Well, this is wild... and all too relateable for a lot of folks.
According to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, the big push which was already rumored for Lars Sullivan could have involved a WrestleMania 35 match with John Cena. That may not be happening any longer though, and it could be for a more serious reason than the usual “plans change” when it comes to these reports.
Like fellow NXT call-ups Lacey Evans & EC3, Sullivan (real name Dylan Miley) was supposed to work a pre-Raw dark match on Jan. 7 in Orlando. Lars either didn’t show up, or he left Amway Center before the action started - apparently due to an anxiety attack. WWE officials spoke to him and plans shifted to working before SmackDown in Jacksonville (where another new main roster act, Heavy Machinery, wrestled). Sullivan didn’t show up at Veterans Memorial Arena either, though, and is said to have flown back home to Colorado.
That’s where things stand now. The rest of the Observer item is informed speculation. Dave Meltzer believes the Cena/Sullivan storyline would have started at Royal Rumble, and that it would be used to put Lars over as a major player moving forward. While he writes that WWE “is a lot more understanding of mental health issues” after their 2017 experience with Mauro Ranallo, it’s not clear they’ll go through with a big program & push after this week.
A product of the company’s developmental system, Sullivan was also involved in an internet controversy last year when posts he allegedly made on a bodybuilding message board prior to signing with WWE expressed discriminatory and racist views. That he was still being hyped on Raw & SmackDown after the flap was seen as a sign the company didn’t put much stock in those accusations, for whatever reason.
We may find out if Sullivan’s mental health is something he and WWE think they can work through as well soon enough. Here’s hoping Miley ends up in a good place no matter what.
If you or someone you know needs information about mental health and treatment, the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ Helpline can be reached at 1-800-950-6264, or at this link.