Karrion Kross Looks Back At His First Year in NXT, Talks Injury Rehab

Karrion Kross has had an eventful first year in NXT, and he discussed his recovery from injury and more in a new interview with Fansided. You can check out the highlights below:

On his time out due to injury: “It was really hard. Even saying that, words elude me having to express how difficult that was. Psychologically more than anything because people may observe the short amount of time I’ve been here in WWE as like, ‘Wow, he rose to the top very quickly and got that title shot and won.’ What they don’t realize is if they’re not familiar with my history, I’ve been doing this for many years, so for me, as a human being, it wasn’t just a few months in the company. It was many, many years. Every single day, every single week training, studying tape, getting on the flights, missing weddings, inadvertently missing funerals, inadvertently missing the birth of my friends’ kids,” he continued. “I put everything into this. I am very proud to say in my soul, I am a professional wrestler and a sports-entertainer. It was psychologically and emotionally really devastating to have a freak accident injury like that in the most important match of my life. Just having to accept that’s what happened and there was nothing I could do about it and just moving forward through that was the most difficult thing.”

On finding inspiration for his injury rehab in Muhammad Ali: “I rehabbed [my shoulder] probably three to four times a day every single day. Muhammad Ali was a really big inspiration for me in a weird way through the recovery process. There was a famous picture of him boxing underwater. I started doing that to get my shoulder stronger. I would go into a pool, and I would get neck level at first before I could tread water and I would box underwater. Then, I would go into a deeper end with smaller weights like anywhere from one to five pounds and I would start boxing underwater with that. I just worked up to the heavy bag and obviously WWE medical put through a really rigorous program that helped with that.”

On getting advice from Finn Balor while recovering: “I showed up to TV the following Wednesday and we ran right into each other and we had a chat about it. We were blown away that it was such a close parallel to what happened and he was talking to me about what he went through physically, psychologically and some of the things to be wary of and mindful of in terms of recovering and certain types of changes, involuntarily, my body might be going through when I get back in the ring. He was super helpful and talking to other people in general that had the injury or something similar to it. I was like, ‘They’re still doing this, so this isn’t going to be something that’s going to alter my body in such a way where I can’t do this anymore.’”

On his first year in NXT: “It’s been awesome. In a strange way, I don’t know how to explain it, but I wouldn’t change anything. I really wouldn’t because, even through the injury, I’ve developed in ways that I wouldn’t do a good job expressing right now but I feel stronger mentally and physically than I did a year ago through his whole entire experience. I learn something new every single week from work and I like that. I’m someone that is seeking knowledge all the time. That’s just part of how I am. I need to be stimulated from learning new things and I get that from NXT. I get that from working with this company and the experience of working here has been amazing. It’s completely surpassed all of my expectations of what I thought this was going to be like since I was a little kid.”

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