You got to appear on the CWC, RAW and 205 Live - how different was it working on each of those?
In many ways it’s all the same. Only things that is different is really the production teams.
Of course, the WWE Universe was shocked by your departure, I don't think anyone was expecting it - were you? Do you have any regrets about how it all went?
Yes and no. I was ready to go. I had thought about leaving as far back as November/December. A year prior, I had met with Vince and expressed to him that I believe I have no value to him as I was. I was just a wrestler on a wrestling show and he has a lot of great wrestlers. I wanted to get back to representing my culture and doing what I had done in the CWC.
Moving to Raw, they separated me from that. Vince was interested in the change and asked me how we could use me better and I said I would show him. I spent the year making my own appearances with Filipino events, doing my own red carpet interviews and news and media appearances for Filipino media outlets and publications. Met with Pacquiao and trained with him. Did some research in Filipino demographics so he could see the effect my community can have. I brought this all back to Vince around Survivor Series 2018. He loved it and wanted to find me a spot on Raw and suggested we brainstorm creative ideas.
I wrote pitches for every character on every roster and how I could work with them. The creative team basically pocketed everything I wrote and never turned them in to Vince. Much of it was used on other superstars and still is to this day in fact. Eventually, I met with Vince directly and he asked why I hadn’t given any creative pitches and I gave him everything I wrote.
By then, the creative ship had sailed on many of my ideas and Vince ultimately couldn’t find a fitting story or a place for me on Raw with so many Superstars on the roster. The office knew I was unhappy and wanted to leave, or at least to pursue other opportunities - both in the ring and outside of it - that WWE wasn’t allowing me to achieve.
And finally, Vince decided he didn’t want to waste my time and make me sit on the bench and said I should go out and spread my wings. He said he had a lot of respect for what I was doing and what I wanted to do and that most of the guys don’t think on the level I was thinking and setting goals. So it was a mutually inevitable split that had been in motion for a while. And I’m not the type of person that likes to collect “easy money” to do basically nothing. My community is important to me and my freedom and peace of mind as well - and Vince knew that and didn’t make me force the issue.
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