During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Drew Gulak commented on the #SpeakingOut movement, his brief exit from WWE, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:

On working with Daniel Bryan: “When he took his time off from wrestling because of an injury, he had to sit out from something he’d done for basically his entire adult life. And he watched the Cruiserweight Classic [in 2016], which was his first time getting to see me wrestle in-person. I think that woke something up inside him. Like, ‘Man, this guy is doing something I wish I was doing right now. I’d love to wrestle him.’ I think that’s a real feeling that he had, and that stuck with him. But ever since then, I was part of the cruiserweight division, and we were kept separate from the rest of the main roster at the time. Flash forward to seven months ago, I am on the SmackDown roster, so we had the chance to finally have a match. I remember when I got announced on Twitter as having been drafted to SmackDown, he actually quoted it and made a tweet along the lines of, ‘Man, I’d love to wrestle Drew.’ For some reason, it just never happened. I was thrown out there with Braun Strowman, I was thrown out there with Otis, I wrestled Mustafa Ali. Finally, it took until I ran my mouth backstage and said that I saw some holes in Bryan’s game. We were able to have our match at Elimination Chamber and kick things off from there.”

On his brief exit from WWE: “I actually never missed a TV. I never missed anything. My hiatus was just three or four days because the contract lapsed. It had nothing to do with anything else, just typical business that comes along with [a contract] … I was surprised how much false information was put out there. At the same time, it’s a good thing that people were talking. There was nothing malicious intended behind any of it. The fact that I’m being reported on is a good thing. It just goes to show that people respect me as a performer.”

On what wrestling can do to make things safer following the #SpeakingOut allegations: “It’s tough. When you talk about independent companies, there is no governing body, there is no company that can crack down corporately or enforce standards. It has to come down to people being good people. That’s tricky, because when you’re talking about independent wrestling, there are too many people, and you can’t police that. But I will say the fans can do an important job by speaking out and supporting what they actually like, and that should come down to how people are treated, including the fans as well as the performers. You’re going to see now, because of the ‘#SpeakingOut’ movement, a lot of companies changing. Fan bases are making their voices heard, that’s the most important thing. And it also comes down to just being a good person, being respectful, and communicating. I always stress to my students to communicate. That can be hard when you’re being told something is right or wrong, and that it could have implications on your career. That’s very, very tricky to navigate those waters, especially for someone who is younger. My heart breaks for everybody suffering.”

On his match with AJ Styles: “I approach every opportunity I get to compete on television with a similar mind state. Not only am I going to wrestle my ass off, but I have a very deep well of wrestling maneuvers and techniques and different styles. I know that I have a wealth of knowledge within me, and there will be stuff I break out that people have never seen before. That’s how I seize the moment. Number one, I bust my ass and I try to tear it up. Number two, I try to break out something new, exciting, and different. Hopefully people go, ‘I’ve never seen that before. Maybe wrestling can be like this,’ and hopefully that opens someone’s mind about wrestling.”
Source - EWN