Tony Nese was released by WWE earlier this year in the midst of what WWE was calling budget cuts. Not too long after his release Bodyslam.net’s own Cassidy Haynes reported that Nese was spotted backstage at AEW’s Homecoming event in Jacksonville.
Earlier this week it was announced that Nese had indeed signed with AEW and the former Cruiserweight Champion sat down with Chris Van Vliet and spoke on his time in WWE, specifically 205 Live, and what the talents thought of that brand.
Nese also talked about his release from WWE and whether or not he knew it was coming.
On his time with 205 Live:
“Yeah, it would get frustrating at times. To us it would never make sense. We would pitch all these ideas, we thought it would be awesome that every once in a while you bring a guy onto our show that’s a name. It would help the 205 Live brand and the talent. I would understand their mindset [on that], but they would do other things I don’t understand and it would get you frustrated. Why wouldn’t you want to help everybody? I kind of feel like they had that core group of people where these are the ones we are going to care about, the rest of you have to hang in limbo. That’s just how it felt, maybe that wasn’t what they felt, but that’s how it felt while I was there.”
On what 205 was like and what could have been:
“We would always say that we were in this wrestling purgatory. Even though I was there, when it comes to the company’s decisions, I’m on the outside looking in too. This is all speculation, but it seemed like they had an idea for the show. It was Triple H’s idea, it was his baby. He wanted the show to have a yearly tournament, win/loss records, all that stuff, he wanted it to be a different feel. As soon as it was announced that the cruiserweights would be a part of Raw, that was where Vince was like ‘No, it’s my show now.’ All that other stuff went out the window. We even joked about it, we said ‘This is Raw light.’ We got our backs against the wall and after all the stars had competed. So Vince had control, but after a while he was like I’m done playing with this toy. He gave it back to Triple H, who was like, you’re Vince’s boys now, you are tainted to me. This is my speculation, but it feels like Triple H didn’t care about it either. We were in this limbo of the show has to be booked, but they were just like whatever, put whatever on and just move on. No matter how much we would fight, they were just like have a good match, and that’s it.”
Did it feel bittersweet winning the Cruiserweight Championship on WrestleMania 35’s pre-show?
“Not necessarily. There were times where it would cross my mind of well it’s the kick-off show, but it is what it is. To WWE’s credit, they did very well in treating me and Murphy like we were on the main show as well. That whole week, I felt like I was a part of WWE and not on some sideshow. That was really cool. After the match, Vince was in Gorilla, he stood up and said ‘That’s how you start WrestleMania.’ I don’t care what people say, that’s cool.”
Did he know he was going to be released from his WWE contract?
“I had one year left on my contract, but I knew [I was getting released]. As soon as they moved us to be a part of the NXT roster, me and Ariya Daivari were like it’s just a matter of time. We got these new contracts to the Raw roster is a normal contract, but to the NXT roster is like a whoa contract. We were on the least cared about show in WWE history, and they just kept releasing and releasing. So we knew when it was time to look at NXT, we were going out the door.”
Below is the video of the full interview.
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