Bivens discusses his journey to WWE.
Coming up as a manager in wrestling, Malcolm Bivens (formerly known as Stokely Hathaway) had an uphill battle to make it to WWE. The worldwide leader in Sports Entertainment has devalued the manager role over the years, though it seems to be making a comeback on the NXT brand based on recent hires and live events.
Speaking to Sam Roberts on the NotSam Wrestling Podcast, Bivens discussed how he ended up in WWE.
"All my close personal friends told me WWE would never be attainable," recalled Bivens. "I'm the type of person where I make goals every year. At first, it was just to be in wrestling. The second thing was just to have an Indie name. And that came with EVOLVE. EVOLVE was the showcase that brought me up to Indie stardom. Gabe [Sapolsky] gave me this opportunity, and I just took advantage of it. Even when I was in EVOLVE, there were moments where I thought, 'Maybe I could make it to WWE.'
Bivens continued, discussing his appearance at WrestleMania Axxess in 2018.
"That was the most nervous I've ever been. I was given my actual promo like 10 minutes beforehand. I remember pacing back-and-forth in the bathroom and reciting the promo. I look back, and Mark Henry is in the urinal. He just looks at me, and I'm just like 'uhhhh' and I walk out the door," he recalled. "I was with Chris Dickinson and Jaka. They were very nervous. Jaka looked at me and was like, 'are you ready for this?' As soon as I said the first word, it clicked. As far as I know, I went out there, I killed it and I think that's what helped me get my foot into the door."
Despite "killing it" at Axxess, the call from WWE was not immediate. Bivens continued with EVOLVE through 2018 before deciding to move on and add wrestling to his act.
"It was December and it had gotten to the point where, I had left EVOLVE and I was doing stand-up on the side. Then I started wrestling because I figured I needed something to help continue that buzz," he said. "In December, I got a call asking, 'Hey are you signed anywhere? Triple H is looking for managers. Do you have anything you can send him?' It was out of nowhere. I didn't really believe it. I sent my highlight reel and it went to Triple H in January. I'm at my real job and the first text I get it, 'They love it.' The second text is, 'Would you consider moving to Orlando?' Third text is, 'What's your email address? They want to make you an offer.'"
Bivens was officially signed by WWE in March 2019. He is a regular at NXT live events, but has yet to debut on television. He is also missing his CD player.
If you use any of the quotes above, please credit Sam Robert with a h/t to Fightful for the transcription.