Photos courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment
By James Viscardi
In the Marvel Universe, not every super hero has a sidekick—but if they did, they’d probably want him to be like Alex Riley.
Alex Riley has been on a rocket to the top of World Wrestling Entertainment since debuting barely a year ago. Rising through the ranks as the assistant to former WWE Champion The Miz, Riley has recently begun taking matters into his own hands, stepping into the limelight.
Marvel.com caught up with Riley to discuss his career so far, which Marvel super heroes he wouldn’t mind assisting, and going head to head against his former mentor this Sunday, live during the Capitol Punishment pay-per-view.
|Alex Riley surveys the crowd|
Marvel.com: You’ve broken out as a major superstar very quickly. What’s it like coming out on stage and getting that great of a fan reaction so early on in your career?
Alex Riley: Oh my god, it’s a dream come true. You can never expect it—well you can expect it, but you’re not ever sure it’s going to happen. You’re dealing with twenty thousand people out there that may or may not react and your job is based on the fact that they do react. You need them to react. So you do the best you can and to try to be as close to yourself as possible and to put on a great performance and hope at the end of the day that they buy into what you’re doing. So the fact that they are behind me this quickly is amazing. And I can’t wait to give ‘em more, to be honest, because I think once you crack through, it gets easier and easier. So I’m excited, I think it’s amazing and it’s been a dream come true and the last three weeks have been awesome for me.
Marvel.com: Initially, as the Miz’s assistant, the both of you were clearly against the crowd, but now that you’ve split, you have tremendous fan support. Is it easier for you to play up a crowd or against them?
Alex Riley: I just be me. I feel like if I start to try to play a part, I’ll fail. I don’t think I’d do as well. When The Miz and I are out there, what you see [is] really how I feel. We have gotten very close but it’s tough when some guy starts insulting you on national TV and you have your friends and family calling back home saying “Why don’t you stand up to this guy?” And I get the opportunity to now. He crossed the line, and he took it so far that I had to stand up for myself. Now it’s hit a breaking point where we’re in a match this Sunday.
|Alex Riley confronts The Miz|
Marvel.com: So going into Sunday’s match at Capitol Punishment, what does it mean for you?
Alex Riley: I get to prove that I’m not a guy that just needs to carry a bag to have a WWE career; and he can prove, if it happens this way, if he does end up winning, that maybe he didn’t need me—who knows? That night and the last three weeks have been very real, and what you see out there is two guys that truly feel the way they do and I think that’s why the crowd reacted the way they did. It’s because they knew this was not just a performance, that there was a lot of truth to what was going on.
Marvel.com: Is this someplace you would have pictured yourself a year ago?
Alex Riley: I’ve been so fortunate since I’ve gotten into this company after NXT. There [are] a lot of guys who have done that show and a lot of guys that have not had the career in 10 years that I’ve had in the last year. I’ve been able to share the ring with The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Roddy Piper and John Cena. They’re the guys that have been on top and have done it well for so long and I’m standing next to them in the ring on Monday Night Raw. So I feel incredibly fortunate and I think so far I’ve had a good career and I expect it to keep going up at a real fast pace.
|Alex Riley in action|
Marvel.com: Now when you were with The Miz is there anything that he said to you that really stuck out as good advice?
Alex Riley: He used to always talk about being smart all the time. When you see it on TV, you see a bunch of guys that are beating the crap out of each other and talking trash to each other, doing it night in and night out, week after week. You don’t really see how smart you have to be to be a part of this company for a long time. He’s such a professional and I learned so much just by watching him prepare for Monday Night Raw or prepare for a show in Miami that’s untelevised. To take the same amount of enthusiasm with him everyday to work, no matter where he is, it’s inspiring. He’s always reminded me to just be smart and to evaluate every situation, because every situation you’re put in [with] the WWE is different. You can be on the East Coast one week and the West Coast the next week. The crowd’s different, the environment’s different, and who you’re working with is different. So you have to be smart and you have to be very attentive to what a crowd wants to see. Maybe tonight they don’t want to see me and The Miz headlock each other and work around for 10 minutes. Maybe they want to see us just kick the crap out of each other and you need to know that and you need to be always evaluating the different situations and I think he does that very well, if not better than anybody in the company.
Marvel.com: You were the Miz’s assistant for quite some time before he pushed you too far, but if the opportunity arose to assist a Marvel hero are there any that stand out to you as potentially great bosses?
Alex Riley: Who would I want to carry the brief case for?
Alex Riley: [Laughs] I love Wolverine, man, and I think he’s awesome. Actually tonight I’m going to see [“X-Men: First Class”] with my girlfriend. [“X-Men Origins: Wolverine] was awesome. I think he’s been such a great character for so long and I’ll carry his briefcase anytime.
Marvel.com: What about someone like Iron Man?
Alex Riley: Oh, Iron Man’s great too! The dude has a briefcase that turns into a suit. I get to carry that? Sign me up! Not to mention his savvy—there’s a lot to learn from that guy. That’d be a hell of a briefcase to carry. It’s heavy, but yeah, that’d be awesome too, to be his assistant. I’d be Ms. Potts, right?
Marvel.com: Something along those lines.
Alex Riley: Or Mr. Potts. [Laughs]See Alex Riley take on The Miz this Sunday on pay-per-view at Capitol Punishment! You can also watch Alex every week on Monday Night Raw at 9:00 PM EST and learn more about him at WWE.com!