Lio Rush was a recent guest on Ring Rust Radio and talked about where his career is at, and the future goals he has in the business. Here are the highlights they sent along:
Ring Rust Radio: For many fans, you really burst onto the scene when you won Ring of Honor’s Top Prospect Tournament in 2016. What was that experience like for you and how did it help elevate your career?
Lio Rush: That experience was absolutely incredible. Just being on the platform itself and being able to be recognized in the world as one of the many top prospects that can be the next guy, that new up and comer that can possibly change a lot of things on a bigger platform. Just wrestling for Ring of Honor has been absolutely incredible. The platform itself is absolutely unbelievable and to be televised on national TV was pretty cool too.
Ring Rust Radio: You’re one of the most talked about and sought-after guys on the independent scene right now and probably have a lot of options at your disposal. Are you looking to avoid signing an exclusive deal moving forward in order to maintain flexibility or would you like to settle down and focus on one company?
Lio Rush: It’s hard to say right now. I know leading up to the end of my Ring of Honor contract, a big reason why I didn’t want to re-sign was because I can have that freedom to be closer to home, be more involved with my son’s childhood and be closer to my family. Also, being able to just control where and when I could wrestle. Those were a big part of me not re-signing with Ring of Honor. At the moment, I’m really enjoying life. I’m enjoying being close to my family and son, and being able to control my own schedule. If other opportunities were to come up, of course I would definitely have to take that into consideration, in considering my family and the current situation I’m in.
Ring Rust Radio: New Japan recently held the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament featuring many of the best junior heavyweights in the world, including some guys that you’ve faced before. What would be your level of interest in competing in that tournament in the near future and maybe even having a sustained run in New Japan?
Lio Rush: My interest with New Japan is through the roof. It’s one of the only places I haven’t been and that’s crazy for me to say because of my age and how long I’ve been doing this. I’ve been all around the world Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, England and all over the United States, and I feel like Japan is somewhere I could excel at so much and possibly go even bigger and further than me in the United States. I think my style would adapt so well over there. My view on the New Japan Best of Super Juniors, at my age at times I get scared because I’ve accomplished so much so I don’t know what’s next or what else I could accomplish, but the New Japan tournament that’s just something that eats me up. Not that I can’t, but that I wasn’t part of it because it’s the best juniors and cruiserweight in the world and for me not to be part of that is a little frustrating. I would definitely love to be part of New Japan and hopefully be in that tournament one day.
Ring Rust Radio: With the rise of the cruiserweight division in WWE and the success of NXT, have you ever been contacted by WWE and is eventually signing with the company one of your long-term goals in wrestling?
Lio Rush: Of course, I feel like everybody’s long-term goal should be in the WWE. If you hear anybody say the WWE would never be my main goal, that’s complete bullshit. We all grew up watching WWE; there wasn’t any other thing on TV other than WWE. WWE was the main reason people wanted to actually become a wrestler. My interest in WWE again is through the roof. I haven’t been contacted by WWE, but the playing field right now with the cruiserweights, and that’s been somewhat of a main focus with them, it drives me to become better. It puts a bit of a chip on my shoulder and makes me a little bitter because that is considered to be the best cruiserweights in the world. So for me to not be a part the same conversation with the best cruiserweights in the world with the biggest promotion in the world, it just makes me want to be there that much more.
Ring Rust Radio: You previously formed a successful tag team with Patrick Clark, who’s enjoying a run right now in NXT. What do you think of his Velveteen Dream character and the way he’s developed so far in WWE?
Lio Rush: I absolutely love it and Patrick is a smart dude. He’s even younger than I am, which is crazy. He just turned 22 and he landed himself a job for life over there. He is a very smart dude, he is very humble and knows what he’s doing inside and outside the ring. I think that’s very important because you have to be a businessman as well as a professional wrestler/athlete inside the ring. It’s absolutely incredible to see what he’s doing right now.
We both grew up in the business together, we knew each other in high school, both amateur wrestled in the same town so we knew of each other, we signed up with the MCW training center at the same exact time within that new school that open up in Maryland and graduated together. We formed a tag team and we both kind of made a name for ourselves. Fortunately for him, he was able to capitalize on that Tough Enough spot he had and landed himself a job so that’s absolutely incredible to see what he’s doing right now. I can’t wait to see the development of his Velveteen Dream character because Patrick is a smart dude and he knows exactly what he is doing despite his age. I’m happy to see what kind of reactions he’s going to be getting from the fans.
For the rest of the interview with Lio Rush, check out Ring Rust Radio.