During a recent conversation with Chris Van Vliet, new AEW signee Tony Nese detailed how he feels now that he has returned to competition and debuted with All Elite Wrestling. He also recalled how the company first reached out to him to appear at their show in Orlando, Florida.

“It’s been a blessing, I am very happy. It’s funny, I got invited to go [to AEW]. They were like ‘Hey, we are in Orlando and we know you’re in Orlando…’ I’m like, yeah absolutely. I had been there before, during my 90 day non-compete just to hang out with my friends. I have tons of friends and people I have traveled with in that company. Everyone was super cool and super nice with me, and I think they liked me.

“But then they invited me to Orlando, and it was literally 10 minutes before they went live on the air. I got pulled aside and they were like, ‘Hey, would you be cool to sit out in the crowd, and we just keep showing you on camera?’ I’m like yeah sure, TV time, I’ll take it. So I just sat out there. At first I was like, is the house low? Then he explained it to me, and I’m like, that’s awesome. From there, we got to discussing things and it was super cool how they treated me off the bat and brought me in as a star. I am so appreciative of that.”

With a roster full of talented stars to compete against, Nese named various stars that he’s excited to go toe-to-toe with. Some are obvious top stars in the company, but others like Alex Reynolds and Ethan Page may be a surprise to some fans.

“I mean there are the obvious ones. You look at CM Punk, Bryan Danielson and Kenny Omega, but I can’t wait to get back in the ring with Alex Reynolds, John Silver, Ethan Page. These are guys I have wrestled on the independents. We hit off there and our chemistry was amazing. I can’t wait to be able to have those matches we had in front of 100 people, but now in front of thousands. But it’s an open field. One week I could be wrestling an extra, but the next it could be CM Punk.”

Nese says he will be including some of his old taunts like flexing and kissing his biceps, but he also wants to evolve into someone taken more seriously.

“So the premiere athlete is still going to be who I am and what I represent. But I do want it to be a little bit more of a serious thing rather than, ‘Hey, look at my abs.’ I love being booed and flexing, but at the same time, I switched up my look to where I am wearing more branded stuff. In WWE, I was just trying to pop by getting gear that just looked good. I wore a jacket because they told me I needed something up top. They said ‘You should wear something, but don’t cover up anything.’ For 1 show, I wore a He-Man type thing, but nobody thought it looked cool. Vince said, ‘Is he wearing a bra out there?’ Straight after I heard that, I threw it into the garbage. But now, I think this is getting old and it doesn’t represent me, I want to be taken more seriously. I want to be my own brand, that’s the attitude I’m going in with. I still will be kissing my biceps and flexing though.”

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