After just a couple of weeks on 205 Live, Lio Rush was moved to Raw to be Bobby Lashley's hype man. It was a big difference from performing in front of sparse crowds on 205 Live to performing on WWE's signature show and Rush talked about that on the Cheap Heat podcast.
"The whole day, I was ready, but I was definitely nervous. I saw a lot of people that I grew up watching on television backstage because this is my first time, especially on Raw. SmackDown was a little bit more laid back, I didn't really see a lot of people because 205 Live was after SmackDown and people were already gone by then. But getting to Raw and seeing that this was the big three-hour show you see Paul Heyman, Vince McMahon, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, I saw so many big names backstage," recalled Rush.
"I didn't even know I was going to be paired up with Bobby Lashley until I got there and then once they told me what the deal was going to be, I was wondering if I was his manager or tag-team partner. They said no, they wanted me to be his hype man. That threw me for a loop because the only time I hear about a hype man is at a hip-hop concert so I was a little confused about that."
Rush then said that Heyman was there to help him prepare for his debut and tell him the direction they want out of the Lio Rush character. With the small amount of time Rush had beforehand, he said it was nerve-racking and he doesn't think the crowd understood what his character was all about.
"I feel like people didn't really know how to react because me coming out my first appearance on Raw was coming out and cutting a promo in front of Elias and people were like who is this guy? I was saying my schtick, saying that I am the man of the hour, and people were like, who? People didn't watch 205 Live so I am brand new to them. It was rough getting into that character because I was playing a completely different person on 205 Live," admitted Rush. "I was this bad ass, cocky heel and then now I'm like this corny guy hyping up somebody; it was super weird.
"Bobby Lashley was really trying to help me a lot with the character. He was telling me to pretend that I was talking to myself, just hype yourself up. Everything you're saying about me believe you are saying it to yourself. It was one of the weirdest things I have probably ever done to be prepped up for a character, especially for the amount of time that I had."
After ironing out the kinks, Rush thinks he and Lashley found their grooves and he also believes they took their pairing to heights that WWE didn't even expect.
"I felt like the character was magic. It was definitely something that was never done before," said Rush. "Having a manager that is talking at the same time doing all the flips everywhere. It was cool and we got to a lot of the things we did on social media with the videos, and stuff we planned ourselves and kind of pushed that out and then I think it was kind of a feeling out process with WWE. They knew that I can cut a promo and knew that Bobby Lashley had the looks, that stature so it would look really cool standing with a guy who is 5'4" who can also bump.
"Everything we put out on social media it was us just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks and stuff caught on and eventually commentary started talking about what we were doing on social media so it was pretty cool. We had a lot of creative leverage with it. I don't think there was a clear plan. It was just, here's this guy and here's this guy, he can talk and let's just see what he can do."
Rush has not been seen on WWE programming since April 15, reportedly due to creative differences. He talked about where he currently stands with the promotion.
"Right now, I'm still with the company. I am home and enjoying time with the kids and my wife as well as working on projects that I have always wanted to work on now that I have the time to actually do that. Everybody is not always on TV. You always have your certain spots, certain characters and what is hot now and what is going to be hot later; right now is not my time. It was when me and Bobby were working together and we were able to accomplish so many great things in the 6-7 months span that we had. We were on Raw every week, almost 2-3 promo segments every week, every pay per view, so it was awesome. I know Bobby is out with an injury now and I am working on some music and working on things that I have always wanted to do."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Cheap Heat Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.