In professional wrestling, where talent and charisma reign supreme, there have been several skilled wrestlers who have failed to achieve success in WWE, one of them being Low Ki. With an impressive track record on the independent circuit, he was already a formidable force even before making his way to the grand stage of WWE. Throughout his career, Low Ki achieved remarkable success, claiming titles in almost every promotion like PWG and ROH among others he worked in. However, when he finally got the chance to showcase his skills within WWE’s larger-than-life universe, his journey took an unexpected and challenging turn.
UPDATE: 2023/11/14 17:48 EST BY BENJAMIN VIEIRA
While Low Ki was an incredibly talented professional wrestler, his run in WWE left a lot to be desired by fans. The former and first ROH World Champion was repackaged as Kaval and was never taken seriously in WWE. His brief time there was not much of note and did not do anything to truly benefit his career. Despite all this, he enjoyed immense success in the world of professional wrestling outside WWE in companies like TNA, MLW, and ROH. Throughout this article, fans will explore what went wrong with Low Ki and WWE and his perspective on his time there.
Low Ki Was A Trailblazer On The Independent Circuit
A Multi-Time Champion
Long before stepping into the spotlight of WWE, Low Ki had already carved a name for himself in the fiercely competitive world of independent wrestling. One of the pivotal moments in Low Ki’s career came when he became the first-ever ROH World Champion, cementing his status as a top-tier wrestler. Low Ki’s time in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) was equally impactful. Capturing the PWG World Championship, he proved his ability to shine in various wrestling landscapes. In addition to his singles success, Low Ki also found triumph in the tag team division. He formed successful partnerships and captured the NWA World Tag Team Championship multiple times. Beyond championships, Low Ki won numerous tournaments and accolades throughout his independent wrestling career. After leaving WWE he won the MLW World Championship as well.
Low Ki’s Disastrous WWE Run As Kaval
Debuted In NXT Reality Show
Low Ki’s journey in WWE from 2008 to 2010 can be best described as a rollercoaster ride filled with promise, frustration, and missed opportunities. As he transitioned from the independent circuit to the global stage of WWE, fans and fellow wrestlers alike were eager to see how his electrifying style and unique persona would resonate with a broader audience. Upon joining WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), Low Ki faced the first hurdle of adopting a new ring name, “Kaval.” Renaming a wrestler can sometimes dilute the character they have honed and developed over the years, leading to initial skepticism from fans and critics alike. In 2010, Low Ki’s opportunity came with the second season of NXT. At that time, NXT was not the popular brand and major stepping stone to WWE as it is today; instead, it was more like a reality competition for new talents to earn a WWE contract. Despite the less prestigious nature of the show, Low Ki won the season, earning a spot on the main roster.
Expectations were high as he made his debut, but unfortunately, his time on the main roster was plagued with a lack of direction and meaningful storylines. For instance, he was paired with LayCool. It became evident that Low Ki was not being given the chance to showcase his full potential, as he was consistently booked to lose matches against established stars. These losses not only dampened his momentum but also affected his credibility as a top-tier competitor.
One of the most significant moments during his WWE run was his match against Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series 2010. It was a rare opportunity for Low Ki to compete for a title in a major premium live event. However, despite putting on a strong performance, he was unsuccessful in capturing the championship, further solidifying his position as an enhancement talent rather than a legitimate title contender. Low Ki’s dissatisfaction with his WWE run became apparent after his release in December 2010.
Low Ki’s Successes Outside WWE
Runs In TNA And MLW
Following his departure from WWE, Low Ki went on to wrestle in another of different promotions around the world. In TNA, he was a member of the X-Division and captured the X-Division Championship on a few different occasions. In addition, he aligned himself with MVP’s BeatDown Clan faction and feuded with the likes of Drew McIntyre (formerly Drew Galloway in TNA) and Bobby Lashley. After a few on and off runs with the promotion, Low Ki was last seen in TNA in 2017 after being a member of the newly reformed LAX.
In addition to his time in TNA, Low Ki also made a major impact in MLW. Low Ki had been announced as one of the new names joining the promotion once it was reformed. There, he defeated Shane Strickland (Swerve Strickland in AEW) to win the MLW World Heavyweight Championship and held it for 205 days. In addition to TNA and MLW, Low Ki also wrestled in NJPW and various independent promotions.
|Professional Wrestling Debut||1998|
|Accomplishments||TNA X-Division Champion ROH World Champion MLW World Heavyweight Champion|
|Notable Rivals||Samoa Joe Finn Bálor Swerve Strickland|
Low Ki Reveals Why His WWE Run Failed
Time Outside WWE Worked Against Him
Reflecting on his time in WWE, Low Ki offered insights into why things didn’t work out as expected. In a candid interview with 411 Wrestling & Entertainment in 2019, he revealed that his vast experience outside WWE might have worked against him. It’s no secret that WWE has sometimes been hesitant to fully embrace the talent that made a name for themselves in other promotions, as they prefer to mold wrestlers according to their own vision. Low Ki’s revealed his previous success and experience might have made WWE’s decision-makers uncomfortable since he had more experience than some of their main event stars. Moreover, his stint on NXT may not have helped his cause.
In another interview with Wrestling Inc, Low Ki revealed his frustration with why he failed in WWE. Low Ki said:
“They’re scared. Why? Because they didn’t make me. Why? Because I’m groomed the old-fashioned way. I gained my experience. I’m a journeyman, and on top of that, I perform at a higher level than those guys even think. So, why am I going to sit there and walk in? I’m going to pay attention to the behaviors of the people who are supposed to be in charge, I pay attention to their behaviors, and I’m supposed to sit there and listen to them and watch how they treat other people. And I’m supposed to sit there and let them do the same thing to me? Notice, I don’t point anyone out and condemn them. Or even ten years later, I won’t single anyone out and say they did this, and they did that. I have plenty of those stories, but I haven’t done that. Why? Because I don’t need to.”
He fired more shots at WWE, pointing out that no matter who leaves WWE they rarely speak positively about it afterward.