After being released by the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 following a calf injury, Mojo Rawley (Dean Muhtadi) was searching for his next career.
Once he rehabbed his injury, Mojo signed with WWE in August 2012 and reported to the Performance Center.
Speaking to Chris Hero on Shoot Conversations, Mojo and Hero discussed Mojo's start with the company and how he was entering with a target on his back.
Rawley: When I talked to them, they were like, 'We know you're coming from football. We're actually giving you a great salary, $39,000. Most guys are at $30,000. So, don't tell anyone what you're making because if they find out, they're going to come for you.'
Hero: I don't think that was true because I know people who were making more.
Rawley: I think they had the range at the time. it was $600 a week, $750 a week, and top guys were making $1,000. For a newcomer, they were like, 'We don't give any newcomers $750, that's more like the midcard guys.' We're going to start you at that tier two. I know Enzo was making $600 when I was there.
Hero: There were a couple people making that who were...you get job scared sometimes and there are eggshells and you're like, 'I need more to live,' but you don't want to speak up. Then it's like, 'Oh, we're doing cuts. This guy spoke up.' I know there was a little tension.
Rawley: I felt like we were a lot more job secure then. It wasn't a revolving door like now.
Hero: Nothing is like now. I would say, every three or four months, they'd do like four or five guys are gone.
Rawley: That's to be expected, especially developmental.
Hero: You could kind of tell who, by performance and by how they were being positioned on shows...
Rawley: There were no surprises, really. They told me, they were like, 'You'll be in NXT for a year, a year and a half max. That's the average.' Okay, that sounds good. I can suck up 39 grand for a little bit. They were also like, 'We're going to start you, Baron Corbin, and this other guy Brandon Carter [TAC in WWE] together so you guys can protect each other. You're going to come in as the three football guys and you're going to have instant heat and they're going to be mad you got this opportunity and they're going to try and fight you and jump you. I was like, 'Man, alright.'
Hero: The people that are down there are like, 'No...I don't want to fight more than I have to. I want to work.'
Rawley: We came in prepared for that, but all of that was incorrect.
Rawley would end up spending almost four years in NXT as he wasn't called up until the 2016 WWE Draft.
Elsewhere during the interview, Rawley discussed a pitch for a new League of Nations with Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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