Flash Morgan Webster opens up about his injuries, his WWE contract, and the end of his time with the company.
Webster rose to prominence wrestling throughout Europe and the United Kingdom before he made a few appearances in the United States for Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. He made his WWE debut in 2018 and subsequently became part of the NXT UK brand. Webster and Mark Andrews won the NXT UK Tag Team Championship at NXT UK: TakeOver Cardiff in 2019.
Webster dealt with injuries throughout his NXT run, and he missed over a year with an injury. He hadn't wrestled in nearly a year before WWE released him and many other NXT UK wrestlers in August 2022, as the brand was put on hiatus due to the looming launch of NXT Europe. Fightful Select reported that Webster had signed an extension with WWE a few months prior to his release, and he was still recovery from his injury when the company let him go.
In an interview with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp, Webster opened up on his injury. He noted that he fractured his ankle back when he faced Zack Sabre Jr. in a qualifying match in the Cruiserweight Classic. He then recalled how he kept wrestling, and he sustained more injuries in the process. Webster stated that he got smaller surgeries, rather than getting one big procedure, because he wanted to make it back in time for the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament.
"I’ll be honest with you, even when I was on that roll, the injury was there. The first time this happened was me versus Zack Sabre, Jr. during the Cruiserweight Classic qualifying match. I got my ankle kicked at one point and it fractures. I do a dive, it fractures again. Then I stupidly carry on wrestling. Any young wrestler listening now, it really isn’t worth it. Stop it. Live to fight another day. I carried on and then I dislocated my shoulder, which tore my labrum and my rotator cuff. Then I got it repaired a couple of months later, I was out for almost a year. So I came back 2017. It was something that just kept bothering me. I opted to have smaller surgeries instead of the bigger one to get back fast because the UK tournament had just happened and I really wanted to be a part of that and get involved," Webster said.
Webster continued by recapping some of the other injuries he dealt with, including a dislocated shoulder. He looked back on how he nearly missed NXT UK: TakeOver Cardiff, as he may have needed surgery, but he insisted on competing at the show. Webster did, and it proved to be a special night, as he and Andres won the NXT UK Tag Team Championship.
"If I believe, it was alright. I had a bit of a wobbly in 2018 with it during a UK tour when I wrestled for the UK Championship against Pete Dunne. I was out for a month, I think it was. I rehabbed and came back. Then 2019, the start of that, I think we were maybe three months out from Takeover: Cardiff and I dislocate my shoulder again. I was literally on the cusp of them going, ‘We might not be able to put you on Takeover: Cardiff. I was like, ‘No. You are putting me on Takeover: Cardiff.’ They’re like, ‘Shoot, you might need surgery.’ I said, ‘It’s up to you. I don’t want surgery. I want to go at Takeover: Cardiff. I want to get it done.’ I went there, We won the match," Webster said.
He then explained how his injuries were acting upon again, but he didn't want to miss the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, so he figured he'd put off getting surgery again. Webster noted that he kept pushing it back as he hoped he could keep going as long as possible, but then the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that point, he recalled how he felt like he could just rehab for the duration of location, and that approach seemingly worked.
"We had the ladder match, it was playing up again. I didn’t want to get it done with the Dusty Classic coming, the ladder match coming. I thought, ‘I get those out of the way, then I’ll get sorted.’ Then those went well and you’re like, ‘Maybe I can go a little bit longer. We’ll see how much I can get out of this until I really need surgery.’ Then the world shut down and I thought, ‘I’m just gonna rehab this for six months, seven months, or however long we’re locked down.’ Rehabbed it, came back and they were like, ‘This has been real good. You’ve done a real good job. I think you’ve avoided surgery,'" Webster said.
Having avoided surgery, Webster kept working and training, but he injured his shoulder on the first day of training at camp. At that point, he needed to get surgery, and he did. Webster stated that his shoulder is now stronger than ever. He explained that having a shoulder that fully works after he dealt with one that had been impacted for injuries for years is a nice change.
"I avoided surgery for another year and then we were in training. First day of camp, literally just running some stuff, I took a clothesline and it just came out. I was like, ‘Oh. Oh, okay. That’s it. I need surgery. I’m gonna get surgery.’ I literally went and got the surgery. If you see a scar there, it’s a big old boy on the shoulder. But it really is stronger than it’s ever been. It feels better than it’s ever been. So after those three years of me having to fight through and niggle and niggle and just kind of keep my head down and keep grafting and keep rehabbing, it’s nice now to have a fully working shoulder for once," Webster said.
Webster then looked back on NXT UK's struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic. He discussed how he thought he and Mark Andres had been handled well creatively prior to the start of the pandemic, but they had a had time during the COVID taping. Specifically, he noted that the adjustment from competing in front of big crowds to wrestling in front of empty areas was challenging. Webster stated that this shift took a lot of passion out of him. At that point, he noted that he started thinking about competing on the independent scene so he could find his love again.
"I think the COVID tapings definitely played a big part in how I felt at the time. I’ll be honest, up until the start of 2020, I thought me and Mark had been handled very, very well. We were on a roll. We were really, really enjoying it. Then those COVID tapings, we just really struggled. Then they kind of went to the BT Sport Studios. Before that we did the Takeover: Cardiff, which had like 5,000 people there. Sold out the [Takeover ballroom], Takeover: Blackpool which was, again, 3,000 people there. We had Dublin that was supposed to be coming up as well, which again, I think was 4,000/5,000 people. So these were really exciting things getting to be in front of those crowds. As I said, the crowd liked us as well. So we were able to take off a lot and use that to our advantage, but those COVID tapings really sapped a lot of energy, a lot of passion out of me and it was nothing to do with WWE. It was just the model in which we were presented after COVID. At that point I was just like, ‘Man, I’ve been doing this now for a long time.’ Other stuff was opening up and they were having bigger shows outside on the indies, I was going, ‘Maybe I just kind of want to go out and do that. Maybe I want to see if I can find my love again,’ because almost a year we were wrestling in front of nobody or very small crowds, 100 people and stuff like that," he said.
