Lucha Underground star Brian Cage recently spoke with Sports Illustrated about his release from WWE and more. Here are the highlights.
On his WWE release: When I got released, it was the biggest shock of my life. I was actually expecting a raise, and I had been for a while. I missed a [phone] call from WWE, and I called back all excited. Then I was told, ‘We’re going to come to terms on your release,’ and I literally said, ‘Did you call the right number?’ I was so baffled. Wade Barrett even texted after and said, ‘In all my years being here, this is the most absolutely ridiculous release I’ve ever seen.’ I had a lot of support from the guys and the trainers, and I had been determined from the beginning to make it. After I was released, I thought this was my boyhood dream that wasn’t going to come to fruition. But I was signed by the time I was 24 years old–I did that, I accomplished that. I did not wrestle at WrestleMania, things just did not happen that way. It was a roadblock, but I just tried to be the best I could. I was just so determined to make it, and it took a little longer and I took a different route than I thought I would, but it all worked out. Dusty Rhodes was talking to me one day, and he said, ‘you’re a great worker, you’re phenomenal in the ring, but there is something missing about you. There’s something missing in your persona.’ I wanted to be the Wolverine, but that was copyrighted, so I was the Night Claw. I developed my attitude into what it is today. Excalibur, one of the announcers from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, started calling me, ‘The F—— Machine.’ He thought I was doing things a guy my size and build shouldn’t be able to do, but it was second nature and I didn’t even need to think about it.
On Lucha Underground: Lucha Underground is a TV show about wrestling, instead of a wrestling show on TV. It’s something that is finally different. At the best, any other company is a B-version of WWE. It’s all the same with cookie cutting outlines–WWE has billions of dollars, you can’t compete with them. Lucha Underground has matches you’ve never seen with people you’ve never seen, and the cinematography feel to it with the backstage scenes. My goal was to make it with WWE, which I didn’t do. Now I’ve learned how to be happy and live my dream outside WWE. Now I finally feel like I thought it would feel as a ten-year-old kid to be a pro wrestler. It finally feels like it’s supposed to feel, instead of walking around on eggshells. Instead of being held back and being told, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ or ‘You’re not the guy because we want him to be the guy,’ at Lucha Underground it’s ‘Do the best you can do.’ I want to be Lucha world champion, and I always remember that none of this is possible without the fans. I couldn’t be more thankful of where I am now. I am so thankful for the fans who support Lucha Underground and me, and I thank them very much–I wouldn’t be living out my childhood fantasy if it wasn’t for them.
Cage also talked about working in PWG and more. You can read the entire interview here.