** Former NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush joined Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, Big Swole and Teasy on the newest edition of the Swerve City podcast. Lio discussed the role he played while he was on RAW and having to be a very talkative individual on TV when that was far from who he is off-camera.
“It was weird for me to be honest. To switch like that, to be somebody completely different from what I am in real life. I feel like I’m a pretty calm, collected kind of guy. I’m pretty laid back and to be out there screaming through a microphone every week was pretty nerve-wracking to me. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, for sure.”
Lio also opened up about his struggles with mental health and how that affected him during his wrestling career at various points. He stated that always trying to be the tough guy never got him anywhere and the outlying affects of that led to him questioning the importance of his own life.
“I feel like being honest with yourself is first and foremost. Like, knowing that there’s something wrong. Knowing that there is help out there that needs to be seeked. You need to be willing and open to kind of putting yourself in somebody else’s hands. Like being vulnerable, I feel like is very important and I’ve been dealing with this since I was a teenager and I feel like I was so stubborn and I feel like growing up with all sisters and being the only guy in the house other than the dad, I feel like I needed to be the tough one. I needed to not show weakness, I needed to protect everybody else and look after everybody else before looking out for myself and it just got to a point where I realized that I can’t… me being the tough guy isn’t gonna help me, it isn’t doing me any favors. If anything, it’s gonna prolong this and it’s gonna seriously, potentially ruin my life for one, or, I know it sounds pretty serious or whatever but I could not live a full life that I wanted to live like I could. There’s so many things that come with mental health and people that battle with anxiety and depression and stuff like that and I’ve dealt with possible suicide attempts, I’ve dealt with dark thoughts and being in mental institutes and stuff like that and I just feel like having that mindset of being strong and tough for everybody else, it didn’t do me any favors, it made it worse.
I knew that I loved professional wrestling. I knew I wanted to continue doing what I love doing and I had to be honest with myself and I had to be vulnerable and reach out for help, which is what I did and I feel like it definitely helped me out in the long run. If I didn’t do that, I probably wouldn’t be in the WWE today.”
** POST Wrestling has learned that Tom Phillips will be on the call for WWE Worlds Collide on January 25th in Houston, Texas. Mauro Ranallo is calling the Showtime Boxing event on Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.
** WWE Hall Of Famer Edge appeared on the ‘Live On 4 Legs’ podcast and during their conversation, Edge opened up about the rumors that he’s returning to in-ring competition. Edge stated that the last time he went to Pittsburgh to get checked on was in 2013 and added that he has not signed a new contract with WWE.
“And this year, it’s kind of funny to me honestly. All of these rumors happening that I’ve been to Pittsburgh and I’ve been cleared to wrestle again and I’ve signed a new contract and I’ve this, and I have no idea where any of it came from. The last time I was Pittsburgh, I had my wrist fused in 2013. I don’t know. I don’t know. But I would go to Pittsburgh to see Pearl Jam for sure, but I haven’t been there, and I haven’t signed a contract. I think I would know, but I get this, and again I’ll use ‘Tsunami’. This Tsunami of comments saying, ‘You’re coming back! You signed a contract!’ I’m like, ‘I really haven’t.’ ‘Oh yeah, that’s what you’d say.’ I’m like, ‘Alright, whatever.’”
** PWInsider has learned that former two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi is slated to be in Houston, Texas for the Royal Rumble. It is noted in the article that Naomi could end up on the SmackDown brand.
** One-half of the current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Asuka noted on Twitter that she was able to escape the Fashion Show Mall in Paradise, Nevada after a shooting occurred between a group of juveniles. There was an argument that led to a fight and one of the individuals pulled out a gun, per 8 News Now.
** Following his Ladder match for the United States Title against Andrade on the 1/20/20 episode of RAW, Rey Mysterio was checked on by WWE’s medical team, per Pro Wrestling Sheet. There was one point during the match when Rey was hanging onto the championship belt and attempted to execute a hurricanrana on Andrade but ended up falling back/neck first. Sources told Pro Wrestling Sheet that Mysterio is not seriously injured and he will not be missing any time from the ring.
