Photo credit to: Thomas Tischio
** While chatting with News Chief, MJF told the publication that his words have gotten him in a bit of trouble as there have been fans who have tried to either jump the guardrail, stab him, throw batteries or urine on him.
“If there’s a line that people make, I hop over it as far as I can. No one can tell me how to do my job. I’ve had people jump guardrails, try to stab me, throw (urine) on me, throw batteries. All that means is I’m being myself. The issue isn’t me, it’s everybody else.”
MJF also talked about some of his favorite bad guys growing up such as Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
“The people wrestling fans didn’t like, I loved. Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Buddy Landel, and especially Roddy Piper. My biggest inspiration would be the Hot Rod.”
** Ahead of his IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Title defense at Wrestle Kingdom 14, Lance Archer chatted with Fightful and shared that he considered leaving New Japan before 2019 because he didn’t know where his career would be heading into the year.
“Moxley couldn’t make it. Poor boy, he couldn’t make it to the show. But, for me, it was a great situation ‘cause they put me in that spot. New Japan advertises a title match, and that’s what the fans are gonna get. I got put in an opportunity to face Juice [Robinson] for that U.S. Championship, won it, and now I’m going into the Tokyo Dome as the champion, facing Jon Moxley. He’s being a little bit of a crybaby and he wants his belt back. That’s to be expected, I guess. I had no idea (where I’d be in 2019). Legitimately, there’s no knock to anywhere else or anyone else, there was thought of leaving New Japan just for the simple fact that I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what was going to continue to move forward or what was going to happen. But, it wasn’t a situation where I was actively looking to leave the company. It was just a point of actively looking to further my career. At the time, [beginning] of 2019, I didn’t know if that was gonna be in New Japan. Obviously the business has changed even drastically since the beginning of 2019. So, I was just looking to see what was going to be the next best avenue for myself. We were still a part of some small things here and there in New Japan. They did some small U.S. tours and stuff of that nature. So, I was still working. Still grinding it out, and treading waters, somebody might say.”
Archer also spoke about his former tag team partner Davey Boy Smith Jr. The former 3-time IWGP Tag Team Champions have not spoken since Smith’s departure from New Japan but Archer doesn’t think there is any ill will between them and believes the two just went their separate ways.
“We haven’t really spoken. I don’t think there’s any ill will. I mean, I have none towards him or anything like that. He made a business choice based on how he felt the situation that existed for him. If he has any ill will towards me, I have no idea. I’ve never heard anything negative one way or the other. I hope the most success for him that’s possible. He’s kicking ass in MLW, just won their Opera Cup and everything. It’s one of those things, I think he and I, there’s no issue between him and I. K.E.S. didn’t have a bad split, it just was a business decision. In this business you never say never, so who knows what could happen in the future and K.E.S. could ride again. But, as of right now, he chose to go and do what he wanted to do. For me, I’ve had a few lucky breaks in New Japan and opportunities to really shine, and I’ve capitalized on them. So, we’re both doing our own thing and I think doing really well at it. Who knows what the future holds for us as a tag team. But, as of right now, he chose to go his own way, have his issues with the company, and so on and so forth, made that choice. I didn’t necessarily have the same issues, so I think that’s why I’m still with the company and things have gone the way they’ve gone for me there.”
** BJ Whitmer took to Twitter to announce that he and former Women Of Honor World Champion Kelly Klein have decided to get a divorce. Whitmer is claiming that the reason for their split is because there was a breach of trust in their relationship that was broken by Kelly. He added that rumors of their split was making its way around the wrestling business and wanted to announce it himself before it made its way onto social media or was reported on.
** Ring of Honor spoke with their roster members to get their New Year Resolutions.
** According to Showbuzz Daily, the New Year’s Eve edition of WWE Backstage on FS1 brought in 97,000 viewers. This episode was down from last week’s show which reeled in 153,000 viewers.
** Fomer IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Juventud Guerrera appeared on the ‘This Is Wrestling’ podcast and talked about finding out that his name was mentioned on an episode of AEW: Dynamite by Chris Jericho:
“I was having a show… and then I was looking at my tweets before I went to the ring, and then I saw everybody was tweeting about it. They’re like, ‘They mentioned you’… and then I popped into the locker room and I was like, ‘Hey guys, they just called me! They just called my name!’ Everyone gathered around me and was like, ‘What?’ So I showed this video and everyone was freaking out so… and I was about to head out to the ring in a couple minutes. So it was a shocking moment in a very good way.”
