Karrion Kross Embraced WWE's Process Of Creating Characters, Kept His In-Ring Style To Appease Fans

Karrion Kross describes his approach to the combination of his persona and his in-ring style.

Kross rose to prominence with Lucha Underground, AAA, and IMPACT Wrestling before he signed with WWE in 2020. He had a successful run in NXT, but his inconsistent tenure on Raw ended with his release in November 2021. Kross later returned to WWE in August 2022, and he has been a featured member of the SmackDown roster ever since. The former NXT Champion is known for his unique persona, as he and Scarlett have a gothic presentation, as well as his hard-hitting offense.

CMLL x NJPW FantasticaMania Mexico (6/21/2024) Results: Mistico vs Hiromu Takahashi Headlines, More

Speaking on The Undisputed Podcast with Bobby Fish, Kross was asked about his in-ring style. Fish noted that it didn't necessarily go with his larger-than-life persona and his presentation with Scarlett. He noted that, when he was growing up, he liked the type of wrestling that combined theatrics and offense that looked like combat sports. He described how he wanted to incorporate moves that looked devastating, as it spoke to him, and he felt like it would resonate with others.

“From a performance standpoint, in-ring, what I always really liked a lot, growing up in a family of amateur wrestlers and boxing, was pro wrestling that kind of married the theatrics with stuff that really looks like legitimate combat sports. I was always involved in the practices and stuff like that, and when I got to see all of my superheroes in WWF/WWE on TV doing stuff like that, and then later on in my life ECW and All Japan etc, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so cool.’ Because I knew some of this stuff wouldn’t work, and then you see the things that do work, and that always looked more devastating to me. So when I began training as a wrestler, I wanted to utilize some of that stuff because it spoke to me and I knew it would speak to other athletes and people with a legitimate background. That was just the way I wanted to perform," Kross said.

Kross then described how he didn't rely on any presentation when he was on the independent scene, as he just needed some time on the microphone in order to sell tickets. He also noted that he felt confident that the crowds he was performing for liked the same type of wrestling that he did.

"On the independents, I really kind of did this character in its most consistent rendition, sort of as a hitman-slash-serial killer, I was kind of somebody’s heater, whether it was for the promoter, the evil promoter, or if it was coming in and targeting people because the reality of it is, independent wrestling is independent wrestling. It has a very short budget, it doesn’t have any sort of commercialized backing behind it, so I don’t rely on any sort of presentation whatsoever. All I needed was a little bit of live mic time. I was gonna produce my own promos to sell tickets, and when I got in the ring, I knew the audience and the demographic that I would perform for, they liked the same type of wrestling that I did," he said.

After naming Taz, Toshiaki Kawada, Gary Albright, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams as some of his inspirations, Kross also stated that he loved performers like Rick Rude, and he couldn't be any more different than that type of wrestling. He cited Gangrel's entrance and described how he had some Japanese style in his work, but it didn't take away from his persona. With that in mind, Kross stated that he leaned into WWE's process of creating larger-than-life characters when he signed with the company.

"When I went to WWE, I knew, with it being a story-based company, that coming in as a shoot fighter, wrestler type thing was not going to cut it. So I really began to lean in and embrace their process of creating a larger-than-life character type character/presentation. I had several conversations with Hunter about it to just explore what we could do with that," Kross said.

Kross went on to recall how he wanted Triple H's feedback, as he was coming off the independent scene, and he was curious to see how his concepts could play out on the world stage. He also stated that he kept his ring style the way it was in an attempt to appease both the fans that wanted that physical offense and those who like the larger-than-life character.

"I wanted most importantly his feedback on my ideas because they’re the billionaires, I’m the guy wrestling on the indies. I said, ‘Hey, here are my concepts. If we put this on a world stage, what do you think about it?’ I just kind of kept my in-ring style, hoping to be able to appease both types of fans, fans that are looking for that, and then fans that are looking for the classic larger-than-life type of character. That was the whole reason behind it," Kross said.

Kross recently discussed working with AJ Styles. Click here to see what he had to say.

In a previous interview, Kross described how he and Scarlett think of themselves as a tag team. Check out his comments here.

Check out the card for the July 14 episode of WWE SmackDown here. Fightful will have coverage of the show as it airs.

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.

Get exclusive pro wrestling content on Fightful Select, our premium news service! Click here to learn more.