As previously noted, NXT Superstar Bobby Fish was recently a guest on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Among many other things, Fish talked about whether he thought WWE was a possibility before signing with NXT, how he was pitched The Undisputed Era faction, and recovering from his recent knee injury.
According to Fish, he and tag partner Kyle O'Reilly did not think WWE was a possibility for them. Apparently, the members of reDRagon thought they would continue to split time between Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling before receiving interest from WWE.
"I don't know that we saw [reDRagon] as [a vehicle to get to WWE] only because, at the time, I don't know, like, WWE was still a place where you needed to be six-foot something and there was a certain body type that they were looking for and neither one of us really possessed that," Fish recalled. "We were more workrate guys, and smaller, more technical, and I felt like, at the time, we were doing decent promos and we could kind of carry that end a little bit, but I don't know. I don't think that either one of us expected WWE to be in the cards. I think in the back of our heads, we both privately would have wanted that, but I think we were looking at, 'well, okay, Ring Of Honor is,' especially with our first contract with Ring Of Honor where it was like a salaried position at a time when I didn't think that would ever be a thing in the wrestling we were doing. And I don't want to speak for Kyle, but I think at some point we started to get a certain amount of success and we look at it as, 'well, New Japan and Ring Of Honor, we're going to split time between the two [promotions]' and I think eventually we figured we'd split more time in New Japan and less time in Ring Of Honor. Then, the interest from WWE came and that kind of changed everything."
During the interview, Fish shared that The Undisputed Era was never discussed with them when they were negotiating with WWE.
"No [forming UE was not discussed during negotiations], not at all," Fish said. "It was discussed about us coming in, but not even necessarily as a team and it was just kind of coincidental that [Adam] Cole's [ROH] contract was coming up around the same time, potentially. But we had no idea that we would be together."
Apparently, Fish pitched forming a group with O'Reilly and Adam Cole in Ring Of Honor, but the idea was never used. The former NXT Tag Team Champion divulged that the trio privately wanted to be a group in NXT, but, serendipitously, Triple H pitched the faction to them.
"Privately, the three of us had talked because Cole and Kyle, in Ring Of Honor, were in a program against each other, but as a little bit of a bump in the road, they put the three of us together as a swerve and it was only supposed to last a couple of weeks," Fish remembered. "And the first time we were in the ring together, the three of us, the reaction that was there, I went to the office at Ring Of Honor and I was like, 'hey, I'm not asking you to change your booking and change your plans here. Like, eventually go through what you're going to go through with, but maybe give this a little bit of time if for nothing else just to sell a few t-shirts because I think if we put a cool name on it, like, I don't know, I think the fans would be really into it.' It wasn't in the booking and they didn't want to go with it, so it was what it was.
"Fast forward to us coming in here, and that concept, we discussed, but we never thought they'd actually go with it. So the day Triple H proposed that idea, to Kyle and [me], because it was the first time… Cole hadn't even come in yet, he said that was his idea for us. And Kyle and I were looking at each other, like, 'my mind is blown enough standing here talking to Triple H and he's complementary about the job that he makes a living doing, but then add on top of that he wants to bring us in and put us together,' I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for someone to come in and say, 'naw, we're just s--tting you! You don't even have jobs.'"
In March 2018, Fish suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. Fish admitted he was scared for his job and was worried about being viewed as damaged goods; however, NXT Head Coach Matt Bloom and Triple H tried to put his mind at ease.
"I was scared as hell," Fish admitted. "I was super of, 'okay, they're going to see me as damaged goods now.' And obviously, the group is going to go on without me and this was at a time before they decided to factor Roddy [Strong] in. But I figured, 'what'll happen to my spot and where will things be by the time I do come back?' And 'I have to have surgery now.' The damaged goods thing was very much at the forefront of my mind, but Coach Bloom, Matt Bloom, was kind of the first person to clue me as to what they thought of me from a company standpoint and how much trust they had in my abilities, so that blew me away. Triple H was another one who put my mind completely at ease as far as like, 'we're going to take care of this; we're going to get you fixed up; then, we're going to get you rehabbed; and we're going to get you back; you're going to pick up, maybe not necessarily where you left off, but you're going to pick right back up and it's going to go on from there.' So, for me, I was put at ease pretty quickly, but you still always stay a little apprehensive till it actually starts to happen."
Fish claimed that he felt pretty good for his return to the squared circle, but, in retrospect, did not feel as good as he thought he did at the time. Fish went on to say that his knee feels much better now and that he rarely even thinks about the injury anymore.
"WarGames was my first match back. Looking back at it now, I felt pretty good, but now I can make the assessment that I didn't feel as good then as I thought I did because I feel so much better now. There was a part of me that was like, 'man, I don't know if I'll ever be able to throw kicks again and not think about my knee, especially considering the style of some of the kicks that I throw, you have to have a lot of rotation on your plant leg, the leg that you're standing on. And I just didn't know if that would ever come back." Fish continued, "when I'm wrestling, I don't even think about my knee anymore. And that is such a relief off my mind because I thought coming back from it, 'like, oh man, I'm going to think about this constantly. I'm never going to go back to feeling just normal and not thinking about the stuff you generally think about in a match. I'm going to be worried about my knee.' I'm happy to say I barely think about it at this point."
The line forms to the left. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness