After spending months away from the company, Lio Rush returned to WWE television on this week's NXT and defeated Oney Lorcan in an excellent match to earn a shot at the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. Rush had been a staple of Monday Night Raw in late 2018 through early 2019 as Bobby Lashley's hype man, but he was pulled from the show in mid-April and seemingly disappeared from the product for months. Triple H explained in a media conference call after the show that Rush's return was something that had been in the works for a while, and that he was thrilled with how he performed.
"I'm just really excited Lio Rush won," he said. "He's just a phenomenal, energetic, and money performer to me. [I'm] thrilled that we get to put him on the show and have him showcase what he does. He and Oney tore it up and that's what it's about."
Rush explained in an interview with Fightful in May that some of his issues with the company had to do with how he was being paid for merchandise and public appearances.
"My issue isn't with my on screen role," Rush said. "My issue is the fact that I haven't been on meet & greets with Bobby, haven't been getting paid for merchandise for us that has my catchphrases on them. (I) have been sent to live shows and TVs and forced to pay for my own rental for 5 days as well as hotel while not making enough money to do so. Walking around broke in the biggest sports entertainment industry that there is while having two kids and a wife to support."
There had also been reports of Rush refusing to "pay his dues" by carrying other wrestlers' bags during a European tour. He fought back against those accusations, saying he was concerned with his public perception.0comments
"It's not about race and it has never been, but public perception is important to me and when we have fans that travel all over the globe and watch us get off of buses and into hotels, the look of a black kid carrying waters and bags for other wrestlers is just not a good look, especially when I'm trying to portray myself as a superstar as well," Rush said.
He later described his locker room issues as a misunderstanding in an interview with Sports Illustrated. Prior to signing with WWE, Rush worked for promotions such as Ring of Honor, CZW and Maryland Championship Wrestling.