After being released from WWE due to “budget cuts” during the pandemic, did Karrion Kross have any apprehension about returning to The Fed, especially after having his first run on the main roster thoroughly botched by Vince McMahon and his Gladiator-inspired idea? Or was the former Killer ready to test his mettle on wrestling’s grandest stage once more, especially after he didn’t immediately latch on with AEW following his release, thanks to the new leadership direction helmed by Paul “Triple H” Levesque?

Fortunately, Kross was asked this very question and more by Ryan Satin on his Out of Character podcast and let it be known once and for all that he wasn’t concerned about returning to WWE because he was confident in his ability to handle himself under pressure.

“I wasn’t apprehensive at all,” Kross said via Fightful. “99% of your success in this industry comes down to your ability to compose yourself under stress and pressure. I knew, coming back, what I felt I should say. I felt better with myself in terms of feeling confident to shoot down an idea or a theme or a project that I knew wouldn’t work. On top of that, the NXT run that they gave me, it was a murder run. They literally had me clean out everybody and everything. Complete clean kills on everybody. I had no reason to believe that anything would become weird or not work out or something like that. This is the one thing they’re asking me to do that I’m not totally 100% on; how foolish would it look, the one time they asked me to do this thing, if I said no? All of that was in my head at the time.”

Kross then turned his attention to Triple H, the man who booked him for his initial NXT run, and then took over booking RAW and Smackdown for Mr. McMahon. After running through a murder’s row, as he put it, in NXT, Kross and Scarlett knew they had to trust “everyone’s favorite boss,” PapaH.

“Coming back, I didn’t have any of those things to be worried about,” Kross said. “Out there, outside of WWE, financially, my wife and I were good and we were having fun and working on different projects. We’ve always loved working for Hunter. He’s like the easiest boss that I’ve ever had in terms of being accessible to discuss ideas with. On the flip side, he may not tell you this, but excellence is expected. He has a high standard for all of his talents to meet. He’s easy to talk to and everyone’s favorite boss, we all know that he expects us to bring it. That brings out the best version of all of us and is one of the main reasons people like to work with him. When we have a show, he’s out there at ringside with everybody and doing everything. We’re very lucky to have that.”

Has Kross been booked as well in WWE as in NXT? No, while things aren’t nearly as bad as his first run on RAW – seriously, what was the deal with the Gladiator gimmick? – Kross has been firmly stuck in the midcard a little over six months into his second main roster run, with his feud with Rey Mysterio iced out for a program with Santos Escobar and no clear path to WrestleMania 39. Still, for Kross, after seeing what his life could look like both in that first run and on the indies, it’s hard not to be appreciative of the opportunity presented to himself and his wife.

Live and breathe sports?

🚨 Get viral graphics, memes, rumors and trending sports news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Karrion Kross thinks Triple H should lean into his act with Scarlett.

Elsewhere in his interview with Satin, Karrion Kross was asked about his partnership with real-life wife Scarlett, and the former NXT Champion described how their relationship is unlike any other on RAW, SmackDown, or in the WWE Universe, period.

“Right from the very beginning, I looked at the functionality of how managers typically work in wrestling,” Kross said. “One thing, before we got started in NXT, was I wanted to avoid accidentally creating a character to stand next to Karrion Kross that felt replaceable. Some managers, sometimes, when somebody is watching something, ‘You know, if that manager wasn’t standing next to a particular talent, then I don’t think it would make a difference or maybe the talent would be better off or maybe the talent is overly dependent on the manager.’ I wanted to create a synchronicity between the two characters. She understood that and was right on track with it. These characters work together. This type of energy that they feed off of. We were working on that for a while, in different ways. On the independents, we discovered that we like a lot of the same films and we were able to put that together. I wanted this character to feel important, the character Scarlett. Sometimes, her and I almost think of Scarlett and Kross as a tag team instead of a wrestler and manager. With that notion and attention behind developing that, it’s why it comes off the way it does.”

During Kross’ first run on the main roster, Mr. McMahon made the controversial decision to nix Scarlett in favor of making the former NXT Champion go solo, and, to his credit, the act really didn’t work as well, especially since he ran through the duo’s opening routine by himself, even though it’s based around synchronized movements between the two. While some will argue that the act still isn’t working up to its full potential, with the duo locked into long-term deals in WWE, there’s still time to put it all together and make the tag team work under the watchful eye of Triple H.