Stokely Hathaway discusses post-AEW All Out situation changing direction of The Firm, was supposed to feud with CM Punk

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/11/29/stokely-hathaway-discusses-post-aew-all-out-situation-changing-direction-of-the-firm-was-supposed-to-feud-with-cm-punk/

Hathaway also speaks candidly about his mental health struggles. 

At AEW All Out, the casino chip for the Casino Ladder match was pulled down by Stokely Hathaway. Hathaway was surrounded by a group of masked individuals who took out the competitors in the match. Hathaway pulled the chip down for another masked individual that turned out to be MJF. 

The group of talent that were with Stokely are now known as ‘The Firm’ (Lee Moriarty, Ethan Page, Austin Gunn, Colten Gunn & W. Morrissey). 

Hathaway spoke candidly about the direction the group was supposed to go in and those plans changing after the post-All Out situation involving CM Punk and The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt & Nick Jackson). Hathaway told Renée Paquette on The Sessions podcast that The Firm were supposed to feud with Punk. He thinks the group is getting back on a direct path and it just took some time to reroute. 

I mean I think it’s one now to be honest with you [having a moment of being unsure in his career]. Everything that was supposed to happen with The Firm did not happen and I think if people look back at All Out and what happened immediately after the pay-per-view, that’s a huge part of it. You know, who we were supposed to directly feud with is no longer in the company and that was one thing I was looking forward to because I was hand chosen for that role. So you know, I’m just gonna say it, I don’t know specifics, people are choosing sides, whatever. I just know for me, the fact that CM Punk said, ‘Hey, I wanna work with this guy,’ that holds a lot of weight. It means a lot regardless of what has happened, what will happen so when that didn’t happen anymore, it was literally rewriting everything on the fly. So, you know, everyone in the group is trying to do their best but we are trying to figure out how to make this work because the original purpose isn’t the purpose anymore so it’s like, what do you do? And with Ethan Page right now, I think he’s doing great, I think The Gunns are doing great. Lee [Moriarty], he’s gonna go into this feud with HOOK and so things are slowly, no pun intended, gearing up. It’s just gonna take a few weeks and I think the way wrestling is nowadays, I get it, first impressions are everything but it seems like it’s a little bit difficult to change people’s minds or to get people into — you know, I get it. Most people do not wanna see Picasso work on his painting. They just wanna see the sh*t done. So I think that’s the phase we’re in. We are working on it but people don’t wanna see anyone working on it. They wanna see a finished product which I completely understand but at the same time it’s like, we’re all human. I wish I was a part of Harry Potter. I wish I had a wand and I could move around and change time and do whatever and if I could, the world would be much different. But, you know, I don’t have those powers. We’re all just trying to make it work.

Earlier in the conversation, Hathaway opened up about his mental health struggles. He shared that while he was still in WWE, he checked himself into a mental rehabilitation facility. Hathaway was not feeling well and decided to take that step. 

He added that the facility did not offer much and he was out of there after the weekend. 

It’s really interesting because I think I would say a lot of people kind of looked at me as if I was the bad guy, right? And I kind of get it, or I do get it because I’m sure there are plenty of people who would kill to be in the position that I was in and at the time, I just couldn’t do it, you know? And I never really said why [I left WWE]. I did a comedy show and I alluded to it but, the wrong message came across from that show so I need to be completely honest. In February, I woke up one day and I just felt miserable. I just felt, I guess the right way would be ‘crazy’. I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know what was going on and then it kind of went away and it kept increasing to the point where it was just debilitating so I voluntarily just committed myself. This was on a Friday and I think I got out on Sunday. It was a very interesting experience mainly because, I would say in Florida, it’s like prison for the mentally ill so when I went in, I had no idea what I was in for. I was in kind of like a cell. It was no real sheets, it was just a metal frame that you laid on. Obviously, the sink was one of those sinks that was rigged to where it was motion detected. They gave you a lil thing of soap, lil thing of toothpaste. It was literally, couldn’t go into your room until 8, 9 PM and then you had to wake up at 6 AM and then you just walked the floors, that was it. You just walk back and forth to fill up the time so that was like three days of that and then afterwards, I was like, maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought.

There was a conversation about what led him to that point. Stokely did not think anyone would listen to him about his mental health because he jokes around and people assume he’s an outgoing person.

I think it’s just trying to manage everything. I do regret leaning into the being funny thing. Well no [it’s not used as a crutch]. I think it’s hard for people to take you seriously so who am I gonna say, oh yeah, I feel this way, I feel that way. I don’t think there was anyone to listen or that I could vent or to talk to and then especially with social media, like everything nowadays. One, it’s hard to take people seriously and two, I feel like — I don’t wanna it’s like a ‘thing’ to use mental health as a crutch but I just felt like no one would believe me if I said, hey, I feel this way or feel that way. So I just felt like it was the right thing for me to do.

After checking into the facility, Hathaway was back at work for WWE. He said it was back to reality and he tried his best to get himself together. 

I was miserable. I just had to go back to work, you know? The next day was like a pre-tape that you were there for so it’s like, okay, back into reality and so I had to just jump back into it. Try to just get my sh*t together and that’s what I tried to do.

He was prescribed over-the-counter medication for insomnia. He admitted that he became used to taking it and as of the podcast recording, he’s been off it for a few weeks. 

Hathaway was worried it would start affecting his creativity and said it did. He would go out to do a promo and afterwards, could not remember anything of what he said. 

I will say that one big thing is I felt it creeping in but I don’t think I did anything because my biggest worry was, oh, I don’t wanna take this, I don’t wanna do that because I may lose my creative side and that’s what happened. 

Yeah, [I was prescribed medication] for anxiety and I just stopped taking it like three weeks ago just because it got to the point where I couldn’t focus. I would go out and do a promo and honest to God, I could not tell you what I said afterwards. It made it to where I was too comfortable or lackadaisical and it did affect my creative side. So, I’m sure some people will say, oh, that’s a bad thing and I’m not trying to send the message to not take, whatever, not get help. I know just for me, I know what works. It’s like, okay, we have Full Gear, I need to get through that and then it’s figure out what works best for me.

As far as how he feels present day, Stokely is better. He added that his mind and body are getting used to not being on medication. 

I feel better. I think my brain and my body is still adjusting to not being filled with this medication, whatever so yeah, just with coffee and Gatorade, that’s how I power through, you know?

The Firm is still intact and Hathaway recently accompanied Ethan Page to the ring to face Ricky Starks in the finals of the AEW World Title Eliminator tournament

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Sessions with Renée Paquette with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.