WWE’s Damian Priest: Triple H Said I Could Keep My ROH Name But He Saw Something Better In Me

Punishment Martinez in WWE could have been a reality

When indie stars jump to WWE, it’s usually a given that they’ll be given a new identity. There are exceptions to the rule such as Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, and Damian Priest almost joined that list.

Known for his work in ROH as Punishment Martinez, Priest told ViBe & Wrestling that he could have carried this persona over to NXT:

“In my professional career, whether it was in the indies, ROH, or NJPW, I always had a character who in this case was Punishment Martínez. But it was always something artificial, it was not me. They are things that I like, like horror movies and rock music, but it is not who I am,” Priest explained. “When I started in NXT, Triple H told me that I could continue being Punishment Martínez but that he saw someone better in me and wanted me to show my personality. I had no problem changing.

“It was a different life and I could start from zero. We agreed on the name, and I told him that I loved rock music, archers, so many things in life that we decided to put together. And it was very easy and natural. Now, I’m not acting. It’s me,” he continued. “The Damian Priest that you see on television is the same that you can see on the street. It is the same person, and it made it easier for me to relax and be me, and the fans realised and they love me more because they know that it is real. That I am like this.”

Priest earlier spoke of his journey from ROH and the Indies to WWE, saying:

“I had several try outs in 2015 and at that time they told me that there was nothing for me. I started working with Ring of Honor. I was there for a year and when my contract ran out, I contacted WWE again, and again, they told me that there was nothing for me,” Priest said. “And then, I thought that maybe WWE was not for me, so I decided to continue with my career in Ring of Honor or New Japan or wherever I liked wrestling. I wrestle another year in ROH and when I was going to sign a new deal, WWE contacted me to go with them.

“Obviously, I told ROH that I was not going to renew and that I wanted to leave. And from then on, it was very fast, since it was at the beginning of September when they offered me the contract. I signed it at the beginning of October, and I moved to Florida to work at the Performance Center. I was very nervous because I was entering an unknown world. I did know wrestling, but not how WWE worked. The talent here is incredible and I didn’t know if I could be at the level as others. I asked myself a lot of questions and I kept on trying to improve so I could get a chance for a first match in NXT. That same night, Triple H and Shawn Michaels told me that now we were going to do business and that they were going to give me the opportunity. That it was only up to me.”

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Written by Jack Atkins

Scripts, news, and features writer. Anything with words, basically.