He debuted for TNA in 2003 and wrestled there until signing with WWE in February 2005. Kazarian honed his craft at Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE’s developmental territory at the time. By July he worked his way up to the main roster and began appearing on television. But his tenure would be short-lived, and by mid-August he was gone.
“With WWE, that was a situation where I wasn’t mature enough as a wrestler and as a person to be there in that big of a company, as efficient of a company as WWE was,” he told me.
The following July he returned to TNA where he went on a remarkable eight-year run that included a host of X Division championships, and capturing tag team gold with Daniels on two occasions.
He remained with Dixie Carter’s promotion until earlier this year.
“With TNA it was a matter I’d been there a long time,” he said of parting ways with the company. “They were in the process of a lot of cost cutting measures and it just kind of coincided with me probably needing to get out of there and them needing to cut costs. So, it kind of worked out for both parties.”
Kazarian had been feeling under utilized and wanted a change of pace, but the decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one.
In hind sight, he said he’s 100 percent confident in the decision. And why shouldn’t he be? The 37-year-old has flourished on the independent scene and in Ring of Honor of late.
And while Vince McMahon recently stated the WWE locker room isn’t as passionate as it once was, Kazarian says everyone on the ROH roster — a blend of veterans and fresh-faced wrestlers — wants to grab the proverbial brass ring.
“It’s a very hungry locker room. A lot of guys are looking for knowledge, looking to seek knowledge in a lot of veterans. (And a lot of us) are willing to help out and give it,” he said. “First and foremost you have a locker room full of incredible wrestlers. That’s why Ring of Honor puts on the best pure wrestling in the world.”
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.