POST NEWS UPDATE: Deonna Purrazzo talks being unhappy in WWE, NXT pay, being vocal

Deonna Purrazzo opens up about her release from WWE, being vocal and unhappy with her position in the company, Triple H says he hopes Drake Maverick "proves us wrong", Io Shirai speaks about her knee injury, Mickie James provides injury update after tearing her ACL in 2019, and much more.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

** Pat Laprade & Kevin Raphael welcomed former NXT talent Deonna Purrazzo onto their show, ‘Les anti-pods de la lutte’. Deonna opened up about her release from WWE, how vocal she was about her position in the company and how she believes she was signed so she couldn’t compete at ALL IN in September of 2018. When it comes to her release from WWE, Deonna says she knew it was coming because in the months prior, she had openly stated that if her position within NXT wasn’t going to improve, she did not want to be there.

“I didn’t know that it was coming, and last Wednesday we had a company-wide app that Vince McMahon had put a video on for us all to watch and it talks about people being furloughed and people being fired and pay cuts so it kind of all happened fast. No one really expected it, and then as soon as we all watched the video, we clicked over to Twitter and it was name after name being released, but I kind of just didn’t know but I had a gut feeling like, ‘I’m gonna get a call today,’ and probably for the last six months, I’ve talked to so many people in the office in NXT about not being happy, not being utilized properly, wanting to be booked more and do more, and I just had a lot of push back from it and speaking up for myself was looked upon negatively and it was about a month ago that I had a conversation with Canyon Cemen and I said, ‘If I’m not gonna get ahead of this and I’m not gonna change people’s minds about me, then I don’t wanna be here anymore.’ So, when he called me last Wednesday, it was kind of like, he had said to me on the phone, ‘You know, your name was on the list. I think this is something you’ll be happy about and you wanted’ and I said, ‘100 percent, absolutely.’ So, with that said, as unexpected as it was, I kind of just in my heart knew that-that would happen and I’m looking forward to being back on the indies and actually wrestling the way I wanna wrestle.”

Deonna feels that she never got a fair shake in NXT. She said that she did more for the brand when she wasn’t under contract than she did while she was signed. Purrazzo added that she feels she was signed to be kept away from the ALL IN event.

“I feel like I didn’t get a proper shot in NXT and I wasn’t featured regularly on NXT TV. I wasn’t in the women’s championship title picture. I feel like my opportunities there were squandered really fast, and to be honest about it, I wasn’t the chosen one. I had worked for WWE since 2014 in so many roles. [I had] been on NXT TV more as an extra talent without signing a contract than I was when I was under contract. So, all of these reasons were reasons I was unhappy and I was vocal about it and I know what I was worth, I knew what I could do and I thought coming in, July of 2018 like I had proved myself. Like I had proved I was ready to be a superstar and it ended up being that I was hired to keep me from AEW, and keep me from doing ALL IN and I continued to be enhancement talent for two years. So, I really would like to now focus on the indies and getting back to where I was and getting back to the in-ring competitor that I was prior to NXT, and more than hoping I go back one day, I just kinda want to say, ‘Screw you guys. That’s what I feel right now.’ I feel like I wanna prove them wrong and if I earn an opportunity again, then I’m not gonna sit on the sidelines like I did for two years.”

Purrazzo did share some details about the pay scale in NXT. She said one can make a good living if they stay within their financial means but there are cases when people come to the brand and instantly start making more than the women who had been there before said-person signed.

“I definitely think if you budget right and you live within what your means are, you absolutely can save. Luckily in the last four months, I did a lot of RAW, I did a lot of traveling with them, I did a lot of things on NXT so you definitely get pay increases, you get raises throughout your time in NXT so, I’ve been lucky to save a big chunk of money. But, the pay scale is case-by-case so some people come in with a name and get paid way more than the women that come in, and it’s just kind of that’s the nature of the world.”

Deonna explained in detail how she was vocal. There was one story she shared in-which she questioned why she wasn’t being used on the NXT live event loops outside of Florida. Because of her vocal nature, she was told that she was “difficult”. Deonna said that there’s a culture in WWE of being grateful for what you have and not asking for more.

