Kyle O’Reilly Wants to Take WWE’s NXT Title Home at ‘TakeOver: In Your House’
Kyle O’Reilly spent much of his WWE career in a successful tag team and dominant faction The Undisputed Era. Then late last year the mat technician changed gears, flying solo in the rings of NXT.
The 34-year-old has since broken out individually through a personal rivalry and series of matches against former Undisputed Era stable mate Adam Cole. O’Reilly proved himself a viable main event caliber performer as a result.
However, the NXT championship continues to elude him. That may change come NXT TakeOver: In Your House when the superstar joins Cole, Pete Dunne, Johnny Gargano, and titleholder Karrion Kross in a wild fatal 5-way. Here O’Reilly opens up about earning WWE’s trust heading into the big match.
You’re in the first big run as a singles star in WWE. What’s the transition been like?
Kyle O’Reilly: It has certainly been challenging. I’ve had singles experience, but this is new for me coming to WWE and NXT. Those singles matches were few and far between. It has definitely put me into the deep end. I’ve grown and evolved because we all have those dreams of becoming a singles champion in WWE. I love tag team wrestling, and I think I’m a good tag team wrestler. But this is something new.
Adam Cole was the mouthpiece of The Undisputed Era. How are holding your own on the microphone?
Just trying to match the intensity of Adam Cole when he is delivering promos. For my money, he is one of the best in the business. He has been a huge inspiration to me being a top guy in NXT for as long as he has. Just the way he would deliver has been an inspiration. Being a vocal guy was never a strong point. But it’s new challenges. New opportunities. I am giving it my all.
Have you been given any particular direction to bring that emotion out?
There is trust put into us. They know nobody knows our characters as much as we do. I think they have faith we’re going to do justice to the storyline at hand. [Producers] give us a good sense of what they are looking for. So many genius guys calling the shots in NXT, you want to please everyone. At the same time, you also want to keep the integrity of the storyline at hand.
The Undisputed Era was such an important part of NXT for so long. Was there any apprehension when you were told they were breaking up the group?
To a degree, it was heartbreaking because we put so much into this group. Groups don’t last for very long in the wrestling business in WWE. So the fact the four of us were a faction for as long as we were and accomplished so many things. That was such an amazing ride as The Undisputed Era. Whether it was time or wasn’t to break up, these things happen. Who is to say The Undisputed Era won’t reunite? To break up makes the reunion that much sweeter.
Your feud with Adam Cole has certainly resonated. In February, you sold an attack from him so well people were genuinely concerned for your well-being.
It’s a testament to how things can take off. It was weird and also humbling to know so many people really cared and wanted the best for me coming out of the scenario. People were concerned and offered support, which was really cool to know so many people cared. It took off like wildfire.
Were any members of your family worried something bad really happened?
My sister. That was the first thing she saw was this rumor on Twitter before I’d even had the chance to give her a call and let her know I was okay. She called me in hysterics freaking out. That made me sad because here is someone who is family who sees something on Twitter and was concerned. I knew [social media’s speculation] came from a caring and genuine place. They were concerned. I can’t fault anyone for that.
NXT as a brand is unique with its own standalone events compared to Raw and SmackDown. Do you think there should be a point where NXT should just be represented on the regular pay-per-views?
I think NXT has done such a tremendous job making these TakeOver events so special. I feel like if you just put us on normal shows like Raw and SmackDown, NXT would lose its gusto, and it wouldn’t be as special. With that said, an NXT guy popping up at the Royal Rumble is cool. I can get behind an NXT title match on a WrestleMania would be cool. But it doesn’t have to happen because NXT is doing a tremendous job at standing out on its own as the best pro wrestling on television.
What’s the feeling like in the locker room given all the developments in the last year since the pandemic started?
During the early part of the pandemic, it was like the wild west. We didn’t know what was going to happen. The whole world over, not just the wrestling business it was a scary few months. The overall mentality at NXT hasn’t really changed. Everyone still is really supportive and wants the product to be as good as it possibly can be. We are like-minded in that we are hungry and want what is best for the product. It’s hard not to come to work and be motivated when you’re surrounded by these Hall of Famers and tremendous co-workers that deliver constantly.
Are you ready to get back on the road?
I think February of last year was really the last time I’d been on a plane. This is the longest in 16 years of being a wrestler that I haven’t traveled to different cities to perform. The nomad part of me wants to get that back on the road. I do like having a set routine and sleeping in my bed every night, but I think the sooner things get back to normal for wrestling the better.
This main event five-way TakeOver feels like all these stories coming together. How do you approach this match with so many moving parts?
I’ve never been a five-way, so it’s not without its challenges. How do you make it different? Having it for the top prize in NXT adds another layer to this. One thing I will say we all have in common is we want this to be a great match. We want to steal the show and deliver and have a classic. You have five guys who want to tear it up. It’s really an exciting matchup. I think it’s pretty difficult to predict what is going to happen.
WWE NXT TakeOver: In Your House, June 13, 8/7c, Pay-Per-View and Peacock
WWE NXT, Tuesdays, 8/7c, USA Network