Ahead of his new EP coming out next week, I talked with NJPW's Lio Rush about his new music, his injury status and his pro wrestling career.
Rush has had an interesting last two years in the wrestling business. After three years with WWE, he was released due to budget cuts back in April 2020. Following his release, he began working with several wrestling promotions including GCW, NJPW, MLW, and AAA.
Then in May 2021, Rush made his AEW debut at Double or Nothing where he took the spot of the joker in the Casino Battle Royale. It was later revealed that he had signed a contract with both NJPW and AEW, but his stint in AEW didn't last long and his contract expired this past February after just a few months.
Rush then returned to the indies for DEFY Wrestling, GCW, NJPW Strong and PWG. Then in this year's PWG Battle of Los Angeles tournament, he dislocated his shoulder while wrestling Buddy Matthews.
Rush still has not returned to in-ring competition, but he did make a surprise return at May's NJPW Capital Collision where he cut a promo, informing fans that he plans on changing the landscape of the entire junior heavyweight division when he's cleared.
After BOLA, an MRI revealed that Rush tore three muscles in his shoulder. That followed a previous injury he sustained at Double or Nothing in which he separated his AC joint.
"I never thought I would be in this position. I know that sometimes as a professional athlete that these things can happen. They are very real." Rush said.
"I was so shocked. I remember being extremely angry when it happened. I think when I separated my AC joint, my right shoulder, back in my first appearance in AEW, I was confused more than anything. I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't know what happened. That was my first injury ever. So the first injury was a lot of confusion. I was sad, depressed a lot. And then I think with this injury, with it happening so fast and back-to-back, I think was angry. I think those were the biggest differences between the two injuries."
Rush explained what exactly happened that night at PWG and how the second injury occurred.
"My shoulder went into my armpit and my arm was stuck. So I rolled to my back and I put my wrist kinda in-between my leg and I pulled and I popped my shoulder back. Once I got to the hospital, I was informed that in the process, I tore some muscles and possibly some ligaments. So I got an MRI and it showed that I tore tree different muscles in my shoulder. I had to get surgery, so that was a lot to deal with. I immediately snapped into the mode of being angry and being so disappointed to it kinda being familiar because of my other shoulder injury. So it was like, 'Okay, I know what to do.'"
Rush said that while it may sound cliche, he plans to come back "stronger, faster and healthier than ever before."
"As far as a return, the doctor did say that I am expecting a 6-to-9 month recovery period which was very hard to hear. I got hurt back in January. I just had my surgery not too long ago. I have some time, but I am healing a lot quicker than I thought I would. My personal trainer and my surgeon are saying that I am healing a lot quicker, probably from muscle memory from being an athlete my entire life. I am definitely healing pretty quickly. I am in no rush to come back although I miss it a lot. I do want to take my time, I want to be healthy, I want to be ready mentally."
Not Found 2
Rush's new EP, Not Found 2, comes out on June 24th on various streaming platforms, consists of five new tracks, and is an extension of his first EP, September 2021's Not Found.
Rush adds that Not Found 2 will also include the same vulnerability as Not Found 1.
"I really like who I am becoming as an artist. I think it is important for me to be open and to be vulnerable with my fanbase."
Rush describes the EP as having an inspirational and positive message and that it's both fun and real.