The NXT Interview: Darren Young
Despite a respectable win-loss record of 3-2 and plenty of "it" factor, NXT Rookie Darren Young landed at the bottom of the Pros' Poll. With a Rookie Ranking of No. 8, the South Beach party boy is determined to work his way back into the running to become WWE's next breakout star and receive a pay-per-view championship match.
But will Young find his way to the top on his own or will he need the assistance of his WWE Pro, CM Punk, and the Straight Edge Society? WWE.com talked to the Rookie while he was at home in Miami, contemplating how he'll return to make an impact on WWE NXT.
WWE.com: You've had a few days to think about the results of the Pros' Poll. What are your thoughts now about ranking 8th?
YOUNG: When I was out there in front of the WWE Universe, I was quite surprised when I was ranked No. 8 out of all the Rookies. All of the other Rookies, along with me, are talented. But I hope the WWE Universe realizes my situation, that I haven't been myself lately. I'm kind of torn between wanting to be saved by Punk and just doing my own thing, being the South Beach party boy. Which will get me to the top? I was shocked, though, when I found out I was No. 8 among the Pros.
WWE.com: How do you plan to prove to the WWE Pros that you should move up in the Rookie rankings?
YOUNG: I think it's about time for just myself -- Darren Young -- to create my own buzz, you know, so in the next few weeks, who knows what's going to happen? It's up in the air.
I've talked to other WWE Pros, just to get their opinion on the entire situation. They pretty much say that the decision is up to me, that if I want to succeed and be a WWE Superstar, I might have to turn Straight Edge. But a part of me wants to do my own thing. I might just have to learn the hard way. That may mean not turning Straight Edge, continuing to party, promoting parties, and eventually entertaining the WWE Universe my own way.
Right now I'm limited. I haven't been able to really get in front of the WWE Universe and do my own thing. Because my mentor is Punk, and I come out to his music, the Darren Young energy isn't really there.
WWE.com: How has your relationship with your Pro, CM Punk, and The Straight Edge Society been lately?
YOUNG: Well, a couple weeks ago, I was attacked by Luke Gallows. I didn't see it coming. I have teamed with Punk and we won, but that was due to him hitting the Go To Sleep on Matt Hardy.
I'm not too sure about our relationship. He hasn't really given me good, solid advice. He hasn't really answered phone calls, e-mails or texts. He's pretty much avoided me, so I've kind of been doing my own thing. He does his own thing. We've won matches because of him, but not because he has shown me the right way to do things in the ring.
WWE.com: Would you trade Punk in for another WWE Pro? If so, who would you choose?
YOUNG: If I could trade him in for another WWE Pro, I think I would trade him for R-Truth. He seems upbeat, has a great vibe and that's what I'm all about. We would click pretty well because I'm the party guy from Miami, and he's the Truth. The mix with Darren Young and R-Truth would have been off the hook.
WWE.com: We know the Pros' Poll isn't solely based on win-loss records. But you're 3-2, and Daniel Bryan, who's ranked No. 1, is 0-6. Why do you think he is on top?
YOUNG: I think it's because he has more experience. I don't think his WWE Pro, The Miz, is a big fan of Daniel. Both of those guys have a lot of issues, also. Other WWE Pros like Daniel because he has experience. He's almost like the underdog. He's the smallest guy in WWE NXT. The other WWE Pros see hope in Daniel Bryan.
WWE.com: A poll is running on WWE.com asking the WWE Universe where they think the Rookies should be ranked. Where do you think the WWE Universe will rank you? (VOTE NOW)
YOUNG: I wish the WWE Universe would rank me wherever they feel in their heart I stand. To be No. 1, you need that confidence, and I feel that No. 1 would have been a great spot for me.
Since Daniel Bryan is No. 1 and I'm No. 8, why not have No. 1 take on No. 8 in the next couple weeks? Or even sooner than that? Let's really see who deserves to be No. 1. Daniel Bryan is very talented, but I think I have an edge on him.
WWE.com: Who do you want to face next?
YOUNG: Daniel Bryan, absolutely, because I have to prove myself. Then I'd like to get in the ring with a WWE Pro to really test myself. I feel I can learn 10 times more from being in the ring with someone more experienced. That's pretty much how I think it should roll.
WWE.com: Which WWE Pro would you like to face?
YOUNG: The WWE Pro I would like to face, to be quite honest, is my own Pro, CM Punk. I'd like to take on my mentor. That hasn't been done yet. I think having a one-on-one contest with my Pro would really put me to the test. I would even make it a stipulation match. If I lost to my mentor, I would shave my head. And we would see if that would work. There could be opportunities there.
I'm young and I feel like I have a bright future in this business. Even though I'm No. 8 in the Rookie Rankings, I just feel like I have a bright future and I can't give up, I can't quit. This is all I got. I think taking on CM Punk would be the ultimate test.
WWE.com: Who is your biggest competition on WWE NXT?
YOUNG: My biggest competition would be David Otunga. He has a lot of publicity. He is married to Jennifer Hudson. He is the special guest host of Raw. I feel like he's my biggest competition. We both have the "it" factor. Outside the ring, he's a good guy, but inside I'm looking for a third match with him. We've met in the ring twice and we're 1 and 1. Let's have a tiebreaker. I'm in a situation where I'm just calling out everyone, because like they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. That's the old time saying that my mom always instilled in me. I've got to make some moves right now.
WWE.com: Finally, we have to ask because the WWE Universe wants to know, what's the trick to getting your hair to stand up like that?
YOUNG: It's pretty much natural; nothing but natural juices and berries that keep my hair up. It's just natural. That's pretty much it. Keep it simple. Juices and berries.
WWE.com: Do you have any final messages for the WWE Universe?
YOUNG: You can tell the WWE Universe that right now I am hanging out in my home in Miami, just chilling, relaxing out, thinking of a game plan, you know? I think the future looks pretty bright for Darren Young, and it's time for business to pick up. Ya dig?