AEW star and former IMPACT world champion Brian Cage was the latest guest on Insight With Chris Van Vilet, where The Machine discussed a number of different topics, including his conversations with WWE and how they told him they thought he was average at best. Highlights from the interview are below.
On getting released from FCW:
“I remember I was waiting on a raise. I was due for a raise. And everyone was talking about, Dr. Tom (Prichard) who was the head trainer was like ‘hey, somebody’s getting a call up to go on the road.’ Everyone thought it was me. I missed the call from the office. I was like ‘oh man. Everyone thought it was going to be me, it is going to be me.’ I’m so stoked. I call them back and I’m all excited. They’re like ‘oh hey Brian, how’s it going?’ ‘Good good, I was in the gym.’ I’m trying to play it cool. They’re like ‘oh alright. Well, this is kind of the hard part of the job sometimes, but we’re going to have to come to terms with your release. And I literally went, not even being a smartass, ‘did you call the right number?’ I was so in disbelief. I was like ‘what? No!’ It didn’t even cross my mind. They were like ‘oh yeah, sorry.’ I was like ‘what? Why?’ And of course, they always give you a B.S. answer. They said ‘well we think you need to get a little more experience. You’re a little too indy.’ I was like ‘huh. You’re going to release me to get more experience in the indies to not be so indy? Hmm. Okay, sure. That makes a lot of sense.’”
How they told him he was average at best:
“They did reach out to me and they were going to put me on Tough Enough, the first one they brought Stone Cold back for, and then they took me off the list. And then they came to Fresno when I was living there and they invited me down, and I thought they were going to bring me back. I remember they wanted me to be part of NXT season 3, before it became all girls, and then they changed their minds on that. It went back and forth, and then finally I got a message saying ‘oh, never mind. We’re no longer interested.’ I was like ‘what do you mean? What happened?’ And they’re like ‘oh, you’re average at best and we’re no longer interested. I was so heated. I kept it as professional as I could, but there’s a lot I wanted to say. But I was like ‘alright, well I think you and I both know I’m better than average. But that’s fine. I appreciate you getting back to me and maybe we’ll work together again in the future.’ That’s what made me go ‘look, I’m not shutting the door on them.’ But that’s when my desire to get back there, it went away. I felt like, actually, my life professionally and personally excelled once I finally let go of that ‘oh my gosh, I have to be there, I have to be there.’ Everything just started working out and getting better and better.”
Says WWE made him another offer down the line but he turned them down to work AAA and Lucha Underground:
“They’ve reached out to me several times, cause a lot of people would reach out to them about me. Whether it be some of the people outside of wrestling that would go look for talent, talent scouts, other people that used to be there or are currently there. They talked to me a lot of times about coming in for a tryout, then it would never happen or it would almost happen. When it was finally going to happen, I actually turned it down because I had actually signed with AAA and Lucha Underground. It was kind of cool to be on the offense there. Very rarely are you on the offense. I was like ‘you know what? It’s okay.’ And I remember they were kind of shocked, like ‘what? You don’t want it?’ ‘Well, there’s some other stuff I want to go ahead and explore and check out instead.’ And they were like ‘what? You’re not supposed to say that!’ It felt kind of good, especially after them jerking me around for so long. There were small talks, but nothing was ever going anywhere crazy. And again, it was never a feeling of ‘oh I have to go there. I just want to wrestle and there’s a place that’s going to offer me a great deal, and they have a great either story for me or great people to work. That’s all I care about.’ I loved my time in Impact, I loved my time in Lucha Underground, that was some of my favorite stuff.”
(H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)