AEW's Tony Khan verbally agreed to sign basketball player Liam McMorrow, visa issues have stalled signing process

Originally published at AEW's Tony Khan verbally agreed to sign basketball player Liam McMorrow, visa issues have stalled signing process

Liam McMorrow speaks candidly about receiving the offer and why the process has stalled. 

Canadian basketball player Liam McMorrow stands at 7’2 and his journey in basketball has taken him around the world, including playing in the NBA Summer League. 

McMorrow ventured into pro wrestling after establishing a relationship with Diamond Dallas Page. This would ultimately lead to him meeting AEW President Tony Khan and working out a deal for him to sign with AEW. The reason McMorrow has not officially joined the company is because of visa issues. 

He broke down the entire story on ‘Vegas Bad Boyz Of Podcasting’ which includes him applying for a WWE opportunity, receiving advice from Jade Cargill and training with Cody Rhodes and Q.T. Marshall which kickstarted everything. McMorrow started off by talking about how much he enjoyed the environment at AEW. He said the only person who was not friendly was Billy Gunn but thinks Gunn was having a bad day. 

AEW, it felt like everyone I had a conversation with was very, very friendly. The only one who wasn’t was Billy Gunn but I think he was just having a bad day or he didn’t know why I was there. His sons were both there, his sons were both cool. Everyone was f*cking cool, from the owner on the way down… And that might have something to do with how I got in there. People know [Diamond] Dallas [Page], everyone loves Dallas but that doesn’t mean that you have to be nice to me. But maybe that’s just the culture over there.

Once Liam decided he was ready to move from basketball to pro wrestling, he began training in Las Vegas, Nevada at Future Stars of Wrestling. DDP suggested that Liam was on the wrong coast and needed to come East. 

DDP was able to get him a training session with Cody Rhodes and Q.T. Marshall in Norcross, Georgia. Liam drove from Nevada to Georgia and received the stamp of approval from Rhodes and Marshall. Word eventually got back to Tony Khan and he gave the green light to send McMorrow to an AEW TV taping. 

So now I’m talking to [Diamond] Dallas [Page] like, ‘I think basketball is over man. What can I do as far as working out here in Vegas and getting ready? And is it far-fetched to try and get me a tryout somewhere? Do whatever.’ So I go to Future Stars [of Wrestling] and I go there for I wanna say two weeks maybe and I’m just relaying to Dallas what they’re having me do and stuff and he’s like, ‘Kid, that’s cool. It’s great.’ I’m sending him videos and he’s like, ‘No one’s gonna see you in Nevada. No one that you want to see you is gonna show up at one of these shows’ and I don’t know if he’s right about that or not but he’s basically telling me you’re on the wrong coast. You need to be in Georgia or Florida or somewhere near WWE’s development center or somewhere near, you know, AEW’s strongly based out of Georgia at that time. So I’m like, ‘Okay, cool.’ It was weird because it was the first conversation I ever had with him that wasn’t super positive and I’m like, ‘Babe, I just talked to Dallas. Told me I’m on the wrong coast. I think we need to move.’ But then he calls me back, I wanna say a few days later and said, ‘Kid, can you get to Georgia?’ ‘Of course I can get to Georgia.’ He goes, ‘Well, I just sent Cody the video of you taking a bump and he said he wants to see you’ and I’m like, ‘Okay.’ I’m a weird dude. I’ll tell you guys that right now. I’m f*cking weird. I’m like, ‘Okay, so when is it? When is the exact date he said that he can see me?’ And he sends it to me and I’m like, I’m driving. I drive my pickup truck from Vegas to Atlanta, to Norcross, Georgia, pull up right in the front. Dude, at the time, they had it in this gym that was like — I think the main guy there trains a lot of football players but they had their rings in the back and that’s where AEW was doing their stuff. Holding all these classes. So I made it clear to them, ‘Guys, I f*cking drove here.’ It was kind of part of my plan. I wanted to show them I was serious about it and not a guy that was on the fence of, okay, I could play basketball again but I could do this and I was like, I wanted to show them I was serious about doing it and very, very serious so, I literally do an in-ring workout with Cody and Q.T. Marshall. They’re throwing me off the ropes, they’re telling me, ‘Can you do this? Can you do a front flip — land on your back?’ I’m like, ‘I’ve never tried but I’ll try it now.’ So I end up doing it. I flip, I take the back bump and he’s like, ‘We’ll never ask you to do that. We just wanna see if you could.’ But it was awesome though because I’m like, these are the guys. They’re both Executive Vice Presidents I think were their roles, ex-VPs or something like that and I’m like, these are the guys you need to impress. They’re like, ‘It’s a thumbs up from us. If it was up to us, you’re in,’ and I’m like, ‘We just need to get the thumbs up from Tony’ and then so I’m kind of in this limbo for two days in Georgia and I’m like, ‘Guys, I just drove my truck here. I’m staying in a hotel. You gotta kind of tell me what’s up’ and then I finally get this text from Cody and he’s like, ‘They want you to come to TV. It’s in Jacksonville.’ So I guess at that time because of all the COVID crap, they were doing everything at Jacksonville, at Daily’s Place by the stadium. So they’re like, ‘Yeah, we’ll pay for your hotel down there. Most guys just drive it’ and they’re like, ‘You have your truck so why don’t you just drive it?…’ So I drive down there. I’m in awe. I’m getting these same feelings. I’m feeling like Marquette [University], I’m feeling like I just met a weird trainer and he put me on except that Dallas recommending me and all this stuff so…

