Former WWE NXT Superstar Lio Rush revealed in a new interview with Alfred Konuwa of Forbes that he found out about his WWE release after he called the company himself in response to stuff he had read online.
"I was the first group of people that were announced. I actually made the call myself," Rush explained.
"I saw that there were a lot of news sites posting about it. It made mainstream news, so I was like 'oh man, this might be a real thing.' So I called the Head of Talent Relations and I just asked—like, straight up—'Am I one of these people who is going to be released today? Because I'm seeing it all over the internet and I don't want to find out over the internet or through one of my fans.'
"He said yes, unfortunately, you are."
Rush was released from his WWE contract last month as part of budget cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Rush admitted that it upset him he was not notified beforehand.
"I thought that it was really crazy, man," said Rush. "Because obviously nobody did what I did. Nobody else did what I did, or at least not a lot of people did. I don't know if people reached out to WWE to ask, but I can't imagine the people who literally found out either through the internet or if they got a phone call.
Regardless of how they found out, nobody was expecting to wake up that morning and literally their dream job just swept from underneath them."
Shortly after his release, Rush tweeted that he may never wrestle again. He indicated he was interested in furthering his career as a hip-hop artist. Today, he released his first studio album called "Ever After."
Lio offered further context as to why he tweeted he may never wrestle again, explaining it was something he was thinking about before his WWE release.
"Yes, that was definitely a tweet that I made and have thought that it was very real comment," said Rush. "Even before the release, I would talk to family members, I would talk to friends—people that I'm close to in the wrestling business—people that I'm close to outside of the wrestling business. And I would just have this feeling in my gut or in my heart that my wrestling days were going to come to an end. So I don't know why. I don't know why I was feeling like that. I just said to myself, 'I don't think I'm going to be wrestling for that much longer."
"And then once the release happened, it made me just think about it even more and I said to myself: Why jump right back into something when I have all this time where I don't have to wrestle right now?"
Rush had a successful independent wrestling career with promotions such as Combat Zone Wrestling and Ring of Honor before signing with WWE in 2017. He had his fair share of controversy while in WWE, even drawing public criticism from Superstars such as Bray Wyatt after he tweeted on Emma's departure, along with the releases of Summer Rae and Darren Young.
Last year, Rush reportedly had backstage heat after he rubbed people the wrong way, apparently making it clear to people within WWE he felt he should be a top star in NXT. Rush summed up his time in WWE, admitting the bad times were a little traumatizing to him.
"I had good times and the WWE. I had bad times too," said Rush. "And some of those bad times were a little traumatizing to me. I just thought to myself: Why put myself back in a situation where I was going to be unhappy?"
You can read Forbes' complete interview with Rush where he talks about his new album and more at this link.