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 Posted: Thu May 2nd, 2019 06:13 pm
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bpickering



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WWE Raw star Lio Rush has become one of the most talked about personalities in the business with numerous reports in recent weeks about heat behind the scenes and issues within the company.

Rush, 24, responded to a number of those reports during an interview with Sean Ross Sapp of The Fightful.com website yesterday, an interview that led to WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry decrying Rush's claims on an edition of SiriusXM Radio's Busted Open Radio show that aired this morning.

In the interview with Sapp, Rush responded to our report that he had heat during the November 2018 European tour for not wanting to handle menial tasks assigned to junior members of the tour, including bringing water to veteran talents at the gorilla position following their matches and carrying coolers into hotels in advance of talents having a common, private area to congregate after shows, stating, "It’s not about race and it has never been, but public perception is important to me and when we have fans that travel all over the globe and watch us get off of buses and into hotels, the LOOK of a black kid carrying waters and bags for other wrestlers is just not a good look, especially when I’m trying to portray myself as a superstar as well,"

One WWE talent who was on that tour, however, contacted PWInsider.com this morning to point out that while Rush blew off the responsibilities, The Authors of Pain and Drake Maverick, who were also on their first European tours did not. The source questioned why those three talents, especially one already as well established as Maverick was in the industry, had zero issue with paying respect, but Rush did, wondering if it was because Rush had brought his wife with him on the tour. That same source noted that there would be no way a fan would know if Rush brought water backstage to a veteran wrestler and would have been seen carrying coolers alongside other WWE stars who were junior members of the tour.

Mark Henry also took exception to Rush's claims today on the air, commenting that when he started in the company in 1996, assisting Yokozuna was his responsibility and commented, "It's not a race issue. It's an ego issue. Who are you? Nobody is exempt from being respectful to the business and paying homage to the guys drawing money. We all have done it. Steve Austin did it. The Rock did it. You better than The Rock? Get the hell out of here!"

In his Fightful interview, Rush defended himself against allegations that he had brought his wife backstage without permission and claimed there were forces trying to get him fired, commenting, "Me and Finn [Balor] are cool ,and my wife has never been an issue. There is someone who works for WWE who has hated me since the day I’ve worked for ROH and now that they work for WWE they’re leaking false information to get me released. At a certain point, I have to defend myself so that’s what I decided to do. We’re all human, and we’re all grown ass adults. The kind of sh** the flies backstage is ridiculous and I’m surprised more people aren’t speaking up."

Rush did not elaborate on who within WWE he felt was out to get him.

However, PWInsider.com can confirm there had been multiple complaints made about Rush bringing his wife backstage and allowing her to change clothes in the women's locker room dating back to the November 2018 European tour. There was also an incident where Rush brought a group backstage at a TV taping last year and when the group were stopped for not all having proper credentials, the group loudly began yelling at a female member of WWE's security team, which did not ingratiate Rush to certain members of the locker room.

During the November 2018 tour, PWInsider.com was told by several sources that another veteran talent (not Finn Balor) attempted to speak to Rush about his issues, only to be rebuffed and told by Rush that he, "works for Vince, not you." That veteran talent was later approached by WWE management as Rush had complained about him speaking to Rush, when he was not an executive in the company and therefore was "Rush's equal, not his boss." When word of that made the rounds, it led to Rush being removed from the locker room for a period of time after that tour and that point, his issues became less of a regular occurrence in the locker room. In recent weeks, that has changed.

The issues surrounding Rush are not new and have been discussed for many months. On this morning's edition of Busted Open, Mark Henry noted that he approached Rush (and it should be noted we are told Henry has been a huge supporter of Rush behind the scenes) and asked him about the stories Rush was having issues in the company.

Henry stated, "I pulled him aside the last time I saw him and told him 'I'm hearing stuff in the locker room. What's wrong?' He said nothing's wrong. It was a blatant lie to my face. I let him know that if he has a question, right now is the time to do that."

During the interview with Fightful, Rush also implied that he was not able to make a livable wage working for WWE, which signed him to a developmental deal in 2017, stating, "My issue isn’t with my on-screen role. My issue is the fact that I haven’t been on meet & greets with Bobby, haven’t been getting paid for merchandise for us that has my catchphrases on them. (I) have been sent to live shows and TVs and forced to pay for my own rental for 5 days as well as hotel while not making enough money to do so. Walking around broke in the biggest sports entertainment industry that there is while having two kids and a wife to support."

Rush's claims are interesting, especially since WWE sources have claimed today that Rush was offered a new, five-year contract that was said to be in the $300 thousand range, but turned it down, instead, according to multiple sources, asking for double that number.

Henry bristled at Rush’s claims, noting this morning, “If you can’t pay for a rental car, you can’t pay for a hotel with the money that you’re making every week then you need to change the way you’re spending. You can’t blame that on the office. If you spent everything before you got it, that’s your problem.”

As previously reported on PWInsider.com, there has been talk of sending Rush back to NXT with the idea of building him a new character and presenting him as something more than just a mouthpiece. We are told that Rush has, at on at least one occasion, instead suggested the company release him so he can “show them” what he could accomplish outside of WWE.

PWInsider.com has been told Rush has been pulled from the upcoming European tour, but that was a decision that was made a week ago. He was backstage at Raw the two past two weeks but not used. His current deal with WWE ends in 2020.



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