Cedric Alexander on His Big Night & The Hurt Business' Plans for WWE Dominance
You’d be hard-pressed to find a bad Cedric Alexander match. The former WWE cruiserweight champion is known as one of the best high-flyers, shining against the likes of top talent including AJ Styles. But despite having the tools, the superstar has yet to put them all together and has had trouble reaching the next level.
Well, all that could change Tuesday, November 3, when the 31-year-old, recruited by The Hurt Business, teams up alongside Shelton Benjamin for a match against the red brand’s tag team champions, The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods), on WWE Raw. The Hurt Business, originally consisting of MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Benjamin, has been a dominant force since forming earlier this year.
TVInsider gets down to business with Alexander ahead of the encounter.
When you’re not used on TV or have a clear direction of the future, what keeps you motivated?
Cedric Alexander: For the down part of my career, it was the Main Event shows and house shows . When I wasn’t on TV regularly or in a storyline, I was still able to go out and do my thing and show I’m still awesome. That was a lifesaver when I wasn’t doing much on TV.
You joining The Hurt Business had been building for weeks. How far in advance did you know that this was where the story was going?
This is something that had been discussed in multiple variations for a while. I remember mentioning it to Bobby close to a year ago. It was an off-handed conversation. I remember talking before me and Ricochet was even involved against them. We thought it would be really awesome. It has been in the works for some time, but it wasn’t how we expected it to go.
How would you describe the group’s dynamic?
It’s like being in a group with my best friends. You would look at it as I’m the newest guy and not having as lengthy a relationship like the three of them have. But I’ve known Shelton for about 10 years since I started wrestling. I’ve known Bobby for about three or four. I’ve known MVP the same amount of time. They’ve given me advice on the side, so I’ve had these interactions before. When the group fully formed, it felt natural to me.
Representation on TV is such a big conversation, whether it’s sexual orientation, gender or race. How do you think The Hurt Business fits into this?
When we first started, people might say, “Oh, this is another Nation of Domination.” I feel like the group is a positive spin on strong, Black men. At the same time, we don't want to spread the idea that race is the driving force. It just so happens we are four strong, Black men who believe in themselves. That’s a great thing to have on TV right now, especially when racial injustice is still prevalent and things are looked at so negatively. When you have four men with a positive goal in mind to succeed and be the best they can be, why not go for it?
You have been working recently with a new group in Retribution led by someone you know very well, Mustafa Ali. What has it been like to see him involved in this way?
I’m more than happy for him. With our history back on 205 Live and the brotherhood and how we grew. I’m excited just to be back in the ring with him. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to ever since we had that match at WrestleMania all those years ago. I’m really excited for people to see what he can really do. He has always been great on the mic and great on 205 Live when people may have not been watching as much. You see on SmackDown what he did on that platform and getting the spotlight he deserved. Now that he has a bigger platform leading one of the biggest factions on Raw, I’m ready for us to tear it up like we did back then. We have a bigger stage to show the world we’re not just one-trick ponies. We can tell stories. We can be compelling. We can have matches that draw people in and take it into this company for another 10, 15 years.
Those who follow you on Twitter know how actively you voice opinions on various issues. As a public figure, how do you look at social media?
I kind of ignore certain things on social media. If something really gets my attention of course I’m going to go for it. With me, it comes down to management. You have to filter a lot of things. I know there are things that are negative for the sake of being negative. There are things that are positive, and you can help spread that positive message. I like to filter as much as humanly possible. If something catches my attention, I'm not afraid to say what’s right. WWE has been very supportive of that. They have our back in every single way. They’ve stood behind me with the whole Black Lives Matter movement. It’s refreshing for me to see the company so understanding and will stand behind its athletes.
Your match with Shelton Benjamin is interesting because he's also one of the more underrated talent. You’re facing The New Day, who have been on quite a journey themselves. What can we expect?
I’m excited to show what I can do against New Day. It’s humbling as a fan because I believe this is the first time I’ve been in the ring with Kofi. He was one of the guys I’ve looked up to for so long. Next to me on the other side is Shelton, who I looked up to as well. When I look at it not as a profession but as a fan, I see three guys I’ve piqued their brains about how to be successful in this business and apply that. I’m especially excited for Kofi though and to beat him up.
Do you see the group adding more members?
There have been talks and thoughts of adding more members to the group. Classified information of course. There is always room in The Hurt Business for more hurt.
Where do you want to see the group go from here?
Right now the main goal is to have everyone draped in gold. Me and Shelton going after the Raw tag team titles starting with a win over New Day in a non-title match. Long-term we want to take over WWE. I know Bobby is busy defending the United States championship. Maybe the United States championship needs to be transferred to someone else in the group with Bobby wanting a bigger prize.
With all the success of The Hurt Business, do you feel a renewed motivation when it comes to wrestling and how you approach it?
One-hundred percent. Turning heel and being a bad guy, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.I felt like being the guy who shook hands and kissed babies was stale. There were a lot of frustrations I couldn’t let out because I had to be the "nice guy.’" Now that I'm able to let loose and feel more comfortable. My shoulders don’t feel tight anymore. I feel it’s easier to let things fly.
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