“I think like I said, I know my worth and I know what I did before here. I know the opportunities that I gave up to go to NXT, and I didn’t let them forget that. I didn’t take no for an answer. I asked too many questions probably, and I was upset a lot of the time. NXT does these road loops and I hadn’t been on one since I got to NXT, and I kept asking why. ‘Why am I not being booked on these road loops? Why am I not being moved to the next class?’ And no one could really give me an answer other than that I was difficult so, I think because I have a mouth and I ask questions and I stand up for myself, they don’t like that. It’s very much a culture of be grateful for what you’re given and don’t ask for more and I don’t see life that way.”

The likes of Drake Maverick have been used on NXT TV after he was released from the company and Sarah Logan’s name was brought up multiple times on RAW after she was released. Deonna was asked would she work with WWE while in the middle of her non-compete clause and she said if it doesn’t benefit her and she’s just going to lose, she sees no point in it happening.

“Definitely how I feel now, there’s no reason. If I’m gonna be brought back to NXT to lose, and I’d lost the last few years so it’s not to my benefit and what’s funny enough is, I was asked to wrestle — so we were supposed to have tapings on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago and they were supposed to go through with the TV and it ended up being cancelled so they could do live TV last Wednesday. But, what I was meant to be doing was not to my benefit and it was to lose to someone who I’ve lost to clean a ton of times and it was just like, ‘Why? What is the point anymore? You’re just burying me and burying me and I’m done with it.’ So, unless they call me to do something for me, there would be no point.”

** Io Shirai did an interview with Tokyo Sports and she spoke about the injury she suffered in early 2020 that kept her on the shelf until the March 25th edition of NXT. Io shared that she damaged the medial collateral ligament in her right knee in January. Io also spoke about kicking off the feud between herself and NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. Io said that before she came to WWE, she wanted to wrestle Charlotte and added that while she was in STARDOM, Charlotte began to take off in WWE.

“Before coming to WWE, I thought that I could do Io Shirai vs. Charlotte someday. I have been living in the United States for almost two years, so it’s really the timing. It’s a dream match that I made when I changed my life in Japan and crossed the sea. When I was in STARDOM, Charlotte Flair started to shine.”

** Former 6-time WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James appeared on the Sunday Night’s Main Event podcast and Mickie talked about her recovery from the torn ACL she suffered during the Summer of 2019.

“It’s going great actually. I feel really — and I say that and I feel really good in moments. I’m due to return. I felt I was so, so close to getting ready to be cleared and then obviously my timing, per usual is impeccable. But, I was like, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s a blessing.’ I feel like everything is always, you never know. There’s a reason for everything. So, I’ve just been kind of still steadily rehabbing because even now and I’m just nine months or whatever it is post-surgery, I can tell within myself where perhaps my hamstring isn’t as strong as my other one and they are not completely equal so if I have more time in my own right to continue to heal and recover and build to come back, I’d rather come back at 110 percent than 90.”

Mickie spoke about what is left for her to accomplish in the sport of pro wrestling. Specifically chatting WWE, Mickie said she wants to win one more title and doesn’t have a preference but does have interest in the RAW Women’s Title. Mickie said she likes what Becky Lynch and Bayley are doing on their respective brands and would like to be in a program that could tell a great story.

“I wanna win the championship at least one last time. One more championship. There is three [brands]. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t say that. I feel like I have a little bit of an affinity to RAW because I started my career on RAW and I feel like I’ve done some amazing work on RAW and I wasn’t on SmackDown very long the first time around, and I worked with Michelle McCool and Layla over on SmackDown but on my first run — that sounded ironic because I came back to SmackDown with Alexa [Bliss], so that was cool. So obviously it’s different but I don’t know. I feel like I could have a hell of a match with Becky [Lynch], I love what Bayley’s doing right now. I always look at it in that element of the story of like, ‘Okay, where would I fit in-in that story because that’s where it is for me.’ It’s not just about the matches or, ‘Oh, what belt would you wanna go for?’ That’s not the key element of that. It’s more about the story and what type of ride could I take them on to never forget and have that match and that story go down in history as one of the greatest of all-time because you know why? It wasn’t that it was the greatest match that they’ve ever seen in their life, but it made them feel a genuine emotion and that’s where the money is, and that’s what I want.”

James also spoke about her stint as a commentator on WWE Main Event. She spoke about how difficult the job is and made a joke about Byron Saxton having to tolerate her. Mickie added that she has an immense amount of respect for those behind the desk.

