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Alex Riley Says An Incident With Cena Changed The Path of His Career

January 11, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka

-During an appearance on Jim Ross’ podcast (via wrestlinginc.com), Alex Riley talked about how he got his start in WWE, working as a commentator for NXT, and his incident with John Cena. Here are some highlights…

On Greg Gagne Helping Get Him In WWE: “My father knows Greg Gagne. [He was] high school, I’m sorry, college roommates with Greg Gagne at Wyoming and he contacted Greg. Greg had John Laurinaitis’s name and phone number. And I believe I sent the email and then, when I didn’t hear back for awhile, Greg kind of took over and said, ‘hey, why don’t you give this kid a look?’ and so on and so forth.”

On His Pay: “[WWE] offered me a deal that was… it wasn’t much. It was very, very low and it was almost not enough to survive on, really. I mean, it would be, it would have been hard to eat. It was $500 a week, which, I guess, what is that? Yeah, and at that point when they, when Wright Medical offered me the new job, you’re talking about close to $200k [annually].” Riley added, “I desperately wanted to be part of WWE, so I said, ‘look, if you can get this thing right around $40 grand [annually], I will go. I’m not going to tell you what I’m getting offered by Wright Medical, but it’s a lot more and I’ll give it all up if you can get this thing to right around [$40,000 annually].’ And they did. They got me up to a grand [per week] or $750, I don’t remember what it was, and I packed up and I headed out and I don’t regret it. It was awesome.”

On Doing NXT Commentary: “I enjoyed it. I very much enjoyed it. I wanted to, the thing with me, I belonged in the ring. I should have been in the ring. Anybody that disagrees with that, I don’t know. I think that’s very foolish. But, for whatever reason, I wasn’t [in the ring] and I had skill. I had passion for the business, a lot of passion for the business, and they gave me the opportunity to be a broadcaster and I took it head on. That’s a hard job and I don’t think people [appreciate that]. You know, JR, people see it on TV and they say, ‘you’re just sitting there talking,’ but it’s not that. I mean, that show moves fast. It’s live. You’re in the booth, sometimes, sitting with two other people who have their own train of thought. If you haven’t worked with them ever, you have no idea where they might go with it and you have to get it all back to a certain subject that everybody’s either agreeing on or there’s a plan, a point you’re trying to make. And then, all of a sudden, Vince McMahon will yell in your ear, ‘hey, we’re going to go this way,’ so it was a challenge at first, but certainly something that I really enjoyed. There was nothing worse for me than just sitting in the back.”

On His Issues With John Cena: “I’ll put it this way. There was an incident and it certainly changed the path of my career. I don’t want to discuss it right now, but I will one day for sure. I will one day. It was a tough situation at times, I guess we can leave it at that.” Riley continued, “and, honestly, JR, I struggle with the morality of even talking about it and I’m not into blowing up anybody else at this point, but I promise you this, I will address it one day for sure. You don’t want to know. It was a tough situation.”

article topics :

Alex Riley, John Cena, WWE, Larry Csonka