Exclusive: Scotty 2 Hotty Reveals Why He Left WWE
The releases took a toll
Following a five-year run as a coach at the WWE Performance Center, Scott Garland - aka Scotty 2 Hotty - was granted his release from WWE in November of 2021.
Since then, Garland has returned to independent wrestling and he recently faced Joey Janela at GCW's 'Die For This' event on New Year's Day.
Speaking with Cultaholic Wrestling's Tom Campbell on Desert Island Graps about why he decided to leave WWE, Garland admitted the recent cuts the company has made to the talent roster started to take a toll on him.
"I think it started during the pandemic when everything shut down. Then the releases started happening. I think the releases took their toll on me as a coach and as a person. We're always encouraged to build relationships with the talent, get them to trust you and create the relationships. And then you're sitting home on a Friday...all of a sudden your phone starts lighting up and Twitter is blowing up with all of these releases of people that you were just sitting in class three hours before. So that was kind of the beginning of it," Garland revealed.
NXT also underwent major changes in 2021 as the Tuesday night series reverted back to being a purely developmental show with Vince McMahon and Bruce Prichard providing the overall vision for the brand.
Being a coach at the Performance Center, Scotty 2 Hotty was heavily involved in developmental and he revealed WWE moving away from the black-and-gold-brand version of NXT felt "almost like a death."
"Everybody just took real pride in it. We'd go into a SummerSlam Weekend or a WrestleMania Weekend and the TakeOvers would be the best part of the weekend. It was a special thing there. We started to lose that. We had such a special thing with that [version of] NXT that it was almost like a death. Like going through a death, you know. I don't want to compare it to somebody dying, but it was like we lost this huge, special thing that we all worked so hard to have. They're still working hard, I don't want to take away from what they're doing now. They're still working hard to make it work," he continued.
One of the talents released by WWE over the last two years was Matt Cardona, who has since reinvented himself as a heel in Game Changer Wrestling, and Garland noted a conversation with the former GCW World Champion sparked his interest in working on the independent wrestling scene again.
"I was seeing guys like Matt Cardona out there doing independent shows and looking like he was having the time of his life. He was one of the people I reached out to. He goes 'I'm having the best year of my life and having the most fun I've ever had. This is what these guys are making and this is what I think you could make.' It was kind of a perfect storm," he added.
As part of returning to independent wrestling, Garland will tour the United States and the United Kingdom and he admitted he's "so excited" about his plans for 2022.
"This time feels a lot different and it feels a lot more special to me. I'm older. I appreciate it more. I'm so excited about this. I'm like just dying to get back out there and have fun again."
Check out Scotty 2 Hotty's full appearance on Desert Island Graps here.