Brodie said that he wasn’t particularly nervous or excited about debuting in an empty building instead of a packed arena in his hometown of Rochester, NY but then it hit him just before he went out to the ring. He also noted that Tony Khan gave him the option of delaying his AEW debut.
“Tony very specifically texted me and said ‘hey man if you don’t wanna do this, we won’t do this.’ I wrote back and I was like ‘no man, I’m all in for Wednesday, just let me know what you need me to do.’ I had a way out if I wanted it but I’ve been cooped up for so long. I wanna get out, I wanna do something, I need to be creative, I need to fly a little bit. Even that little bit last week was something.”
He also said that if he didn’t debut last week, it could be delayed for months given the current circumstances with empty arena shows. Brodie opened up on his thoughts on why Vince McMahon didn’t let him talk while he was in WWE.
“I think the way I do talk, Vince doesn’t see a person that looks like me talking like me. I don’t think he can get over that. He saw a backwards hillbilly who talked in a southern drawl and being from Rochester, NY and being somewhat eloquent, he didn’t understand. It just didn’t compute with him. Arn [Anderson] I think was maybe to the detriment was one of my biggest supporters in meetings and Arn would say ‘hey man, I’m just gonna stop speaking up for you because I don’t think it’s doing you any favors.’ I had my supporters but not vocal ones, not ones that were willing to go to bat for me to a point. Once I fell into a role, no matter what I pitched, no matter what I showed anybody I wasn’t digging my way out of it to the audience of one.”
Brodie said he had a blast when he won the Intercontinental Championship but that didn’t last long. Brodie said, “I don’t think I won a match on TV with the belt. I did a bunch of DQs and lost a bunch of matches and almost was like I lost favor almost instantly as soon as I won the belt. I didn’t even get a chance to do anything with it. I pitched a whole bunch of different things for angles, ideas to change the character and then he just wasn’t buying them.”
Brodie listed some ideas that were pitched to Vince McMahon and were turned down.
“I wanted to be a collector of some sort. I’m very much into serial killers and stuff like that. I wanted to collect something from each person I would beat and then the problem became that I wasn’t beating anybody so it was hard to collect from people to do that.” He continued, “I also wanted to be a smart monster, a very intelligent monster where I could speak like I do in a very intelligent way and break my opponents down in a certain way that I wasn’t doing in the Wyatt Family. Then I would have the same matches I was having and look the same exact way so I would be this slovenly character but very intelligent, almost like a Bruiser Brody. I just don’t think he could see that way of talking.”
He continued, “I remember going into [Vince’s] office and him telling me ‘hey, I want you to do a southern drawl.’ I was like ‘sir, I’m from Rochester, NY I think it’s gonna sound really really fake.’ And he goes ‘well do me a favor and try it.’ I did it for him and he goes ‘yeah, I don’t like that.’ Literally I walked out thinking that’s gone, that’s never gonna come up again. Then next week in the script it was like specifically ‘Luke Harper do a southern accent.'”
Brodie said that he feels that Vince always saw him and Erick Rowan together so they would split up but end up together at some point. He said Vince was always honest with him about not having anything for him during times when he wasn’t used on TV. He also talked about how sometimes he would start to doubt himself.
“I would start doubting myself too like maybe I don’t have it. This actually happened last week with AEW where it’s like ‘hey, go do this promo’ and coming from WWE it’s like ‘ok, what do you want me to talk about?’ And it’s like ‘whatever you want, this is your promo.’ So then the stress was like holy sh*t. So now I have no one to blame so if it’s not good, it’s on me. And it’s like can I do this?…”
Brodie revealed that when he and Rowan were out with injuries, Vince McMahon had a plan to repackage them as a new version of Demolition.
Brodie said he was told, “Vince wants to put you guys back together and give you a big push and he wants you guys to be like Demolition.” Brodie wasn’t sure if wearing Demolition gear in 2018 would work but Vince let them pitch some ideas. He said Rowan had great ideas for their Bludgeon Brothers look. Jericho asked Brodie to clarify what he meant about Vince wanting them to look like Demolition. Brodie said, “We were shown a picture of Demolition and he said this is what he wants you guys to be. Literally a picture of Demolition and creative services showed us other pictures and it was very Demolition-ish.”
Brodie recalled texting Vince in February 2019 and the text message conversation led to Vince putting him in the Andre The Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania. After Mania, he says he was told that WWE had an idea for him as Sami Zayn’s heater. Brodie said he didn’t want to stand behind anyone anymore because he wanted to do his own thing but he was determined to make it work.
Brodie said, “Two days later I was supposed to debut on SmackDown after Mania and then it got canceled. Then I just said ok that’s it. Went home and talked to my wife and she said ‘she goes yeah if you don’t wanna be there, then don’t be there. Just ask them for your release.’ I remember Vince called me and we had two 20 minute conversations where we just talked like humans. Vince is almost robot-like in ways but when you talk to him, he’s a good person almost. It was crazy. He was like ‘what do you want, do you want more money, do you want a push?’ I was like ‘no, at this point I don’t want either of that.’ I also didn’t realize at the time that other people had asked for their releases but not publicly so a bunch of people had done that. Hunter even told me later. He goes ‘we can’t release you, it’s gonna make like people are jumping off the sinking ship.'”
Brodie said he called Mark Carrano 15 times and he didn’t answer so he texted him and got through to him to let him know that he wanted to get his release. After that is when he went public on Twitter because he didn’t want WWE to control the narrative and he knew Shawn Spears did the same and his release was granted.
Brodie said Vince called him and said, “For business reasons, I can’t let you go.” He added, “Hunter called me and said ‘what do you want to do, do you want to go to New Japan?’ I was like yes, 100 percent. I was like can we make that happen? He goes, ‘yeah, I think I can make that happen.’ And then, of course, it never happened and nothing ever came of it and then we talked about going to NXT and that never happened.”
He says Daniel Bryan called him in October to get him back on TV to work with him and Rowan to be part of the mystery of who attacked Roman Reigns. He was brought back for two months and then taken off TV again around the time of the WWE Draft. Brodie said it came to an end when Rowan was drafted to Raw.
Brodie said he was still being offered contracts by WWE up to the day he got his release and it’s because they wanted to keep wrestlers from leaving to avoid the perception that wrestlers were jumping off a sinking ship.
He said that he had some independent movie roles that were turned down by WWE but not he has the freedom to take on outside projects since AEW’s schedule is just once per week. He also noted that his AEW deal allows him to work independent wrestling dates.