PWInsider - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE



By Mike Johnson on 2021-05-25 12:15:00

Tonight's edition of WWE NXT on the USA Network will feature the first official appearance of Australian star Bronson Reed as the new WWE NXT North American Champion.    Reed sat down with to discuss his championship win, what to expect going forward, his journey from Australia to the WWE record books and much more on Monday 5/24.

Mike Johnson:  As we record this it's Monday, May 25th, 2021, which means we're about 24 hours away from the return of WWE NXT on the USA network, which means we're also 24 hours away from Bronson Reed appearing on NXT for the first time officially as the new WWE NXT North American champion, having defeated Johnny Gargano last week in a great steel cage match.   So, first of all, congratulations, you are now officially in the time capsule forever when it comes to being enshrined into NXT history.   There's lots of things to discuss, but let's go with the obvious. I think the most important thing that happened last week for you was not  even that you won the title, but that you had the chance to share this moment with your wife afterwards. So let's talk about that. You mentioned it on NXT TV and then the footage was shown on the WWE's social media channels and elsewhere. Getting to share that moment with your wife who came with you from Australia here to the United States when you began your WWE journey, what did that moment get to mean to you?

Bronson Reed: It means a lot to me. Apart from the 14 year journey that she's been by my side, I've been with my wife since we were teenagers, so we're high school sweethearts. We've been through a lot of crazy things in our lives to the point where we'll probably write a book someday, but on my 14 year journey to get to where I am, she was the one person always stuck by my side and supported me becoming a pro wrestler, being an independent pro wrestler, to going to Japan, all the time away to hopefully realize my dream of getting into WWE. And now I am standing there as the North American champion, and I got to bring her into the ring and share that moment with her. And you can't script those things, they're just real and authentic and it meant a lot to me.

Mike Johnson: When you look back on the cage match and the moment where you splashed Johnny Gargano will win the championship. And as I said, you kind of get enshrined into the time capsule forever. What's going through your mind as the three count is going down? Is it flashbacks of the past? Is it just the rush of the moment? What's os happening as what you've manifested actually becomes reality?

Bronson Reed: Yeah. It's almost surreal. It wasn't a flashback to the past. It was almost just like I did it. It's one of those things where you can't put it into words, you sort of lost the words. You can't describe what the feeling is, but it's just overwhelming. I remember after three count had happened, referee Darryl putting the championship in my hand, I remember just looking up at the championship. I didn't even look at the cameras. I was just looking at the championship and being like, "Oh wow, I've actually done this." It's an incredible moment, but really hard to describe.

Mike Johnson: We're at a unique point in WWE history right now. We've got three different Australian talents who all have championships at the same time. Obviously yourself, the North American title, Indi Hartwell's one half of the NXT Women's Tag Team champions, and Rhea Ripley obviously, is the Raw Women's champion. You've crossed paths with these other talents and lots of other Australian talents over the years even prior to coming to WWE, obviously. What do you think this moment in time means not just to yourself, but everyone from Australia and all these other talents who are vying to find their way to WWE?

Bronson Reed: I think it's a very pivotal moment in the wrestling business for Australia. I think for a long time Australia sort of got put on the back burner. People recognized the talent from the UK, Japan, Mexico, and of course here in the USA, but forgot about the rich history of Australian wrestling and the fact that we have a lot of untapped potential and talent in our country. And as a child growing up, watching wrestling, there really wasn't any representation of my country or fellow countrymen doing things. So the fact that myself, Rhea, and Indi are now all champions, I hope that that not only inspires the talent back home, those guys that are grinding, to hopefully get to somewhere like a platform like NXT, but also kids back home that one day might want to become a professional wrestler or have dreams of being a WWE that they can go, "Hey, look, they're from Australia, they're doing it. Maybe I can do it too."

Mike Johnson: Last time we spoke was a little bit under a year ago when you talked about how you came from a small town in Australia. Have you heard from anyone in your hometown about the championship win yet?

