I think that’s beautiful. I only even asked because, even back before your last WWE run, in the back of my mind I wondered where you were, mentally. Coming off of the medical issues and that whole ordeal, it all comes down to motivation. It’s actually interesting; it’s almost like you made the transition to AEW at the right time, given how the WWE’s tour schedule has recently just ramped up. I would imagine spending less time on the road is better for you in the long run.
It is in the sense of it’s for sure less time away from my family, and that was a big deciding point, too. What’s interesting [is] a lot of people frame it in the sense of I had two choices, which is AEW or WWE, but in reality, I feel like I had four choices: WWE, AEW, not signing with anybody and just doing independent, stuff here and there, and I’m sure AEW would’ve taken me for the big matches that I wanted to do or whatever. And the other option that I considered was just stepping away from wrestling for a while and just focusing on being a father. The reason why I wanted to take the summer off is because my daughter started preschool in the fall. I wanted to be able to be there with her in the summer, every day. For the first time since my daughter’s been born, I was with my kids every single day, and it was so good. And there was a part of me that I just wanted to keep doing that until at least our son was going to school, too, so I could be there with them for that time. And then, if I wanted, to go have fun wrestling or whatever it is. That was another option that I seriously considered and it was kind of a family decision, too, in the sense of like, “Hey, what’s best for us? What’s also best for our children’s future? You know, the future is very uncertain.” Setting our kids up for success in that sort of thing. So there were a lot of things that played into these decisions.

Again, I understand as a fellow married father, there are conversations you have to have outside of whatever’s going to happen in the squared circle.
Yeah. I’m not the boss. [Laughs] If anybody’s ever watched Total Bellas, they know I’m not the boss, Brie’s the boss.

Now before we get out of here, I want to ask you about sneakers. The Young Bucks are sneaker guys. Kenny Omega is, from what I understand, a sneaker guy. It’s to the point where they’re being incorporated in storylines and matches. While I don’t take you as a sneaker guy, I have to ask: a) Do you think that you might get into sneakers and b), have you, in the few times you’ve been around everybody, have you overheard any sneaker conversations happening?
So I haven’t heard it from them because I haven’t been around the Young Bucks specifically that much, but I heard a lot of sneaker talk in WWE. There are some sneaker guys in WWE for sure. And I was blown away. And then when I got to AEW, the Young Bucks, a pair of their sneakers were stolen out of their bag. People steal sneakers?

“Those sneakers are worth like $6,000.” I was like, “$6,000? That’s more money than I paid for my first car.” I can’t even fathom. And I think even the concept of spending that much money on protecting your feet, right? Essentially, as homo sapiens, our feet are very soft and now we walk around a lot of concrete and so we need to protect them. And the cold and the rain. I just can’t fathom spending that much money on that when, when you look out at the world, that money could be used so much better elsewhere.

Well then I have to ask. That makes me wonder, because you debuted an eco-friendly championship, that thing was unique. Would you have plans on doing that to the AEW World Heavyweight Championship?
See, so that’s a fun character thing to talk about. I don’t know why any championship belt nowadays would need to be made out of real cow skin, right? I don’t know what the purpose is. They have synthetic leathers that look every bit as good. I hate to get on my environmental soapbox. [Laughs] 

Go ahead! [Laughs]
Nobody likes that. That’s why I was able to be such a good bad guy in WWE. Get on the soapbox.

I loved it, it reminded me of Bret during his pro-Canadian heel run. I appreciate the fact that your stance was, “you guys are killing the planet and I’m right. That’s it!”
So I’m not somebody who’s going to tell everybody not to eat meat, right? You know, humans are omnivores, all that kind of stuff. But I do think the unnecessary slaughter of animals should be avoided in the sense of like wearing leather, having a leather belt, or having the leather as the base for a championship. We have synthetic materials that look just as good or, and are more durable. I think it would be great to transition away from real leather to a synthetic leather and never even tell people about it. “Hey, we’re just doing this because this is what’s right.” The problem with that WWE Championship is then after I lost the title of the Kofi, they had to kill another cow to make a belt.

You know what the greatest thing about that eco-friendly championship was? I didn’t have to take it out of my bag when I go through security at the airport.