** Ryback was the most recent guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast.
** According to Fightful, NXT’s Jessamyn Duke had surgery on her elbow recently.
** Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth are guest appearing on Thursday’s edition of WWE After The Bell.
** Below is a clip from a recent Championship Wrestling of Arkansas show which was headlined by Jerry “The King” Lawler challenging Matt Riviera for the CWA Arkansas Heavyweight Championship in a career versus title match:
** AEW World Champion Chris Jericho will be appearing at WrestleCon during WrestleMania 36 weekend in Tampa, Florida.
** John Cena did a segment with IMDb and reflected on some of his favorite films:
** The January 28th edition of WWE Backstage on FS1 will be live from Miami, Florida and tickets to the show can be purchased at this link.
** Below is the newest episode of WWE ‘The Bump’. Shawn Michaels, Kofi Kingston, Cathy Kelley and Natalya joined the show. Natalya announced her entry into the 2020 women’s Royal Rumble match. Xavier Woods made a surprise appearance on the show and Shawn Michaels announced Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai for tonight’s NXT. Kofi and Big E are going to be in the men’s Royal Rumble match. Also, Xavier Woods, Johnny Gargano, Rhea Ripley, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven and Todd Pettengill will be a part of the Royal Rumble watch-along stream.
** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated conducted an interview with NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. Aldis revealed that he drove 12 hours to ROH’s Center Stage show for two minutes of action and feels it was worth every hour he spent making his way to Atlanta.
“I drove 12 hours for two minutes of action in Ring of Honor, and it was worth it. It’s no secret that Marty Scurll has been able to land himself an incredible deal, and it makes sense. Now you can feel the shift.”
Nick Aldis reiterated that the NWA is open to working with anyone, including All Elite Wrestling and WWE. He stated that the organization wants to present “super-fights” to the fans.
“Working with AEW is brought up to me almost daily,” said Aldis, who says he was offered an AEW contract but chose to stay with the NWA. “The NWA is open to working with anyone. There are a number of wrestlers outside the WWE that are viewed as elite-level guys, so it’s only a matter of time before the audience starts demanding the main-event matches they want to see. We want to give the fans the matches they want to see, these super fights. If AEW wants to be involved in big, marquee matches, then they have two choices: go out and write some more big checks to some more guys, or they’re going to have to come to the table and work out some super fights with the NWA.”
** SunSport released another portion of their interview with Andrade and the United States Champion opened up about his relationship with Ric Flair and how Flair told Andrade to take care of Charlotte.
“I talk with Ric a lot, always. Always after my match and before my match he texts me saying, ‘Hey, kill it tonight’ before the match and asking how it went after. He’s always been great with me. In a man-[to]-man talk we had, he said, ‘Please protect my daughter, she’s changed and she’s happy.’ I said, ‘Yes I will protect your daughter, I love her and am so happy too.'”
** The current SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley chatted with MySanAntonio for an exclusive interview and Bayley talked about some of her fellow wrestlers that she likes to bounce ideas off of. She listed Sasha Banks, Scott Dawson, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
“Yeah, definitely. We all have our people that we go to for different things. For me, when I was going through this whole change, there’s only one person I went to, and that was Sasha. That was just to kind of tell her what I was thinking, how I was feeling, and I know she’ll always be honest with me and she always has my best interest at heart. She was really the only one when it came down to this, and I was just like, ‘What do you think? Should I do this?’ As far as wrestling and ideas and stories and all of that stuff go, I go to Scott Dawson a lot. When I was on the same brand with Seth, we would talk about wrestling all the time. He would help me through my matches. Now it’s Scott Dawson, and Roman always watches all the matches, so he always has good feedback. It feels like I’ve started over, so I’m kind of just trying to figure out what I’m doing first, and then I can go out and branch out for help and ideas.”
