Making Lemonade: Levi Cooper Has A Positive Outlook On His Future, Looks To Revisit His Amateur Wrestling Roots

Levi Cooper is making the most of the opportunities in front of him now that he’s a free agent in the world of professional wrestling.

Levi Cooper recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard and spoke about his WWE release and future plans. Cooper, best known to fans as “Tucker” in WWE, was released by WWE in April and talked about his approach to free agency now that his 90-day non-compete clause has run out. Cooper said he’s “first and foremost” excited to be his own boss and see what’s next, noting that he’s starting over again but he’s looking at it as building a foundation for himself.

“I do want to keep wrestling. Okay, in a perfect world, what does that look like for me? What are my new goals? What are the things that I wanna try to do? Just for me, that’s kind of always, the journey is the thing that’s most important to me, it’s not always what I’m trying to attain necessarily, just understanding that setting my goals is, you know, the way that I get better incrementally. And so I try to think about, as cliche as it is, about my new wrestling character,” he noted, “as being like a house. You know, okay, I’m starting from scratch again, I’m gonna build a house. What’s the foundation of that house? For me, that foundation is amateur wrestling, it’s the reason why I became a pro wrestler in the first place.

“And I feel like it’s the thing that’s given me my mentality and the thing that I use most often in my life, the lessons I learned from amateur wrestling. I apply [that] to several avenues of my life, and so the first thing I’m going to do is just strip away some of the facade. That’s why I’m going by my name, Levi Cooper,” he stated. “You could look me up, you could see the things that I did before I got to WWE. I put my food on the table and I paid for my college by beating people up. And I wanna get back to doing that and make sure that everyone who watches me understands the things that I’m capable of doing physically.”

When Cooper learned of his release, he Tweeted out a photo of himself with the caption “Making lemonade.” While it was no doubt an unfortunate situation to be in, some appreciated his self-deprecating humor or glass-half-full reply. In addition to going back to his roots, he was asked if he would also explore using some humor or positivity in his work, and Cooper said he’s been taking a more philosophical approach and wants to put out some good energy

“Yes definitely, I’ve gotten pretty big into stoic philosophy, it’s kind of the way that I try to live my life, essentially. Marcus Aurelius, he was like the father of stoicism, he kinda talks about living in accordance with nature, he talks about it over and over and over again in his themes. And so trying to figure out what that looks like for me and understanding that when I put positivity and when I put happiness out into the world, those are the things that will be reciprocated to me. And I have a pretty powerful energy, I’ve learned about myself, in that like the emotions that I’m displaying outwardly, whether those are positive or negative,” Cooper explained, “can influence the people around me in a space and I don’t take that for granted. I understand, especially now as I’ve gotten a little bit older and more mature, that I have to be responsible for making sure and really keying in on the things I’m putting out into the world because I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I’ve done it forever.

“And sometimes I can get the boo-boo face or I can get really upset and be trying to check myself and make sure that ultimately the things I’m trying to put out into the world are positive, happy things,” he explained, “and really trying to be deliberate about that is certainly something I’m gonna try to do and continue to do. DDPYoga is something that has helped me a lot, just kind of the meditative aspect, sitting down at some point in the morning and taking a few moments to breathe, to stretch, to kind of listen to your body and really get in touch with that. Those are all things that I feel like have really helped me get to where I am now. And those are things I feel like I need to put out into the world and help other people kind of experience those same self-care things, just understanding that you have to fill up your cup before you can kind of pour that water out into other people’s spaces.”

Related: Tucker Thanks Everyone Who Made His WWE Experience Better, Expresses Gratitude For His Opportunities

In regards to his in-ring future, Cooper said he’s aiming to wrestle on the indies for about six months to a year so he can work on his presentation a bit more. He explained how he wants to tie everything together and said that he has a chance to be the performer he sees himself as, based in wrestling and less talk, more action.

“I know where I want to start my foundation out and I have a couple ideas as someone who is very calm and very zen and understands that as soon as it’s time for [that peace] to go away, then that’s when it’s time for violence. That’s kinda going to be the initial thing for me, just base amateur wrestler and then a force of nature, if you will. That kind of shift that nature is capable of undergoing, being this calm, beautiful, relaxing thing that makes you feel those types of emotions and then [snaps fingers] flip the switch and it rolls in and invokes fear. That’s going to be what I’m looking to do. I don’t need to be intense and angry, I don’t need to bring the noise all that often,” Cooper said, “but when I do, you know that it’s going to be real serious, not going to be joking around anymore, no. It’s going to be time to put people on their asses and time to hit people, time to put it on and get back to things that made me who I am.

“I became a Division 1 All-American wrestler because of the work that I put in, because of the way that I’m able to systematically use my hands to break down other human beings, and I feel like I haven’t had the opportunity to show those things over the last year or 18 months in the way that I’d like to present them. So going forward, that’s the thing that excites me the most,” he stated. “It gets me out of bed in the morning. Now I’m in control of my destiny and if I was going to place a bet on somebody, I’d certainly place that bet on me. It’s time to get it on.”

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