WWE NXT talent Alex Riley recently engaged in a Q&A session with the WWE website to discuss a variety of topics including his return to NXT, the new attitude and much more. The following highlights are below, click here for the complete interview.
Why do you think this attitude of survival is pivotal for you?
“I always have been at my best when my back is against the wall. Sometimes I feel like I am not 100-percent focused until that point. I literally wake up every day to a dogfight in one of the most competitive companies in the world, and I am at the bottom of the mountain. I feel blessed to have had it almost come crashing down a couple times and one time completely. I know what it’s like to not eat, to be pushed to the back of the line, ignored, blackballed and disregarded. There are not many things I know for sure about the course of my life, but I promise that will never happen again.”
You’ve been on record saying that you “make no apologies from this point forward.” What does that mean?
“The ‘no apologies’ thing came from the fact that I have always been considered a nice guy and prided myself on that. I have always apologized when I thought I wasn’t being such. There is no room for that in my world as it stands now. I always say that for eight years, I was both Kevin Kiley and Alex Riley while I was in WWE. It became very obvious to me along the way that they couldn’t coexist in this world. Either Alex Riley would survive and take his rightful place in the company, or Kevin Kiley would be back in a suit and tie, selling medical devices.
“Right or wrong, for better or worse, Kevin Kiley is now dead and gone. The man that stands here today will never apologize for what circumstances and a basic need to survive have made him. This is not a game of laser tag or dodgeball. The world I live in is a game of life and death, and I won’t apologize for treating it that way. If you were left out in the cold for as long as I had been, and had to take someone’s comforter, food, or even their home to survive, you wouldn’t apologize either.”
Do you ever regret leaving your announcing career, given the setbacks that you’ve experienced since returning to the ring?
“Never. I am a wrestler. That’s what I came here to be, and that’s what I will leave as. I had plenty of very high-paying jobs thrown at me out of college, some in the field of broadcasting, and I left all of them. I took a $150,000-a-year pay cut, packed up my Jeep and, with no experience, headed south to become a wrestler. I challenge you to find one man on the roster that had earned himself a nearly $200,000-a-year job at 26 years old selling medical devices, who would leave all the money and security for the rest of his life to roll the dice in WWE. I don’t think one exists in the locker room. I have had my passion, my work ethic, and my love for this business questioned in the past and it infuriated me. I am not one to usually brag or boast, but that is the honest story of what Kevin Kiley gave up for just a chance to maybe one day be Alex Riley. As challenging as it has been for me to carve out a career here, I have no regrets.”