Bayley spoke about the change in her on-screen character. She shared that she began thinking about that switch about a year after she was called up to RAW. She had already captured the RAW Women’s Championship and began brainstorming ideas regarding what a change in the Bayley character would look like.
“It’s actually something that was in my mind for a couple years. I would say maybe even like a year after I got to RAW. I just kind of felt a little similar. I had already won the RAW Women’s Championship, not knowing how much more I could do, and that these tag titles were coming and all of this stuff. I already felt eager to make change, because I just want to keep growing all the time. Even now, it’s just, ‘What else can I do? What is something big I can do?’ Because we all work for those big moments, and I was just eager for a big moment.”
During this interview, Bayley also revealed that she was the original La Luchadora. The La Luchadora character was used by Becky Lynch and Mickie James on SmackDown from late 2016 to early 2017. Bayley revealed that her first match was under the La Luchadora name at a house show in NXT and this conversation came about while speaking about her Latina background.
“Yeah, actually when I first got to FCW and NXT, that was something I was really trying to focus on. I think I was just trying to find myself as a performer, and maybe something I could work into my character. I don’t know how many people know this, but my first match in NXT was just a house show, and I actually wore a mask. It was Sara Del Rey’s mask. That’s something she did at a previous show, and I was called La Luchadora. It was terrible. But it had dreads, and it was just this black and red mask. This was in like January 2013, and I couldn’t see, and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was like, ‘Should I be speaking Spanish? I don’t know what’s going on’, and that was the one and only time I did it. They were like, ‘That’s not you.’ But my trainer, Jason Styles, who I trained with here in California, loved lucha libre, and his favorite wrestler is actually Andrade, but from years ago in Mexico. So he would train us to do certain lucha moves, and he had a very good lucha libre style, so I tried to bring that into the ring here and there. I’m just not very athletic, so I’m not very good at it. There are one or two things that I can do that he taught us, but everything else, I’m just not very athletic for it.”
** Steve-O moderated an “intense marital issue” debate between Ronda Rousey and Travis Browne.
** Charlotte Flair told Digital Spy that when she began her career in wrestling, there was no communication between herself and Ric Flair and she thinks he initially didn’t see women in that light but once he saw her match with Natalya at the first TakeOver show, their line of communication about wrestling expanded.
“When I first started (wrestling) there was really no communication. He didn’t talk about the business with me. I just don’t think he ever saw the women in that light. Then when he came to my TakeOver match with Natalya he was like, ‘Oh wow’. After that, he knew I was all on board because I had never said, ‘Hey dad I want to be a WWE superstar’. It was something my brothers aspired to be. So I think when he was like, ‘Oh, wow, she’s serious about this and is good,’ that’s when our relationship and bond about the business took off.”
** NXT is hosting a live event on March 6th at the Agora Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.
** Miami Herald posted a travel guide for those who are coming into Tampa, Florida for the WrestleMania week festivities.
** Rebel Fighting Championship is launching a reality TV show later this year in China entitled the ‘People’s Champion’. While speaking with ‘The New Paper’, R.F.C. Chief Executive Officer, Justin Leong stated that he wants the show to be a mix of MMA and WWE. The competition will be open to Mandarin-speaking athletes in the area and they’ll be competing for an opportunity at a fight contract and to get their foot in the door of China’s entertainment industry.
** ‘Metro’ put out their interview with Charlotte Flair.
** Ring of Honor announced that Josh Woods signed a new agreement with the company.
** Per PWInsider, The Young Bucks’ autobiography entitled, “The Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues” is being published by ‘Dey Street Books’ and is set to release on September 29th of this year.
** Filming has begun for the Netflix film “Red Notice” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
** WWE’s new edition[s] of their Topps wrestling cards are releasing in April of 2020.
** Here’s episode 16 of AEW Dark from Coral Gables, Florida and the matches that aired during the program were: Big Swole vs. Diamante, and Stronghearts (CIMA, El Lindaman & T-Hawk) vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy, Luchasaurus & Marko Stunt). Taz joined Excalibur on this edition of AEW Dark. It was confirmed by All Elite Wrestling last week that Taz signed a multi-year agreement with the company.
