Lio Rush had a rollercoaster 2019.
From his WWE call-up, to perceived heat with the WWE roster to being taken off TV, he had a lot going on. Word had emerged from the locker room that Rush wouldn't take advice as well as someone of his experience level should. One source even told Fightful that the issue was that Lio was as good as he thought he was, so it wasn't always easy to provide input.
However, Lio told us that he feels like the confidence is something he learned early on in life, and isn't thrilled that many people mistook it for arrogance during his WWE run.
"I definitely think so. I mean, of course I’ve heard things like that before that sometimes I can come off stand offish or sometimes I can come off as arrogant. It’s just weird to me. I think it’s just how I was raised. It was where I grew up. I feel like this was essential to the behavior that I needed to have, the personality I needed to have in order to make it out where I’m from. Also to be taken seriously in a field that is very hard to not only get into but to maintain a certain level. So, I feel like I have to be confident. There’s a very fine line between confidence and being cocky and I feel like one thing about me is that I—and it hurts me when I hear people say that I’m arrogant and cocky—I just don’t even have that in my heart to be that way. So, I definitely think that it’s important for me to be confident and to tell people that I’m confident. That confidence it’s not there at the very beginning. I feel like I kind of put myself in certain situations. I feel like I’m not confident in the task itself right away, but I feel like I’m confident in my ability to adapt to that task and be at the top of it. I feel like a lot of people have thrown me to the wolves in certain situations and each time I’ve shown that I can adapt, I can learn, I can grow and be the best at whatever I put my mind to," Rush specified to Fightful.
Fightful heard of specific instances with Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor and Mark Henry, but Lio Rush said that he didn't recall those, and that Bobby Lashley was the main person that talked to him about how he was perceived.
"People never really came up to me," Rush claimed. "I feel like, and I don’t know if people thought that I was unapproachable, I don’t know if people just didn’t like me, I don’t know if people were jealous. I don’t know. I just don’t know why this perception of me was out there that I had a certain cockiness or arrogance about me. But, nobody really said anything about me to me. I think the only person I’ve really had come have conversations with about how I portrayed myself or anything was Bobby [Lashley], and that was just because I was so close with him for the time that I was with him. But, other than that, no."
Although he claims the confrontations weren't what the world made them out to be, Rush did say that one former WWE Superstar made it known that there was an issue, but it was eventually rectified.
"This is a nice little story, I remember one time I was on a tour—I can’t remember, I think it was the beginning of the tour in Europe—and I remember saying something back a while ago. It was public, but then I think it was, I wanna say it was, Dash Wilder, I remember he got on the bus and he kinda said what I said out loud. Just mocking what I said, and he didn’t say it directly towards me, but he was like, “Oh, look guys, it was this guy who said this.” It was just like, “Really?” That was a little incident. But, over time I feel like as much as we felt a certain way about each other in the past, I think over time we started to grow a little bit of mutual respect. Obviously, I know how good he is and I’m sure he could respect my work ethic and the things that I’ve done. So, I think over time, we think kinda had that mutual, that little bit—it wasn’t like buddy-buddy, but it was cordial," said Rush.
It's worth noting that several wrestlers on the WWE roster we've spoken to since then have said that Lio "righted the ship" in their eyes. One even said they found it was ridiculous he was a part of the company's April 2020 cuts after he worked so hard to improve.
Well now, Rush is looking to improve his music career. His album Ever After has released across streaming platforms everywhere.
Lio also opened up about his future, his music career, and much more in the exclusive interview with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp which you can view above. We'll have much more from this interview over the next couple of weeks. Make sure to check out Lio's music and other upcoming projects at his website.