Grayson Waller credits Nigel McGuinness with taking him to the next level in wrestling.
The Australian star has now become a permanent fixture on the SmackDown roster, with his talk show segment making an appearance nearly every other week. However, Waller was not always the confident and brash star that is seen on screen today.
Grayson Waller remembers his rookie days on the 205 Live roster where he was still developing into the star that fans love to hate in the present day. McGuinness was also an announcer on 205 Live at this point. Speaking with The Ringer’s Cheap Heat podcast, Waller revealed that it was McGuinness who taught him how to channel his confidence just like one of the greatest athletes of all time used to do:
“Coming to NXT, I put as much effort in what I do and say as I do the wrestling part. That’s what people don’t understand. They think it comes natural, which it does, I’m not going to say that I don’t have some advantages, but I put a lot of work into this. I watch other people go about this. I watch a lot of videos of people who are confident. One of the best pieces of advice I got was from Nigel McGuinness when he did commentary on 205. I was doing 205, and no one cared who I was. I was a legit no one.
Nigel pulled me aside and talked to me about Muhammad Ali. He said, ‘When Ali talks and fights, he knows he’s the best in the world, and it doesn’t matter who it is against. You don’t.’ That piece of advice stuck with me. ‘He’s right.’ There is part of me thinking I need to learn more, I need to improve more, I need to be coached more, all these things, but it was coming out in my performance. The moment Nigel said that, and I had full confidence in myself to perform, everything went to a different level,”
Waller continued by saying how lucky he felt to have McGuinness as someone he could talk to while on the developmental show. The Aussie star took full advantage of the fact that so few people on the brand knew about the previous career of the commentator:
“NXT, no one knew who Nigel was. There were two people: myself and Andre Chase. Nigel would sit backstage at NXT shows, and no one would go talk to him. Me and Andre Chase would go sit with him and pester him because we know Nigel. We know how good Nigel is. They thought he was a commentator. These dumb shotputters from Arizona State or whatever had no idea. Me and Andre, we basically got a seminar whenever we wanted. It was great having him around. He always had real advice. He wouldn’t mess around, he’s not faking me out, ‘Good job, buddy.’ He’s going to tell me how it is, that’s what I always enjoy.”
Grayson Waller Hoping For Marquee Match At WWE Elimination Chamber
Back at WWE Money in the Bank in London, John Cena declared that he wanted to see London host WrestleMania. Grayson Waller protested this and stated that Australia would be a better place. While the land down under has yet to host the show of shows, Perth will be the home to Elimination Chamber 2024. Waller will be hopeful that he will be competing on the card in front of his native fans.
H/t to Fightful.