James Ellsworth recently joined Chris Jericho as a guest on his Talk Is Jericho podcast. Featured below are some of the highlights from the interview.
On being squashed by Braun Strowman on RAW, resurfacing on SmackDown Live and his original plans for SummerSlam: “After the Strowman thing, that was July 25, 2016, so a couple of weeks later, I get an email, ‘hey, there may be an idea for you for SummerSlam. I’m like, ‘SummerSlam?’ and he’s like, ‘yeah! It’s the Barclays Center and you can drive there from Baltimore. From Baltimore to Barclays is three hours. So I’m like, ‘cool’ and I’m thinking that I’m going to be a part of SummerSlam. The Friday before SummerSlam, I get an email, ‘hey, creative change – we don’t have anything for you for SummerSlam. Hopefully, we’ll call you soon.’ I found out what happened months after that what SummerSlam was supposed to be. When Heath Slater, remember Heath Slater, he didn’t get drafted to RAW or SmackDown? He was a free agent. He was trying to get a contract out of both. The idea was he was supposed to come out at SummerSlam demanding [from] Daniel Bryan, ‘I want a contract’ and Bryan’s trying to make it easy for him, ‘alright, I’ll give you a SmackDown contract – the only thing you have to do is beat this guy!’ and it was me! And the idea was I was supposed to go over and win the contract! But what happened was Heath Slater ended up getting babyface reactions before then. He was getting over as a babyface in that angle, so they didn’t want to do that.”
On botching the Styles Clash and A.J. Styles saving his life: “In practice, he’s hitting me with the Styles Clash and it’s a dangerous maneuver. I’ve never talked about this, I think. It’s easy, yes, it’s easy. In practice, he hit me with it fine. He picks me up for that, man, and, at first, I’m fine. And then, I just freak out! ‘What’s he doing? What’s going on?’ And then, he saves my life. Like, he made sure I didn’t [get hurt].
“From day one in wrestling school, ‘tuck your chin, tuck your chin, tuck your chin’ and we did it in practice. It’s easy! AJ even tells you, ‘you do nothing. I pick you up. You don’t move.'” Ellsworth said, “like, AJ, the way he explains it to you it sounds so easy, ‘dude, you don’t do anything. Just don’t move.’ And it is the easiest thing to take. So the lesson to be learned is ‘you can’t be scared, man.’ You can’t be scared because it’ll mess you up.’ I don’t know [how AJ saved the day]! Whatever he did, I think he might have put a knee down first.”
On getting the Styles Clash unbanned in WWE: “I’m the one that got in unbanned in the WWE because of the reputation of it and some guys have gotten hurt, so they banned it. I was working with AJ right when he came in. I was like, ‘is this banned or not?’ It was kind of unsaid, so I thought, ‘I’ll start having him use it and just not call it that.’ Yeah, [Styles Clash is a cool move] and so easy! ‘We just won’t call it the Styles Clash.’ And then, he used it a few times. I went to Vince [McMahon] one night and I said, ‘hey, you know that move AJ used yesterday,’ I think, ‘at WrestleMania? It’s kind of like a piledriver, but he falls forward?’ ‘Yeah, that’s a great move.’ ‘He can use it at the finish tonight, add another thing in his arsenal. It’s cool. It’s an easy bump to take.’ ‘Let’s do it.’ And the secret is I never called it the Styles Clash because that was the taboo word. If I said, ‘he’s got this move called the Styles Clash…’ ‘Nope!’ ‘He [has] got this move where he piledrivers you on your face.’ ‘I love it.’ And that’s kind of how it came into fruition.”
Check out the complete episode of Talk Is Jericho featuring the James Ellsworth interview at Podbay.fm.