Ex-WWE Stars Believe They Made The Right Decision to Leave WWE

James Drake and Zack Gibson parted ways with WWE last year and since then, they have been on an absolute tear in many promotions. In fact, the duo believe they made the right decision to leave WWE.

While speaking to Tom Campbell of Cultaholic Wrestling, James Drake explained that they decided to leave after tidying up their storyline at Stand & Deliver, feeling it was time to move on. Although WWE was experiencing success, it wasn’t the right place for them, as they were primarily used to help train and mentor newer talent from NXT 2.0.

While they appreciated the trust WWE placed in them to prepare young wrestlers for the main roster, they felt their careers were stagnant, which led to their decision to leave.

“We decided just before Stand & Deliver last year that we’ll tidy up the storyline at Stand & Deliver because at that point everything’s done. Then we would go and talk to the office and have conversations about us wanting to leave. We did the match and both myself and Zack were on the ramp looking back at the ring. At that point, myself anyway, I was genuinely ready to move on now… As a whole, WWE are doing great business and it’s a great place to be. It wasn’t a great place for us. We were being optimised to help the younger talent get ready because there was an influx of brand new wrestlers from 2.0 that really didn’t know anything about wrestling.



We used to own a wrestling school so we could actually articulate things as well. It was a nice compliment that they could see that in us and they trusted us to get people essentially prepared for a main roster run. On the flip side, we were kind of locked in a situation where we couldn’t progress and we could see that. So we got to a point where we’re still grizzled, young, but we’re only young for so long and it was one of those times where it was now or never, essentially. If we don’t do this now, when is it happening?”

Zack Gibson added that their choice to leave wasn’t made lightly; it resulted from several factors. He said that while WWE’s stock was rising, their personal stock was declining. As they considered their future, they realized their growth was limited, so they took action. Now, six months later, their stock is on the rise again and they believe they made the right decision by leaving WWE.

“It was a big decision to make, it wasn’t something that was made overnight. There was no one big thing that made us do it. It was more of a combination of a lot of things that came together…The easiest way that we have found to describe it is in a nutshell, WWE’s stock is going up and up and up but our personal stock at the time was going down. Regardless of where their stock was going, obviously we are our own business. We looked at ourselves and noticed that our stock was going down so we did something about it. Now, six months out, our stock is going up again so we made the right decision.”

The Grizzled Young Veterans also had solid match on AEW Collision last month but they haven’t signed deal with AEW. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for the dynamic duo.

Do you also believe The Grizzled Young Veterans made the right call by leaving WWE? Sound off in the comments section below!

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet, a professional wrestling fan for over 20+ years, found his passion during the Monday Night Wars. With expertise honed over decades and a broad spectrum of interests including TV, movies, anime, novels, and music, he offers insightful analysis and coverage. Respected in the industry, Subhojeet keeps fans informed and engaged with his knowledge and perspective.


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