** According to Deadline, Disney Channel has ordered an action-comedy series entitled “Ultra Violet & Blue Demon” starring former AAA Latin American Champion Blue Demon Jr. Blue Demon Jr. is also going to be an Executive Producer for the series and it will focus on a 13-year old named “Violet” who is surprised when a magical luchador mask chooses her to be the successor to her uncle, Blue Demon Jr. Casting is currently underway for the role of “Violet” and auditions are taking place in Los Angeles and Mexico.
** A GoFundMe has been set up for the step-daughter of Father James Mitchell, who has been diagnosed with High-Grade B-Cell Lymphoma.
** Kiera Hogan and Diamante are scheduled for EFFY’s Big Gay Brunch show during WrestleMania weekend.
** All Elite Wrestling turned the viral Dark Order segment into a storyline. The viral segment being referred to is when the Dark Order member threw punches at Dustin Rhodes that were not connecting and the clip made its way around social media and was critiqued by many within the business. In the video below, Evil Uno was told by “The Exalted One” that he wants the “weak one” gone and then a clip of the weak one was shown. Stu Grayson then got rid of said individual by punching him out in front of other Dark Order members.
** Tessa Blanchard pulled herself from the BattleWorld’88 show on January 31st in Vancouver, British Columbia.
** Jordan Oliver vs. Joey Janela is official for GCW’s ‘Run Ricky Run’ show on February 15th.
** On the January 28th episode of IMPACT Wrestling on AXS, Josh Alexander is taking on Vikingo. Pagano and Murder Clown are teaming up to face Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz. Also, Michael Elgin and Eddie Edwards will have the first match of their best-of-five series and also, Jordynne Grace, Madison Rayne and Kiera Hogan will compete in a three-way match to determine the #1 contender to the IMPACT Knockouts Championship.
** Schadenfreude & Friends 5: ‘Poo Poo Land’ Results (1/21/20) Manchester, England
– Chris Brookes def. Kid Lykos II
– Four-Way Match: Aleah James def. Callum Newman, Chuck Mambo and LK Mezinger
– Three Way Match: Gene Munny def. Chief Deputy Dunne and Los Federales Santos Jr.
– Inflatable Minoru Suzuki def. Mad Kurt
– Konosuke Takeshita def. Kyle Fletcher
** NJPW Young Lion Karl Fredericks joined Chris Charlton on the NJPW Official English podcast and during their chat, Fredericks opened up about the competition between the Japan-based Young Lions and the L.A. dojo Young Lions. He said he’s aware that the Japan-based talents do not want the L.A. guys coming to their territory and succeeding at their expense.
“When we come here, we feel like we’re the visiting team, and it is. We’re on the road. We’re in enemy territory if you will because, and I have all the respect in the world for this but I know those boys don’t want us coming in here and succeeding at their expense, and then just the schedule is different when we work out, things like that. But we’re all — Clark [Connors], Alex [Coughlin] and I, we’re the first ones up, everyday. When other people are getting up to do chores, we’re two hours into a workout and then we join them for chores, but that’s a mixture of jet lag and then our workout thing. Sometimes it’s just us trying to deal with our jet lag but yeah, now it feels much more comfortable.”
** Enzo Amore recently put out a video on YouTube during-which he addressed Tama Tonga’s offer for a match between the two. During the video, Enzo stated that he was offered $25,000 for the match between him and Tama and shortly after that revelation, he thanked Josh Barnett who offered through social media to host the Tama versus Enzo match. Josh Barnett is presenting the third edition of Bloodsport this coming WrestleMania weekend. GCW publicly denied that they offered any money to Amore.
Enzo first clarified via Twitter that he never mentioned any specific promotion offering him the aforementioned amount of money. He then issued a statement to Pro Wrestling Sheet and told the publication that it was WrestleCon who offered him $25,000. WrestleCon noted on Twitter that they never made an offer and listened to Enzo’s agent’s offer and only offered the opportunity to use their space to host his event.
