In appearance on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, former WWE NXT star Bronson Reed, aka Jonah Rock, talked about his time working for the NXT brand. Reed revealed he had initially pitched using the Jonah Rock name when he first came to WWE, only to wind up with the name Bronson Reed instead thanks to a collaborative effort between himself and WWE.
“I pitched Jonah maybe 100 times,” Reed said with a laugh. “My name was Jonah Rock, and they didn’t want the Rock part, obviously. I pitched all different last names for Jonah, and they just wanted to get rid of Jonah. So I came up with a bunch of different first names and a bunch of different last names. They picked Bronson and Reed and they put it together. I feel that that’s how a lot of people recently got their names.”
The highlight of Reed’s NXT run was winning the North American Championship earlier this year, defeating Johnny Gargano in a steel cage match. Although he was told repeatedly he’d be winning the belt, Reed had trouble believing it until it actually happened.
“Before winning the North American Championship, I was doing well,” Reed recalled. “Luckily for me, Hunter sort of had his eye on me, and then in his mind it was, ‘hey, we want to make you one of our top guys on our show.’ He had that discussion with me that I was going to eventually become the North American Champion. Then they had more things planned for me towards the end of the year, which are not happening anymore. But in the wrestling business, things chop and change so much. Even though I was told things numerous times, I always thought, ‘well, let’s wait and see.’ Even winning the North American Championship, I was like, ‘I will wait until it actually happens.’ But Hunter saw something in me, which I appreciated. But when I became the North American Champion, I was a made man. Becoming that sort of champion, I think that people notice it.”
Reed also talked about his theme music, which he said NXT producer Road Dogg helped create. Reed also noted that he was hands on with the process of the song being created.
“I loved it as well,” Reed said. “So I was lucky enough to work with the music people and Road Dogg, who was overseeing the music at that time. I had the generic, free music for a while on NXT TV. There was a huge list of songs that you could choose out of, and I reckon I spent an hour or an hour and a half trying to find the best thing I could. I am under the impression that the theme means a lot. Your entrance music sets the tone for who you are and as you’re coming out, so I wanted something good. What I had was good, but I needed something custom and different. When they decided I could have new entrance music, I was very hands-on with Road Dogg. I was like, I want a siren at the start. I wanted it to feel like a Godzilla movie. There needed to be deep bass like in hip hop. It sets the tone for the big guy coming out, and what they did produce was fantastic.”
Another thing Reed discussed was his finisher in NXT, a top rope splash called The Tsunami. Reed credited NXT color commentator Wade Barrett and his call of the move in helping to get it over.
“I had been doing the splash off of the top rope and I said to Wade (Barrett) ‘I call it the Tsunami. It’s not just a big splash, it’s even bigger,'” Reed said. “I came up with that and we had different announcers at the time, and they were good. But as soon as Wade got his hands on it, and he didn’t tell me he was going to say it like that, I was like ‘wow, that’s great.’ Then it sort of became a thing. I definitely miss the way he calls it, because he calls it great.”
Van Vliet later asked Reed what he was allowed to do and not do following his WWE release. Reed said he had those same questions himself, leading to him making sure to ask WWE about what he could and couldn’t use soon after the release.
“Yeah, I made sure when I was getting released to ask as many questions as possible, so going forward it makes it easier,” Reed said. “Not just with wrestling but with the immigration side of things. I asked the things to do with intellectual property, and Bronson, and those sort of things. I’m glad that I did. At the time, I was going to go back to Jonah or call myself Bron. Now I am glad that I didn’t because now Bron Breakker is on NXT 2.0. I made sure to get a discussion with those things on what I can and can’t do.”
So what are the goals for Reed following his WWE release? Instead of wanting to win a major title or work in a major company, Reed revealed his main goal was to prove to wrestlers in his home country of Australia that you can be successful in pro wrestling, even if you don’t work for the WWE.
“I have a lot of goals,” Reed said. “I still want to be active on American television, but not just that. I want to be in the wrestling world for, again, people back home to be able to watch. Media back home to be able to watch. It shows with the current direction that NXT and WWE have said they’re going in with how they’re hiring people, I think it sort of deflated a lot of people back home that are indie wrestlers that said ‘hey, what do I do now? That was my goal.’ And I want them to see there are other avenues that you can take and be successful, another way to do it. So that’s my goal, to prove you can be very successful and not have to be in WWE.”
You can watch the full interview below.