** Premier Live TV conducted an interview with AEW World Champion Chris Jericho.
** Drew Gulak applied to trademark “Catch Point”. Per the trademark filing, it will be used for “professional wrestling entertainment events and clothing”. Gulak was a part of the ‘Catch Point’ stable prior to signing with WWE. That stable included the likes of Matt Riddle, Tracy Williams and Fred Yehi.
** Charlotte Flair hosted a Q&A on her Twitter and answered questions about herself and Andrade’s relationship, mentioned that she wants a match with Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and answered more questions.
** AR Fox is making his return to AAW at the promotion’s January 24th show titled ‘A New Dawn’.
** Matt and Jeff Hardy’s Final Deletion match from the Summer of 2016 was voted IMPACT Wrestling match of the decade. Matt Hardy responded and noted that it is an honor to receive the award and congratulated IMPACT on their recent success.
** Below is IMPACT World Tag Team Champion Ethan Page’s VLOG from his time at WrestleCade:
** Following the 1/1/20 episode of AEW Dynamite, Britt Baker hosted a Q&A in the official AEW Discord chat.
** Next week’s episode of AEW Dark will premiere on the All Elite Wrestling YouTube channel and the matches were taped from Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida. Joining commentary for next week’s AEW Dark is Chuck Taylor and one of the matches slated for the show is Billy Gunn teaming with Austin Gunn to face Preston Vance and Shawn Spears. Also, Awesome Kong faced Skyler Moore, and S.C.U. (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky) took on Angelico, Jack Evans and Kip Sabian.
** Yoshitatsu joined All Japan Pro Wrestling as a full-time member of their roster.
** Bar Wrestling: ‘Rosé Parade’ Results (1/1/20) Bootleg Theater
– Priscilla Kelly, Andy Brown, & Ray Rosas def. Miranda Alize, Chris Bey & Eli Everfly
– Jake Atlas def. Adrian Quest
– Three-Way Tag Team Match: RockNES Monsters (Yuma & BHK) def. Heather Monroe & Dom Kubrick, and Caleb Konley & Zane Riley
– Tommy Dreamer def. Watts
– Kris Statlander def. Gisele Shaw
– David Arquette & RJ City def. Joey Ryan & Colt Cabana
– Brian Cage def. Teddy Hart
** WWE co-President George Barrios is slated to participate in a fireside chat at the Citi 2020 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas on January 7th. The audio from the call will be available on WWE’s corporate section of their official website. WWE will also have representation at CES 2020 from January 7th through January 10th.
** To promote the 1/3 edition of Friday Night SmackDown in Memphis, Tennessee, Elias chatted with Commercial Appeal and told the publication that he understands that he’ll have to get the fans on his side so that’s the road he’ll be traveling for now.
“They need to be on your side, and it just so happens I’ve got the power to manipulate people with my music, with my words, with everything I do, and it looks like that is the approach I am going to have to take moving forward.”
** The International Pro Wrestling Hall Of Fame announced that J.J. Dillon will serve on the I.P.W.H.F. Board of Directors.
** BT Sport put together a 30-minute video about WWE talents on the November European tour:
** The latest video on Mark Andrews’ YouTube channel features himself, Sid Scala, “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman and Amir Jordan sitting down watching Jordan’s first-ever pro wrestling match.
** Here are the top ten merchandise sellers on Pro Wrestling Tees for 2019 in this order from first to last: Chris Jericho, Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, Marty Scurll, Cody, Tetsuya Naito, Mick Foley, Jay White & Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Marko Stunt & Jungle Boy).
** ROH World Champion PCO is slated to appear at the Montreal Canadiens versus Winnipeg Jets game on January 6th.
** ‘The Main Event’, which is a Netflix original film about an 11-year old aspiring to be a WWE superstar is scheduled to release this year.
** Septimo Dragon versus Gino Medina has been added to MLW’s Texas show on January 11th. Dominic Garrini versus Zenshi is official for the show as well.
