at the same time, I think I got here by taking advantage of any and all opportunities when they’re thrown at me. That’s how I got anywhere and everywhere I’ve ever been. I would probably more look at it as a missed opportunity as opposed to a sigh of relief because if I get canned on the spot for being me, at least I was trying to show them what I thought was good about me.
“If I were there and was like, ‘This is me!’ And then they were like, ‘I do not like it that.’ I wouldn’t feel like, ‘aw man.’ Maybe I’m overly optimistic, I guess. I feel like I would have had that opportunity, and who knows, I could have been, ‘Oh, go do flippy sh*t on SmackDown or something.'”
Zayne spent most of his time in WWE on 205 Live and had one NXT match against Cameron Grimes. He discussed if there was ever any stress or anxiety over going to the main roster since some NXT talents have expressed their desire to stay in NXT.
“I think that’s always sort of the goal. I mean, at least for me,” Zayne admitted. “That’s how my silly little taco-filled brain works is just onward and upward, always whatever that may be. If I’m on 205, okay, next steps. NXT, okay, next day, next steps, whatever championship, whatever, main event, whatever Takeover, whatever biggest best thing that I can get to. Obviously, you’re not doing much on WrestleMania or whatever biggest show, unless your main roster.
“I think that’s always my mentality, just more and more. For me, it did give me anxiety, but at the same time, I knew going in and I know now where I was, as far as skill level and presentation. Maybe I didn’t know exactly what I needed to figure out, but now I’m in the ‘Harvard of wrestling’, so maybe they can find the holes that I know are there. I know there’s a leak in my boat, help me find these holes that will fill them.
“I was trying to get ready for such things, but I wouldn’t have ever wanted to be like, ‘Hey, straight to the main roster!’ And I’m like, ‘Whoa, am I ready?’ I’d much rather feel like, yeah, I’m ready for that. I was 100% getting exactly there when things went the way they went, and every single match, every single day in the PC, I was feeling more comfortable, more confident. My promo game was going crazy, which I can’t wait to do on the indies because I never did that on the indies. So there’ll be a lot of that to come.”
You can follow Alex on Twitter @AriSterlingWWE
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