AJ Gray has seen his profile increase significantly over the past year, and wants the same for others.
As a crop of independent talent flooded cable TV, a new group emerged. AJ Gray was among those that saw himself take center stage on major shows across last year. When speaking to Fightful for an exclusive interview, he said he's noticed the change.
"2019, the tail end, the caliber of places (I wrestled) increased. The caliber of matches and opponents kept getting bigger and bigger. I wasn't just wrestling in flea markets anymore. I got to wrestle in front of big audiences against really dope competitors. Everything improved profile-wise," he told us.
From the Tennessee area, Gray is booked heavily in the midwest. The area is blossoming with promotions like Black Label Pro, AIW, and Glory Pro, and employ a method that Gray believes many southern promotions could take advice from.
"A lot of things in the south are stuck in the past, and an evolution needs to occur a little bit. Some of the things from the past, rebrand yourself. Be something new. Stop trying to be what happened in the 90s or the 80s. Start doing what's happening now for you. The midwest, the northeast are building for the future. The south, we're kind of stuck in the past. We need to start the wheel to get things moving. People like Anthony Henry, James Drake -- you have really good dudes from down there. It's hard for a lot of people to get out because (promotions) are running on the 2000 mindset instead of 2020," Gray clarified.
Gray certainly evolved, and did so to the point to where he ended Nick Gage's historic Game Changer Wrestling championship reign after a Facebook message of all things led to him returning to the company. We asked him to relive the experience and what went through his head.
"What's going through my head as it's occurring? Oh shit, this is really happening. It had been 800 days, and that happens, to that magnitude? You even get shocked a little bit. You see what puts this guy away, and you did it," he said.
Unfortunately for Gray, Rickey Shane Page would make sure that reign didn't last long. Now, Gray is on a pursuit to regain the title. However, he's got other goals for his wrestling career.
"Make a lot of money so I can take care of my family some day. I don't have a goal promotion, I just want to be financially secure doing what I love," he said.
Gray is well on his way.
You can see our full, exclusive interview with AJ Gray at the top of the page.