“Oh my gosh, it’s a completely different set [of skills]. I don’t know, I think you’re being very generous when it comes to my commentary skills. I felt like I was learning every day, and poor Byron [Saxton]. I loved it. It was so much fun but it was super challenging. I don’t think that we as performers, and I only know because I had guest commentated before so I was aware of having different people in your ear and stuff like that, but it is super challenging to come up with ways to say the same thing without saying it the same way, or creative ways to go into your point and if you get thrown something you need to talk about, it’s hard. Like that is hard. Everyone who sits at that commentary and that announcers table, hats off to you because that is hard, and I started to feel I was actually starting to find my groove and get more comfortable and find my own personality and not feel so tense of like, ‘Okay, just don’t trip over your own tongue’ and fans can kind of understand from my perspective and I do provide that on that aspect of like, I have been in the ring so I do know what those moves feel like. I know what it’s like to be in most of those situations and what I might do in those situations so I can provide that.”

** Paul “Triple H” Levesque chatted with Newsweek for an exclusive interview and dove into the topics of the recent layoffs in WWE and Drake Maverick’s message that he sent out on social media after finding out he got released from the company. Levesque is hoping that business can continue as it did before the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Its been a difficult time for everybody. This is an unprecedented time in the world with everything that’s going on. Everybody across the board from the biggest companies in the world like Disney all the way through are having to make really tough choices and we are no exception, especially as a publicly traded company, and it sucks. Nobody wants to see the economy shut down or any of the things that are going on at this moment, and that’s the reality of this situation. Its been a tough few weeks and hopefully we can put these tough times behind us and I look forward to the day that we can. The WWE is like a family in that regard and decisions like this are extremely difficult and I wish nothing but the best for those people that unfortunately were a part of this. I’m hopeful that we can continue to do business the way that we had and down the line when this is all over, we can all get back together again if circumstances allow. It’s a tough situation for everyone.”

In regard to Drake Maverick, he’s still going to be competing in the interim NXT Cruiserweight Championship tournament. Levesque thinks highly of Maverick and hopes that Drake will prove everybody wrong including himself [Levesque].

“There’s a saying in our business that you’re always a day away from your fortune or storyline changing to something totally different and this is no exception. As a part of this, we’ll see where all of this goes and [Drake Maverick is] an incredibly talented performer and hopefully this is an opportunity he can make the most of. I hope that he proves us wrong, and that we made the wrong choice. While it was a difficult choice, maybe we should look at it again and I really do hope that he can [prove us wrong]. But I know he’s going to put on a spectacular performance, that’s what he’s always done. Like I said, this is a tough situation for everybody and we’re just trying to make the best of it and do what we can and I’m sure he will [make the best of it].”

** Below is Jazzy Gabert’s first post-WWE match and it was for the Pro-Wrestling: EVE promotion against Rhia O’Reilly.

 

** On the first edition of Mike and Maria Bennett’s ‘Non-Essential Wrestlers’ podcast, Mike shared his thoughts about the new Money In The Bank concept that WWE is presenting and he thinks very highly of the updated style of the match.

“Like the Money In The Bank idea is so cool. Like that’s gonna be so much fun and now, the first thing that popped into my head is, ‘Ah! They’re gonna put that match in a video game now’ and that’s gonna be awesome! That’s so cool.”

** AEW President Tony Khan took to Twitter to reflect on the 4/22 episode of Dynamite. Khan noted that next week’s Dynamite has the chance to be the best wrestling TV show that anyone has done in months.

** WrestleTalk chatted with No Way Jose for his first interview since being let go from the WWE. Jose shared the details of how he got the name “No Way Jose” and initially, he was not for the name until Paul “Triple H” Levesque referred to him as “No Way” and from there, Jose ran with the name.

“The name itself, ha. I don’t know how the hell it happened. They were like, ‘What do you think of No Way Jose?’ And I was like, ‘No.’ I thought it was a catchphrase, and I was like, ‘Oh cool’… they saw something in film and somehow it came up… [Matt] Bloom was like, ‘What if you want it as a name?’ And I was like, ‘No way’. Then a writer came up to me and was like, ‘Why?’ And I was like, ‘It will pigeon hole me, there is a ceiling’, all the real stuff in terms of business. Nobody goes in there and says they want to be a No Way Jose probably. They want to be, for me it was The Rock. When I saw The Rock, I wanted to be The Rock… We went into Full Sail and I’m walking in and you shake everyone’s hand and Triple H is right there talking to Eva Marie or someone. I’m like, ‘Hey sir, how you doing?’ And he’s like, ‘No Way, what’s going on?’ In my head I’m like, ‘S***, is that a thing?’ And he goes, ‘Got it approved today, what do you think?’ And I said, ‘I love it, let’s go.'”

