“If we can just impact a handful of these kids, it will make this whole thing more meaningful than we can even comprehend.”
No Way Jose spent this past weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts at the Boys & Girls Club representing Be a STAR, WWE’s anti-bullying prevention program.
The 31-year-old Levis Valenzuela Jr. began wrestling in 2013, honing his craft in the prestigious North Carolina independent scene, primarily with CWF Mid-Atlantic, and has made a name for himself on a worldwide level as No Way Jose.
After a successful run in NXT, No Way Jose is still finding his place on the main roster. In the ring, he is motivated to work his way onto the card at SummerSlam, and he is also thrilled to be a valuable piece of WWE’s product off-camera as a constant presence in their company outreach programs. He spoke with Sports Illustrated about his future in WWE, as well as the chance to impact people across the globe.
Justin Barrasso: What does WWE’s Be a STAR program mean to you?
No Way Jose: Any time you can impact the community, it’s a plus. Growing up, it was important for me to hear a person’s experience, spreading an anti-bullying message, especially as WWE superstars.
I’m proud to represent WWE across the world. With this platform we have, we have the opportunity to help people and let them know that, if they are being bullied, they’re not going through it alone. Bullying isn’t something anyone should be doing, or have to put up with, and spreading that message is great. It’s pretty amazing when you can help empower a child, and it’s really cool to see kids open up at these events. Seeing a kid open up and share their experiences, that’s a beautiful thing.
JB: You can walk into almost any Boys and Girls Club in the United States and feel that innate sense of youth and excitement. What makes these trips resonate so much for you?
NWJ: That energy that the kids bring is always invigorating. It’s fresh faces, clean slates, and the excitement of going into a new experience and not knowing what to expect. If we can just impact a handful of these kids, it will make this whole thing more meaningful than we can even comprehend. I have the opportunity to be a voice and impact someone’s immediate future for the better, and I am extremely grateful for that.
JB: You are quickly approaching your second full year on the WWE main roster. What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned about succeeding in the company?
NWJ: Patience. You hear it a lot, and I know it is cliché, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m not expecting anything, but I am ready to perform and deliver on whatever they have for me.
This company has been around for a very long time, and will continue to be in the future, and I am a piece of the puzzle right now, happy to fit in wherever I can. You need patience and to be at the right place at the right time. I need to be ready when my name is called. It’s a dream come true to work for WWE, and I’m here for whatever they need me to do.
JB: You’ve only been wrestling for six years, but you have an incredible wealth of talent. Moving forward, how do you elevate yourself higher on the card, insert yourself into the title picture, and continue to make yourself valuable for WWE?
NWJ: Staying involved in the community is a big part of it. I’ve watched Titus O’Neil, and that’s the main name that comes into my focus. People might remember him for sliding into the ring, but he is really a person who has made an incredible impact here.
Titus is a very valuable asset, and that goes beyond wrestling. I’ve learned that type of perspective. There is always something out there bigger than yourself. There are different ways you can make yourself valuable, and that goes deeper than just titles. Every one of us wants to main event WrestleMania, but not all of us will do it. Staying patient is important, and working so hard that the company has to realize your value.
JB: Both personally and professionally, what are you looking forward to as the highlight of your summer?
NWJ: I’m looking forward to wrestling in different cities. SummerSlam is right around the corner, and that’s one of the most exciting weekends of the year. That’s what I am focused on most, building to this big event. That’s my priority for the summer. I’m looking forward to making some big things happen.