In an appearance on Busted Open Radio, former WWE star Bronson Reed, now going by the name Jonah Rock, talked more about his release from WWE in August. He revealed that he spoke to one particular NXT higher up following his firing, as well as several coaches.
“I got to speak with Shawn (Michaels) right after my release,” Reed said. “He actually texted me, very shocked, and just said ‘you’ve got to show them that was a mistake. Keep working.’ It was not something that we saw coming. I was speaking with him at the previous tapings about future storylines and where we were heading. In my mind, creative already had plans for me until the end of the year.
“So I got to speak with him. I didn’t get to speak with Hunter (Triple H) after my release. He was obviously big in my development in NXT. He’s going through some things at the moment, so I’m not too sure on that front. But all the other producers and coaches did reach out to me, which was really nice.”
Reed also revealed that talents knew of changes coming to NXT, confirming the suspicions of talent released alongside Reed. He described a meeting held by Shawn Michaels and Triple H shortly beforehand, recalling that both seemed surprised by the change in direction.
“We were told a few weeks prior that there was going to be a change,” Reed said. “What it was going to be, we weren’t too sure. We were told the direction is they are looking for younger talent. Myself, I only just last month had my birthday. I’m 33 years old, I’m not too old yet. We were told they were looking for younger talent and athletes rather than independent wrestlers.
“A bunch of us main TV guys were brought into a room and given that sort of discussion. That was from Hunter and Shawn, and they did seem a little bit taken aback that obviously Vince was going to start taking more control of NXT. But that’s what we were told. I didn’t think that it be a whole overhaul of how the show looks and everything.”
Since his release, Reed has turned to podcasting and has begun to watch several other wrestling products around the world. While he’s been catching up on AEW and Impact, the most fun he’s having is watching shows from Japanese promotions New Japan and Pro Wrestling NOAH.
“This last month, I’ve been watching more products than I’m used to,” Reed said. “I did always watch as much wrestling as possible, but when you’re hired with WWE, you always watch that sort of product. Thinking I was going to go to RAW or SmackDown, I was making sure to watch those shows, as well as NXT that I was on. Now I watch NXT, but I’ve also been watching Impact and AEW.
“I’ve caught up on some recent New Japan and some Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan. I always gravitate towards the Japanese shows. There’s just something about the way that they work. Nothing against the internationals that are there in Japan, but the actual Japanese talents themselves. There’s just something about that style that I really love. I’ve been like that for a long time since I was a teenager, so definitely those shows.”
Asked if there was anything he wished he had gotten to show in NXT, Reed talked about how he was always portrayed as a babyface. While he enjoyed the role, he had looked forward to being a heel for the NXT brand and looks forward to revealing that persona to wrestling fans, wherever his next stop may be.
“I think now, not that I was held back or anything in NXT, but there’s obviously certain things they want you to do and a certain way they want you to be,” Reed said. “I think I’m going to have a good mix of what I want, but also, what I learned from some of these great minds over the last few years. I pretty much got to be the babyface I wanted to be. I’ve always been under the impression that WWE doesn’t book babyfaces well. In these last recent years, I would debut and I’d be against another babyface. It’s like, ‘I’m the big babyface beating up this smaller guy. I’m not going to come off endearing at all, I’m just going to look like a big heel, if anything.’
“So a side of me that I always asked from creative was to do the switch and have me as a heel on NXT, which we didn’t get to see. I’d like to work as a heel wherever I go. I’m happy being a babyface as well, but it’s definitely a side that no one in the American or broader audience has seen of me. It’s a little bit more violent than what I could do on NXT. I’ll just say that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription