New WWE United States Champion Damian Priest joined WWE After the Bell to talk about his time on the main roster since leaving NXT earlier this year. Priest successfully defeated Sheamus to become the US Championship at WWE SummerSlam.
“I’m working with guys that are proven,” Priest said. “They’ve been here for many years and sustained success and relevance throughout all these years, and I get to test myself against them and also learn and grow working with them. I couldn’t ask for a better way to segway from NXT to Monday Night RAW. Then working with The Miz at first? He just knows how to be important, he knows how to be front and center, he knows how to be a star. Just being in the ring with him, I can feed off of him and learn, like, ‘Oh I should probably do it that way.’”
Priest’s first appearance on the main roster came in the Royal Rumble in January as the #14 entrant, eliminating both John Morrison and The Miz, who he’d eventually feud against at WrestleMania 36 with Bad Bunny by his side. The 38-year-old spoke about what he’s learned most from working with The Miz, and then after, John Morrison and Sheamus.
“I’ll tell you one thing, the mic,” Priest said. “For me, the most uncomfortable thing is holding a microphone and speaking to the WWE Universe. With him, I see how just his flow goes and he breaks and makes sure you understand every single word he says. Being in the ring, like when I was on Miz TV and going back and forth with him, I was listening to him speak and I see the way he was delivering. And you see how I start speaking, and then by the end, I’m more so speaking like he does. I’m like, this is why he’s so good because of the way that he’s able to speak in gear change and deliver different types of emotions and levels while he’s speaking instead of just being boring and one way. I’ve picked that up and kept on trying to improve on it. I would watch him a lot while we were in the ring. I would just stare at his mouth and see how he’s talking and see his body language as well. That’s one of the many things I’ve picked up from him.
“Same thing with someone like Sheamus, seeing how physical he is and how methodical he is, and it’s not just non-stop. He has reasoning behind everything he does. Morrison, his creativity and how he implements it into his matches structure-wise, and how he wants to do things. It makes me think, oh, I should be rethinking how I should do things and make it flow better together. I just keep grabbing things from these wizards and try to make it work for me. That’s what I’ve always done, I watch people and then I’ll take things that I think could pertain to me and I think I could use for myself and implement them and make it my own. Now, I’m actually doing it, but with them front and center right in front of my face. It’s cool that I get to work with these guys, and there’s a locker room full of incredibly talented legends, or even new guys. I question myself all the time like what am I doing here? I don’t know if I can hang with these guys, they’re so good. I just try to learn from every single person every single day.”
Priest made his intentions very clear this past Monday on RAW, confronting Bobby Lashley and MVP to a massive crowd reaction. The 38-year-old said he loved the reaction from the fans and spoke about wanting to enhance his legacy by winning the WWE Championship.
“I think the first thing I said to Bobby and MVP was like ‘You guys are out here wildin’ and running your mouths,’ and I was like wait, am I wildin’ for coming out here?” Priest said. “I’m like wait, what am I doing? I consider our legacy, what we’re trying to accomplish in the big picture for me in WWE. I consider it like a ladder. I’m trying to climb rung by rung, ladder up the legacy. So far I’ve got a few, I’m getting up there between accomplishments in NXT, WrestleMania, SummerSlam. I’ve got to keep climbing, and I know you guys have heard me say I want my name to live forever, but that’s real. I really do. I want my name to be in the history books forever and I’m getting there.
“I’m the United States Champion and nobody can take that away from me, which is kind of cool, but it can’t stop there. I got to keep wanting more, I got to keep striving for more. Maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. I went straight to the top. I could’ve taken a few more steps, I kind of skipped. That’s kind of what I did, but that was another opportunity and we’ll see how it goes. I almost lost it because of the crowd reaction. They were on fire for my entrance, every time I said something and I was like, oh, you guys kind of like me, huh? That felt so good, man. I never take a reaction for granted and I’m always in awe and surprised that people react, so that was such a cool feeling. Now it’s the potential there where people, I think, are actually interested in seeing Bobby Lashley vs. Damien Priest. So am I. That’s a different level of testing myself, that I’m all for and game for.”
Priest was asked who else he’d like to face during his time with the WWE. The US Champion said he loves the locker room WWE has and named a few superstars and friends he’d love to mix it up with one day.
“It’s funny, cause again I sound like a company guy by saying something like this but I want to work with everybody,” Priest said. “There’s a reason everybody works here, they’re really good at what they do. For me, I want everybody, but selfishly I want the marquee names like Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor on this stage, goes without saying Roman Reigns, Edge, Randy [Orton]. There’s just so many people. Then I got my buddies, Keith Lee and Matt Riddle. Hell yeah, I want to square off with them, or tag, or do something. I think for me, I just need moments. I need to have these moments and have moments with the big guns, the big stars. I look forward to hopefully continuously achieving things that get me in a better position to create moments with all these incredible mega stars.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.