In reading some of the things you’ve said over the last couple of weeks, you’ve mentioned the idea of wanting to push your limits. You have also mentioned that Vince was “overprotective” of you. Being men of a certain age, married with children, I kind of understand where you’re probably hearing a lot of different things from a lot of different places in regards to your career right now, but you’re also in a place where I just saw the Lucha Bros and the Young Bucks tear it up in a cage. When you talk about wanting to push your limits, how far are you willing to go? How soon are we going to see you pull off a Lucha Bros/Young Bucks-style match? Or is that what you’re trying do? Where are you at in this phase of your career?
First off, there are so many things, the Lucha Bros and the Young Bucks can do that I just I have the ability to do.
Look at the Lucha Bros. Oh my gosh, like….
Fenix specifically does some things that you just like blow your mind. So, I’m not talking about stuff like that, but this is kind of the context. Vince McMahon has multiple times likened me to a racehorse that needs a bit in his mouth, because if you don’t have the bit, the horse will just run himself into the ground. Keep in mind, I don’t know if that’s actually true. I don’t know if that’s why they have the bit, leave that where it is. [Ed note: Racing bits, explained.] He had told me that multiple times in the sense of like, “Hey, I have to be protective of you because if I don’t...”
With the WWE, I did 227 matches in a year, and if you go all out [in] every one of those matches like I am prone to do? It doesn’t matter if we’re in Mobile, Alabama, if there’s 300 people there or 5,000 people there, they all paid a ticket to go there. I remember, I was only able to go to one show when I was a kid and my mom and dad, because we didn’t have very much money, they saved up to take me to the Tacoma Dome. We were in the nosebleeds, right, [but I remember] how important that show was to me. And so you remember that as a performer, as far as like, “Hey, go out there and give it everything you’ve got every night.” Well then, then there’s like, “Hey, we have to kind of manage you a little bit,” and in the back of my head, what I’m saying is, “that might work for racehorses, but I kind of prefer the lifestyle of wild horses instead.” Like I want to be able to run free and be able to judiciously make my own decisions as far as how hard I want to go. Kenny Omega wrestles a very physical style. I want to be able to match him in all of that physicality and more.
You’ve been doing this since 2002; that’s a lot of time to be putting on peak performance matches. I imagine you look at that the AEW roster—there’s a lot of talent over there. Rey Fenix and Kenny Omega are just two people out of an amazing roster. Is there anybody you’re looking at right now that you’re like, “yeah, I can’t wait to mix it up with them at some point”?
There are so many, and there are so many people of different styles, right? There’s a mix of veteran guys and younger guys that I’d love to get in the ring with… I’d love to get in the ring with Jon Moxley, where we’re able to just do whatever we want. You know what I mean? Same thing with Cody. And I wrestled those guys before, but then there are the younger guys. I know Punk really wanted to wrestle Darby Allin. I want to wrestle Darby Allin, too. I think he’s great. There are the Jungle Boys and the MJFs, but then there’s also guys like Daniel Garcia who wrestles a very technical style. I’d love to wrestle him.
There’s Dante Martin, who is like, 20 years old, right? He just does these things. I don’t think I met him at All Out. I met him in the hotel the next day, and I was like, “dude.” I’ve watched all sorts of wrestling from all over the world, and he does things that I’ve never seen before. It’s rare that I see something I’ve never seen before, you know what I mean? That’s one of the reasons I decided to go to AEW, because there are so many new matchups for me, and so many things that I look at and be like, “whoa, that’s exciting. That seems like a lot of fun.”