wrestling / News

Lio Rush Wants to Be AEW’s First Black World Champion, Talks Working In NJPW

October 17, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Lio Rush

Lio Rush has his sights set high in AEW, saying he hopes to be the company’s first Black World Champion. Rush spoke with Forbes for a new interview, and you can check out some highlights below:

On working with NJPW: “New Japan is such an incredible place. The history, and the amount of respect it has from viewers, people who are fans and people who are wrestlers. I feel like New Japan just has that aura about it that everybody wants to be there because it’s so respected and the wrestlers that are there for a reason. I’m so glad I’m there. I think I was always supposed to be in New Japan, at least I always wanted to be in New Japan before I was in WWE, but I just so happened to make it to WWE first. When I got released from WWE, and New Japan reached out to me, I was so excited. I was like, ‘this is that push that I needed.’

“It has such a real-life sport and competitive aspect to it, and that’s where I come from. I was a two-time All-American amateur wrestler, I’ve played football, I’ve played basketball and baseball, so I just have a very competitive spirit and nature about me so I’m glad that I’m there.”

On teaming up with Dante Martin in AEW: “I’ve always had my interest in working with Dante. I actually met his brother [Darius Martin] when I was in Ring of Honor and he went to the show as a fan, as a teenager. We took a picture and everything. So it’s pretty cool that it’s come full circle and I’m working with Dante in AEW. I’ve seen so much of myself in him when I was his age and he is even better than I was when I was his age. I had help when I was younger, but I didn’t have someone coaching me and taking me step-by-step and telling me what their experience was. I’m glad that I could be that person for Dante as early as he is in his career. Athletically, he’s amazing. I kind of can’t believe it.”

On possibly being a trio when Darius Martin returns to action: “That’s definitely an exciting idea. Something that is a huge possibility whenever Darius comes back and he’s all healed up, who knows? Who knows what’s going to happen within that time. But if it goes the way that you want it to go—and I’m sure a lot of other people who are watching it currently—I think it would be really cool to have all three of us together, that would be pretty dope.”

On wanting to become AEW’s first Black World Champion: “Representation, it changes lives. I didn’t have too many good examples of someone who can set the blueprint for somebody like me. At the time, when I was a wrestling fan, there wasn’t a short, Black, tattooed, dread-head guy who likes music from D.C. So the path that I was going, I was creating. I think that has opened up doors for a lot of people, but I want to be a world champion. I think I’m more than capable.

“If I’m not ready for something, I’ll say I’m not ready for something. But I’m ready. I’ve been ready. I want to take that step. I want to be that guy that everybody is looking at and say ‘Man, he did it. And he did it through the face of adversity.’ Because I’ve had some ups and downs in my career, and I’ve showed time and time again that I’m not someone who’s going to just lay down and give up on my passion and my dreams. I think that’s a good role model, just in life. Wrestling aside, to see someone like myself move the way that I move in life and inspire the people who look like me is a beautiful thing. I want to be that. I want to be that for everybody, and I think that I can be that. I think I have the mic skills, I think that I have the in-ring capability, I think that I’m a pretty personable and likable person. And I think I’m real. I think I’m honest. This is a glass panel right here, I don’t hold anything back and I think that’s what a champion is and I want to be the first African-American world champion in AEW.”

article topics :

AEW, Lio Rush, NJPW, Jeremy Thomas