Bronson Reed Details WWE Dark Matches, Meeting Vince McMahon & Shock Release
Reed was released by WWE in August
Bronson Reed has opened up on being asked to do dark matches ahead of a rumoured call up to the WWE main roster, as well as his shock at being released from the promotion.
Reed was one of a handful of names surprisingly let go from NXT and 205 Live by WWE in early August, with Reed having been reportedly set for a move to either Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown.
The former NXT North American Champion has now detailed his experience working dark matches on SmackDown and Raw, including a meeting with Vince McMahon.
Speaking on his JONAHDROME podcast, he said: "I got asked to come do a dark match for Vince McMahon at SmackDown. I wasn't 100% sure why, but all the rumblings and talk backstage was that, 'they are going to call you up.' When I arrived backstage at SmackDown, I won't name shame anyone, but some of the boys were like, 'Why are you doing a dark match when they can just log onto Peacock and see you are a current champion in NXT.'
"Overall, the experience was great. My only feedback was that I needed to smile more. I was like, 'If that's all I need to do, everything else is good, I can definitely smile more.'
"All of a sudden, over the weekend that week, they had me come back to Raw. I had a meeting with Vince McMahon. The first dark match I had, I got pulled aside by John Laurinaitis and he said, 'Come to Vince's office. Vince wants to meet you and have a chat.' I waited outside of Vince's office, went inside, and he was a lovely guy.
"He's a little scary. When you meet these sort of people...I'm a little bit more used to it now that I've met some of the best of the business, so it's not so much of a thing where I get starstruck. It's just, 'Hey, this is the big boss.' I met him, spoke to him about Australian wrestling, and it was a good chat. I thought everything went well and that was that.
"Again, no real feedback, Johnny Ace was backstage. Drew said to me, 'let's wait to see what Vince says.' We waited for Vince, Raw is going on, he's a very busy man. He said, 'Good work,' and that was it. I thought I did a pretty good job. I didn't get told anything. Never got told that my work wasn't good. All it was, was, 'you need to smile more.' In my Main Event match, I made sure to smile. Laurinaitis mentioned about my tattoo, that maybe I needed to cover it up, which I think it pretty silly."
Having been told his reign with the NXT North American Title was coming to an end, giving more credence to speculation he was receiving a call-up, Reed then received a phone call he never expected on Friday 6 August.
He continued: "I'm sitting at home, watching SmackDown. I always try to watch the product. I try to watch as much wrestling as possible; WWE, AEW, IMPACT, New Japan, current Indies. I was watching SmackDown, I get a call on my phone and see it's Connecticut.
"I answer the phone very confidently and very happy. It is John Laurinaitis, here I am expecting, 'Come to Raw on Monday' or 'Next week, come to SmackDown.' Instead, he goes, 'Bronson, I just need to let you know, we are exercising our right to release you from your WWE contract.'
"I was gobsmacked. I made sure to ask, 'Why?' He went on to say, 'No, it's just a no at this time. Keep working and the door is always open.'
"I have no clue why they would release me other than it has something to do with look. I 100% think it has to do with body image or the fact that I was an Indie wrestler and had been wrestling for fourteen years and they are going in this new direction of hiring young talent that are athletes outside of wrestling."