During an AdFreeShows.com exclusive interview with Jon Alba, JONAH spoke about his departure from WWE NXT and his next chapter in the wrestling industry being in NJPW. The former Bronson Reed said after he started to hit a stride during his time with the company, many in NXT started to believe in him and his vision.

“I think the first year was very nerve racking,” JONAH said. “You go there and you don’t know what to expect and they peel away at things and you feel like maybe I don’t know what I’m doing. Then I sort of hit a stride and the coach, producers, Triple H, all started to believe in me and my vision and all that does is boost your confidence.

“When you have guys that are believing in what you’re doing and then all your ideas are getting a yes and things are working, you start to realize what works for you, what works for a broader audience as well. I am able to bring that to NJPW and hope that I can help influence New Japan Wrestling in an even bigger audience than what it has.”

The former NXT North American Champion continued to speak about his time with NXT and how he looks back on his 3-year run with the Black and Gold brand. JONAH also mentioned the new mantra created with NXT 2.0 and why he wants to influence talent to also be interested in joining other companies.

“For me, it’s a little conflicting of course,” JONAH said. “My time with NXT, I would never bag on because I was treated really well and I had great times with Hunter and the previous administration. Now it seems like pretty much everyone I worked with is gone, they’re not there anymore so it’s a little bit disheartening. Hearing things like they’re not actively seeking independent wrestlers anymore, they’re looking for athletes is also disheartening as well. I also want to be a beacon of light to say hey, you can go elsewhere. You can go to NJPW, you can go to IMPACT Wrestling, AEW, there’s a lot more now that there wasn’t before.

“I think the biggest thing for me is passion. When I was there, there were athletes that came through that were not passionate about wrestling at all and they were just collecting a paycheck. But then there are some athletes that do come in and genuinely love pro wrestling and those guys of course are going to be the ones that stand out along with the indie wrestlers that have done it their whole lives. You can’t teach passion, if they don’t have a love for pro wrestling, I don’t care if they’re 6’8, it doesn’t matter. If they don’t have a love for it, it’s not going to work.”

Adding to the numerous names of original NXT talent to be let go by the company, Samoa Joe was released at the start of January. JONAH talked about the 3-time NXT Champion, stating whether or not he thinks Joe will retire from wrestling following his release.

“I really hope not because selfishly, I want that match,” JONAH said. “There was a time when I thought I was going to be on a RAW or SmackDown and thought it could happen, then he came down to NXT and there were teasers of me and him possibly happening.

“Then I got released and now he’s been released. I hope that he continues to wrestle. For the fans, there’s so many dream matches that people want to see in all of the companies outside of WWE.”

Since he was released by the company, NXT 2.0 was launched, introducing a brand new feel to the NXT of old. JONAH revealed his opinion of the new version of WWE Developmental on a recent episode of Busted Open Radio, stating it’s “just another WWE product.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit AdFreeShows.com with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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