Lio Rush continued to respond this week to some of the reports on his backstage heat and issues with WWE.
Rush said in an interview with Fightful that his issues are not with Bobby Lashley or working with him, but with not being paid for merchandise that uses his catchphrase, and not being paid what he feels he's worth.
"My issue has never been with Bobby Lashley. Being with Bobby has helped the both of us out tremendously," Rush said. "It's given me speaking confidence I didn't know i had. I never was a promo guy on the indies. But being with Bobby made me a promo guy. My issue isn't with my on screen role. My issue is the fact that I haven't been on meet and 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 also said he believes someone in WWE is leaking false information to get him released.
WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry appeared on Busted Open Radio earlier today and spoke on the Rush situation. Henry noted that he started with WWE in 1996 and helping WWE Hall of Famer Yokozuna was one of his responsibilities.
"It's not a race issue, it's an ego issue," Henry said. "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're better than The Rock? Get the hell out of here."
Henry also said he recently approached Rush to ask him about some of the issues. He said, "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, but 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."
Regarding Rush's issues on pay, Henry said he needs to change the way he spends. Henry said, "If you can't pay for a rental car and you can't pay for a hotel with the money that you're making every week, 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."
Henry is said to be a huge supporter of Rush behind-the-scenes, according to PWInsider. PWInsider also reported on the issues, noting that there has been a lot of talk about Rush's future within WWE, and there were rumors of Rush being moved back to WWE NXT in the near future.
PWInsider also reported that Rush has been a polarizing figure backstage for some time among the other wrestlers, going back to the November 2018 tour where he blew off what has been considered standard backstage etiquette for junior members of the roster on overseas tours, including being at the Gorilla position backstage to provide water to talents as they returned after their matches, and carrying coolers and drinks into the hotels where talents were staying, to set up a common area where everyone could privately socialize together. These tasks are often done to show respect to the locker room and the business as a whole. Several veterans reportedly tried to explain to Rush that he was making a mistake then, but he blew off the advice and complained to WWE officials, which didn't do him any favors. Things with Rush have calmed down in recent months, but there have been other issues. Rush allegedly has brought his friends and relatives backstage without the proper credentials, and there have been other moments where he has blown off counsel from senior members of the RAW roster.
As we've noted, Rush has been off WWE TV for a few weeks now due to the heat he has. Rush previously addressed the reports on Twitter after it was reported that he has heat due to how he makes it very clear that he should be the top guy on the RAW brand, and he's not shy about sharing these thoughts, as seen below:
( Part 1 ) "Heat" is such a subjective term. Do I stand up for myself when life challenges me? Yes. Do I have opinions & not just blindly follow? Yes. Am I best friends with every single superstar? No. But... do I work hard. Am I professional & respectful?.. https://t.co/tEf1WGLh59— Man Of The Hour ?? (@itsLioRush) April 30, 2019
( Part 2 ).. Am I driven and motivated to perform to the best of my ability to entertain the WWE universe? Have no bad blood with any other superstars, great working relationships with writers and producers, and respect and listen to all higher ups? ABSOLUTELY. https://t.co/tEf1WGLh59— Man Of The Hour ?? (@itsLioRush) April 30, 2019
( Part 1 ) I am not "out of the locker room." More dirt sheet assumptions. Many spouses and family members come to shows and are welcome backstage. Our performance schedules are not just RAW, we have 3 live shows a week, travel days, and PPVs. My wife came to share my first.. https://t.co/OWVKb2wcC5— Man Of The Hour ?? (@itsLioRush) April 30, 2019
( Part 2 ) ..wrestle mania moment with me, as did many families of the WWE roster. The little time that a professional wrestler can spend with their family is rare and precious. I conduct myself professionally and respectfully and so does my wife. https://t.co/OWVKb2wcC5— Man Of The Hour ?? (@itsLioRush) April 30, 2019
I believe we are all able to carry our own gear and provisions. I treat others as equals and as a young black male have often had to fight for my own equality. https://t.co/lwdySHrGl6— Man Of The Hour ?? (@itsLioRush) April 30, 2019
In an update, PWInsider reports that there were 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 2018 European tour. There was another incident where Rush brought a group of people backstage at a 2018 TV taping. The group allegedly were stopped for not all having proper credentials and they loudly began yelling at a female member of WWE's security crew, which obviously didn't sit well with others backstage. A veteran talent, not Balor, reportedly tried to talk to Rush about the issues but he was told by Rush that he "works for Vince, not you." WWE officials later approached that veteran talent as Rush complained about getting spoke to by the talent, because he was not an executive in the company and was "Rush's equal, not his boss." Word of this made the rounds and that led to Rush being removed from the locker room for a period of time after the tour and that's when his issues became less of a regular occurrence backstage. That has changed in recent weeks.
Despite the problems, Rush was reportedly recently offered a new five-year contract, said to be in the range of $300,000. Rush reportedly turned that offer down and asked for double the pay. His current contract expires in 2020 some time. Regarding the rumors of sending Rush back to NXT, the idea would be to build him a new character and present him as something more than just a mouthpiece. Rush reportedly suggested, at least once, that WWE should release him so he can "show them" what he can accomplish outside of the company. There's no word yet on when Rush will return to WWE TV, but he has reportedly been pulled from the upcoming European tour, a decision made a week ago. Rush has been backstage for RAW, but obviously not used.