** All Japan Pro Wrestling: ‘New Year’s Wars’ Results (1/2/20) Korakuen Hall
– Danny Jones, Francesco Akira Francesco & Rising HAYATO def. Atsuki Aoyagi, Dan Tamura & Yusuke Okada
– Fuminori Abe, Jake Lee & Naoya Nomura def. Black Menso-re, Jun Akiyama & Takao Omori
– Masanobu Fuchi, TAJIRI & The Great Sasuke def. Abdullah Kobayashi, Frank Atsushi & Great Kojika
– Danny Jones def. Black Menso-re
– Izanagi, Lucas Steele, Shigehiro Irie & UTAMARO def. Hokuto Omori, Kento Miyahara, Yoshitatsu & Yuma Aoyagi
– AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi-Final Match: Hikaru Sato def. Kagetora
– AJPW World Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi-Final Match: Susumu Yokosuka def. Koji Iwamoto
– AJPW World Tag Team Championships: Violent Giants (Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama) def. Ryouji Sai & Zeus (c)
** Chris Jericho and his wife Jessica renewed their vows on New Year’s Eve.
** Johnny Gargano sent a special video message to a young lady named Jessie who is battling serious infections at a children’s hospital in Wisconsin.
** The latest edition of WWE’s After The Bell podcast featured Michael Cole and Renee Young as guests. Before they joined the show, Corey Graves gave his prediction for the main event of WrestleMania 36 and he predicts Big E versus Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship.
“My prediction for the main event of WrestleMania this year, with the Universal Championship on the line, The Fiend, the reigning champion will defend against Big E from the New Day. I said it here on After The Bell, it’s about damn time for Big E to get his just due and have his opportunity at a big time singles run. I think Big E versus The Fiend under the bright lights of WrestleMania in Tampa, Florida could be truly memorable.”
During the Q&A portion of the podcast, he revealed that he dipped his hands into the creative writing aspect of WWE as a part of the 205 Live brand. Graves said that it is a lot of work involved in that process and it’s not something he has time for at the moment.
“I actually have considered it. I toyed with it briefly for about a month, a few years back on the 205 Live brand. I was privy to a few conference calls and meetings, and to be perfectly honest, that’s just a lot of work and we have a very talented team of guys and girls who work exceptionally hard, tireless hours and that’s just something I honestly don’t have time for. Some day, maybe, if I can carve time out of my schedule and I think ultimately at the end of the day, I’m a big crybaby and if I can’t get my way and get what I want, then I don’t think I’m gonna be happy. So, maybe. Some day.”
When WWE Backstage host Renee Young joined the show. She talked about being hesitant to tweet on social media when it comes to her husband, Jon Moxley.
“It’s so stupid that I feel like I can’t even tweet about something or that I can’t talk about a match that he had or whatever because it’s like, all the backfire of like, ‘AEW confirmed! Renee Young going to AEW.’ Like guys, give me a break. There’s just non-stop… but having so much wrestling on TV, it’s like, I don’t know. Yeah, people need to take a chill pill.”
Although she is hesitant to tweet about Moxley’s current run and matches, she does feel that she is accepted by his fans because he’s happy with his career. Renee stated that with that, she doesn’t want someone from WWE calling her about tweeting about an AEW talent.
“I feel like they’re almost nicer to me because of that. I think so many of Jon’s fans are so happy to see him happy that there doesn’t really seem to be much backlash other than when somebody wants to throw ratings at you one week… I don’t know, I kind of stay from it to be honest. You get so caught up in dumb sh*t on social media. Some days you feel like you wanna poke the bear and you wanna have some fun with it or you wanna get in a last line or whatever, but I feel like I’ve taken a step back from it in a sense — I truly don’t want to tweet something and feel like I’m rocking the boat and all of sudden, somebody from WWE is gonna call me up and they’re gonna be annoyed at something that I said so I kind of just take myself out of the equation for the most part.”
After Renee and Corey wrapped up their conversation, Michael Cole joined the show. Cole went into detail about his heel run in WWE and reflected on the beginning of his run with the company and how early on, the WWE fan-base was against him because they felt he was trying to replace WWE Hall Of Famer and current AEW commentator Jim Ross. Cole tied the story together by talking about his match at WrestleMania with Jerry Lawler and how Corey Graves played a role in that match coming together.
