Karrion Kross spoke with WWE broadcaster Peter Rosenberg on the latest Cheap Heat podcast for the Ringer Wrestling Show. He spoke in-depth about his entire pro wrestling career, how he met his wife Scarlett and much more.
Kross and Scarlett are re-establishing themselves on the SmackDown brand, but it hasn’t been an easy road to get there. Following a dominant run together in NXT that included Kross holding the NXT Championship, things got ugly fast when he was called up to the main roster in July 2021.
Everything that worked about their act was stripped away, including Scarlett. He was saddled with a comically-bad gladiator gimmick that was nothing like his NXT character that got over so well. His debut match on Monday Night Raw saw Kross get pinned in less than two minutes. He was the NXT Champion at the time and it was his first pinfall loss in WWE. They were both released in November, right before the holidays.
Processing the Debut & the Releases
Rosenberg asked Kross about how he processed all that in real time. Kross said the number one thing on his mind was providing for his family. This was during the pandemic and a lot of his family members lost their jobs. Being a WWE Superstar gave him the chance to take care of his family and the people who helped raise him. Everybody wants to be on the main roster, but his focus was providing for his family.
He said sometimes, you’re given bad ideas and it’s your job to make them work and carry out what’s been written written for you, even if you don’t agree with the direction. His NXT Character was a hit, but the lack of continuity with the gladiator character threw people off. The gimmick may have worked for other people, but was a huge departure from what fans knew from him. He was frustrated, but tried to be a professional and make it work.
Their Act Getting Split Up
When asked how Scarlett felt when she wasn’t called up with him, Kross says she was incredibly upset. “Multiple branches of management” told them she’d be with him on the main roster. They decided to accept the situation and get through it.
Their situation got worse before it got better. Just before the holiday season, they were out of work. Rosenberg said he knows what this is like from personal experience. He’s been released by WWE before and it made him sad and angry. People close to him convinced him to stay composed and realize it’s best to play the long game with your career. You’ll get back to WWE if it’s meant to be.
Kross said their phones blew up within 30 minutes after their releases were made public. By the end of the day, they were booked up for months and were fielding offers from outside of wrestling. They knew they’d be fine financially, but they were devastated. They had more to offer the business and suddenly the door just got slammed in their face. On some level, he was relieved to be done with the gladiator gimmick. He got unanimous feedback that it wasn’t working, from fans in the arenas to people coming up to him at airports and in coffee shops asking when he’d be getting back with Scarlett and
Kross was not tempted to trash WWE when he got released. He had close connections to people in the company and knew he’d make it back.
Karrion Kross and Scarlett returned to WWE on August 5, 2022. He immediately began feuding with former WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Their program came to ahead at November’s Crown Jewel premium live event, which saw McIntyre prevail.
On a recent episode of SmackDown, Kross identified Rey Mysterio as his next victim.