Darren Young Talks Backlund Pairing, AEW Aspirations, Vince McMahon

Darren Young once headlined a SummerSlam event as a member of the Nexus. Throughout his career, he experienced many highs including being a WWE Tag Team Champion.

When speaking to Sportskeeda, the man who was once CM Punk‘s rookie on the inaugural season of NXT discusses many aspects of his career including being paired with Bob Backlund, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship with Titus O'Neil, what is next for him, and more.

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Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda sent along the following highlights:

On his WWE highlight:

My personal highlight... You know, of course, winning the Tag Team Championships with Titus O'Neil. Whether people can say, "Oh, I wish WWE would have done this with you, or that with you better." I achieved my dreams by getting signed with WWE. I achieved my dreams by becoming Tag Team Champions with Titus O'Neil. I achieved my dream after teaming with Titus by teaming with Bob Backlund and him being my life coach.

On being paired with Bob Backlund:

What a lot of people don't know is... They thought Bob Backlund was paired with me, they thought it was the WWE writers that put the storyline together, it was actually me. Because tag teams don't last forever. So, I've done personal appearances with Bob Backlund, he's very energetic, I'm very energetic, he likes to stand during his autograph signings, I stand during my autograph signings.

I said to myself, when it's all said and done teaming with Titus O'Neil, I'd like to have Bob Backlund as my life coach, because I feel like the missing ingredient in all of professional wrestling are managers.

Managers are so fun and so important in the wrestling game, and I wanted to bring Bob Backlund along and just have him be my life coach. We are both strange bedfellows, very different personalities but we were actually really good friends, and it was actually me who wrote down the ideas, had visuals, and I proposed them to Vince McMahon.

On his relationship with Vince McMahon:

The most intimidating thing about Vince McMahon is his office door. Once you're past his office door, it's all gravy.

It's just unfortunate the people under Vince McMahon didn't have my back. I had a lot of fun with the Miz, he helped me out with the promo work that we did, he made me feel comfortable because Miz is one of the best at it, and for him to help me out and go to war for me, to win the championship title will always be near and dear to me.

Vince McMahon gave me many shots. He gave me shots teaming with Titus O'Neil because Titus and I were backstage and Vince seen us backstage acting crazy and he saw that this could be on TV. He gave Titus and I and opportunity, he gave me an opportunity with Bob Backlund, so I will never honestly have a bad word to say about Vince McMahon, it's just that it still hurts sometimes that people under him didn't have my back, but you can't win everyone over and, like I said, I'm not going to complain about anything. I'm going to celebrate all of my successes.

On his dream match:

My dream match would have to be against the only other big gold medalist in the way that we history, Kurt Angle. You know, Shawn Michaels will always be my number one, no matter how he has treated me, but Kurt Angle is an amazing person inside of the ring and outside of the ring.

I remember probably back in 2007, I was an extra for WWE and Kurt was... Yeah, 2006, 2007 and Kurt was ringside. Me being an extra, I went over and said, "Kurt, if you have an amateur background, is it good to incorporate it in professional wrestling, what we do in entertainment?" He said, "Anyone with an amateur background, if they can sprinkle it into a sports entertainment world, that's a great thing."

I kind of knew the answer to that but I wanted to hear it from him. Fast forward to me holding his Olympic gold medals when he had his feud with Shawn Michaels, Kurt was always nice to me as an extra, Kurt was always nice to me when he came back to WWE years later. It's like, never meet your heroes because you might be disappointed. He's one guy that... You know, always treated me with respect, knew me by name, his intensity in the ring was something that I tried to mirror on the independence and still, to this day, he had so much intensity, he was explosive, he was real. Real and funny. You know, the perfect combination. Being real in the ring and being entertaining. It is something that honestly you cannot teach.

On AEW and NJPW aspirations:

Never say never. I haven't retired at all. I still have a lot left in the tank, I have a lot left to offer. This year, 2019, was spent doing so many other projects that I haven't wrestled this year. I've been doing so many speaking engagements, I've been a part of a few cameos out here in LA, so I have done no wrestling until the fall time so when the fall time comes, I've got a few dates coming up, for quality promotions.

I try to focus on the quality over quantity, so, like I said, I haven't retired. I've made it known to AEW that I have strong interests in AEW, I have strong interests in New Japan Pro Wrestling. I've wrestled all of the world but I've never wrestled in Southeast Asia so hopefully maybe with this interview, a lot of interviews I do, I always put it out there, hopefully, I can accomplish a bucket list of performing in Southeast Asia. So, I'm working on that as we speak.

I would say just because moves aren't being announced doesn't been moves aren't being made, so, as we speak, I make the connections, I'm emailing, I'm doing what I have to do to make moves. That was Titus and I's theme song by Sugar Tongue Slim. "Making moves, making moves, making million-dollar moves," and it's something that I preach every day.

I might not be making million-dollar moves, I always said for wrestling, if I would have done this for the money, I would have complained a long time ago. I do this for the love, I do this for the passion. I've wrestled in front of 20 people, 30 people with no shower and no toilet. I've traveled... I've traveled 300 miles to a show to get paid $20-25 to do a show, but, do you know what? I love entertainment. There's no better feeling for me than being under the big, bright lights.

Learn about the erasing of Young's Crossface Chickenwing finsher here.

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