Following his run in WWE’s developmental Florida Championship Wrestling Alex Riley appeared on the second season of NXT where he was aligned with The Miz.
At the time NXT served as a reality show more in line with Tough Enough rather than the black and gold phenomenon that it would later become. On the show the young stars were placed with mentors from WWE’s main roster. This was a move that brought together Riley and The Miz, and create a key partnership that would flourish through the early part of Riley’s WWE career.
Following their time working together on NXT, the pair continued as a team on the main roster. While Miz rose to the top of the WWE roster, Riley was instrumental in helping his mentor to victory.
Speaking to Danial Ali From The DropKick Podcast, Riley reflected on his time alongside The Miz, calling him “one the best human beings I’ve ever met.”
“So Mike is massively talented and had been there before I was there and we were on NXT sometimes. Okay so one regret out of myself, Mike is one the best human beings I’ve ever met start to finish. Most professional human beings. He had a lot of patience with me because they put me in a massive spotlight right off the bat. They put me on NXT which was their show and I had a great character and I was good at it. After that Mike and I went on a world title run together right but I posted something on Instagram like Maybe I deserved it, Maybe I was just a kid.. Thank you for sharing it with me. I loved you the most. I believed that you know because I don’t know if I deserved it or not. I believed I was talented for sure.”
During a recent WWE 24 Special focusing on The Miz, Riley was briefly shown in a promo class with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. The former WWE Superstar went on to recall his dealings with McMahon, giving him “all the credit in the world.”
Vince McMahon is one the kindest. When you meet him, he’s almost shy. You know what I mean he’s one of the kindest, sweetest, most family driven human beings that I’ve ever personally have met. I wish him and I had a closer relationship and we did but he’s dealing with a lot of talent and he focuses on that talent at the time that is moving and articulating with him on that level. He’s the boss, the boss of professional wrestling. I love Vince, I wanna give him all the credit in the world and his mind all the credit in the world. He was one the most professional business people that I’ve ever been around.”
“One of the kindest, anytime I ever went in there you know which wasn’t a lot. I didn’t go in there a lot. I wasn’t in a position to go in there a lot to be fair but he always met me with respect. He always met with a joke and a good joke like a really good joke. A joke that would make you crack up inside. Very intellectual human begins and so is Triple H, Stephanie, also Shane. Shane might be my favourite wrestler of all time.”
While Riley was appearing in FCW, it gave him a chance to work with the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Elsewhere in the interview, Riley reflected his time learning from Rhodes, calling him a “father figure.”