Ari Sterling, known outside of WWE as Alex Zayne, reflects on his short stint in WWE.
Ari Sterling was one of the many WWE talents released on Friday, August 6, 2021. Having a short-lived tenure in the company that mainly consisted of him competing on WWE 205 Live, Sterling, who was Alex Zayne before WWE, is now able to reflect on his time in the company and his learning experience through WWE’s television taped at the Capitol Wrestling Center.
Speaking on The Wrestling Inc. Daily, Zayne explained his WWE release was a shock and how he called William Regal first.
“It definitely came as a shock, of course, when I got the call,” Zayne admitted. “I think, especially in such a strange climate we’re in right now, especially with WWE, it was shocking, but at the same time, there’s always that thing in the back of your mind, like, oh, that’s a possibility, and it’s always a possibility. I mean, job security in general, for anyone, especially in these crazy times that we live in, it’s not as sure of a thing.
“It came as a shock, but within five minutes, I was on the phone with anyone who would answer. I was like, ‘Okay, thanks,’ hung up. First of all, called William Regal, told him, 'Thank you.' He was who brought me in. I immediately just started calling promoter after promoter and getting things going, hit the ground running. Brett Lauderdale (GCW owner) was definitely on the shortlist.”
Continuing on, Zayne spoke about the learning experience of WWE 205 Live and how it allowed him to get acclimated to the big stage of WWE.
“You see some of the people like Trey Baxter, formerly known as Blake Christian, you see Carmelo Hayes formerly known as Christian Casanova, they get these great opportunities,” Zayne said. “They both wrestled Kushida in their debuts as opposed to their final match with the company, and I thought, that’s really cool, but I didn’t envy them in any way being put in that position. ‘Hey, you’ve not worked with our system of nine different cameras, and the ref is telling you this camera, that camera. Do this, do that. Here’s your time cues.’ You haven’t worked that system and so getting on 205 and getting my feet wet and getting to work with so many people that had done it.
“The Tony Neses, the Ariya Daiviaris, the Bollywood Boyz, all these guys, they just really helped me sort of ease transitionally from ‘okay, I’m just this indie guy’ to ‘okay, here’s how you do a larger production. I thought the 205 thing was really cool. I think a lot of people were like, ‘Oh, they’re misusing him.’ People have their opinions on anything, but I thought it was really cool. I was talking a lot with writers. I was talking a lot with the coaches, and I was coming up with my own ideas. It’s not nearly as much as like, oh, you’re given this, and oh my God, I can’t believe they would do that with that person."
You can see the full list of talent let go See, all from NXT and WWE 205 Live on Friday, August 6 at this link.