Mojo Rawley is the guest on this week’s “Chasing Glory” podcast with Lilian Garcia. Rawley told some never-before-told stories during his interview including his wrestling fandom as a kid and how he got into the business. He also talked about some of the frustrations with his push in WWE.
Rawley talked about Rob Gronkowski’s father’s connection to WWE. He said, “Mr. Gronkowski, their dad, was college roommates with Mike Rotunda at Syracuse.”
“We grew up watching wrestling. Being a WWE Superstar was the first thing I ever wanted to do. My dad and my brother watched every week. Never missed a week.”
He said he didn’t know how to get into the business so he stopped watching for a few years because he was focused on football.
“Now that I’m here in WWE, I almost never watch the NFL. Very rarely I will check in to see how Gronk is doing or I’ll check in on the Packers. I don’t sit there watching games anymore.”
He ended up going in for a tryout and he cut promos for William Regal and he got his shot. Rawley knew that there was resentment towards him because he didn’t go through he independent circuit.
Rawley said, “All I knew is that I’m coming in from football and I had to watch my back because here’s guys that paid their dues on the independent circuits and paid their dues within this industry and you got a guy coming in as an outsider. You know, someone who they might see as a blue chipper. Someone who hadn’t earned their contract and I had to be cognizant of that. For me, I completely understood that perception because that was my career path as the walk on.”
“Any hate that I had from the other wrestlers in the beginning I understood. I didn’t appreciate it because I’m sitting here working my ass off. I was the first to show up every day, I was the last to leave. I wasn’t being vocal. I didn’t come in with any kind of ego. Any extra session I could go to I would. So when you’re getting opportunities for matches and guys weren’t like it..”
He added, “It was something to keep an eye on but it wasn’t anything I wasn’t used to at that point.”
Rawley says he experienced similar things in football.
“What hurt me would be the guys that would come in and say ‘you don’t deserve this I did.’… Well I never respected that because for me, I came here with a lot of opportunities. I turned down the NFL. I turned down a contract deep into six figures with Wall Street to take this opportunity to make $39,000 a year to come in and be a trainee to start all over again. I started with $150,000 in college debt when I came to FCW. I was literally losing $1,000 a month to be here when I first signed here. They were in the green, I was in the red. They were talking about how they came from nothing but I came from nothing to be here. I sacrificed a lot. You don’t have student debt to pay for. You’re not paying off the bills I have to. You don’t have to look at other areas to earn an income just to survivor. All you have to do is show up so your story about having nothing, it doesn’t impress me. Don’t give me that crap and then hate on me. I sacrificed more than I ever knew.”
“That’s when the ego kicked in as a heel. I’ve kind of been able to tap into that. It’s like ‘yea I worked my ass off harder than you ever have to have the things that I have. That’s why I got here and I still started in debt. It still was a harder route for me to get here. I don’t care about your indy career. You got a great opportunity, I took a massive pay cut and gave up everything I knew to have a shot here and it wasn’t even guaranteed.”
His said that aunt thought he was out of his mind for joining WWE because of the money he could have made elsewhere. He said, “The money that I would be making on Wall Street, I still haven’t gotten to what I would have had then even now.”
“I’m happier here than I would be there. I don’t think I’ve accomplished nearly as much as I want to or as much as I was hoping to. I don’t think I’ve accomplished even a fraction of what I was expecting to accomplish. I have a long ways to go. I have a lot of catching up to do with where I want to be. Despite all that, I’m still happy to bere here, I still love what I do.”
Rawley says his WWE career is less about titles and more about the charity stuff like Make-A-Wish and putting smiles on people’s faces.
On what needs to happen so he can get to where he wants to be: “I think it’s a little harder here to be in control of your situation. I’m not using that as a cop-out at all. When I look around and look for someone to blame as to why I haven’t achieved more than I have. I only look at myself. I don’t make excuses. I’m not one of these guys that look around the locker room and points fingers.”
Rawley says he wants to be a smarter entertainer rather than hanging his hat on using his body.
“Anytime I have a match on TV I watch it back 10-20 times that night alone. I’m nitpicking everything I can but year it’s coming together. I feel like I’m making some strides. I can see it in my work. I think good things are on the horizon.”
Lilian said that it felt like things were picking up for him after he won’t he WrestleMania 33 battle royal and during his tag team run with Zack Ryder. Rawley’s career stalled in the past year or so
“I’m in no-man’s land right now,” Rawley said.
“I wish I did know so I could fix the problem if there is one. The fact of the matter is there is a talented locker room. There’s a lot of guys fighting for an increasingly limited number of spots. That’s kind of been the path of my career, it’s been very stop and go. The second I feel like now’s the time I’m gonna get going [then] boom I disappear from TV for months. We had this awesome moment at WrestleMania which I had a Mania moment, it was awesome. I am aware of what the critics are always gonna say. They’re gonna think that I only won that match because of Rob’s [Grankowski] interference.”
He added, “I think it was a really cool thing with my best friend getting involved.”
Rawley is working hard to figure out why he’s not on TV. He continued, “I’ll check Twitter, I’ll read the blogs. I wanna know when people are talking trash because it motivates me more. I wish I did know why it’s been that way but things happen and you have to adapt. I’m gonna find a way to get back on TV, that’s for damn sure. It’s gonna have to happen. I think I can bring something to the table that no one else can. I think my background has prepared me for that. I think the WWE Universe hasn’t seen 5 percent of what I can do.”
Rawley wants everyone to know that he is good on the microphone. “I don’t think anyone has an idea of what I can do on the mic. Give me that mic. I’m begging for that mic. I don’t understand why I can have these opportunities in life outside of WWE where you give me a mic in front of a crowded stadium and I’ll have the whole place going nuts.”
Rawley said he can do motivational speeches and he can talk in front of locker rooms and Fortune 500 companies.
You can listen to the entire interview by clicking below: