WWE News

Karrion Kross Recalls Going To Management About Raw Gimmick After Backlash

Karrion Kross in NXT

Former NXT Champion Karrion Kross has opened up on speaking to WWE management about his issues with his presentation on the main roster.

Karrion Kross joined WWE in the spring of 2020 as part of the NXT roster. The former IMPACT Wrestling standout spent his time on the then-black and gold brand accompanied by his fiancée Scarlett as he shot to the top by winning the NXT Championship twice.

He made his main roster debut in WWE in July 2021 where he was defeated in just over a minute by Jeff Hardy ending his one-on-one undefeated record in the company.

On November 4th, the news broke that Kross was among eighteen superstars released from their WWE contracts, with Scarlett as well as the likes of Keith Lee and Nia Jax also on the chopping block.

During an appearance on Busted Open Radio, Kross looked back on his move to the Raw roster. He explained that his presentation felt “amputated” because Scarlett was no longer by his side and there was no explanation for his new gear.

“He told me he was very happy with everything I was doing. In terms of bringing a character to life, aside from the outfit, I wasn’t given much direction, so I just continued doing what I was doing in NXT in terms of presentation, which unfortunately felt like it was amputated because Scarlett was still singing the music, she wasn’t there, and there were still remnants of what we did in NXT with no explanation as to why the character was wearing a helmet and suspenders.”

Kross went on to say that, in retrospect, he feels he should have spoke up about this at the time, but wanted to show he was a team player.

“I’ll take the onus and say, right off the bat, I went wrong with this, in retrospect, maybe perhaps being too over compliant. I wasn’t crazy about the outfit. I felt comfortable wearing it. I knew it looked a little silly, but from my point of view, I wanted to embrace these ideas given to me because people had previously embraced the ideas I had given to them. It was a collaboration, always. I just wanted to demonstrate that.

“I probably should have said no and I should have tried to sell them on what we created and done in NXT because I believe we should have stayed the course. The fans were invested. The moment we walked out there with the presentation we did in NXT, people online were saying they wanted to see it at WrestleMania. I really should have attempted to assert myself with that idea.

Kross explained that he feels WWE should have provided more continuity with his NXT character.

“Respectfully, where I think they went wrong with us, was not providing the audience with a little bit more continuity and explanation as to what was going on because people checked out emotionally from what they were watching because they didn’t have any explanation as to what was going on. In the written world of fiction, we can come up with any reason, as long as it’s logical and respectful to their intelligence, as to why things are off or different.

“Week to week, they never got that and they checked out and got into analytical mode rather than enjoying the story and taking in what we were putting ourselves through. They just sat there going, ‘what is going on?’ That’s the worst thing you could want in wrestling. When they are no longer attached emotionally, you’re dead in the water.”

In the second week of the new outfit, Kross says he spoke to management about the poor reaction the change had received from fans and suggested ways they could change course to improve matters. However, his suggestions were brushed off.

“I will say, I did, at a point, I believe it was the second week of the outfit, I spoke with management and told them, ‘I’m saying this out of professionalism and respect, based on the reactions from last week, which are measurable through social media and the live reaction, this is not being received well. Respectfully, I do believe we should attempt to change course before it’s too late.

“Or, we could attempt to develop some sort of narrative to put on television where we could connect what I did on NXT vs. what I’m doing here because people don’t understand what’s going.’ To paraphrase, I was told, ‘stay the course.’ At the time, I thought that was crazy. I did speak up, in a respectful manner, I never walked into anyone’s office and said, ‘I can’t do this.’ I just said, ‘I want to be a return on investment, if I can’t do that, I’m going to be out of here. The course that we’re on right now, we’re about to go off a cliff.'”

Since leaving WWE, Karrion Kross has changed his look again, having grown out his hair. In a recent interview, he explained the decision to shave his head in the first place was to fit the character he was portraying at the time.

H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.