Kevin Kiley — who was Alex Riley in WWE — recently returned to the wrestling business, and this Saturday at Nuff Said he will be making his NWA debut.

Kiley took a six-year hiatus from the sport, following his departure from WWE in 2016. He had a 10-year run with the WWE and is most famously known for his time as the apprentice and valet of The Miz.

He started in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and was there from 2007-2010 before he was chosen to be a contestant on NXT season 2 where he finished in third place. Kiley’s mentor on NXT was The Miz, which started that partnership and got him a lot of exposure.

“I was really proud of myself for the accomplishments that I had there. I loved Miz’s run when he won the WWE championship, loved being a part of all that,” Kiley told Slam

During his time with The Miz, Kiley was able to compete against John Cena, have an angle with Jerry “The King” Lawler, and be a part of the WrestleMania 28 main event being in Miz’s corner.

Following his run with The Miz, Kiley was thrown into many different angles as a singles competitor. He competed in a few Royal Rumbles, a Money in the Bank ladder match, and had an opportunity for the WWE United States Championship.

WWE then had the idea of making Kiley a commentator and taking him out of the ring, which led to his eventual release from the company. “I think what had happened between us, was I was getting older, and I was wanting to wrestle and they wanted me to be a commentator. It wasn’t requested, but it was kind of something where when we parted ways, it was okay, there wasn’t any heat.”

Despite his release, Kiley still treasures his time with the company. “It was 10 years of my professional life. I always dreamed of being a wrestler, I watched it on TV. I thought it was amazing and it was a gift and it was some of the best times of my life, looking back on it.”

He said the ability to travel the world and entertain fans while being in the locker room with all the guys were some of his best experiences. Kiley loved the ability to combine athletics and talking because he grew up a very introverted kid and it meant a lot to him to be able to talk in front of people after being so shy. “I remember when I got to the WWE I was like if I could just get on TV with a microphone, that would be a hell of an accomplishment for somebody like me.”

Alex Riley entering the NXT arena. Credit: WWE.

He said right after his release from the WWE, he got the chance to go to Hollywood and act. He was picked up by the series, GLOW, to appear as the character Steel Horse and he was then in the film, Glass Jaw. “I don’t know if I was with the company if I would’ve gotten that role. So, from outside the company I was able to get the role and it was just kind of all God’s plan.”

Kiley made the decision to step away from wrestling because he was “seeing everything too close.” He wanted to get away from it all for a while and just be a regular person. “I was a wrestler and it was a gift and it took a lot, but I had some other things I wanted to focus on. I wanted to focus on my family, I wanted to focus on myself, I wanted to focus on staying grounded.”

While he was away from wrestling, Kiley tried his best to stay in the loop, but he did really try to detach himself. It was mostly a clean break, with wrestling in his past. He picked up acting and eventually got into real estate.

There was an earlier decision to return to wrestling, but then the COVID pandemic hit and Kiley did not want to return to empty arenas. Now is the best time to return because he has “reached a space where I’ve just kind of given a lot of my life to God and put him in the driver’s seat and just kind of been a passenger and that works best for me.”

The path to Kiley’s return to wrestling began with him becoming a regular on the podcast, The Wise Men, alongside Tyrus, Trevor Murdoch, EC3, Aron Stevens, and Luke Hawx. It was through that show he was offered his first match back, which took place at a charity event for Create A Pro Wrestling where he teamed with Tyrus.

Following that return, his NWA debut was announced for Nuff Said, where he will take on EC3, now billed under his real name and with the nickname, “The Rare Breed.”

EC3 vs Kevin Kiley.

He chose NWA as his place to return because of his connection with NWA owner Billy Corgan. “What he’s done with the NWA and kind of saving it and reviving it, I really respect all of those things. So, when they approached me with the opportunity, I figured this is it, this is a great thing.”

Kiley also said he loves the style of wrestling and the fact that Corgan is a very spiritual person. “He is into mind, body and soul and he has a holistic healing platform.”

He also connected his return to NWA with being on the podcast, he said it has allowed him to feel at home in the NWA. “And it’s kind of something that I’ve been doing every week now over at FOX News for a while, like seven months or something. So, it feels great, it feels like home and I know they want me to be able to go out there and perform and do well.” (Don’t confuse Kevin Kiley, wrestler, with US Congressman Kevin Kiley, a Republican from California, though.)

Kiley said the match with EC3 came to be when EC3 went to him asking if he was ready. He responded to the question with, “I don’t know, but let’s give it a shot. It was extended to me and I thought it was a really good idea.”

A recent shot of Kevin Kiley. Courtesy NWA

He said it’s just his second match back and his first singles match since 2016, so he said there will definitely be some butterflies and he’ll have to readjust to the crowds and cameras. He also said he just hopes to do the best he can, and he believes it will go well.

There is respect for EC3, and Kiley appreciates the efforts EC3 has made with Control Your Narrative. “When I knew him in WWE and now even reconnecting with him, he’s really intelligent. He’s a really smart guy, I really respect what he’s doing, and his message. So, for me, it was kind of an easy decision.”

Kiley described his match with EC3 as “a guy that wrestles a lot versus a guy that’s been through a lot.” He is going into this match in a place of gratitude, he said, and he realizes he is the underdog, but he will give it his all nonetheless.

With this first singles match approaching, Kiley said that is all he is focusing on and he wants to take his return one day at a time. “Everything now that’s happening is just really one day at a time, one match at a time, and just see how it goes. I expect to do well and then just kind of hang with the guys and reconnect with everybody and be around people.”

Wrestling kept calling him back and he missed it, so Kiley is happy that he found this opportunity to return. He does hope that at some point he could be full-time again, but he shared what is most important to him.

“What’s most important to me is I want to be a different guy out there, but I also want people to remember the talent that I had, and I want them to see me and get behind me or hate me or whatever they want to do. I want to be able to create that response and that reaction.”

NWA Nuff Said is available exclusively through Fite TV. It is available for preorder now for $24.99.