Mojo Rawley is one of the most decorated 24/7 Champions in WWE history, holding the belt on seven different occasions, which is the third-most in history and 28 days, which is tied for the fourth-most in WWE history.
After an up-and-down run on the main roster, Rawley would eventually move away from being so hype, which ultimately hurt his presentation.
"I think I wasn't allowed to say the word 'hype' at any point. They wanted me to get completely away from that. If that's what they want, of course, we'll do it, but for me, I was like, 'my hype is the one thing people know me for.' Still, to do this day, I stopped doing the 'hype' thing four or five years ago and that's still the only thing people remember from me. I was like, 'we shouldn't get away from that. If you want me to be tough and serious, we can still do that under the hype umbrella and pivot,' but they wanted me to segue out of it. Of course, once you take away everything that makes me special and unique, I'm just another tough guy and there's nothing there to grasp onto," said Rawley on Straight Shootin with Matt Rehwoldt.
Entering the 24/7 gave Rawley some new life, but his original plan for the run wasn't what he had hoped. The 24/7 TItle had been passed around and treated as a comedy title, but Rawley wanted to go in a different direction and stand up to the challengers rather than running away.
"Eventually, we get to the 24/7 stuff. My pitch, that they actually loved at first, was I was tired of the 24/7 being a joke title. R-Truth killed it and it was so funny and entertaining, but you can't have Truth doing the same thing every week with the same antics and the same script and the same 30 guys chasing him for no reason," he said. "I was like, 'let's take the fun away and let's make it more like the hardcore title and we'll get serious with it. I'll be the first one to not run away and I'll try and defend it. We can get nasty with it.' The hardcore title is what the fans thought we were bringing back in the first place. I told that to Vince and he loved it. He said, 'We'll start it next week.' I tried to not pitch Vince too much so I wasn't one of those guys always in there complaining and pitching stuff that might not work. This was one that I thought would work and he went for it. We started doing that. First person to not run and hide with the title. Cut some promos online that were received well because I knew I wasn't going to get promo time on TV, but I always did well with my internet promos. Literally, I won the title and a week later, after this whole campaign to not need help or run away, they bring in [Riddick Moss] to watch my back. I was like, 'what the hell? This is the opposite of everything we set up and what fans were excited about.' I wasn't mad because I love [Moss]. He works so hard and was finally getting a shot at the main roster. He's a guy that isn't built for NXT. Those athletes that didn't work the Indies, they have a harder time in NXT. They put us together and we were going to make it work."
Rawley would remain in the 24/7 Title picture, but went back to being "hype" as WWE brought in his friend NFL star Rob Gronkowski ahead of WrestleMania 36.
"We were trying to set up something with Gronk at Mania. We were going to do some matches before the world shutdown and he went back to football. We started with [Moss] and had to cut that programing. I think the plan was for me, [Moss], and Truth to do a triple threat at Mania or some 24/7 Behind the Scenes match. Something that was different. We had to scrap all that on the fly. Part of me was like, 'I should've pitched this Gronk stuff until after Mania,' but we knew we wanted to bring him in before Mania. Part of it is on me pitching stuff, but you know how the machine is; every week, you show up and you don't know what you are. At one point, I was flip-flopping between face and heel every week. I do what I'm told, but guys don't know. I went from being a heel to showing back up on SmackDown after three years on Raw and was told, 'Just go back to Stay Hype Mojo,' the same day," he recalled.
After Gronkowski's appearance at WrestleMania 36 and the pandemic changing plans, Rawley was rarely used on television before his release in April.
Elsewhere on the podcast, Rawley discussed the original plans for him and Gronkowski for 2020. You can find his full comments by clicking here.
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