AEW star Kyle O’Reilly joined The Sessions with Renee Paquette to talk about why he made the move to AEW in December of 2021 after spending four years with WWE on their NXT brand. First, Kyle O’Reilly talked about what he felt Triple H and the black and gold NXT brand were going for, pointing out a specific thing Triple H once said when comparing NXT to WWE’s main roster.
“When NXT got its TV deal, there was something Hunter said that I loved when he compared NXT to the main roster,” O’Reilly said. “He said ‘NXT was like the broadway show. It’s where the real performers get out there. They’ve got the chops, they can act, they can sing, they can dance, they can do it all and there are no special effects. There’s no big-budget blockbuster movie special effects that are hiding it all like RAW and Smackdown would be.’ I just thought that was such a great analogy, and it really rang true.”
As for what led to his departure from NXT, Kyle O’Reilly revealed that, much like Adam Cole, his deal came up a lot sooner, which he believes was due to WWE’s talent relations letting things slip through the cracks. With the ability then to control his own destiny and make a decision, O’Reilly then chose AEW.
“When we were renegotiating, the powers that be were like ‘listen, this doesn’t typically happen. Usually we re-sign guys six months out,'” O’Reilly said. “But talent relations at the time, I guess let things slip or weren’t into re-upping NXT guys contracts is the only explanation I can give. I really don’t know. But I thought I had at least six months to a year left. It was a real surprise to me knowing it was coming up in December, (but) a pleasant surprise, just with the landscape and everything.
“It was really kind of a blessing that I was given the opportunity to make my own decision. I could stay, I could go; it wasn’t made up for me. I feel for people who get released and everything, and that’s happened way more than it should. It’s awful. I was just grateful that I was in a position where I could kind of look at the landscape and see what opportunities were out there. And luckily for me, AEW was the place and I were able to jump ship as it were.”
O’Reilly also attributed his departure to the changes happening in NXT, which was overhauled months prior to his departure. He revealed to Paquette that someone within WWE told him they weren’t looking for pro wrestlers, something that went against what O’Reilly himself wanted to be.
“‘We don’t want pro rasslers’ was something I heard,” O’Reilly revealed. “And it was like ‘alright but I am a pro wrestler. And I want to be a pro wrestler still. So I want to go where I can be a pro wrestler.’ And I know that the things are the same, sports entertainment, wrestling, it’s all the same. But I don’t know if everyone looks at it that way.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Sessions with Renee Paquette and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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