Devotees of the NXT Black & Gold Era under Triple H are intimately familiar with Karrion Kross. The two-time NXT Champion was one of the hottest up-and-comers in 2020 and 2021. However, his elevation to the main roster never took off under Vince McMahon’s creative direction. The WWE then released him and his valet/real-life wife Scarlett Bordeaux from their contracts in November 2021.
On last week’s Friday Night SmackDown, the third under Triple H as the new Head of Creative for the company, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their triumphant return to WWE. It was a whirlwind return, and two WWE legends shared stories this week about just how quickly the whole comeback took shape.
Karrion Kross WWE career
Karrion Kross was a major star during the NXT Black & Gold Era of the WWE’s minor leagues. He battled current WWE superstars like Ciampa, Finn Balor, Damian Priest, and Butch (fka Pete Dunne). Cross also took on current AEW wrestlers Keith Lee, Kyle O’Reilly, Adam Cole, and Samoa Joe.
Kross was a major force on the NXT roster, but his success didn’t translate to the main roster. Once Vince McMahon and company pulled Kross up to Raw, the team made strange booking and creative choices.
McMahon decked out Karrion Kross in a gladiator helmet and gear reminiscent of the early days of tag-team legend Demolition. The once-intimidating wrestler also lost to Jeff Hardy in under two minutes, wrecking his in-ring credibility.
Then, on November 4, 2021 — less than two years after Karrion Kross signed with WWE — the promotion released him and Scarlett Bordeaux.
Kross (under the name Killer Kross) bounced around the indie wrestling scene and even made an appearance on New Japan Pro Wrestling, but he didn’t sign with a major company. That turned out to be a good thing because after McMahon abruptly retired and Triple H took over the creative side of the business in July 2022, Kross was one of the new head man’s first calls.
Triple H quickly brought Karrion Kross back to the WWE after his promotion
Karrion Kross made his triumphant return to the WWE on the August 5, 2022, episode of Friday Night SmackDown. The show ended with a vicious attack by Kross on No. 1 contender Drew McIntyre.
Kross’s return to WWE happened quickly, and two former WWE superstars — Bully Ray (fka Bubba Ray Dudley) and Mark Henry — shared stories about how the comeback went down on the Busted Open podcast.
Bully Ray shared that he had run into Karrion Kross and Scarlett Bordeaux shortly after their release. He said Kross “was so down in the dumps because of everything that just happened.”
The former Dudley brother urged Kross to have patience, and that patience paid off. Bully Ray said he saw Kross again last weekend, and the returned WWE wrestler tapped Bully on the shoulder and simply said, “Dude, what the F?”
“And basically [Kross] was like, ‘I can’t believe it,'” Bully told Mark Henry. The former wrestler also shared that Kross told him, “this happened overnight.”
Henry also shared a story about how quickly Triple H snapped Karrion Kross up when he took control. The AEW personality shared that he was talking to former NXT star and current AEW wrestler Swerve Strickland, who is good friends with Kross.
Henry told Strickland to call Kross and tell him to reach out to Triple H and say, “I’m ready” to return. Strickland said he would text, and Henry insisted that he call. The AEW tag-team champion did indeed call his friend, but by that point, “he didn’t need to” because WWE had called Kross first.
Karrion Kross’ return to the WWE could signal big things for wrestlers from NXT who were forgotten on the main roster under McMahon. It is a major step in the Triple H Era and possibly a sign of things to come.