** BT Sport’s head of marketing, Ed Cracknell did an interview with ‘The Drum’ about WWE moving to BT Sport. Cracknell shared that as soon as the announcement about the move was made official, those at BT Sport immediately became excited about the opportunity.
“It’s the most fun property we’ve ever been given. As soon as the rights were announced we got so excited about the opportunity around it. It’s one of the most powerful and successful sports entertainment brands in the world and it’s different from other content we’ve had on the channel before. It’s rich in history and the fans in the UK are so passionate about it, so that was an amazing place to start.”
** Prior to New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s New Beginning in Sapporo show on January 31st, the company is hosting a meet-and-greet session featuring SHO, YOH, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Manabu Nakanishi.
** Tickets are still on-sale for Warrior Wrestling’s February 15th show.
** Los Parks vs. CONTRA Unit (Josef Samael & Simon Gotch) has been added to MLW’s FIGHTLAND event.
** The Miz and Maryse did a new interview with Hollywood Life.
** The XFL are officially announcing the 52-man rosters for their respective teams on January 27th.
** Seth Rollins did an interview with San Antonio Express-News.
** Josh Woods and Silas Young are challenging Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham for the ROH World Tag Team Championships at Bound By Honor on February 28th.
** On the latest edition of Arn Anderson’s podcast, he and Conrad Thompson reviewed the 2015 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. While talking about the event, Arn praised the abilities of Tyson Kidd and also praised the duo that was Kidd and Cesaro. Arn felt that there was more that could’ve been done with the two as a tandem but unfortunately, Kidd [TJ Wilson] had his career-ending injury.
“Before we get to there, let me just double-back because we haven’t talked about this. For just a second, I just wanna say what an incredible tag team Cesaro and TJ were. I got to see them in those live events and I got to sit down with them and see them putting their teamwork stuff together and comparing notes and doing all this stuff and going out and tearing it up. That was one of the bigger tragedies this company experienced, because TJ is is an incredible talent, he’s an incredible person, he’s a smart guy, he’s a good friend, he’s a good employee. He’s all those good things and Nattie will tell you he’s a great husband, and I think we had a horrible loss that probably didn’t get the airtime it should have as far as what we had lost, and just showing a little more appreciation for that talented guy and him and Cesaro were a great team, and I just wanted to make sure everybody understands what could have been.”
** TMZ caught up with Alexa Bliss and talked to her about her pet pig, Larry Steve.
** Here’s the newest edition of the AEW Control Center from the Chris Jericho Cruise:
** Sheamus has launched his own clothing line “Brave Change Apparel”.
** WWE has their own Twitch channel and shows such as The Bump and pay-per-view kickoff shows will stream on the platform.
** Ring of Honor awarded their ‘Holy Sh*t’ moment of the decade to Matt and Jeff Hardy who appeared at ROH’s Manhattan Mayhem show in 2017 and defeated The Young Bucks to become the new ROH World Tag Team Champions.
** The WWEPC YouTube channel profiled Kacy Catanzaro’s return to NXT last Wednesday after being out of the ring since the Summer of 2019. Catanzaro opened up about not being sure if wrestling was the path she wanted to continue traveling because her initial dreams were invested in gymnastics, American Ninja Warrior and other projects of the sort.
“I just kind of was figuring out if this is the right path for me or not and I think that it’s not something that people usually talk about because I know that this is really difficult to get into. This is people’s dream since they were born but for me, this wasn’t what I knew I always wanted to do. I had my own paths. I had gymnastics, I had American Ninja Warrior. Those were my kind of forever dreams and I think that coming into something new like this, I think that it’s fair to have moments where you’re not sure. Physically, mentally, I just didn’t know if this was the right place for me.”
** Fightful conducted an interview with former NWA National Heavyweight Champion James Storm and Storm talked about Elix Skipper’s infamous “cage walk” from TNA’s Turning Point pay-per-view in 2004:
“We all thought Elix was insane. They could not get the cage up fast enough for Elix to practice walking on top of it. When he walked across it, that was the first time he did it. I’m laying there in the corner and I (realize) I’m not far enough away from Chris, so when he lands, he’s going to kick me in the face. I just scooted under the ropes and just sat there like, ‘Please God, don’t let anyone die here. We’re just trying to get out of this ring.’ I was literally praying in the ring. Once the spot hit and everyone was okay, you just kind of knew that this could be talked about for a long time.”
** SecondsOut released their interview with Charlotte Flair and Andrade:
** Pro Wrestling Sheet conducted an interview with the current NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong. Strong told the site about his two-year run with the Undisputed ERA thus far and how beneficial being with his friends on-screen has been to his run in NXT.
“Leaps and bounds. Just the comfort of it all. Because of the history of us knowing each other so long, they know me, I know them. It’s not like we’re in this feeling out process of if we’re going to get along. ‘Are things gonna work? Blah, blah, blah.’ They know me for me. They’ve seen the good, bad and the ugly. Everything. So it just allows me in any situation with those guys, and I feel the same as for them, is to be as comfortable as possible and just be who they want to be, and that’s why we have such great interactions and everything is so organic between us, because no one is putting a guard up. No one is trying to be something they’re not. There’s a full understanding and that’s what makes it special. I can’t even think about my time here not being with those guys. It’s kinda like when I met my wife. I couldn’t even imagine my life without her. It’s the same with those guys. They’ve just made this experience that much better and every time we do something it’s very special and is dear to my heart. Because I love those guys to death and I’m just excited to see what the future brings for us. We’re really just getting started. We’re finding our groove in certain things and our creative process is growing, so we’re becoming more creative as a group. This next year is going to be freaking amazing.”
** PROGRESS Wrestling announced Jonathan Gresham for the 2020 Super Strong Style ’16 tournament.
** Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone conducted an interview with Lilian Garcia.
** Deadline is reporting that Sean Durkin is putting together a film about the rise and fall of the Von Erich family.
** According to Sports Illustrated, former IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Champion Lance Archer is in talks to potentially join All Elite Wrestling. Archer lost the U.S. Heavyweight Title to Jon Moxley on night one of Wrestle Kingdom 14. Archer is also slated for New Japan’s upcoming New Beginning USA tour.
** At Ring of Honor’s free show next month, Jeff Cobb and Dan Maff are teaming up to take on Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal. If Cobb and Maff win the match or it goes to a time-limit draw, they’ll receive a shot at Gresham and Lethal’s ROH Tag Titles at a later date.
** King Corbin did an interview with MySanAntonio and talked about his on-going feud with Roman Reigns and how the “Roman sucks” chants have slowly dissolved as they’ve been feuding and he credits that to his own growth as a heel.
“I have been lucky that the last few guys I have really been in a ring with have been a fan favorite from Roman to Seth to The Rock. I take a sense of pride in helping people love those guys. Every once in a while you used to get the, ‘Let’s go Roman, Roman Sucks’ chants. Now, no one is saying ‘Roman sucks.’ It is always ‘Corbin sucks.’ But when you have a guy like that who the people love, it makes my job very easy. I can just stand there and yell at a little kid and say, ‘Look at your hero. He is crawling on the ground like a little baby’, and they lose their mind. When you have a guy they truly care about, it is awesome.” Corbin continued, “A ton,” he said about how his heel work has helped those chants die down. “It says a lot about the hard work I have done to put myself into this position. It is a testament to all those frustrating days you spend trying to learn how to develop and take things to the next level. To get this response? It is just cool, and I think it is appreciated when guys work hard to make them the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
** Ruby Riott appeared on the newest edition of ‘MFMWM’ on Mark Andrews’ YouTube channel:
** Here’s the AEW Dynamite pre-show before the 1/22/20 episode airs on TNT:
** Dalton Castle and Joe Hendry are teaming up to face Tyler Bateman and Vincent at ROH’s Free Enterprise event.