“So back to when I started, J.R. got sick in, I believe it was 1998 and I had only been here about a year, and J.R. had one of his bouts with Bell’s Palsy and, the creative minds at work at the time decided that while J.R. was out, they would put me in his spot which I was completely green. I was in way over my head. But they decided that somehow, I would be a babyface and when J.R. returned, they would try to make him a heel. It was probably the worst cast decision in the history of WWE. It was terrible. J.R. was never going to be a heel. It did not matter, and I think that point in time was really when I was not accepted early on by a lot of the WWE fans because they looked at me as trying to replace this legend. I was cast as this young babyface and they didn’t want that, and that sort of put me behind the eight ball and over the years, as I was doing SmackDown, and then I would move into RAW where I did take J.R.’s job on the flagship show of WWE, I really became a major heel. Vince McMahon decided, ‘Well listen, Michael Cole in real life is a sarcastic prick anyway so why not capitalize on this? Why not capitalize on his backlash from the WWE universe and make him a bad guy?’ And that’s what they did. They used to do a thing, and they sort of have updated it a bit on our Backstage show on FS1, but, Vince McMahon used to hold a class on TV about ten years ago which was called promo class, and basically he would have all the superstars come into a room on TV day and he would conduct a class on how to conduct a promo, and then he would have people go up to the front of the class and they would basically have to cut a promo. Well one day, he threw me up there with R-Truth, and Truth and I stole the show, and at that point in time, Vince is like, ‘Oh my God, this guy is a prick. He’s a heel. I’m going to do something with this’, and it started out slowly, gradually turning me into this heel and it led to about a two-year run that there was really no in-between Corey, and I know you watched at the time. There was no in-between. People either really loved the character and loved what I was doing or people thought it was this travesty against everything that was ever done. ‘It was terrible, a play-by-play guy could not be a bad guy, a play-by-play guy has to be a voice of reason. It’s the worst decision WWE has ever made’ and then it led to what I believe, still to this day, has been voted the worst match in WrestleMania history, and that was my match with Jerry The King Lawler and by the way, here’s a pretty cool fact: So, when we decided we were going to do the angle with King, one of the reasons that they did turn me major heel is because Jerry Lawler in his entire career in WWE which has been a Hall Of Fame career, he’s one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the business. Jerry had never had a match at WrestleMania.
And Jerry was of course getting older. They didn’t know how they were going to put Jerry in that spotlight so they came up with this idea of having Jerry versus me at WrestleMania, and it would lead off by me being a big fan of Miz which built for six or seven months, me costing Jerry Lawler the WWE Championship and then, Jerry and I getting involved in this big massive rivalry that began days after his mother died in real life and they turned it into a storyline as a part of this program which developed and generated more heat. So as a part of my buildup to WrestleMania, Jack Swagger would be my guy who would train me to head into WrestleMania to try and knock off the King. Well in order to learn Swagger’s ankle lock which I renamed ‘Cole-lock’, I needed someone, a sparring partner. Someone to practice this on, and who would that someone be? A very young Matt Polinsky [Corey Graves].”
** Natalya’s latest article for the Calgary Sun includes some of her favorite career memories from the past decade.
** Ring of Honor’s Brian Milonas shared during his ‘Wrestling Podcast About Nothing’ show that he has re-signed with Ring of Honor for another year. Milonas began his career in Ring of Honor in 2017.
“I do have some news. You said for the time being, under contract to Ring of Honor wrestler. I mean it is ultimately true but, I’ve re-signed for another year with Ring of Honor. I’m not gonna be a free agent. Signed before free agency, unlike Mookie Betts is going to do. I’m very excited, very happy, still can work the independents. Actually can work more independents this year. We were pretty restricted last year as far as streaming, pay-per-view and things like that so, I’m now available to do those sorts of bookings.”
** Here’s the updated lineup for NXT U.K. TakeOver: Blackpool II on January 12th:
– WWE United Kingdom Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Joe Coffey
– NXT U.K. Tag Team Championships – Fatal 4-Way Ladder Match: Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) (c) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs. Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews
– NXT U.K. Women’s Championship – Triple-Threat Match: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Piper Niven vs. Toni Storm
– Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis
– Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin