Big Cass has spoken about his struggles with alcohol addiction that came to the forefront after his release from WWE in 2018.
Cass was part of the precursor to NXT, Florida Championship Wrestling from July 2011. In 2013 he made his NXT debut before going on to have a hugely successful run on the black and gold brand with tag team partner Enzo Amore. The duo made their main roster debuts on Raw in 2016 and went on to become favourites with the WWE Universe.
The pair of Enzo and Cass split up in the summer of 2017 before Cass suffered a serious knee injury that kept him out of action for the next eight months. Upon his return to action in 2018 Cass was moved to SmackDown where he began a feud with Daniel Bryan. Two months later, Cass was released from his contract,
Behind the scenes, Big Cass was dealing with a very different battle, as he explained in a conversation with Chris Van Vliet. Cass was struggling with alcohol issues that were starting to spiral out of control.
Big Cass explained:
“When I was with WWE I had responsibility. I had to get on a plane every Saturday and do house shows and then go to TV. Once that responsibility went away, I had an apartment to live in, I had money in the bank, I had a car, I had everything I needed. I had no motivation to do anything. So I just drank all day after my release.”
“I think I had a problem way before. The release gave me the opportunity to live that way with no responsibilities, which is a horrible thing for an addict. 2017 was when it started to go downhill. You’re wearing a mask, you’re hiding and you’re making everybody think you’re ok. You drink in your room and you make sure that nobody sees you. There were so many things going on mentally, I was really struggling but I didn’t want to say anything. It shouldn’t be embarrassing but I was embarrassed and humiliated. I guess there’s a stigma around mental health, which is ‘toughen up’. Especially in wrestling or any kind of tough person business. It was telling myself ‘Just toughen up.’ But that’s the wrong way to go about things.”
Big Cass has since worked with Diamond Dallas Page in an effort to overcome his illness. Page has worked with fellow wrestlers Scott Hall and Jake Roberts in a similar vein in the past.
Cass also talked about the drama surrounding his and Enzo’s appearance at the G1 Supercard event in 2019. At Ring of Honor and NJPW’s biggest US show ever, the duo crashed the ring to attack The Briscoes.