His first day backstage at AEW, McMorrow took on an observer approach. He was scheduled to meet with Tony Khan but saw how busy everything was and decided to wait until the next day. After he and Tony’s small talk, Khan said he liked what he saw and was all for bringing him in. 

Khan told McMorrow to relay to his agent to work out the numbers and get back to him so they could finalize it. McMorrow was excited but the visa process of the scenario slipped his mind. The NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars legal team got involved in hopes of speeding up the process but this is where things came to a halt. 

So I’m at this first day of taping. I’m backstage, it’s like an awkward thing because I’m like, everyone’s working. I’m this guy that’s just walking around and I’m watching but it’s a long day of tapings dude. It’s not like I’m there for a few hours. I’m there for 12 hours and I don’t wanna skip out early because I really need to be here and talk to Tony [Khan] so first day, I don’t even talk to him. I see him buzzing around backstage, but it’s not really a thing where I can grab him and be like, ‘Hey, I’m supposed to be here to talk to you.’ It was just like, everyone’s f*cking busy. They’re shooting, they’re filming. They did AEW Dark, they did Dynamite maybe. The next day, I talk to Tony and it felt like a super fast transition. Imagine this conversation. He’s like, ‘I talked to your agent, love your look, saw you all day yesterday, you look great, the guys love you.’ He’s like, ‘I heard you’re from Toronto. My dad owns The Ritz-Carlton there. Have you ever been there?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there for a wedding or something. Yeah, it’s awesome.’ ‘Well, it’s a yes for me. Get your agent to work out the numbers and I’ll see you soon…’ So, agent works out the numbers, I’m cool with everything. I’m like, ‘Man, what a smooth transition from playing, sitting home while being depressed. Getting this call, driving to Atlanta. Two days of TV taping and now I have a job. I’m like, this is crazy but what I’m not thinking about is that I’m Canadian and I’m not able to work but I was thinking in my mind because every time I’ve had an experience with an NBA Summer League team or playing in development league, they get the visas like this. They pay lawyers, they do it all day. There’s a ton of international guys. You get it within hours. So I’m like, oh, it’s gonna be the same thing. They use all the Jacksonville Jaguars legal team to do all their legal so I don’t know if they still do that but that was a year and some change ago. So I’m going back and forth with them and they’re like, ‘There’s not enough here to get this visa. In basketball, you get it because you went to Marquette, you went to Tennessee Tech, you played overseas. We can prove extraordinary ability within that sport so what you have to do is I’m not, one, taking a job away from someone who’s equally qualified that is American’, which we couldn’t do and I’m not even qualified at all for the sport we’re trying to apply for this visa for. So we tried to do stuff. I acted from 12 to 20 before I went to Marquette and we tried to use some of that. We tried to say it’s broadcasting. I only did commercials and little TV shows in Canada and stuff. It wasn’t enough to get that process rolling that way. I went from being up here to like, oh no. Now reality is this isn’t gonna happen. It’s gonna take some time. I thought I was gonna start in a couple weeks. Now there’s all this red tape.

As far as where things stand present day, McMorrow coming into the company officially is still on hold. He stated that the time window was one to 14 months for the visa to process. 

October was month 14th and there was no update when that time came around. McMorrow sent in a hand-written letter as well. He mentioned that he does not understand why the process is taking this long. He added that it’s gotten to a point where he stopped telling people he had an offer because he did not know if it was gonna become official.

