PJ Black, also known as Justin Gabriel in WWE, signed an exclusive deal with Ring of Honor a month ago. The former WWE Tag Team Champion spoke to CBS Los Angeles about going with ROH despite having an offer from WWE, among other topics.
Black was asked if there was any persuasion from WWE to have him on board. Black says that didn’t happen because after leaving WWE he was out for a year with the base jumping injury and was nowhere to be seen, and that didn’t instigate enough interest from the company.
“Oh, no pressure at all, because they kind of just remembered me from what I was doing when I was there. And while they did like me and stuff like that, they don’t know the stuff that I’m doing right now. I’ll give you an example, Drew McIntyre, he went back to the indies and just reinvented himself. He did fantastic, and they had to have him back. I was out for a year or two, three years due to a base jumping injury, so I feel like in wrestling, out of sight, out of mind.”
“So they kind of forgot about me, and while they did make a decent offer, it wasn’t strong enough for them and they didn’t force anything on it. Plus, I live in downtown LA, so Survivor Series was in Staples Center, and that’s a block away from my place. So I just walked over one day just to say hi to everyone, and that’s where it all happened. I ran into Vince McMahon, ran into [Triple H], and we started talking. It was never like they kind of reached out first. It was kind of like I was just being at the right place at the right time.”
Black also says that he never told WWE officials that he had other offers on the table. He thinks this might have been the reason WWE didn’t try too much to sign him.
Black added that the money with WWE was decent but not what he expected. Plus, the busy schedule and experience with creative put him off.
The important thing for Black is to show his character to the world, and the freedom with the ROH deal gives him exactly what he wanted.
“A lot of people don’t know who PJ Black is. I’ve been PJ Black for 15 years. Most people just know Justin Gabriel because he was on TV for seven or eight years. It’s very important for me to show the personality and the character of PJ Black, which is completely different to Justin Gabriel. And they give me freedom and that was the main thing. It wasn’t so much booking and stories that they were gonna give me, but they give me freedom to do whatever I want and that’s how you get yourself over. If people tell you what to do, what to say, how long your match should go, then you don’t have a lot of freedom. So, there’s no way for you to get over. For some guys, there is, but for a lot of guys it’s kind of like being handcuffed in a way.”