Ever since his WWE release in June of 2018, Big Cass, now known as CaZXL, has been in the headlines for largely negative reasons. For one, the circumstances around his WWE return run between April and June were rather sketchy and there were multiple incidents that were talked about that led to his release.
After his release as well, negative news would still follow him. He got out of shape, had a seizure during a show and featured in a one-off for ROH that was anything but well-received. It was only in the second half of 2019 where Big Cass began to speak up. He did speak to Booker T after his WWE release in 2018, however, and it was clear that he was very mature in the way he handled things.
“It was the right decision to get rid of me at that point in time – not to say I won’t be back – but at that point in time they definitely made the right decision for them. To be honest with you, looking at it they made the right decision for me. Everyone makes mistakes, but when you make that many mistakes in that short of a period of time then you lose people’s trust and you’re not reliable anymore.Yeah, I would have, [fired myself]. I definitely would have fired myself. If I was in Vince McMahon’s position, I would have fired myself for sure, one-hundred percent.”
This was the first step for Big Cass in realizing his mistakes. However, that was still during his 90-day no-compete clause period, which meant that he had a very long journey to go. This journey would see him make a return to the ring, but he looked worse than ever. It was clear that something was not right and in 2019 when shooting a video for DDP Yoga, Big Cass revealed that he had suffered through severe anxiety and depression, even during his run with WWE.
It came as a surprise for him because everything in his life at the time should have made him as a person happy. He had his dream job, he was featured on television week in and week out and he had a great partner in Carmella. However, if you’ve battled with depression, then you know that the surrounding circumstances simply may not be enough to make you happy.
Depression can be subconscious and inherent and for the millions who suffer from it every day, it’s a struggle to get out of bed and go on with their lives. However, Cass didn’t have an option. He was a part of the largest wrestling company in the world and he had all sorts of responsibilities—to his employers, his fans and his peers. So he got up every day and went on, but he revealed that during his time with NXT, his level of depression and anxiety had gone up.
And this is where the struggles and issues continued to mount. He had to walk around the locker room with a straight face and make it seem as though he was happy and everything was good, but inside, he felt the depression and he felt the sorrow. In an incredibly in-depth interview with Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Cass opened up about his depression during his time with WWE.
“I was dealing with depression and anxiety while having to walk around locker rooms and pretend like everything was okay, and put on a face like, ‘Oh, I’m very happy,” but I wasn’t happy. I really should’ve spoken up. I should’ve gone and sought out help way earlier than I did because it just led to an absolute downfall of me, my career, and William Patrick Morrissey III as a human being. I really should’ve just grew a set of balls and just went and got help. And I didn’t do that.”
He even shockingly revealed that during the peak of his depression, he was drinking a handle of Tito’s vodka every single day. It was a shocking insight into the depths that his life had gone into, but the reason he is being so open about it is that he wants to personally help end the stigma of mental health, particularly in the wrestling business.
The industry has always had to showcase a very ‘macho’ appearance and it needs people like Big Cass and Mauro Ranallo, who tirelessly advocates for mental well-being. Big Cass found a friend who took him under his wing and ever since then has been sober. It wasn’t an easy journey and it’s still an ongoing struggle for Big Cass, but there has to be some positivity in knowing that he has opened up about his issues to the world and has only gotten positive feedback.
We want to wish CaZXL nothing but the very best in his independent career and we are almost certain that he will eventually achieve his objective of returning to WWE and hopefully even making it to the mountaintop. CaZXL has all it takes and perhaps needs to refine himself in the independent scene the way many performers have before returning.
Everybody deserves a second chance and Cass, regardless of all the issues he had in WWE, all the health issues—both physically and mentally, has proven to have an iron will and we have no doubt that he will make it back to the big time someday.