Bronson Reed:  I definitely have. So my phone was blowing up, obviously, after last Tuesday, I was able to speak to my family back home, my mother, my sister, my stepdad, and they were all over the moon for me. But also it went into the local paper that everyone sort of reads. My family was bombarded with people being like, "Did you see the paper? Did you see the news?" I had my grandparents and uncle who are big wrestling fans that sort of got me into the business, they were watching live back home, which is at midday for them, so they were watching live and they got to see me become champion. And that, again, is just something special that not only did I at one point not think happened, but I'm sure family members maybe thought it was a bit of a far-fetched dream coming from such a small down in Australia to get to where we are, but not just me as champion, there's also Rhea Ripley. We're both from Adelaide and I couldn't imagine that as a teenager, that there'd be two people from Adelaide as WWE champions.

Mike Johnson: And you have to think it's going to spur on others be inspired to want to follow in your footsteps and Rhea's footsteps, so there may be many more talents from Adelaide in the future.

Bronson Reed: I hope so. I actually used to coach for a wrestling school in Adelaide and I still keep in contact with all those people that I did help break into the business and that some of them are just amazing talents and I think if they get given the opportunities to be on a world stage like NXT, they also will become champions.

Mike Johnson: Obviously with the championship, you get the chance to kind of take a deep breath and reflect on everything that has led you to this moment. But now the pressure's on, because now you're representing NXT. You're going to be a larger part of the NXT programming going forward. Thoughts on what we can look forward to now that Bronson Reed is the North American champion and maybe some insight into the future beyind, obviously Johnny Gargano's going to be coming for his belt again. The weight doesn't just disappear overnight. So, what do you foresee for your championship reign as we head into NXT tomorrow?

Bronson Reed: Yeah. I said I welcome all challenges. I made a name in this business off of opportunities that were granted to me, so I'm not going to be someone to be like, "Hey, no, I don't want to wrestle this person. I don't want to wrestle this person." I'll wrestle anyone. If they want a shot at a championship, if they want an opportunity, I'd definitely grant it. I want to have that sort of championship run where I can elevate the North American championship to the point where people go, "Hey, I want to see the North American championship match more than the NXT championship match." So, that's my goal. I'm going to try my best to do it. And there's so many people at the moment on the roster that deserve a title match like Cameron Grimes, Dexter Lumis, Swerve, all those sort of people. So, I'd like to give those guys a shot.

Mike Johnson: So when you look at the potential competition as you start your journey towards In Your House, the next Takeover event, is there someone that you'd love to have the opportunity to face, or do you expect that perhaps Johnny Gargano is going to rear up out of the darkness and attempt to get the championship back?

Bronson Reed: Well, there's a few people I'd really like to face. Two names that come to mind, Pete Dunne, I've never wrestled a singles match with Pete Dunne and Tomasso Ciampa. I've never shared the ring with Ciampa either. So they're two people that I think I'd like to share the ring with. Whether that happens, I don't know. I know Johnny wants a  rematch and I've had some pretty good matches with Johnny, so I'd be happy to do that as well. I'm going to be there tomorrow night, NXT TV, I guess we see what happens.

Mike Johnson: So last time we spoke, I said, "What aspects would you like fans to learn about you beyond just this big physical brute of a beast in the ring that fans have kind of seen over the course of your career in Australia and elsewhere?" It's about a little bit about 10 or 11 months since the last time we spoke. How do you think the last year has changed you? How do you think you've evolved as a person, as a talent, as a WWE performer? How has the last year changed you, do you think?

Bronson Reed: I think this last year has been difficult for a lot of people. And within that whole time, I've just tried to stay as positive as possible, and I hope that that's the sort of change. Well, not even a change. I've always sort of been a positive person, but I hope I can be a bit of that for anyone that's watching them. Not only are you going to see this big guy that's going to destroy people in the ring, but you're going to see him doing it with a smile, and I hope that's what I can do. I hope that I can just bring a bit of positivity to people's life.

