Wardlow recently spoke with Forbes for an interview promoting Sunday's AEW & NJPW: The Forbidden Door pay-per-view.
During the discussion, the popular AEW performer spoke about the reason he is chasing the TNT Championship instead of the AEW World Championship, the sacrifices he has made to get ahead in the wrestling business and how he wants to be the reason AEW's ratings increase.
Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview where he touches on these topics with his thoughts.
On the reason why he has decided to pursue the TNT championship instead of the world championship: “I cannot give my energy to that [the AEW World title] until I take care of unfinished business. You don’t just get to disrespect Wardlow and get away with it, and there’s a gentleman in the company that has, so it’s time for him to pay the piper. I want to hold every title in the company, so the TNT title just happens to be the first one that presented itself to me. Of course, everybody wants to be world heavyweight champion. I want to be world heavyweight champion, but more than that, I want the title that I’ve thought about everyday. I want the title that I believe is rightfully mine, and more so than that, I need to teach Dan Lambert and Scorpio Sky some respect.”
On the sacrifices he made to get ahead in wrestling: “I think my first wrestling paycheck was five dollars. I think it was a five dollar bill in an envelope, and honestly, it was that for a while. [Eventually] I think I was making like 25 bucks a show, so I was actually spending more money on gas and driving out to Pittsburgh…So, it was costing me money to wrestle. I started making a little more as I get a little more popular on the indies, and then, I got like a 500 dollar payday, which to me was just mind-blowing. Five to 500 [dollars] was a lot, but now, we’ve gone from 500 to some real money [in AEW].” Of course, getting to this point didn’t come without its ups and downs. Wardlow started from the bottom and worked his way to the very top of the pro wrestling industry, but oddly enough, he doesn’t view anything that he did to make it to AEW as a sacrifice. That’s the sacrifice you have to make if you want to do something exceptional with your life, and to me, nothing I did was a sacrifice. A lot of people say, ‘Well, you sacrificed so much.’ Well, no. To me, it really wasn’t a sacrifice. To me, it really was just the proper steps to getting where I want to be. If you want to do something exceptional with your life, don’t be embarrassed. If you want to be a stand-up comic, go do those stupid little shows in front of 10 people at a coffee house. I know that seems embarrassing or people will question it or it seems like such a small scale, but you have to start on a small scale to reach the big scale.”
On how he wants to be the reason that AEW’s ratings increase: “I’m very in tune with numbers, and my main goal for AEW is, I want to be the reason we have more viewers. I want to be the reason the female viewership goes up. I want to be the reason that 18-49 demographic goes up. I want to be the reason our ratings are higher. I know I can’t do it on my own. It takes help from the other young talent. It takes help from the legends and the guys coming over, but I want to be one of the guys that are moving the needle for this company.”
Check out the complete interview at Forbes.com.