Lio Rush was the latest guest on Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia, and the WWE star spoke about his now-infamous Tweet poking fun at Emma [Tenille Dashwood] being fired by WWE.
Rush said he never meant it to cause harm, but realized how big of a mistake he made after it got so much attention. He went on to explain that he sought advice from Paige, who dealt with negative criticism in her own personal life, and says he did try to reach out to Dashwood and apologize:
“It hit me so fast and hard. I was sitting in a Waffle House when I [tweeted that out] and I didn’t even mean it in the slightest way to be hurtful or anything. I remember just being so entertained with what Asuka was doing, and her saying ‘nobody’s ready’ and I saw the two and honestly it was so stupid. At the time, people tried to tell me as soon as it went up, I remember getting text messages like ‘hey, I think you should take that down’ and I didn’t really see the negative in it at all. I even left it up when somebody told me to take it down. I was like ‘no, it should be fine. I didn’t mean it in a negative way like I’m bashing her.’ Then I started seeing hundreds of comments, thousands of comments of people just raining down on me, and I was like ‘I messed up. I messed up really bad.’
I felt so bad, and I reached out to Emma, and at first I had mixed feelings about it. Ultimately I realized that I messed up, and this was such a sensitive moment, such a real moment, and it was new to me because I had never really seen WWE tweet anything out like that, like ‘we’re releasing a Superstar’. That’s different. I just wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t aware of the situation, aware of how real the situation was, and there was just so much going through my head, because I believe that same day Darren Young had [been released]. This is a crazy thing; when I ran away from home—this was maybe one in the morning—I remember catching a flight out of Baltimore to Miami, Florida. I was in my pajamas, I looked like crap, and Darren Young was on that same flight, and I was telling him what was happening to me and what I was going through, and I kind of connected with him and he told me to keep my head up. So when that happened, I wasn’t trying to make fun of people that were getting released, like Darren Young, man, I connected with him in such a way, I felt horrible.
It was a lot going through my head, I ultimately tried to reach out to Emma, and I didn’t get a response. I remember she tweeted out like a [broken heart emoji], and then it really blew up. I was like ‘ahh, this is so bad.’ I started getting really depressed and I started thinking about disappearing. I remember reaching out to Paige because of the situation she went through, and everybody saying such negative comments about her, just saying the most hateful things you could possibly think of. I remember feeling like I don’t want to be here anymore, and it was all from a stupid tweet.
I reached out to [Paige] over Twitter. She didn’t see it, but I saw her at the [WWE] Performance Center, it was before she was about to make her comeback. I got a chance to talk to her, and she was talking about some of the things she went through, how she dealt with it, and I even asked her if she could please reach out to Emma for me, and let her know I didn’t mean anything hurtful. Everything just got blown up and it got really bad. I don’t know [if Emma got his message].”
Rush also talked about the perception that he’s an arrogant or cocky person, and he explained that he feels like he’s being defensive and standing up for himself.
“Most definitely. I don’t want to say that has been the story of my life, but ever since I started wrestling professionally. I’ve always had to stick up for myself; I’m such a passionate person about what I’m doing, what I believe in, and I’ve always been so outspoken and having to stick up for myself, it’s like in a sense I almost have to. I’m 22 years old [then]—I’m 24 now—but that’s such a sensitive topic for me because I feel like me being the person that I am and how I carry myself, the way that I think has definitely led people to misreading me in thinking that I’m arrogant or cocky. I feel like I have to be this way or I’ll just get ran over or stepped on, not only for my age, but because it’s being shorter—that’s a real thing. Also being a young African-American male, I’m always going to be fighting an uphill battle, so I have to have that chip on my shoulder to give off [that vibe] like ‘hey, I might be shorter than you, but I’m a grown man and you have to take me seriously.’”
Check out the full episode with Lio Rush below: