Zak Knight recalls Saraya having choice of AEW or WWE; telling her if she went to AEW, it might help him get a foot in the door

Originally published at Zak Knight recalls Saraya having choice of AEW or WWE; telling her if she went to AEW, it might help him get a foot in the door

Insight into Zak Knight’s road to AEW and he touches on his future in the company. 

It was in December 2023 that Zak Knight made his debut for AEW/ROH at an ROH on HonorClub taping. Present day, he’s paired on-screen with Harley Cameron and his sister Saraya.

Back in February, Saraya announced that her brother is signed to AEW. Knight opened up about his road to the company during a chat with the Grue Rume Show. He said a year before Saraya joined, he was in talks with a middleman and AEW Head of Talent Relations Christopher Daniels about coming to the company. The discussions were halted due to visa-related matters. They had been in communication for five-to-six months. 

He would later learn that AEW was holding conversations with Saraya and she had the choice of either heading there or going back to WWE. Zak told her if she needs to go to WWE, do that. But if she went to AEW, it might help him get his foot in the door. He confirmed that Saraya asked those at AEW to give him an opportunity. Knight remembers speaking to Tony Khan and telling him he wanted to start at the bottom of the totem pole. 

So, here’s the story that is definitely gonna rattle some fans, right? So before my sister got to AEW, myself, a middleman and Christopher Daniels were all talking about Zak Zodiac coming to AEW. This was a year before my sister got there. It was pushed back. ‘Has he got a visa? Can he do this? No, he hasn’t got a visa but he can get a visa. If you guys are interested, he’s willing to get a visa,’ etcetera. We were speaking for a good five, six months and then it was like, okay, we need to just hold fire. I then found out that they were chatting to my sister and she might, might be going there because offered by two big companies, WWE and AEW. She’s having to make this big decision and I’m speaking to her and I’m like, ‘If you need to go back, go back but I’ve been talking to these guys. If you go there, then that might help my foot in the door.’ So, she ends up going to AEW and for everyone that needs to know this out there, yeah, she did say, ‘Give my brother that shot. I know you’ve been talking to him. He’s got his visa now.’ She helped pay for my visa. She believed in me that much that she was like, ‘Hey bro, I’m gonna buy you a visa, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that. You could pay me back in good time but I know that when they see you, they will love you. You’ve just never been given the opportunity.’ So, we were talking, she then went there. She then said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna come here but I do want you to just give my brother a dark match.’ Not a contract. ‘Give him a dark match and see what he can do.’ They then said, ‘Sure. Once he’s got his visa, we can do that’ and then October 2023, I got my visa and I pretty much hit the road immediately, went straight to America. For eight weeks, I had done nothing but learn the ropes, understanding what AEW is, finding out who’s where, who I need to know, how it’s operated, how their camera positions, promo shots, backstage videos. I wasn’t just thrown in the deep end. It was, hey, come in. This is how we do things, etcetera, right? Then I did have a good conversation with Tony (Khan) and you know, I said to Tony, ‘I wanna start from the bottom.’ He wasn’t telling me he was gonna put me anywhere but, he’d give me time to talk and I was like, ‘Hey, I wanna come in, I wanna start from the complete bottom, I wanna work my way up. I know everyone’s gonna be telling me I’m only here because of my sister. I want them to see my work, I want them to see me climb the ladder, I want them to see me grow…’ Tony’s like, ‘Great! Because you’re starting in Ring of Honor’ and it was music to my ears because, you know, it was kind of, ‘Well, we could put you with your sister. But we agree. We do believe that you need to start from the bottom,’ and there was no red carpet rolled out. It’s been grueling, I’ve had to grind. I’ve been away months and months, away from my wife and kids who are staying in England while I’m out in America. There’s no timeline on how long I’m gonna be doing these tours. It could be three weeks or it could be eight weeks. But in six months, I was only home 25 days, and it was four days here, five days there and remember that I’m flying in from California which is eight hours behind. I’m coming in, I’m trying to catch up on the time zone difference, I’m jet lagged. By day three, I’m like, okay, I found my bearings, let’s take the kids to school. Day four, I’m back on another plane, flying back out to America because I’m trying to show them that I’m not scared of the grind, I’m not scared of being out here, I’m willing to work, and with that, I believe that they started seeing, hey, this guy’s committed, he’s out here, he’s left his wife and children. They start giving me Ring of Honor matches and I felt like the fans sort of slighting me, saying I’m only there because of my sister, they sort of had a 360 turn. They were like, ‘Hey, actually, we like this guy. We like what this guy offers’ and having them four Ring of Honor matches which I would’ve quite happily stayed there for 10 matches truthfully, you know? But, I’m not gonna lie, I was buzzed. As soon as I went from Ring of Honor, I then went with my sister. I’m trying to find who they want me to be. Who is Zak Knight? Because Zak Zodiac’s not really a villain. I’m a babyface in the UK. Who is Zak Knight? So, in the beginning, I’m trying to be something I’m not. Then it was like, okay, let me talk, let me do this, let me do that. Let me find my path. I’m pitching ideas and before I know it, I’m finding my feet, I know who I am and I went and had a killer match with Cool Hand Ang and I couldn’t have been any more thankful for that opportunity. 

The pairing with Saraya and Harley Cameron was discussed and Knight praised them both. He said his sister has become his mentor as of late and there are many ‘hierarchies’ in AEW that are helping him grasp TV wrestling. 

You know what? Harley (Cameron) is phenomenal… People talk about grind and you know, this girl has been there for over a year. She has busted her ass to keep herself relevant, stay on TV… Me and Saraya are rooting really hard for her. But yeah, I believe the dynamic of the group is good. Harley and Saraya, the way that they gel on camera, it’s so hard to keep that straight face at times when she’s talking about my mum being hot and my dad being hot and then Saraya’s spraying her in the face with a water bottle. I’m sat and I’m like, ‘What is this? What are we doing? When do we fight? When do I get to scream? Shout? When do I get to cut a promo about how hard I’m gonna hurt someone?’ But, this is entertainment, this is TV wrestling and being with them two has taught me a hell of a lot and even though my sister’s the young one, she’s kind of becoming my mentor at the moment and she’s guiding me and helping me. You know, as well as a lot of guys — I’m not gonna be one of those guys that starts name-dropping but there’s a few hierarchies in AEW that are really helping me understand TV wrestling and what I need to mix up and change up in order to get to the next level and I’m so thankful for that. These are people that have been there and done it. But yeah, the dynamic of the group, I’m loving it, I love being in a faction with my sister. I’m very excited to see what the fans see what’s to come.

Among those that have been helpful and welcoming during his time there is Nick Wayne. He spoke highly of Nick. 

Zak added that he believes he’ll (himself) be the face of AEW in five years time. Knight said Tony Khan has a lifer in him if he’s accepted in that manner. Further speaking about his future, Knight said he’ll get to where Will Ospreay and AEW World Champion Swerve Strickland are.

Nick (Wayne) is one of the guys actually that made me feel comfortable because I’m a foreigner coming into that company and I’m potentially someone that’s gonna take one of your friends’ job or your job or your spot on TV and wrestling, like I said at the beginning of this interview, it’s show business, not show-friends and I’m not always one that can sit there and want to make friends. But Nick was so easy to talk to, he’s such a lovely, humble lad, and I wish him nothing but the best. He could be the face of that company in the next five, 10 years, 100 percent. 

The last five years is where I’ve felt like it was a rebirth for me and opened my eyes. So this is only the beginning of what you’re seeing. In five years time, I will be the face of AEW and Nick will have to work from me, trust me (he smiled). I’m very loyal, I’m fiercely loyal. AEW took a massive gamble on me when no one else did so as far as I’m concerned, T.K., Tony Khan (has) got a worker here for life if I’m accepted to be there.

Bro, listen, I love ‘em (Will Ospreay & Swerve Strickland) to bits, they’re phenomenal wrestlers. But they’re not fighters. They’re not fighters. People can act like tough men all they want. Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face and unfortunately for them, that’s my finishing move. I will knock both of them f*ckers out. No problem, and I say that with a straight face. I’m not even gagging with you… Trust me, mark my words, Will and Swerve, it might take a year, two years or three years, I’m climbing up the ladder to get where they are. That’s what I’m doing and I’m busting my ass and I’m not afraid of the grind to get there. But when I do, both of them are gonna get knocked the f*ck out. Mark my words. 

This past Wednesday on AEW Dynamite, Harley Cameron had her 22nd match and her Dynamite debut against Mariah May

Saraya was last in action in on a February episode of Rampage. On the 4/12 Rampage, Knight picked up a win over Angelo Parker. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit the Grue Rume Show with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.