Former NXT Superstar Denzel Dejournette has recalled his encounter with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon following his debut on Monday Night RAW adding that McMahon’s aura was that of a “weird mystic creature.”
Inside The Ropes’ own Liam Alexander-Stewart recently sat down to talk with former NXT Superstar Denzel Dejournette, during the interview the former Desmond Troy would discuss the impact Braun Strowman’s release had on the NXT locker room as well as his experiences appearing as an enhancement talent on both Raw and SmackDown.
Denzel Dejournette signed with the WWE Performance Center in 2018 and was introduced as part of the same ‘class’ as former NXT Champions Keith Lee and Io Shirai, as well as former IMPACT Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo.
Following several years of live tour appearances, Dejournette would make his NXT TV debut in April 2020 in a losing effort against, current Million Dollar Champion, Cameron Grimes. Denzel Dejournette would then find himself renamed in September that same year, competing against Tomasso Ciampa under the name Desmond Troy and drawing on his NCAA Heavyweight wrestling background.
Despite strong receptions online from the NXT audience, Dejournette was released in August of 2021 during the same batch of NXT releases that saw Jake Atlas, Bobby Fish and Leon Ruff released prior to the launch of NXT 2.0.
When asked about his experiences working Raw and SmackDown and how the backstage environment compared to that of NXT, Denzel Dejournette would praise the WWE atmosphere adding that he even got a patented Vince McMahon fist pump following his match.
“Honestly, it was much of the same, because I knew that those matches weren’t about me. So as long as I can make them look good and honestly like, I believe in my abilities and also the fact that I’m in there with these vets, who I think all of them at some point was champion. So I was like, there’s no way this can mess up. Like even if I wanted to go out of my way to try to mess this up, their systems are so incredible, they won’t mess up.
So that took a lot of the edge off, and going backstage and seeing, Vince McMahon, was cool because it was kind of like, he’s a weird mystic creature, you always hear about him, but you never see him, especially in NXT.
Vince does not like this. Vince loves this. Vince says that. It’s like you don’t see him, but you hear him and it kind of created some mystique about him, which I thought was cool. But seeing him, you know, he gave me the patented fist bump, you know. Good job. So it was a very cool experience. I don’t think it was any different.”
The former NCAA Heavyweight athlete would go on to state that, although his experience with Vince McMahon was enjoyable and the environment was much the same, there was one difference between his time backstage at NXT and his time backstage during Raw and SmackDown.
“I think the only thing that made it a little bit different than at NXT is because when it was at the Thunderdome, it was like when you go back to the back, everybody’s kind of working on a match or whatever and doing their thing because they were doing a lot of matches at one time when I was doing it. But it was just Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman and I think maybe Jason Ayers. And that was it, but NXT when you go back there, it’s like a bunch of people, it’s like all the producers because usually, it’s the live show, so they’re all back there, you know? Good job, get maybe like a couple of critiques, you know if they have the time. And so it’s a little bit different, but also the circumstances are different.”
Following his release Denzel Dejournette recently appeared at Coastal Championship Wrestling and stated during the interview that he knows he needs to work everywhere and anywhere to build his name back up following his release but added he found inspiration in the story of Drew McIntyre who achieved the same feat following his WWE release in 2014.