Jose added that he always wanted to work with Elias. When it comes to pitching ideas, Jose had an NFL player ready to do a segment at WrestleMania but things did not come to fruition.

“I always wanted to walk with Elias. I was a party guy right, and I was always wanting to walk with Elias and slowly party with Elias. I would come out there with a drum one day and a guitar singing with him. Just trying to literally walk with him. I remember texting someone and was like, ‘What about a 24/7 title?’ And they were like, ‘No it wouldn’t happen.’ A few months later it happened which was great. The same mindset, let’s give everyone who is not doing something, something to do. I actually had an NFL player ready to go for WrestleMania, maybe timings didn’t work out, maybe they didn’t have plans. He was ready and I was ready. I talked to a few of the boys and they were like, ‘If he comes that’s gonna be awesome,’ but it never came to be… One week in particular I pitched 13 things based off the show.”

The former Monday Night RAW talent said he had a conversation with Vince McMahon about the possibility of turning on the conga line. McMahon specified to Jose what that would look like and Jose was excited about the idea and opportunity to make it happen.

“I wish we could have done more. Since we used them for two solid years, we could have done more to give them a different side, like boot camp was something I had. Like training with them to get them tougher. I had talks with the boss a couple of times and he was like if the turn ever happened, I’d need to like lay them out and show that aggressiveness. I was super excited to get an opportunity to do that. I thought that’s where we were going to end up going… maybe it was a plan down the line but I guess we’ll never know.”

** Alicia Atout of ‘A Music Blog, Yea?’ posted her interview with Deonna Purrazzo which was conducted prior to Purrazzo’s departure from WWE.

 

** Joey Ryan was the most recent guest on the Sitting Ringside with David Penzer podcast and during their chat, Joey Ryan went into detail about how his California-based Bar Wrestling promotion came to be:

“I directly ripped it off from one of the shows I did in Japan. While I was in Japan, I did a show called Tavern Wrestling, which was basically like standing room only, cheap alcohol and a party vibe. No in-depth storylines… the audience in Japan is usually very reserved and very respectful but this audience was drunk and they were loud and they were cheering and they were hollering the whole time which was different in Japan. So, it was so much fun and I asked them, I said, ‘Hey, can I borrow this idea and try it in America?’ And they gave me their blessing and then you know there’s some promotions in the States that were kind of already doing standing room only stuff. Beyond Wrestling did standing room stuff. I’m trying to not forget any promotions that — FEST Wrestling, I think Freelance Wrestling. So there were some promotions that were — in Germany I worked for wXw which did standing room only so… so what we do is we set up a venue. There’s a bar, obviously. There’s the ring and there’s no chairs, there’s no seats so it’s kind of like a party. Everyone just huddles around. There’s no barricades, the audience is right up to the ring. People are pounding on the ring, and they’re smart. Wrestling fans now are smart. We can still do outside-the-ring stuff and we can still do dives and stuff and they know to clear the way so it’s kinda cool to see when a wrestler spills outside, the audience parts the way and they give the wrestlers room to work. So, it’s just kinda like, if you had a party with all your friends and then, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s also professional wrestling happening.’

I don’t have storylines, I don’t have championships because I don’t really want people to have to — when they’re like, ‘Well, last month this guy did this so there’s an issue here.’ I don’t want people to have to think. I just want them to go and let go of their inhibition and drink and have fun and just enjoy some, like a stunt show basically. Just enjoy some crazy pro wrestling.”

** Paul “Triple H” Levesque appeared on the latest edition of WWE’s After The Bell podcast with Corey Graves. Levesque and Graves chatted about the two-night WrestleMania 36 event and Levesque feels that the two-night event was more enjoyable than the normal eight-hour show that WrestleMania has become.

“My opinion is my opinion but I think it was much more enjoyable than the eight-hour extravaganza. I think at some point, that is probably what it should be. Its just become so big that when you think about it in a way, it started out as a concert that ended up being a festival and it’s this week long thing that when you think about it in that manner now, the Thursday would’ve been Hall Of Fame, Friday was SmackDown, Saturday was going to be TakeOver, Sunday would’ve been WrestleMania, Monday would’ve been RAW. It’s a week-long festival and I think that big main stage attraction needs to be those two nights and it be this weekend of events. I do think that’s probably a change that out of chaos, comes on the genius and maybe that’s the genius of it and I know there’s been people saying that for a period of time but, that’s a major shift and that doesn’t come easy and I think people in the world look at stuff like that and they go, ‘Well why don’t they just make it two nights?’ Because that’s really easy. There you go, two nights,” Triple H said sarcastically.

