After spending close to six years in WWE, Tony Nese was released from the company on June 25th along with Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Ariya Daivari and over eight more talents.
Throughout his time in WWE, Nese was able to capture the Cruiserweight Championship on one occasion at WrestleMania 35. He reflected on his run during his first post-WWE interview with the Wrestling Perspective Podcast. The interview goes live at 8 PM EST on Twitch and YouTube on July 2nd. While speaking about his release, Nese was told that it was due to budget cuts.
So, it wasn’t like a creative thing of like, ‘Hey listen, we just got nothing for you,’ whatever. It was straight up what you hear on the internet. It’s budget cuts, you know? The company’s obviously trimming some fat and whatever their plan is, unfortunately business is business and I was on the sh*t end of that stick.
Nese stated that he officially received his WWE contract on Halloween of 2016. In the months prior, he worked the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, was featured on Raw on several occasions and the 2016 Hell In A Cell pay-per-view pre-show. When he was doing his tryout for WWE, he was told that he likely would not be signed and it was explained to him that-that was the case because of his size.
At the beginning of all this, I did a tryout at NXT and through the tryout, I actually got told about the Cruiserweight Classic that they were looking to do, and it was actually a funny conversation. It was, ‘Hey listen, we really enjoy your work out there and your look and everything. You’re probably never gonna work for this company but, we are doing a tournament and we’re trying to use cruiserweights all around the world and stuff like that and your name is in the hat for that’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I should be happy about that or not. Pretty much just told me I’m not gonna get a job here,’ and this was like in the middle of my tryout. So now I had what? I had two days in the tryout, already in my head going, ‘Okay, I’m not getting a job here. I gotta — whatever. I’m still gonna bust my ass and show ‘em what I got.’ So I actually, I asked them — I don’t know if I’m gonna get in trouble for this one or whatever but, I was like, ‘Listen, the cruiserweight thing sounds great but why would you say you don’t think I’ll ever work here?’ And the answer was straightforward, ‘You’re short and white. That’s not what we’re looking for right now.’ But anyways, it was kind of like a, ‘Hey listen, you know, you’re not six foot-something, you don’t have an interesting background when the company’s trying to reach in different countries and everything.’ You know, so it made sense. I actually, believe it or not, like that. I like that he just straight up said this is why and rather than someone dancing around, ‘Well, you know, maybe not right now,’ whatever it is. I hate that more than anything. Just tell me.
Towards the conclusion of the interview, Nese said he does have a number of bookings in the works but he cannot speak of those publicly right now. Nese was part of the 205 Live roster for the duration of his WWE run.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Wrestling Perspective Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.