Recently Released WWE Talent Wants To "Flip Through" AEW And Tony Khan's Forbidden Door

Alex Zayne, formerly known as Ari Sterling, was on today's episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman noted that it had been nearly a year since he and Zayne last spoke on the podcast, and Zayne commented on his WWE release.

"It definitely came as a shock, of course, when I got the call," Zayne admitted. "I think, especially in such a strange climate we're in right now, especially with WWE, it was shocking, but at the same time, there's always that thing in the back of your mind, like, oh, that's a possibility, and it's always a possibility. I mean, job security in general, for anyone, especially in these crazy times that we live in, it's not as sure of a thing.

"It came as a shock, but within five minutes, I was on the phone with anyone who would answer. I was like, 'Okay, thanks,' hung up. First of all, called William Regal, told him thank you. He was who brought me in. I immediately just started calling promoter after promoter and getting things going, hit the ground running. Brett Lauderdale (GCW owner) was definitely on the shortlist."

Zayne made his WWE debut in May on 205 Live. He discussed how he felt debuting on 205 Live instead of on NXT television.

"You see some of the people like Trey Baxter, formerly known as Blake Christian, you see Carmelo Hayes formerly known as Christian Casanova, they get these great opportunities," Zayne said. "They both wrestled Kushida in their debuts as opposed to their final match with the company, and I thought, that's really cool, but I didn't envy them in any way being put in that position. 'Hey, you've not worked with our system of nine different cameras, and the ref is telling you this camera, that camera. Do this, do that. Here's your time cues.' You haven't worked that system and so getting on 205 and getting my feet wet and getting to work with so many people that had done it.

"The Tony Nese's, the Ariya Daiviari's, the Bollywood Boys, all these guys, they just really helped me sort of ease transitionally from 'okay, I'm just this indie guy' to 'okay, here's how you do a larger production. I thought the 205 thing was really cool. I think a lot of people were like, 'Oh, they're misusing him.' People have their opinions on anything, but I thought it was really cool. I was talking a lot with writers. I was talking a lot with the coaches, and I was coming up with my own ideas. It's not nearly as much as like, oh, you're given this, and oh my God, I can't believe they would do that with that person.

"A lot of stuff is the idea of the person kind of being put through the filter of the producers and the coaches. It's so funny because so many of us are just harped on by the internet. 'Oh, my God, such a stupid name. They gave you a stupid name,' and I'm like, I picked it dude. You're making fun of me right now. They didn't give me anything. Of course, even in picking a name, there's legalities and red tape. Yes, I picked. It wasn't necessarily my first choice but the copyright issues."

Before signing with WWE, Zayne was a rising star having made his ROH debut, starring on NJPW Strong as well as various indies like GCW and Warrior Wrestling. Zayne discussed what he has liked from watching AEW.

"I'm always watching everything and keeping my ear to the ground on anything and everything," Zayne noted. "Of course, I don't probably watch it in the same way, I guess, as everyone watches it because, well, sometimes I watch things just for the pure entertainment value and just to be a fan. I really enjoy when I get to do that. I think their product is really cool in a lot of ways, and I think they are just capitalizing on so many things, and a lot of people feel this way too, as far as just gauging off of audience responses.

"They feel almost forward thinking in a lot of ways, compared to some of the antiquated thinking we see a lot in wrestling, which that's everywhere, not WWE, indie wrestling, everything. They've got it a little more together when it comes to certain marketing tricks or social media gimmicks or whatever it might be and in the infrastructure of their business model and working with the boys as opposed to kind of against the boys.

"I think that's helping them immensely. I think their product is really cool. I look around and see so many cool things happening in wrestling right now. You see so many companies working together and all the boys putting over the forbidden door and stuff, and I'm like, yeah, I love doors. I'll flip through it. Let's do it."

You can following Alex on Twitter @AriSterlingWWE

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