Within that, Levesque spoke about the Boneyard match between The Undertaker and AJ Styles. He revealed that the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano cinematic match that aired on NXT TV was shot before the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches. Levesque told the story of how Vince McMahon first brought the idea to him and how he and Michael Hayes drove to the shooting area and were initially questioning how they were going to piece things together.

“He was like, ‘The Boneyard match.’ I was like, ‘Okay great. What is the Boneyard match?’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know,’ and he was like, ‘Graveyard. It’s in a graveyard’ and I said, ‘Okay’ and he was like, ‘They’ve got this huge field, turn it into a graveyard and it’s in the middle of nowhere.’ So I said, ‘What do you want it to be?’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t know, just make it good.’ So, I was like, ‘Do you want me to take that?’ And he was like, ‘Yes, please.’ I don’t remember what day it was. Michael Hayes and I — I went to Michael Hayes who was also an agent on that. I said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna grab this Boneyard match with you’ and he was like, ‘Oh thank God.’ So we drove over to this giant field in the middle of nowhere which I guess was maybe 30, 40 miles outside of Orlando and the giant field in the middle of nowhere ended up being like a one acre lot behind this barn in kind of a residential neighborhood with a house across the street. We got out of the car and I was like, ‘Where’s the big field?’ And they were like, ‘No, right here. This area right here to that street light there’ and I was like, ‘You are kidding me?’ And Mike was like, ‘Trip, this ain’t gonna work man. We can’t do this. I gotta call Vince right now and tell him put this in the studio or we gotta find another location. Shoot, this ain’t gonna work’ and I was like, ‘Michael, this is it. This is the hand we have, this is the cards we’ve been dealt. We just gotta figure out how to make this work now.’”

** Part two of Zack Sabre Jr.’s interview with NJPW1972.com is up and during the detailed chat, Sabre Jr. gave his thoughts about the differences between American wrestlers and British wrestlers when it comes to their respective priorities in wrestling.

“Even in the height of British wrestling in the World of Sport era, there were never big arena shows, they were always these civic halls of 1,000 people or so. When I grew up, the objective to me was to be a professional wrestler full time. To American wrestlers, there’s maybe these hopes of standing in big arenas that takes over the desire to just wrestle for some people.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zack Sabre Jr. appeared to be next in line to challenge Jon Moxley for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship. Sabre Jr. said he hopes to become champion by the Summer and is planning to walk into NJPW’s Wrestle Dynasty show at Madison Square Garden as U.S. Heavyweight Champion.

“I certainly want to be U.S. Champion by July 4. I have some fantastic ideas… I don’t think anything would be better than being U.S. Champion at Wrestle Dynasty, and how upset American wrestling fans would be. I think as well, Moxley was coming after my group. I didn’t want to wait for him to come to me, I wanted to jump in.”

** Mid-Day.com has highlights posted on their site from an international media call that Bianca Belair did. Bianca stated that her goal in WWE is to become women’s champion on either RAW, SmackDown or NXT.

“The cliché answer is to be RAW Women’s Champion, or if I’m on SmackDown to be SmackDown Women’s Champion, or to eventually be NXT Women’s Champion. Of course, I want to be the champion on all three brands at some particular time but, honestly, I just want to go out there and leave an impact no matter where I’m at. I feel like I did that with NXT, I left an impact. When people think back to this era in WWE history, I want to be one of the names that pops up as one of the key players regardless of if I’ve won one match or one hundred matches. I want to leave a legacy, I want to leave an impact.”

Belair spoke about designing her own ring gear and shared that her favorite gear thus far is the Black History Month gear she wore at NXT TakeOver: Portland this past February.

“I have been pretty creative and pretty hands on my whole life. I get it from my dad who is always doing something, always making something. My mom is the same way. They are super creative and I just grew up in that environment. I used to sew when I was younger. My mom had this little Christmas cookie jar that had everything in it but cookies. At first I started sewing pillow cases together. I didn’t even know what I was doing, but it carried over into High School and I used to sew and make my own outfits… It carried over into WWE because I do everything the best and I do everything myself. It’s a huge part of my character. Probably my favorite gear is my Black History Month gear that I wore at NXT TakeOver: Portland. Black History Month is really important to me because I really feel that Black history is American history is world history, and I’m very passionate about that. So that’s probably my favorite gear that I’ve made and it has the most sentimental value to me.”

