Byron Saxton first signed with WWE in 2007 with every intention of becoming a WWE Superstar one day. But by the time he was voted off NXT Redemption (back when the Black and Gold Brand was still a competition show), WWE had soured on the idea of him as a competitor. Saxton explained in an interview with Corey Graves on the latest After The Bell that WWE issued him an ultimatum — either he'd become an on-screen character through announcing, interviewing or commentary, or he'd be fired.
"This was a time where there was a lot of transitioning happening from FCW to NXT," Saxton recalled (h/t WrestlingNews.co). "They had a new coaching staff come in. Bill Demott came back into the fold. I gathered from the outside looking in that the new administration came in and said who do we have on our roster here? How long have you been here? What's their trajectory? That ended up translating into a phone call I received from talent relations. I was told if I would like to continue my professional wrestling career with this company, that it may not be possible. But, if you would like to pursue something else behind the scenes, we may have an opportunity.
"I was trying to be a smart forward-thinking businessman," he continued. "I'm not opposed to learning a new skill. I said it's a risk. I don't know where this road is going to take me. But, if the company is basically telling me I'm going to be fired, if I want to continue being a wrestler, let me see what this other option is."
Saxton started his commentary run in May 2012 when the new version of NXT launched. He worked for the brand up until December 2015, and was pulling double-duty while working for the Raw brand beginning in February 2014. He currently works as a color commentator for the Raw brand alongside Tom Phillips and Samoa Joe.
WWE's next pay-per-view, SummerSlam, takes place on Aug. 23. Here's the card for the show as of now:
- WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
- WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt
- Raw Women's Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Asuka (if Asuka beats Bayley on this week's Raw)
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza
- United States Championship: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. TBD
- Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins