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By Mike Johnson on 2021-04-20 09:21:00

Mike Johnson: So as we mentioned at the start of this, you had a lot of twists and turns and a lot of personal turmoil in order to just have the ability to leave elsewhere and get to WWE. When you look back on that journey, given where you stand now and given how you're valued by NXT, was all that frustration worth it?

Karrion Kross: 100%. This was the very first job that I ever wanted. When I was a little boy, this was the job that I wanted when I grew up. And I tried to have ... Every single job everybody told me I should have, from white collar to blue collar, to doing nightlife security management in the city of Las Vegas, you name it, I tried it. And there was nothing that I ever did that made me stop thinking about professional wrestling and sports entertainment..  Let me tell you, man, I tried. I tried everything in life to be fulfilled and to be financially secure, and nothing has ever fulfilled me even remotely close as much as this. So, whereas some people would observe the challenges that I'm going through as, for lack of better words, a giant pain in the ass or not worth it or too much, for me these are just obstacles on the path. And I mean that sincerely, that is really the way I observe all of this.    It is so rewarding to finally actually get through it. Oftentimes it makes me just think about other issues and problems that you'll have in life. If you keep pressing forward and you get through it, there is that reward to know, "Man, I'm glad I stayed the course on this because this is what I got out of it." And I feel wrestling teaches me things that becomes like life hacks for me in other ways, spiritually and psychologically.

Mike Johnson: So when we first saw Karrion Kross in NXT, there was a larger than life idea for this character with Doomsday and Tick Tock and the over the top nature. The Karrion Kross that we've seen more recently seems much more grounded reality-based and presented as more of a kick-ass athlete.  How do you balance the two sides of that, and which do you prefer? Would you like to slide back towards some more of the larger character-based stuff, or do you like the current way that it's presented as more of a kick-ass reality-based fighter?

Karrion Kross: I feel like there is a seesaw philosophy within the balance of those two things. Depending on where we're at in the show, how it's being written, who the opponent is, and what's currently going on with both characters. I feel like it's not necessarily one lane, it's not necessarily a lane that we absolutely have to be married to. And that is by design.  I would say, in my opinion, is Scarlett is more of the supernatural figure out of the duo and that Karrion is someone that feeds off of that supernatural energy, uses it and is able to harness it. She feeds off of the violence that he creates as an energy source. They're like two bad spirits that entered the room, looking to create carnage, and they both feed off of it in their own separate ways.  That's how I've always observed it and that's sort of the way that we tried to tell that story without actually spelling it out within that direct verbiage.

Mike Johnson: You've always been a very forward-thinking performer, and we talked a lot here about staying the course. The first time I saw that entrance in NXT, I thought, "That's going to be a classic WrestleMania entrance one day."   Do you visualize that moment already or is it more, "That will come in time, I want to make an XT as strong as it can be. And the other stuff will come when the time is right."

Karrion Kross: Both, both of what you just said, and I'll elaborate on that. I am not becoming too overly consumed with the future ahead. I know it's there and I know it's going to be there. But the way I observe this is that WrestleMania moment, which is of course what we want, it should be what everyone wants, in my opinion humbly, we're going to get there by putting in the maximum effort here at NXT and making NXT currently the best thing that we're going to be a part of.  I feel like it just, it's all one direction for me. If I dial it in at maximum effort every single day, whether we're at TV or I'm training during the week, every single day, it's going to take us there. I've never felt more confident with that direction. And I've put that into place since I got hired here. And even before I got hired here, I knew that if I just ... I can tell anybody whatever I want in terms of how hard I'm working or what I'm doing, at the end of the day I know, I know how hard I'm working. I'm not going to lie to myself about it.  The results are out there, people can see it. I do everything I possibly can every day to be the best performer I possibly can when people see me, everything else will follow. I really truly believe that.

Mike Johnson: All right, I know we're running out of time here. Let's do a simple one to close this out. Why should fans make sure this Tuesday at 8:00 PM they're tuned into the USA Network?

Karrion Kross: Because we absolutely love the fans. And every single time that we are on television, we are trying our absolute best to make sure that they are entertained and they can get their escape through us.

Mike Johnson: All right, straight and simple from WWE NXT champion, Karrion Kross. If you're not following him already on Twitter, you can do so @wwekarrionkross, there'll be a link right under this interview. And we thank everybody for listening. Check out NXT every Tuesday on the USA Network as they begin to ever slowly travel their path to the next Takeover, whenever that will be. But until then, there'll be WWE action every Tuesday at 8:00 PM on the USA Network.  I thank you so much for sitting down and talking to us and I look forward to when we get a chance to cross paths again and do it. And we wish you nothing but the best, personally and professionally as you begin this great new chapter in your career. So thank you for the time.

Karrion Kross: Thank you so much, Mike.

Mike Johnson: All right, everybody until next time, I'm Mike Johnson. 

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