Taylor Rust Recalls Nearly Quitting Wrestling Following 2012 WWE Tryout

Taylor Rust finally caught his big break in 2020 when he was signed by WWE after making a name for himself on the Independent scene.

The break happened because he threw himself more into wrestling in 2019 after a job at the Animal Shelter fell through.

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To know how Taylor (Tyler Rust in WWE) got to the point where he committed to wrestling, fans have to go back to 2012 where he nearly quit wrestling following a WWE tryout.

"It was hard days," Rust said of the 2012 tryout on the ROH Strong podcast. "I remember going back to the hotel room, Epsom salt baths, icing everything that was sore. I'm pretty sure I pulled my groin the first day. They cut like a third of the guys the first day; male models and actors. Next day, two more rounds of cuts. It went great. After, I was pulled aside and told, 'it went really well, we like your look and the way you wrestle, you know what you're doing. We think you'd be a great fit for us in Florida. We're not sure, but we wanted to let you know that you did very good.' I remember watching Bayley, what got her signed, she was so helpful. Every other girl there was just an athlete, but she was helpful in showing them how to do the wrestling move and technique. You could watch them watch her and they were falling in love with the way she was so helpful. I was in awe and I thought she was definitely going to get picked up."

Rust continued by recalling learning that he wasn't signed.

"Sure enough, when the day came to find out, you would get a phone call or an email. An email meant, 'sorry, not this time.' I got a text that day from Bayley that day that said, 'They called me, I got it.' I check my email, sure enough, there is the letter that says, 'We think you're great and a made talent, but not this time. Stay at it and see you again soon.' It was a transition period for me when I thought, 'Is wrestling going to take off or do I need to change gears?' When I didn't get it, it sucked and I felt I did the best I could and gave them everything. If that wasn't good enough at that time, I felt anything else I could give them wasn't going to be good enough from me. Being told that your best wasn't enough is a shitty feeling, but those are the breaks in life," he said.

Rust started working at an Animal Shelter to make money, noting that the Independent scene wasn't as hot in 2012 as it is today, so it was tough to make a comfortable living. Rust would work at the Animal Shelter full-time while working part-time local independent matches.

"Life became wrestling and working a full-time job at the Animal Shelter. I did that routine for six years straight," he recalled. "Every year, I wanted to see if it would be my last year, if something would take off. I had the option to get a big promotion at the Animal Shelter and I wasn't sure because it meant having to quit wrestling. Going into 2019, I thought about it, and if life was leading me in that direction, I was going to take it. I did the (job) interview and was getting ready to walk out of pro wrestling. I think I'm done and the job is mine. I get told the next day I didn't get the job. I was shocked. Everyone at the Animal Shelter was like, 'What do you mean?' When that happened, it lit a fire in me with wrestling. I got mad. I almost quit for this job and the job didn't give me the promotion. It was the push I needed to switch gears. I said I was going to do everything I could to get signed within a year. That's what pushed me."

Rust would commit to wrestling once the Animal Shelter promotion didn't happen, finding a home at PWG while also competing on NJPW Strong and ROH before eventually being signed by WWE in December 2020.

Rust was featured regularly on WWE television before being released by the company on August 6. He returned to ROH at Death Before Dishonor where he picked up a victory over Jake Atlas.

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