During an interview on Chris Jericho’s “Talk Is Jericho” podcast, Lio Rush explained the money issues he had while he was working in WWE.
Rush said, “I remember being on the road with Bobby (Lashley). At the time, Bobby was the Intercontinental Champion. He was all over the place. He was at all the signings, the meet and greets, all the live shows, and everything. I wasn’t making the money Bobby was making, but I had to make all the towns. I remember being on tour in Canada and looking at my bank account. I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore. This doesn’t make sense. I’m losing money. It’s getting to the point where I can’t really afford to do this anymore because I have kids. I have a wife. I have responsibilities.’ I know I might look like a kid, which I am, but I have a lot of responsibilities back at home.
I wanted to have a serious conversation with (Mark) Carrano and Vince and try to figure out how I can start making more money within the company. Like, why am I not on these meet and greets with Bobby? How am I his mouthpiece, but I’m not there. It was a strange thing for me. I felt like I was doing a lot of work. I felt like I was a waiter, like I was doing a lot of work for not that much money. It was getting to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I remember bringing up the conversation and saying, ‘Can I get some merch? Can I get a raise? Can I be on these meet and greets and signings with Bobby?’ It just doesn’t make sense. I don’t think that they liked me being so vocal about it, and I should have been appreciative of the opportunity that I had, which I was.
But at the end of the day, it’s a business. I’m a businessman. That’s not just my catchphrase in AEW. It needs to make sense for the both of us. I just don’t think they took that kindly. I was put on hold for weeks. I was told that I was going to talk to Vince, but of course, the writers are telling me ‘He’s busy this week. He’ll fly out to Connecticut when he has time, and we’ll call you when it’s that time.’ I didn’t hear anything from them for nine months. I reached out to them and I tried to get in contact with somebody, and nobody ever got back to me, and I just said, ‘F**k it.. I remember I was about to move to L.A, and when I was in L.A, I got a call from Hunter saying he wanted me to be on NXT because they had just got this new deal with USA Network. I was on USA already, so I think he wanted people who were on USA to push some more eyes on NXT now being on USA. The first thing that I said to him was, ‘When are we going to talk about this contract. It’s been nine months. You can’t just call me and say, how have you been?’ How do you think I’ve been? I’m like, I haven’t been good. I just want to get down to business right away. I think that initial first conversation with Hunter just automatically made things weird for me. I thought that was going to be the turning point where we kind of got on the same page, but unfortunately we never did. I got the Cruiserweight Title put on me, still without a deal. I knew that was going to happen. I was kind of beating myself up for that because I should have put my foot down a little more. It was bittersweet for me. I wish I would have enjoyed that moment a little better, but at the time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about I feel like I’ve now been put in a position that I’m going to look like even more of an a**hole because I have to bring this up while I have this title on. Things just started to spiral downward, we weren’t on the same page, and that’s when I felt I was going to be released because nobody was in communication with me.”
Rush explained how he came up with his name: “I never really thought about what my name was going to be,” Rush said. “I don’t know why. I just never thought about it. Then when it came time for me to do shows, I was like, ‘Oh sh*t. I need a wrestling name.’ I was just calling myself LI. Green. My real name is Lionel Green. I was like, ‘This can’t work, so I need to change it.’ I couldn’t think of any name. I didn’t want to have some random first name that had nothing to do with me. I was looking at my actual name, looking at all the letters, and chopping out the last three letters. I saw Lio. I said that looks cool. My trainer always told me to slow down when I was training because I was too quick. I was doing everything so fast because I was green. He always told me to slow down, but I never could. I would try to, but I never could. My movements were always so quick. He would always say that I was in a rush to learn. I was in a rush to get to the next thing, move forward, and stuff like that. So I thought that was pretty cool, so I put two and two together, and that’s how Lio Rush came about.”