Rush first explained how he got in contact with WWE:
“He just told me to keep working hard. Keeping pushing. Good things happen to people who wait.’ He definitely noticed my hard work and the passion that I had to be a professional wrestler and be one of those top-tier athletes and top-tier wrestlers in the sports entertainment industry. That was my first interaction with anybody from WWE.”
Canyon Semen of WWE Talent Relations would call Rush just a year later to offer him a contract, without a tryout.
From here he would attend the Performance Center in Florida, four years after graduating Full Sail University:
“WWE took notice. They saw the heart, the drive, the determination, motivations that I have to be one of the fastest rising stars professional wrestling has ever seen. My journey to get to the WWE was a lot different. It’s definitely unheard of for a guy of my age and level of wrestling experience to be able to create a name for myself and get signed to the WWE within less than three years.”
“It’s incredible. Being at Full Sail University, not knowing one day it would lead me to be back in Orlando, but this time not being a student at Full Sail but actually being an employee at the Performance Center”.
The first match he had on NXT TV was against Velveteen Dream, previously known as Patrick Clark, a former WWE Tough Enough contestant:
“That being my first match was pretty cool. We’ve known each other for years now. We all went through Maryland Championship Wrestling and trained together, so for that to be my first match with Velveteen being across the ring from me and Jessika Carr officiating that match was a pretty cool feeling.”
Dream and Rush actually worked together training and working as a tag team down in Maryland Championship Wrestling as teenagers:
“He’s always had the drive to be one of the best in the world. He has a work ethic like no other. Strong mindset. He’s dedicated to his craft and he believes in the things that he says, and I think that is a huge, key factor in anyone’s success. [Velveteen] has always been that guy that is looked at as soon as he walks in a room. He has the charisma. He has the personality. Just that fire in his eyes that you don’t see from a 22-year-old.”
As fans will remember, Rush was heavily criticized following a rude tweet towards former WWE Superstar Emma after she had just been released from the company:
“It was definitely a difficult situation. I’ve worked so hard and spent years trying to brand myself and to show the world that Lio Rush is a top prospect in the professional wrestling world. So it was a bit rough to see so many people turn on me for that, but I’ve owned up to my mistakes.”
“I have said my apologies. What else can you do? You live, you make mistakes and you learn. I know a big thing that I tweeted out shortly after that — ‘a mistake shouldn’t be your attacker, it should be your teacher.’ I’ve definitely learned from that situation. I definitely have not let that situation change the pacing of me succeeding in anything.”
Rush has two sons and a family to look after, amidst his work as a professional wrestler. His 3-month-year-old son lives in Maryland with his parents, while his 4-year-old is finishing Kindergarten in Florida:
“It’s a bit of a rough situation. Trying to find that balance in life on the personal side and the professional side. It is a little rough having a newborn and not being able to be there 24/7. That is a little bit of a rough thing to deal with too knowing that [my 4-year-old] will be starting school and having to come home and have homework and go to school every day and I won’t be there for him as much as I’d like to be.
“[But] this isn’t just for me. It started out as a dream job for myself, but the older I got situations change. I fully started to realize it wasn’t just for me anymore. I wasn’t wrestling for 5-year-old Lionel Green anymore, I was wrestling for everybody who had to go through the struggles I went through in life and my family and friends who stuck by me and supported me since Day 1.”
According to the Superstar, his passion for music has always been there:
“[My passion for music] has always been there. I always knew I’d get into the music industry in some kind of capacity. I’ve been influenced by friends that I’ve made over the years and the culture that I’ve been around over the years. That led to rapping.”
You can check out his new music video here.
He talks about the release of the song:
“All of this is just about continuing to brand yourself. Continuing to make a name for yourself. Continuing to show that we wrestlers aren’t just one-trick ponies. People are constantly asking, ‘What’s going on with wrestling? What’s happening with wrestling?’ The perception of a professional wrestler only knowing how to be a professional wrestler and nothing else is a little crazy to me.”
“Yes, I’m still a professional wrestler. Yes, I’m still a father. I’m still everything else, but yes I can do other things, and yes I can be successful in other things. We’re capable of many things, whether that’s bodyslamming somebody in the ring or whether that’s, for me, making an impact in the music industry.”
Finally, the NXT Superstar explains how he has felt working on a daily basis with legends like Triple H and Shawn Michaels at the Performance Center:
“The fact that I’m being able to be trained and coached by one of the greatest in-ring performers who has ever lived — and that’s the ‘Heartbreak Kid’, Shawn Michaels — for him to be one of the trainers there and to be able to learn from him and just follow in his footsteps is a pretty cool thing. Even Triple H. Him being the boss of everything is absolutely incredible. Being a fan, being somebody who’s wanted to be a professional wrestler since they were 5 years old and growing up watching Triple H, watching Shawn Michaels, and then to one day wake up and report to work and that’s my coach. That’s my boss. It’s absolutely incredible.”
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