CazXL [fka Big Cass in WWE] has spoken with WrestleTalk about his storied return to the ring.
After being released from WWE in 2018, Caz bounced around the Indies until an incident in 2019 and a hard battle with addiction led to him taking a break from the business. Since then Caz has turned his life around, and made a surprise appearance for Lariato Pro Wrestling last month.
On his return, Caz said:
"It was just a long, long journey, man. I had been in and out of rehab a few times and it just wasn’t clicking, and then I went back to rehab last January and everything started clicking at that point. I embraced the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous which I beforehand thought was silly, and I really, really started focusing on my recovery and myself, and magically when you do that you just start to get happier. It’s as if it’s this thing that millions of people had done successfully all over the world, but for me, I was like, ‘No that’s not for me’, but when I finally embraced the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, everything started going good mentally, I was a happy person for the first time in a really long time."
During this time, Caz wasn't sure if his future was in wrestling, and contemplated quitting the business altogether:
“I wasn’t sure about wrestling. I kinda thought maybe that wasn’t for me anymore. About four months ago, I woke up with a clear head and was like, I really love wrestling, it is like my first love and my passion. I was like, ‘I gotta go back’. I could have let my addiction stop me from doing what I really want to do, I could’ve taken the easy road and done something a lot easier and less fulfilling, but instead I decided I was gonna come back to wrestling.
“Right then and there I started taking my gym sessions very, very seriously and yeah the end product ended up looking good. I’m somebody that’s been very open about what they’ve gone through, been very open about their addiction and their mental health. I feel like there’s a stigma around addiction where people don’t like to admit it or they tell themselves that they’re not an addict, and I feel like, more on a human being side, you know performance-wise I’m gonna go out there and be myself, be a turned-up version of myself and kick ass, and I really think that I have the ability to get over and do some things in this business as being myself.
“But in terms of a human being aspect, I wanna show people that it can be done. That no matter how far you get down, and I’ve been really, really down before and there are some things that people know and the public has seen. There’s also some things that I’m not ready to talk about that the public hasn’t seen. But I got to really, really low points, and I really wanna show people that if you love something and you’re passionate about it, it doesn’t matter how low you get, just get up every morning and fight and fight and fight. Because you can accomplish what you wanna accomplish if you believe in yourself. The only person in this world that I need to believe in me for me to succeed, is me.”
Cass finished by saying, “So if you truly do believe in yourself, and you’re going through anything and you feel like the world is against you and you’re not gonna go anywhere and you’re feeling somewhat hopeless, it’s possible to get back and to accomplish some great things.
“And that’s kind of what I want to do, is to show people the human side of me and that it is possible to accomplish some great things no matter how low you’ve gotten, no matter what mistakes you’ve made. But the first step to that is reaching out for help, and that was something that took me a really long time to do, and I totally understand why people don’t do it, but the first step is reaching out for help and not keeping it to yourself, because that’s a recipe for disaster and I know that first hand.”