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Kyle O’Reilly Opens Up About Why He Left WWE

Kyle O'Reilly

AEW star Kyle O’Reilly has opened up about why he decided to leave WWE and head for pastures new.

In early December 2021, Kyle O’Reilly made the decision to follow his Undisputed ERA brothers Adam Cole and Bobby Fish out of NXT and into AEW.

It was a switch that took place relatively quickly with O’Reilly wrestling his last match in NXT on December 7th, before debuting on the December 22nd edition of Dynamite.

Speaking to Chris Jericho on his Talk of Jericho podcast, O’Reilly explained that moving to AEW felt like the next logical step in his career. He also cited how things had shifted within NXT after it was rebranded as NXT 2.0 in September.

“Seeing Bobby and Adam come [to AEW], how could you not want to be back with these guys and part of a group like AEW where every week it’s like a TakeOver crowd, just on TV. We talk about the natural progression and next steps of one’s career and it felt like, for me, it was the next logical step for me. NXT 2.0 rebrand happened and it felt like, before the rebrand, Kyle O’Reilly was a top guy in NXT and after the rebrand, plans shifted. That’s fine, it’s business. I’m totally willing to do what I can do get anyone else get over and for the last few months there, I tried my damndest to do so with everyone I worked with.”

Expanding further, O’Reilly said that he felt he’d got unfinished with New Japan Pro Wrestling, a company with whom AEW enjoy a strong relationship.

“I just wanted to be excited about going to work again and I felt like I left a ton on the table with New Japan and then here, I know there is a good relationship with New Japan. It seemed like a new frontier. There are so many talented guys, so many exciting matchups, so many exciting tag matches because the tag division is stacked and I love tag team wrestling and my tag team partner, the company released and now he’s [in AEW]. My deal was done, it was coming up in December, and I ended up doing a week extension just to finish up and do good business by them and finish with WarGames and TV to put Von Wagner over and do business right. I’m happy to do so. The opportunity came to come here, sorting a deal out with Tony (Khan) a day or two before my debut and here we are,”

During the conversation, O’Reilly was also asked about how those left behind in NXT took his decision. The former NXT Tag Team Champion revealed that everyone was really encouraging and told him to do what was best for him.

“Everyone was very encouraging of, ‘go where your heart is leading you.’ That’s what got me into WWE in the first place. They were all very supportive of doing what’s best for me and my family. Everyone was cool about it all.”

Kyle O’Reilly made his AEW in-ring debut alongside Bobby Fish on the December 29th edition of Dynamite amid simmering tension with the Young Bucks.

H/t to Fightful for the transcription.