Cezar Bononi was signed by WWE in October 2015, causing a major shift in his life as a Brazilian living in Orlando.
Bononi had to adapt to the new lifestyle and surroundings, and wasn't exactly making enough money on his WWE developmental deal to live the life he had in Brazil.
"It was hard to adapt, really hard to adapt. It was just me and my wife, nobody close. Everybody told us, 'Don't get close to Brazilians, they're going to scam you,' and we believed that, even though we didn't need to work with Brazilians, so there was no way we could get scammed. We believed it. That was a mistake we did because we were feeling alone and did not have money to do anything. It took me two and a half years to go to an amusement park, living in Orlando because money was so short. it took a long time for them to help me out a little bit. 'Hey, here's a raise.' It took me almost two years. I was getting $600 (a week) for like six months and when I finally got paid off, it felt like a raise because I was getting $750. 'Oh good, I can buy a TV, but I cannot get cable.' It was hard at the beginning, but it helped build my character even more," he said.
Though Bononi was named "Future Star of NXT" at the 2017 NXT Year-End Awards, he never became a featured player on television and was released this past April.
It put Bononi at a crossroads because his release nearly cost him his life in America.
"I have 30 days to decide if I go back to Brazil or if I try to apply for a different Visa to stay. I don't want to go back to Brazil. I'm asking God, 'what do I do?' I got the message, 'knock on doors.' The door that opens, you get in. I called my attorney about different possibilities to see what we were going to do. I had talked to WWE before about applying for a green card and they never wanted to help me out with that, they said my casework was not strong enough and that it was better for me to stay on a P1 Visa, which meant my wife could not work anyplace and I could only work for WWE. If they fire me, I have to go back to Brazil. There was interest for them to have me on that instead of a green card. I called this attorney and he gave me two options; get a B2 Visa, which is for 'exceptional abilities,' which applied [to me] because of sports and arts or I could apply for a Student Visa, then I would have to study English and stay and work part-time. Of course, I didn't want that. I went for the B2, but there is one problem; the B2 is closed so we couldn't apply for it and we don't know when it's going to open. I'm waiting two or three days, I wake up, see an e-mail from my attorney and the B2 is open," he said on Dan Matha's Spark in the Dark.
Bononi went on to say that his wife told him she was pregnant the same day he got the news regarding the B2 Visa.
Bononi has made appearances on AEW Dark since being released by WWE.
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