Wrestling News

Former NXT Star Recalls Almost Quitting Wrestling After WWE Tryout

Taylor Rust

Former NXT Star Taylor Rust has looked back on the aftermath of a WWE tryout he took part in earlier in his career.

Rust was eventually signed by WWE in 2020 when he began wrestling on the NXT brand as Tyler Rust. However, he also had a tryout for the company back in 2012 that nearly led to him quitting pro-wrestling altogether.

Speaking on the ROHStrong podcast, Rust explained that, while the process was difficult, he was given reason to be optimistic by the comments he was given by staff at the tryout.

“It was hard days. I remember going back to the hotel room, Epsom salt baths, icing everything that was sore. I’m pretty sure I pulled my groin the first day. They cut like a third of the guys the first day; male models and actors. Next day, two more rounds of cuts. It went great. After, I was pulled aside and told, ‘it went really well, we like your look and the way you wrestle, you know what you’re doing. We think you’d be a great fit for us in Florida. We’re not sure, but we wanted to let you know that you did very good.'”

He also recalled how the future multi-time Women’s Champion Bayley got her big break at the same tryout.

“I remember watching Bayley, what got her signed, she was so helpful. Every other girl there was just an athlete, but she was helpful in showing them how to do the wrestling move and technique. You could watch them watch her and they were falling in love with the way she was so helpful. I was in awe and I thought she was definitely going to get picked up.”

Unfortunately for Rust, he wouldn’t have the same good news, and was told he was unsuccessful through an email.

“Sure enough, when the day came to find out, you would get a phone call or an email. An email meant, ‘sorry, not this time.’ I got a text that day from Bayley that day that said, ‘They called me, I got it.’ I check my email, sure enough, there is the letter that says, ‘We think you’re great and a made talent, but not this time. Stay at it and see you again soon.’ It was a transition period for me when I thought, ‘Is wrestling going to take off or do I need to change gears?’ When I didn’t get it, it sucked and I felt I did the best I could and gave them everything. If that wasn’t good enough at that time, I felt anything else I could give them wasn’t going to be good enough from me. Being told that your best wasn’t enough is a shitty feeling, but those are the breaks in life,”

Following the tryout, Rust dedicated more time to his full-time job at an Animal Shelter. When a big promotion came up in 2019, he was ready to take it and quit wrestling. However, he was unsuccessful in his application, something that gave him the push he needed to focus on wrestling.

“Life became wrestling and working a full-time job at the Animal Shelter. I did that routine for six years straight. Every year, I wanted to see if it would be my last year, if something would take off. I had the option to get a big promotion at the Animal Shelter and I wasn’t sure because it meant having to quit wrestling. Going into 2019, I thought about it, and if life was leading me in that direction, I was going to take it. I did the (job) interview and was getting ready to walk out of pro wrestling. I think I’m done and the job is mine. I get told the next day I didn’t get the job. I was shocked. Everyone at the Animal Shelter was like, ‘What do you mean?’ When that happened, it lit a fire in me with wrestling. I got mad. I almost quit for this job and the job didn’t give me the promotion. It was the push I needed to switch gears. I said I was going to do everything I could to get signed within a year. That’s what pushed me.”

Taylor Rust was hired by WWE in 2020 and appeared regularly on NXT. However, after being a founding member of The Diamond Mine faction, he was released by the company on August 6th, 2021. He now wrestles for Ring of Honor, and defeated Jake Atlas in his first match after being let go by WWE at Death Before Dishonor XVIII.

H/T to Fightful for the transcription.