Very early in his wrestling career, Lio Rush had aspirations of being a member of the NJPW roster.
Speaking to NJPW just days before he is set to compete in the Super J-Cup, Rush spoke about his pre-WWE days. Rush said he went to Full Sail University in the hopes he can have an easier path to WWE.
"I figured I could get an education and maybe get closer to WWE in the process," Rush said. "Thing is I thought the Performance Center was a place anybody could walk off the street and join!"
Unfortunately for Rush at the time, going to the WWE Performance Center was not as easy as he thought. After learning that fact, he returned to Maryland where he got exposed to the independent scene and when he started training, his new goal was to head to NJPW.
"So when I learned that wasn’t the case, I was a bit discouraged. So I went back home to Maryland and trained there. That exposed me to the independent scene, and travelling, wrestling in front of different audiences. I wanted to go to Mexico, Canada, Europe, everywhere. My goal at that point was actually New Japan. [When] things were moving in that direction, but just as my name was getting more buzz, I got picked up by WWE," Rush said.
During Rush's time with WWE, he was a former Cruiserweight Champion and spent time on both NXT and Raw and even challenged for the Intercontinental title at one point.