So now we’re looking at different ways to do it. So we applied for everything. Everything’s still in the works but it’s just like, I asked immigration lawyers, I asked them a few days ago because they give you these stupid times as the government. They do the things crazy but it’s like, from one to 14 months is our regular processing times for these types of visas. You can’t even ask us anything about them until it comes outside of these processing times so I’m like, oh wow. It’ll happen sometime in the next year and two months and I kind of got at peace with that. I’m like, you know what? Maybe it’s time I need. So in that first three months, I’m f*cking working harder than I’ve ever worked out. I’m not doing any cardio. I get up to 307 and I’m looking like a f*cking monster. I could send you guys pictures. It’s retarded how I blew up… I’m talking to immigration lawyers. I’m like, ‘How long do you think it’s gonna be?’ ‘There’s no telling, there’s no telling.’ So October 25th was month 14. I’m like, okay, it’s gotta come before this kid’s birthday. Nope, and then now we can ask them so I ask immigration, he goes, ‘Send them a hand-written letter.’ I send it on the 26th so trust me, we’re on the same page but I hit him the other day and he still hasn’t got back to me. So I’m like, do we just wait again? Is there nothing I can do? It’s just so brutal. I don’t understand… This is gonna sound a little f*cked up. I could see if I came from a Russia or somewhere, you know? I’m Canadian bro. How hard can this f*cking thing be?… I don’t get it man. So there’s been times where I’ve lost the motivation for it. People see me in the gym, ‘Do you hoop?’ ‘Nah’ and for a while, I was saying, ‘I wrestle. I signed with so, so and so’ and then it’s like, but you kind of stop telling people that when you’re just waiting and you don’t know when it’s gonna happen.

While he was waiting, he said people ‘got into his ear’ about the idea of joining WWE and them possibly securing a visa quicker because of their international reach. 

McMorrow and TBS Champion Jade Cargill are familiar with one another and when they ran into each other, she said she almost forgot about him because it had been that long since she saw him at AEW. Jade told him that since it’s been this long, why not look at WWE. McMorrow felt like he was ‘snitching’ on Cargill by saying that. 

He went on to share that when WWE came to where he’s located and hosted an open tryout, they were not accepting applications from people over the age of 30. McMorrow believes that if the higher-ups in WWE got a look at him, he would end up with the company. But ultimately, he feels AEW might be the better environment for him. 

I just wanna get started. It’s gonna be so cool. I think the culture of AEW, it’s cool but then people get in my ear about WWE. They’re like, ‘We heard WWE can get visas processed pretty fast for guys because they have international locations and they can do –’ they’ve just been a company for longer… So I saw Jade Cargill at the gym and she’s one of the people I hit it off with in those days of filming and stuff because she has a basketball background too and she knows a lot of people I know and I’m talking to Jade and she’s like, ‘Dude, where have you been? I even forgot about you.’ That’s how long it’s been and I’m like, ‘I’ve been waiting this whole time Jade. I’ve seen what you’ve been doing. You’ve been kicking ass. You’re like 30-0 or some sh*t’ and I was there when — that’s how long it’s been. It’s been from when Jade [started] to now. But she’s in there. I’m like, ‘Jade, what’s the advice?’ She’s like, ‘Well how is it in basketball? Did you stay loyal to one team just because they said they wanted you? Or did you go where the money was?’ I’m like, ‘You always go where you get paid the most’ and she’s like, ‘Well [how about] look at WWE?’ And maybe I’m snitching on her for saying that, but I never even entertained it because I just loved all the people I met and the connection was so perfect and they were the ones that wanted me. I think I tried to apply when WWE was out here. They were having open tryouts… If you put an age in over 30, they weren’t even accepting those applications… You don’t know what you’re missing though man. 

I think if I saw any of the brass from WWE, if I ever saw a Triple H or I see, especially Vince [McMahon], I heard he’s just in love with big, big guys. He loves the big guys, right? It would be a quick transition and I think I might end up in Orlando really quick. But, I don’t know if that’s the route man. Just going off what the guys say, guys who have done both, I hear AEW is the better culture and they like it better. More freedom with the character.

McMorrow brought up fellow 7-footer Satnam Singh joining AEW. He wondered if the opportunity was still available, stating that AEW has already filled that ‘giant’ role.

McMorrow’s agent is still in contact with Tony Khan consistently because he works as a football agent as well. He informed McMorrow that Khan asks about him and wants updates. 

When we saw they signed the guy Satnam Singh and all this — I know him from basketball. I’m not really worried about him but it’s like, I did send the feeler out to my agent. I go, ‘It looks like they kind of filled their giant role now. They have this giant’ and I’m like, I think it’s still there. He’s in constant contact with Tony [Khan] because he’s also a football agent so he deals with Tony on the Jacksonville side too. So they’re constantly talking and Tony asks for updates about me and he’ll send him videos and stuff but it’s just like, guys, let’s just get this wrapped up. Oh my God.

On top of his pro basketball experience, McMorrow has a background in hockey. He is currently 35 years of age. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Vegas Bad Boys Of Podcasting with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions. 

I wonder if TK would sign me? They don’t have a skinny weak British guy

Hopefully they sign him. AEW needs more wrestlers, especially 35-year-old rookies

You could book a PPV with the guys who didn’t appear at Full Gear, and Tony is trying to sign a guy who has never wrestled before because of his look. He may have more Vince McMahon in him than most of us are comfortable with.

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