Lio Rush Reveals How Paul Heyman Helped Him As Bobby Lashley’s ‘Hype Man,’ Compared To Jimmy Hart Role
Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard
Lio Rush had an advocate helping him get ready for his WWE RAW debut.
Lio Rush recently appeared on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette and talked about how the idea to pair him with Bobby Lashley originally came up. At the time, Rush had been appearing on NXT and 205 Live, and he asked for some help with promos to ensure he was “TV ready” when he got called up. Lio said that an exchange with a former NXT writer caused him to start posting promos on his social media accounts, which in turn led to the RAW creative team taking notice.
“That came about because, that stemmed from me being in the [WWE Performance Center] and just wanting to be so ready for TV and asking, I believe his name was Joe Belcastro [Belcastro was an NXT writer until August 2020], I remember asking him to watch my promo during promo class and he said that he would. He was kinda texting while my promo was going on and I saw it in the corner of my eye. I had asked him if he watched my promo and he had said, ‘Yeah, it was great’ and I was just [thinking], ‘Motherf-cker, you didn’t watch it.’ It just lit such a fire underneath me. I was just asking him for some tips and he told me I wasn’t ready for TV and I wasn’t going to be ready for a while. It was so much going through my head, I was thinking, ‘why am I even signed?’ But, I took that moment to say, you know what? I think I am ready for TV and I’m going to show you that I’m ready for TV, so I started cutting promos on my phone every day,” Rush explained, “and I would release a promo every day on my Instagram and my Twitter and they started really catching fire.”
“I was doing it every day all up until me getting signed to 205. I got a call when I flew back home from 205 saying that I was needed for Monday Night RAW and to send my flight details. I was like, ‘What? I’m needed for RAW?’ and they wouldn’t tell me what I was doing. So of course, I’m backstage, when I get there, I’m panicking. I don’t know what’s going on,” Rush said.
Rush then explained how Paul Heyman finally explained what his role would be, comparing the “hype man” that Vince McMahon described to a similar role that “The Mouth Of The South” Jimmy Hart played. Rush said Heyman helped him find his voice, and the original promo with Lashley took direct cues from Paul.
“Paul Heyman had walked up to me and said, ‘Vince had saw one of your promos that one of the writers had shown them from your social media and he thought you were great and he wanted to pair you up with Bobby.’ I [thought] that’s so cool and I couldn’t believe that me taking the initiative to put out promos essentially landed me a job on RAW, and it was seen by Vince,” Rush explained. “Vince had pulled me into his office and said that I was going to be working with Bobby, and I didn’t know what it was going to be.
“He kept saying [the role was] like a hype man. That was the first time I — and I’m a WWE fan so, I’d never heard of a hype man. I said, ‘What is a hype man?’ He said, ‘Paul will talk to you about it.’ We went into the weight room of the stadium, and he was saying that I was essentially going to be Bobby’s manager, but in a way of kinda like Jimmy Hart,” he stated, “and it was going to be loud, wear obnoxious suits, and I was going to be that mouthpiece for Bobby. That was the most surreal day of my life. That original promo, that was Paul’s voice. Trying to like [get the right delivery and dialogue], that was all Paul. Him saying that ‘low rates, high reps’ thing, it just stuck out to me and I just kept using that.”
Lio Rush also spoke about his current relationship with Mark Henry and how the stigma that he was “cocky” in WWE hurt him; you can read his comments at this link.
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