Webster emphasized the importance of the crowd, and he explained how he had a lot to think about as his contract was coming up. He described how his shoulder was a factor, as it had already affected his career. Webster expressed that he knew he would be unable to wrestle for a few months if he left, as his shoulder hadn't healed yet, so he had to think about his fiance and his ability to work. With that in mind, Webster noted that WWE was good in that sense.
"Again, I think the crowds are the most important thing, again, that reaction. So, yeah, my contract was up in April and I really had to think about it and be like, ‘Do I want to stay here? Is this model gonna change? Can I stay here?’ Of course, my shoulder was still up in the air and stuff like that. I was like, ‘Oh, if I walk out on this contract now, they allow me to walk out and I’m injured, I think I’ve got another four months before I can wrestle. So I’ve got to think about my fiancé as well because if I can’t wrestle, I also can’t work.’ So I had to really think about that. WWE were good in that sense. I said to them, ‘I don’t know if I want to," he said.
Looking back on the process of extending his time with the company, Webster recalled how he wasn't sure about the company's first offer and whether it matched his worth. WWE then froze his contract, as they agreed to return to negotiations later. When they did come back with another offer, Webster explained that he still wasn't sure if he wanted it, as it didn't match the number he was looking for. As a result, he got another offer, which was closer to what he had in mind.
"At first they offered me something and I was genuinely unsure. ‘Okay, maybe this doesn’t line up with what I think I’m worth given how good our 2019 and beginning of 2020 was.’ Then they said, ‘Okay, can we freeze it and we’ll come back to it?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, okay. Cool.’ Then they froze it, they were really good, and then they came back and offered me something else. Again, I just didn’t know whether I wanted it. But I also just thought in my head, ‘I’ve got a number of what I want,’ and it again wasn’t near it. I said, ‘It’s not what I want personally.’ They went, ‘Okay, we’ll sign the extension again. We’ll have a look.’ They came back and the third offer was there and it was something I thought that I could work with" he said.
As for his thought process, Webster detailed how he fe;t like the offer would take care of him and his family, and it would let him see how the next few months went. He expressed his hope that, after he completed rehab, he'd be able to compete in front of big crowds again, and if not, he could try to get his release anyway.
"My thought process on this was, ‘I’ll sign this. This is a good number for me. This will take care of me and my family, and on top of that I thought, ‘Let’s see how this plays out over the next couple of months with me getting this rehab sorted, but also hopefully we come out the other end of this and we’ll be in front of thousands of people again and back to normal.’ I thought, if it’s not, then maybe I can just go, ‘I want my release and we’ll see what happens from there,'" Webster said.
"At that point, the news that WWE would be holding a show in Cardiff emerged, and Webster expressed his excitement, especially when he and Mark Andrews were rumored for the show. However, NXT UK was put on hiatus due to the looming launch of NXT Europe, and he wasn't given the opportunity to be a part of WWE Clash at the Castle after all," Webster said.
Webster then reflected on his release and called it gutting. he noted that WWE Clash at the Castle was 20 minutes from where he grew up, and the city of Cardiff meant a lot to him. He made it clear that he and Andrews would have loved to have been on that show, and they were happy that Pete Dunne got the chance to do so.
"I ain’t gonna lie, it was actually gutting. The fact that they had their biggest show in the UK in 30 years and it was in Mark’s hometown, 20 minutes from where I grew up, we learned to wrestle in that city. We would have loved to have been on that show. The fact that Pete Dunne was on it filled our hearts completely because the Bruiserweight character was created in a community center 20 minutes down the road. It was perfect. I loved the fact that he was there and doing that. I never thought I’d get to the Motopoint, which we won the tag belts in, let alone do the Millennium Stadium, Principality Stadium," Webster said.
Circling back to his release, Webster admitted that the combination of missing WWE Clash at the Castle and getting released was difficult. He noted that it was a tough week, and he spoke for other members of the NXT UK roster in saying that. Webster also explained that being one of the few Welsh-signed wrestlers in WWE became his identity, and losing that was hard, too.
"It was a difficult one. It really was. To have it that close and then to have it not just taken away so you’re not doing it, but then having the rug pulled out from underneath you and you’re not even part of the company anymore. Then you’re a bit like, ‘Well, my identity for the last five, six years has been a WWE wrestler. Not only a WWE wrestler, but one of the few Welsh signed wrestlers.’ So yeah, it was tough. That week was tough. I know I speak for Mark and Eddie, Dennis and Wild Boar. We all found that week very tough considering the biggest show to ever happen in Wales was also happening the same week that we got released," Webster said.
Months after their releases, Webster and Andrews are active on the independent scene, and they will challenge Ace Austin and Chris Bey for the IMPACT World Championship at IMPACT Under Siege on May 26.
Fightful's full interview with Flash Morgan Webster will premiere on Fightful's YouTube channel at 11 a.m. ET on May 26.
Mark Andrews recently discussed his return to IMPACT and bringing Subculture with him. Check out his comments here.
Check out the card for IMPACT Under Siege here. Fightful will have coverage of the show as it airs on May 26.