The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) had stayed away from the public eye and not done any interviews regarding their departure from WWE until recently.
While in WWE, they were a dominant tag team as they found success in NXT and on the main roster by winning the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic as well as the NXT and Raw Tag Team Championships.
In September 2020, they were let go by the company. Before their departure, they were paired with Seth Rollins when he turned heel following his Universal Title run. Rezar had been on the sidelines as he tore his triceps and Akam was removed from television due to his tag team partner being injured. In September 2020, they were released by WWE.
The two former WWE stars spoke about being let go during an interview with Ango.
"So basically…we departed from the company, it was nothing negative about it," Akam started out. "It was at a time when COVID had just started, we were in a pretty big storyline at the time. What happened was, we couldn't travel anymore. COVID was very strong, we were asked to do something, like go back, but we opted out of it. We didn't feel comfortable doing it.
At the time, that was the big thing. Nobody really knew. 'What happened with AOP?' Nothing, we opted out to stay with family, take care of our family and be home close to them. There was a lot of uncertainty, all across the board. WWE officials, there was uncertainty with what they wanted to do and as far as humans and family men, new had our own uncertainties of what we wanted to do for our families. That's all it was, there was nothing else to it. We have no ill will towards the company. They booked us good and treated us well. Nothing negative about it."
Later in the interview, Rezar spoke about being paired with Rollins and suffering a biceps injury in March 2020.
"It was a big thing, it could’ve been even bigger. Obviously, s**t happens, right? I tore my bicep during a match and was off. I healed fast and fully recovered in four months' time. I had a hotel next to the facility in Pittsburgh to do my rehab. I just killed it…..they came back with a plan, we opted out of it. We thought our personal needs were more important at that time. COVID hit, we wanted to be with family. We took that decision to go home, recover fully, we stayed in really good contact. Last twelve months, we worked harder than we ever did. We eventually choose to opt out, go back to our homes. A year later….we stayed silent for a reason, we wanted to come back with a bang. We obviously had a lot of offers, a lot of talks. We felt like the right thing hasn't really got us yet."
The tag team has created BulleApePlanet NFT, which is a wrestling project that takes place in the metaverse. You can watch the entire interview by clicking on the player below:
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Ango with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription