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Kyle O’Reilly heard WWE didn’t want pro wrestlers, so he jumped ship to AEW

During an interview on The Sessions with Renee Paquette, Kyle O’Reilly explained why he decided to leave WWE and sign with AEW late last year.

First, he touched on some of the chaos behind the scenes in WWE with his contract status:

“When we were renegotiating, the powers that be were like, ‘Listen, this doesn’t typically happen. Usually we re-sign guys six months out.’ But Talent Relations at the time, I guess let things slip, or weren’t as into re-upping NXT guys’ contracts is the only explanation I could give. I really don’t know.

But, I thought I had at least maybe six months to a year left. It was a real surprise to me knowing that it was coming up in December. A pleasant surprise, just with the landscape and everything. It was really kind of a blessing that I was given the opportunity to make my own decision...I feel for people who get released and everything, and that happens way more than it should. It’s awful.”

He explained that WWE’s sweeping releases slammed the NXT locker room and played a role in his decision to leave and sign with AEW.

“That was a huge selling point, too. The AEW locker room is full of the guys that I came up with in this business that I’ve been friends with for years. And there was a lot of that in NXT too, but it seemed like every couple weeks, you look around at the locker room just getting decimated. It was just not a very good environment, I guess, at that time.”

O’Reilly was under the impression there wasn’t a good spot for him in the new NXT, and he wasn’t ready to just be a coach:

“I just wanted to go follow my heart and go where I’m gonna be happy, and go where I’m gonna be utilized...after four and a half years, we don’t really have a spot for Kyle O’Reilly on the main roster? I got the vibe that there wasn’t gonna be a spot for me up there.”

“Kyle O’Reilly as a character on NXT might not be super successful right now...I just wasn’t at the point of my career where I was gonna be a glorified coach...I’m sure I would have still had a spot on TV to some degree, but you know, I wanted to go where the gettin’ was good.”

What it ultimately boils down to is that WWE didn’t want pro wrestlers, and that made the decision clear, because Kyle O’Reilly is a pro wrestler:

“‘We don’t want pro rasslers’ was something I heard. And it was like, okay, well I am a pro wrestler. And I want to be a pro wrestler still. So, I’m gonna go where I can be a pro wrestler.”

It’s a very straightforward chain of logic to follow. WWE took something he loved and ruined it, and they didn’t value him enough to see anything for him on the main roster. The writing on the wall was staring him right in the face, so Kyle made the obvious decision to leave for a place that he feels will appreciate and value his skills.

So of course he left WWE for AEW. It sounds like a no-brainer.

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