EXCLUSIVE: Grayson Waller is the unapologetic Aussie who is talking his way to the top of WWE
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Grayson Waller is a man who has certainly rubbed some people the wrong way in the WWE - but has never swayed from being authentically himself.
That means being brash, outspoken, and a quintessential Aussie.
He’s one of the marquee names on WWE’s developmental brand NXT and is set to be a featured part of WrestleMania weekend.
He’s already been in engrossing storylines with wrestling legends such as Shawn Michaels and AJ Styles and is set to take on Raw superstar Johnny Gargano at NXT Stand & Deliver.
It’s a spot that Waller believes he’s more than earned.
He told SPORTbible: “I know how good I am and I think it’s taken some time for people to see that and see my worth.
“I’m at that level now where I should be in the ring with Shawn Michaels, I should be in the ring with AJ Styles.
“That was me showing the world that I belong - no one at any stage was wondering why Shawn was in the ring with me, instead they were like ‘wow Shawn could come out of retirement’.”
Being one of the headline names in NXT seems to come naturally for the young Australian, but it’s a position he’s had to force his way into.
The developmental brand had a relaunch with a new direction 18 months ago as ‘2.0’.
It was a rebranding that Waller wasn’t initially meant to be part of.
He said: “If you actually look at the relaunch I wasn’t meant to be such a prominent part of it.
“I think I was an afterthought. I don’t think they knew what they had, knew who I was. I was a daredevil, I was going to skydive, I was a boxer, I was all of these things.”
However, a couple of months later as a traditional WarGames match was taking place against NXT’s stars of the past and the new generation, another member was needed for the ‘2.0’ team.
Grayson recalled: “All of a sudden they were looking for a fourth for 2.0.
“I think I went in and everyone thought I was the fourth best member of the four-person team and I think a year and a half later I think there are arguments about who the number one guy in that team is. I think that says a lot about what I’ve done in just over 12 months.
“All of a sudden when you talk about Bron [Breakker], Melo [Hayes], you talk about Grayson - we’re all on the same wavelength.”
It’d be naive to believe it was just Waller’s wrestling ability that pushed him up the card, with his mouth doing plenty of the work as well.
He says: “I think anyone that knows me personally knows that this is who I am.
“I’m not afraid to push buttons, walk the line, say what I need to say - and I think that’s what is needed in wrestling today.
“For me, I’m not happy to be in NXT - I have bigger dreams.
“My frustration with NXT right now is that I think people are happy to be there, they’re happy to put NXT superstar in their Instagram bio but they’re not actually willing to go out and do what it takes to be one.
“I think I live this life I live the superstar life. Every time you see me on social media or you see me in person, this is who I am.”
It’s an attitude that has helped Waller stand out on television, almost as much as being the unapologetic Aussie that he is.
It’s not common on American television that you see an Australian who as unapologetically themselves as Grayson.
From the accent, to the slang, to even doing a shoey… yeah that one certainly had people shocked - Waller is representing Australians in wrestling in a big way.
He said: “We’re big energy, we talk quick, the accent is kind of crazy too.
I think when I was growing up what I saw on American TV was Australians being stupid, it was just very simple.
“For me, I think I am myself and I am what a real Australian is - and I want that to come out on television.
“I was the first person to get the word ‘ranga’ on WWE television which is a huge thing for me. I’ve got the shoey, I’m saying things like ‘lad’ all the time, I talk how I talk in real life and I think people respond well to that.”
It’s something that the 33-year-old prides himself on and wants to showcase on the grandest stage of them all - WrestleMania.
He adds: “I’m very proud that every time I walk out I’m representing my country because I want people at home to see themselves in me on television.
“I’m very proud I get to be as Australian as possible and one day I’m going to do a shoey at WrestleMania and it’s going to go down in Australian history.”
The absolute scenes.
NXT Stand & Deliver and WrestleMania are streaming live on Binge.