During a recent conversation with Chris Van Vliet, Karrion Kross opened up about his injury in NXT that forced him to relinquish his first NXT World Title. He noted how on that night, in his match against Keith Lee, he felt like the rhythm was off and something bad was bound to happen.

“I was in denial about it. It was like, it was a simple bump. I just really, to this day, can’t tell you exactly what happened. Maybe it’s the accumulation of things over time, I don’t know. It was just super unusual, it was,” Kross recalled. “Our rhythm was off that night, and it can happen to anybody. And as soon as I began passing in the middle of the ring, I knew something was going to go wrong, and it did. It’s hard to explain, but as soon as I landed, my whole mind went in slow motion, I had a very, very strange experience.

“It made a strange noise, I can’t tell you exactly what kind of noise it was, kind of like a crunch. When that adrenaline is going, you can run through a wall. So it made a crunch, then I felt something move, I felt something shift, and I was like ‘nope, I’m not going to let them see that in the truck, I’m shoving that back in’. So I grab it and try to rub it back in. Because my fear right now is that something is wrong, and the referee will stop the match. I was like, ‘no, I’m going to shove it back in’.

“So I sit up and I roll my shoulder forward a little bit just to see if it comes out, sure enough, it’s sticking out,” Karrion Kross continued. “I was like, ‘no, man’. The referee asked me if I was alright and I said, ‘yep! I’m doing great’. The main thing was, I’m persevering through this. It occurred to me immediately, this is an opportunity to show people that, you can tell people how tough you are all you want every single week, some may believe you, some might not, this is an opportunity to show your peers, all the people that put equity into you how tough you actually are.”

After the match came to a conclusion, Kross began to truly understand the severity of his injury. Nevertheless, he stayed present for Keith Lee’s final night in NXT, holding his broken shoulder throughout the speech.

“I was getting so upset man. So what happened after the match, Hunter, Road Dogg, Johnny Russo had walked up to me in the middle of the stage before I could get back there and they just walked up to me and I saw the look on their face, and I was like, ‘it’s worse than I think’,” Kross said. “Because it was just on them, you know what I mean. I was just becoming perpetually devastated and then they had to walk by me because it was Keith’s last night. So I’m of course playing it down, like ‘eh, I’ll be fine,’ so they’re not overly concerned, there’s enough human concern there and they did Keith’s farewell speech in the ring with everybody out there. I didn’t want to be rude, so I stood there with my shoulder basically broken, as long as I possibly could, through Keith’s farewell ceremony, because that’s an important thing to be present for.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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