Karrion Kross made an immediate impact in NXT, winning the NXT Championship four months from his in-ring debut.
Kross, alongside Scarlett, were heavily featured in NXT, picking up victories over Tommaso Ciampa, Bronson Reed, and Keith Lee. An injury following the bout with Lee forced Kross to vacate the title, but upon his return in December 2020, he quickly regained the title by defeating Finn Balor at WWE NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver.
As NXT Champion, Kross made his main roster debut on the July 19 episode of WWE Raw, losing to Jeff Hardy 100 seconds.
Speaking to Renee Paquette on Oral Sessions, Kross detailed his main roster run.
"When I went up and they asked me to do the match with Jeff and put him over, I was like, 'Sure, that's fine.' I grew up a fan of Jeff and getting to meet him and him being cool was an awesome experience, he's literally one of the coolest people I've ever met. 'That's fine.' One of the agents came to me and was like, 'there's a long-term plan for this so don't sweat it and don't worry.' Okay, cool. I do my entrance and get out there. The ref comes to me and goes, 'Hey, your 10 minute match is down to 90 seconds.' First time we're working on television, we don't really know each other in the ring, our rhythm, they come back from commercial and I'm trying not to laugh. If you go back and watch, I'm smiling, closed mouth, trying to hold it back. As soon as Jeff got in the ring, I snatched him and called what we needed to do and that was it," he said.
Kross would remain on NXT television after the loss to Hardy to keep his feud with Samoa Joe going.
"When I went back to NXT the next day, I spoke with someone there and I go, 'look, my biggest fear right now is that there's a hole being dug for me and I'm nervous that if I'm not permitted to crawl out of it myself and people absolve themselves of the creative situation, I'm not going to be a return of investment, I'm going to get fired. What do you think I should do? Part of this business is doing what you are told.' My intuition was telling me that everything was off and felt wrong and I felt something bad coming four months before it happened, but everyone I talked to was like, 'No, everyone loves you. There are no problems,' but I felt it coming. I tried to, as professionally polite as I could, talk to people in the chain of command and be a good sport," said Kross.
When Kross came up to the main roster, his presentation changed as Scarlett was no longer by his side and his character was a more stripped down version. Eventually, he would add gladiator gear, including a mask.
Kross said about the presentation change, "I got an email with what it was supposed to look like. Apparently, the music was supposed to change, the entrance was supposed to change, and it was supposed to be an enhanced version. When I saw the picture of it, I showed it to [Scarlett] and I just started laughing. I said, 'I can be comfortable wearing this, but it's not going to get over in 2021.'"
Scarlett mentioned that the character was supposed to evolve before discussing why things didn't work as there was no explanation.
"It's confusing because, why is the music that I'm singing still there? Then, there's a mask there, but there's no explanation. If there's one promo to explain why he a mask on. Why Scarlett is still singing, but when there's no explanation, people feel like they had something taken away. If it had been a new song and presentation, people would have been like, 'Okay, this is new,' but it just felt like an amputated version of what it was," she said.
Kross continued, saying he didn't want to become difficult to work with by challenging the ideas presented to him on the main roster.
"Nobody wants a reputation of being difficult to work with. Nobody wants a reputation of being a mark for themselves or not wanting to do business. Here I am, I personally had the dream experience in NXT. I walked in there, my ideas were embraced, we collectively collaborated. I felt inclined as a professional to embrace the ideas given to me because that's all I was getting in NXT. If I had an idea and I had something I wanted to say or had an idea to contribute something, it was always met with enthusiasm or if they thought the idea was not great, they would make it better. I thought to myself, 'I owe it to them to engage with this,'" he said.
Scarlett worked as Kross' manager in NXT and was poised to debut on the main roster as a wrestler, but wasn't medically cleared following a busted implant.
In the interview, Scarlett said she and Kross knew what they were getting into when they signed up for WWE.
"We were also ready, when we signed up for WWE, we were trading creative freedom to finally be able to have a steady income. We got our house because of WWE and were so grateful to even have jobs during the pandemic when people we knew, I had family members who lost their jobs, people were struggling on the independent scene. We were so grateful for anything we were given. We tried to take that perspective no matter what. 'It's not our money, no matter what, we're going to make the best of whatever it is,'" she said.
Many wrestlers have seen their presentation or character change from NXT to the main roster including the likes of Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, EC3, and Finn Balor.
When asked about the differences between WWE main roster and NXT, Kross said, "It's a two-way street and you don't have any control over it. As it was explained to me, it was two separate entities. NXT couldn't interfere or expand or be involved for anything going on with the main roster from a creative standpoint. With the transition, there was nothing that could be done, they just said, 'ask lots of questions.'"
Scarlett added, "It is very much two different brands. We were ready for that. We were confident in our abilities, promo work and wrestling, we could get anything they give us over."
Both said they enjoyed their time in WWE and were grateful for everything they were given, but they also felt a sense of relief that they were released on November 4. They also said that they were relieved to be released together.
Kross and Scarlett have taken multiple independent bookings since their release. Kross has even landed a movie role where he will play an underground fighter. You can learn more by clicking here.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit the original source with a h/t and link back to Fightful for the transcription.