Mike Johnson: So we've seen WWE has started to announce the return to some live events in July for the Raw and SmackDown roster. They've also announced some dates for 2022 in New Zealand and Australia. When you start to see things opening up again and you see, "Hey, they're going to go to Australia next year," do you look upon that as a goal, I got to make sure I'm on that tour? Are you excited about things opening up again? Obviously, there's been some fans in the Capitol Wrestling Center, but that's different than the traditional live WWE experience. So thoughts on WWE hitting the road again, and your thoughts on wanting to be part of that, and obviously the Australia tour next year?

Bronson Reed: Yeah. I mean, 100% I want to be on that Australian tour. Whether I'm still with the NXT brand or with Raw or SmackDown, whoever is touring, I need to be part of it. Because for me, not only would it be an injustice for myself, but I think for the Australian fans not to have Bronson Reed there. It's something you sort of dream of. You want to do the full circle thing where... There's people back home that have seen me wrestle in front of seven people in the bar upstairs. It'd be nice to be able to go back, wrestle in a big arena for WWE and for people to get to see that. I think the WWE universe, the fans are so important to what we do. They just create an energy. And without that, it's something that's missing. So I am looking forward to hopefully being back on the road and getting to see people in person and that live event energy is just something different.

Mike Johnson: When you look upon everything you've accomplished since coming to WWE, what is the best part of this experience thus far since you've arrived in America?

Bronson Reed: I mean, winning the North American championship is definitely up there, but I think the best experience for me is just to have that stamp of approval that what I've been doing for 14 years, my journey to get to here, is all worth it and I'm doing the right thing. When I got backstage after winning the championship on Tuesday, I was embraced by Shawn Michaels and Triple H. And as a kid, that's dream stuff to be able to even meet those people, but to have them embrace me, congratulate me, and then Triple H said to me, "This is only the beginning." That stuff is probably the biggest thing to me.

Mike Johnson: You know, what's amazing is the last time we spoke, you talked about getting advice from Shawn and how you almost had to pinch yourself at times because here's Mr. WrestleMania, I think you said, and now here's your first championship win under the WWE umbrella and DX is the one embracing you and giving you their stamp of approval. As someone who grew up a wrestling fan, when you go home and you're away from that environment and you reflect on that, how do you control the goosebumps? How do you just compartmentalize that excitement?

Bronson Reed: It's crazy. It almost does become, it becomes normalcy. These are people that you work with. Oh, "That's Shawn Michaels. Oh, that's Hunter." But then there are those moments where you do have to pinch yourself, or I got to speak to people from back home. And when I mention Triple H or I mention Shawn Michaels, they get so excited. And so like, "Oh my God. Wow. Really?" And it does make me the kid again that goes, "Hey, that is Mr. WrestleMania. That's Heartbreak Kid. That is the King of Kings, that's Triple H, the Degeneration X," it's surreal.

Mike Johnson: The world of professional wrestling and WWE provides such a weird series of life experiences for everybody, whether they're in the company, or they are fans who live and die by the company and love the WWE talents. When you look at this journey that you've gone on in life, what's the strangest aspect of it, do you think? Is it coming to America and living here? Is it something on the road? Obviously, everyone has this very unique series of life experiences the second they step inside a ring. What's been the strangest or the most surreal moment for you, do you think?

Bronson Reed: I think it is just being here. My earliest memories of life are actually watching WWE, was WrestleMania 2. That's all I can remember. Earliest going back I remember being real little toddler, and I remember my uncle watching WrestleMania 2 and I remember vividly seeing the main event with King Kong Bundy and Hulk Hogan. And fast forward all these years later, I remember saying to my wife when I first started this business that, "Hey, I'm going to try my hardest and one day maybe we'll get to be in America and be in WWE," but it is sort of a farfetched dream. And then sometimes I'll be walking around my house here in Orlando and just go, "Hey, I did it. I'm here." So I think that's definitely the thing that it's sort of just, you almost can't... It's a dream come true. You can't put it into words. They're the moments when I just go, "Oh, wow." This weird lifelong journey of being a fan to starting the business, to being here in WWE, it actually happened.

Mike Johnson: You want to talk about weird circumstances? I think it was April 7th, 1986 was WrestleMania 2, Bundy and Hogan in a cage and you just won your championship in a steel cage.  How's that for a weird full circle?

