Ariya Daivari was on vacation, sitting poolside in Las Vegas when he received the phone call from WWE that he was being released, but it was all ironic serendipity as the 205 Live star has never had any trouble betting on himself.
Daivari recently took some time to speak with WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo about receiving that phone call from Canyon Ceman on June 25, as well as what he has in store for his future in professional wrestling. His call came not long after his phone’s screen got cracked by a dumbbell while working out. He first got wind that his longtime friend and tag partner, Tony Nese was released, saw he missed a call from that “203” Connecticut area code, and put the pieces together. Daivari took it in stride, went back poolside and got a couple of drinks.
“It’s been cool,” Ariya said to how everything’s been after over a week removed from the news. “Everyone’s been super supportive. So many friends and people who have reached out that I didn’t think were gonna reach out and stuff like that, so it’s cool man. I’m excited for the next chapter and see what’s next.”
“So funny enough my girlfriend said, ‘I never thought that if this day ever came that when you told me what happened that you’d sound so cool and chill about it and whatever,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, there is this internal pressure I think all wrestlers put on themselves,’ in any company, not just WWE. We put a lot of internal pressure on ourselves,” he explained, “whether it’s dieting super hard, never missing workouts, making sure you have the best matches possible in wrestling.
“We have a saying, ‘you’re only as good as your last match,’ so if your last match you didn’t feel like you did a good job, your next one really really matters to you. Deep down so there’s this internal pressure that you put on yourself that for the time being, gets to go away cause don’t get me wrong,” he noted, “once my 90 days is up and I’m back to work all that pressure comes back, you know, but for the next 90 days I kind of get to chill, so it was a little bit of relief.”
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With some major names such as Samoa Joe (who has since re-joined NXT) and The IIconics being let go in the previous weeks, Daivari did say there was always that thought as to anybody could be next, but did also think he and Nese may be safe considering how much they were working on a consistent basis.
“Me and Tony Nese were on like literally every episode of 205 Live like the entire pandemic even beforehand so we were working every single week and we were working with a lot new guys they were bringing us,” he said. “Again on one hand, like I said, when bigger names got let go, [so the thought was] ‘Oh it could be anybody.’ On the other hand, we were working every week so I didn’t think I’d fall into that category, but I don’t know. I was always told by more veteran wrestlers the average WWE career is like five to seven years unless you’re a big star.”
Ariya reflects a lot on working under the unique umbrella of 205 Live, including being part of the various eras the brand went through and how the lay of the land was structured. While many aspects changed, two constants were always him and Tony.
“Tagging with Tony was a lot of fun because in real life we’re really good friends and we actually became friends when 205 Live and the whole cruiserweight division started. If people remember, me, Drew [Gulak] and Tony were like this trio they put together,” he noted, speaking about how they were designated as the inaugural heels for the brand that worked in six-man tags quite often.
“They were already friends from the indies,” Daivari said of Nese and Gulak. “I didn’t really know them but that’s when all three of us became really tight and real friends in real life and then me and Tony kind of tagged off and on for almost five years. But then around this last stretch during the pandemic, it started getting more regular and we always brought it up. We just said, ‘Hey, we really enjoyed tagging together and I think we could be a good fit for a tag team.’ So I thought we were having really good tag matches. All the NXT coaches and producers telling us how much they liked as a tag team.
“We were hoping it was going to continue on into an NXT run, or a RAW run, a SmackDown run as a tag team cause again, it is WWE. They may not think a lot of the cruiserweight division or smaller guys,” he noted, “but I thought as I tag team, I said, ‘I think we’re a very formidable team together,’ so we can wrestle whether it’s Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode or the Street Profits or whoever. Any tag team, not just NXT, not just 205, but any tag team in WWE, I think me and Tony [would do good] in that situations.”
I was really enjoying what @TonyNese and I were doing as a tag team on 205. Every single time, we worked as hard as possible, despite the show not being highly positioned. That's what professionals do. And that's what we'll continue to do! https://t.co/zCgwr1oUJK
— Ari Daivari (@AriyaDaivari) June 25, 2021
Davairi went on to explain that he still has strong plans to keep that alliance cooking post-WWE.
“To be honest, one thing that I really want to put out there is just continuing to tag team with Tony Nese. I feel like we were on the cusp of greatness, you know? We were ready to go full boar with it and unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out so we definitely, me and Tony have kind of kept our eye on the tag team scene a lot more. Obviously, there’s really good teams in every company right now so hopefully, that’s something that me and Tony can do,” Daivari explained, “is step into the tag team light a little bit bigger together.
“We’re communicating every day and getting stuff figured out so hopefully, that’ll come to fruition soon,” he added. Daivari’s 90-day non-compete clause comes to a close on September 23, but he’ll be staying ring-ready before then and also plans to dabble in the livestreaming on Twitch as well.
“I do plan on starting a Twitch stream soon where I want to kind of tell my whole WWE story, little by little, episode by episode,” he said. “Keep watching, you’ll be seeing me very soon.”
Plenty more to come from this exclusive interview as Ariya talks about pitching his engaging ‘Daivari Dinero’ persona to Vince McMahon, the early days of 205 Live and why it’s important for new talent to watch more TV matches. Watch the full video interview at the top of this post!