** The WWEPC YouTube channel uploaded a video which takes a look at Timothy Thatcher’s NXT in-ring debut last week as he teamed with Matt Riddle.

** Former WWE talent Konnor spoke with Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald and Konnor opened up about how he became a certified wedding official. While sharing the details about that, he spoke about being the official for Sasha Banks and Jason Jordan’s respective weddings.

“Something just came over me one day. I was sitting in my room and I wanted to become an ordained minister and I thought that’d be something that was kind of cool. It’s out of left field. People wouldn’t expect it but I always felt myself kinda close to the Lord. That’s just my preference of course, but I just thought it was something really cool and I went and I became a certified notary too so I was able to do legal paperwork which I thought was really neat so, yeah. I got to have the privilege of marrying a few of the WWE superstars and it was a privilege to do that. It was Sasha Banks. I got to marry her with her husband and I got to marry Jason Jordan as well, with April [Elizabeth] so that was pretty cool. So yeah, that’s kind of the quick gist of that. I was just bored one day and I’m just sitting there thinking to myself, ‘Man, I think it’s kinda cool to do something like that’ and I just kind of fell into it.”

** According to PWInsider, David Penzer signed a deal with IMPACT Wrestling. He’ll be working as a ring announcer with the company.

** Paul “Triple H” Levesque spoke to CBS Sports about Ronda Rousey’s recent comments about pro wrestling and how he thinks WrestleMania 36 turned out.

** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated conducted an interview with AEW’s Darby Allin. Allin did not hold back when speaking about the disappointment he felt after being left off AEW’s Full Gear match card. Allin said after that, he made sure to never be “unnecessary” to an event again and added that although his colleagues in AEW are extremely supportive, he’s not there to be buddy-buddy with everyone.

“I sat in the crowd, and that ate me alive. I sat there and watched the show, and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to put in as much work as I ever have, whether it’s video or matches, to be on the next pay-per-view.’ There were people that probably expected me to be off the pay-per-view. I’m here to prove people wrong. I’m not here to make friends and treat this as a clubhouse. People here are super supportive, and I appreciate that, but this isn’t friendship hour. For me, this is about proving people wrong and putting AEW on the map.”

** Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone conducted an interview with Richard Holliday.

** Former NXT UK Tag Team Champion Flash Morgan Webster welcomed Alex Shelley onto his podcast. During their chat, Shelley was asked why he decided to step away from wrestling in the Summer of 2018 and did he ever think about returning after that decision was made. Shelley detailed why he stepped away and spoke about a personal situation that he dealt with during that time.

“I was very, very, very careful to never say ‘retire’. I made sure to never say that. You hear about pro wrestlers retiring quote, unquote. Me retiring is like, ‘No man. When you retire, you get benefits and a pension and nobody’s getting that in wrestling.’ I wasn’t sure I was gonna come back. I really thought I was. I really thought I was and then, the more I got away from it, I was like, ‘Ah, I don’t know that I’m going to have to’ and I think for me, to share a little bit of personal information too, I was married at the time and my ex-wife was a veterinarian. She was an ER vet, and eventually the stressors of medicine on both ends — Clinical Rotations are not an easy thing to go through. You can talk to anybody in the medical field and being an ER vet who does mostly youth in Asia is not easy to go through so we ended up dissolving our marriage, which is fine. There wasn’t any sort of hostility or animosity over cheating or lying or stealing or drugs or alcohol or anything like that. Nobody got abused. But, I really thought the next step in my life was going to be, ‘Okay, wrestling will be on the back-burner and I’ll have this career now and maybe I’ll have kids and maybe it’ll be a more nuclear lifestyle’ and obviously that didn’t happen and I’m glad it didn’t happen. But, I wasn’t totally sure to answer your question. I really told myself, ‘Yeah, I can always come back,’ and then it got to the point, ‘I don’t think I wanna come back. I just wanna do this’ and it just waffled back and forth for a period of time.”

** During his interview with Comicbook.com, Sammy Guevara stated that he’s always believed that he and Darby Allin were going to be the breakout stars in All Elite Wrestling.