Bronson Reed: You know what, I did not think of that until right now until you just said that. Obviously, it was ingrained in my mind that match. There's two bigger, larger-than-life sort of people. I remember just Hogan's ribs were beat up from King Kong Bundy doing a splash and that stuff stuck in my mind as a kid. Like, "Oh, my God, how's it going to get through it, get through the cage?" And then he does and good overcomes evil. And then it is strange that all these years later, that's how I win my first championship in WWE in a catch match and I overcome The Way and Johnny Gargano. So thanks for reminding me.

Mike Johnson: Well, you're welcome for that. And you know the two situations are very similar in that you were taken on an emotional rollercoaster as a child when you watched that. And then you and Gargano had the chance to take everyone on an emotional roller coaster last Tuesday. So you got to be the one who is was in the palm of the hand taking that ride, and now you've evolved into being the one holding the palm of your hand out, controlling everybody. So that's quite a unique accomplishment in life as well.

Bronson Reed: Oh, yeah. A hundred percent, and I hope that's something that kids growing up, I hope in the future someone can say that to me. "Hey, I remember watching that cage match and it inspired me, or it stuck to me when you pulled that cage door shut and you hit that tsunami. I'll always remember that." That's the things I'm trying to do now in my career is just make memorable moments that people won't forget.

Mike Johnson: That's one of the blessings of being around this world is that just with your accomplishments, physical and all the time that you put in mental and spiritual and all the dues that everybody pays, there are moments that might seem passe to you as a performer, because they're just one of many matches or one of many moments. But for the audience watching, that small moment might just be the equivalent of another tree you pass on the highway, that becomes something that's crystallized in their brain and in their mind, in their memory, and their nostalgia. And that becomes the moment where they are inspired or they are moved on an emotional or a personal level. And that's one of the gifts that you don't even know that you're giving and that you're even going to receive back one day, because that becomes part of your legacy.

Bronson Reed: Yeah, it's true. Sometimes you do forget that how much every moment might mean to someone, given we are seen on such a massive scale and that Television is going to go on Peacock, it's going to go on the WWE Network around the world. So many people from all different countries as well. Sometimes just forget, this is going out to India, the Philippines, all these different places that people are going to see that and you can be an inspiration to someone, and that's sort of how I want to leave my legacy is someone that you can be inspired by.

Mike Johnson: Well. we're going to see what the next step of your chapter in WWE is tomorrow on the USA Network. Before we go, let's do the big rundown. Why should fans make sure that they're tuning in 8:00 PM Eastern on the USA Network to watch NXT and see Bronson Reed as the new North American champion?

Bronson Reed: Well, not only will you see, of course, the colossal Bronson Reed as the new North American champion for the first time on NXT television with that title, we also have Kross vs. Finn II, which is going to be huge. Bobby Fish returns tomorrow night. We have Cameron Grimes and the Million Dollar Man in a face off, which is something I'm sure is surreal for Cameron Grimes to have someone like Million Dollar Man in the ring with him. And we get to see Franky Monet here as well. So I think it's a pretty stacked television show tomorrow night.

Mike Johnson: And of course, it all heads to In Your House, the next Takeover next month.

Bronson Reed: Yep. A hundred percent. And that's something I want to be a part of, so all roads now lead to In Your House. And again, as a wrestling fan, as a kid, I would definitely want to be at the In Your House event.

Mike Johnson: All right. Well, I hope you get to cross paths with Todd Pettengill when that happens and check one more thing off your list when you get to In Your House.

Bronson Reed: A hundred percent.

 Mike Johnson: I want to thank everybody for listening to this audio here on  WWE NXT with our guest, North American Champion Bronson Reed, takes place 8:00 PM Eastern every week on the USA Network and it pops up on Peacock and the WWE Network a little while after that.   Thank you for listening and Bronson, I look forward to when we get you back on here and we get to talk some more memories and some more about life. So, thank you, and continued success to you and your family.

Bronson Reed: Yeah. Thank you, Mike. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Mike Johnson: All right, everybody. Until next time, I'm Mike Johnson. Take care, everybody.

If you enjoy you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more by clicking here!