Alex Chamberlain has been a regular staple on the independent scene, developing a solid reputation over the years. His resume includes Ronin, Ring Warriors, Paragon Championship Wrestling, and let's not forget playing Captain America and Skeletor for Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling. Those who have watched him work know he has all the tools to be a star in a major company. But why hasn't he been scooped up yet? For the hard-working veteran, it comes down to timing.
In the past, Chamberlain can trace back to a handful of opportunities with WWE where he felt close to a deal. Then the decision-makers would be replaced by another regime. It was a vicious cycle that started during the early 2000s with Mike Bucci and Tommy Dreamer.
"I was doing the loops with Mike Bennett and Tommaso Ciampa and all of those guys. We were part of this little group of dudes. Tommaso went to OVW. Mike went to Ring of Honor. I was basically going to do loops to do WWE stuff. Then Mike [Bucci] got let go and decided not to come back when they tried to rehire him because he was done with wrestling at that point. It became a new start because you have to move in with another talent relations.
From there it was John Laurinaitis and Bill DeMott. Chamberlain went as far as to move to Florida, beginning a run as a Russian Aleksander Chekov teaming with Mikhail Ivanov as part of the Red Devil Fight Club. They gained some steam working WWE loops in the Southeast and beyond.
"Ring of Honor was going to bring the Russians in because Cornette really liked us. Then that didn't work out because at the time they were overloaded on tag teams. Then WWE looped there we were bringing in Ty Bailey. They were going to bring us in and then John lost his job. Ty got fired," he said.
"Then they brought in Canyon Ceman ..[Michael] Mikhail was very frustrated. ...I'm stubborn and thought I'm going to ride this out. I started back again with Canyon. It was actually on his first day, the Raw after WrestleMania down in [South Florida] when The Rock and Brock Lesnar came back...I remember meeting him...QT Marshall and me were the first independent contractors to do NXT. They had no wrestlers do NXT before. That was when FCW just changed over and didn't use indie guys. Me and QT Marshall were the first indie guys. FCW was really hesitant to use indie guys on the NXT show. They wanted to see what we can do and roll around with the guys. They saw we were capable and veterans and not hurt their talent."
The emerging star had DeMott in his corner, pulling for him to get a job and book him on the shows.
"Every time they wanted to book me in a match Hunter [Triple H] would always pull me from the match. It happened three different times. I was going to be on an NXT show and talk through an entire match with a dude. I was supposed to do Aiden English's debut. I was going to do Ryback's debut match. Every single time they are like, 'We're not going to do that. We've got to find a smaller guy.' That got frustrating," he said.
"I thought I wasn't' going to do NXT anymore. It's cool they bring me in, pay me to sit in the back. But I don't want to be sitting in the back. That was time number three. Then I did my WWE tryout right after. [Gerald] Brisco was like you nailed it. You got it. Then I never heard back from them."
Chamberlain heard rumblings WWE was going to ask for his services again in February before COVID. He found this out from a member of the office. The well-traveled wrestler has taken the series of unfortunate events in stride, viewing it as a blessing.
"I really love AEW. I love the environment there," Chamberlain, who appeared on a recent edition of AEW Dark, said. "Tony Khan is such a cool boss. You're learning from guys like Jake 'The Snake' Roberts, Arn Anderson...You're working with guys like Cody Rhodes, the Bucks, Kenny Omega, Scorpio Sky, Daniels, Frankie Kazarian, Jericho. The amount of knowledge you can learn from just hanging around in that locker room for an hour is unreal."
Alex's full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here.