** Muscle and Fitness published their interview with Bianca Belair.

** Cody Rhodes was the focus of an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with Bleacher Report and was asked for an update on a potential AEW video game. Cody stated that if AEW does make a game, which they are planning to do, it will take time as they want the game to be as good as possible.

“I’ll give the honest update: the AEW video game will be something all fans know about as we begin the process and as we move forward. If we were to make a very good game, which is our intention, it’s going to take time. Game development is arduous, it’s a very creative space, and we want to do it right. We will keep people updated, it won’t come as a surprise, we want them to take the journey with us. Be extra patient so we can deliver.”

** Morgan Hertzan, EVP & General Manager of VICE TV told Deadline that the network is hoping to do more Dark Side of the Ring episodes and do more ‘Dark Side’ series in forms other than pro wrestling.

“We are eagerly looking forward to explore more ways to do more episodes of Dark Side of the Ring and Dark Side of other strands. We also are looking at all of our audience data and what people love about that show, and are using it to inform other shows that we’re green-lighting. The audience is telling us they love this kind of storytelling so we want to keep delivering on that over and over again.”

** Via the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Twitter page, Rob Gronkowski cut a promo about being WWE 24/7 Champion and being thankful that he can remain champion without any distractions because of quarantine.

** Diamond Dallas Page released a video on his DDPYOGA YouTube channel which features DDP prepping Jake Roberts to return to his home after Jake spent multiple weeks quarantining in a hotel in Atlanta.

 

** John Cena turned 43-years old on April 23rd. To celebrate his birthday, WWE put together a video of Cena’s most “underrated” moments in the company.

** Ronda Rousey is going to serve as a brand ambassador for iBUYPOWER and be a part of new announcements the company will make in the coming weeks and months. She’ll also be hosting charity events and giveaways through live streams.

** Here’s the latest episode of Battle of the Brands on the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel:

 

** Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture spoke with Joey Ryan for an exclusive interview. While Ryan was speaking about his current run in IMPACT Wrestling, he told the story of how Ken Shamrock’s kids were the ones who convinced him to work with Joey on IMPACT TV.

“I’ll tell another quick story about Ken is that when we first came up with the idea, I thought, ‘Oh, there’s no way Ken’s gonna wanna do this,’ and then IMPACT told me that they brought it up to him. They suggested it to him and he saw a video [of me]. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s funny but I don’t know if it works for Ken Shamrock.’ So he went home and asked his kids about it and his kids, I guess are big fans of mine and his kids said, ‘Oh dad, you have to do this. It’s so cool, you have to do this,’ so that’s what changed his mind or made him decide to do it and I think that’s a good example of the fact that some of the older guard think it doesn’t really have a place or fits but the new era of wrestling fans, they love and they enjoy it so I think that’s a good example of that.”

Denise also chatted with Melissa Santos.

** Jim Ross, Excalibur and Taz recapped the 4/23/20 episode of AEW Dynamite on the All Elite Wrestling YouTube channel.

** Kris Levin, Anthony Greene, Royce Issacs and Blake Chadwick were interviewed by Darren Paltrowitz of Sportskeeda about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them personally and professionally.

** On April 13th, Cody Runnels applied to trademark “Cody Rhodes”.

** Part two of Shingo Takagi’s fan Q&A session was posted to NJPW1972.com. Shingo revealed that when he and Tetsuya Naito trained together at the Animal Hamaguchi dojo, there was a bit of competitiveness between the two and that was because they simply wanted to outwork one another but were cordial.

“I’d say I was always conscious of him, but not excessively so. I was just very hungry and very focused on what I was doing, so we weren’t much more than cordial. But I did feel there was a little bit of competition because we both wanted to debut first.”

** Adam Cole, Cesaro and Xavier Woods played the VALORANT beta with Chris Denker.

 

** Jeffrey Harris of 411 Mania spoke with Jim Ross to chat about All Elite Wrestling, his thoughts about the duo formerly known as The Revival and several more topics were covered. Ross reflected on being on the call for Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock at WrestleMania 17 and expressed that he still feels it was the wrong move to have Austin turn heel and added that it could be argued that-that was the peak of the Attitude Era.

“Well, it was a major moment in the Attitude Era. Peak? I don’t know if it was the peak or not, but it could be arguably said. I thought it was a mistake to turn Austin heel, I still do. But nonetheless, that’s what he wanted. We owed it to Steve — as I write in the book, Vince said, ‘We owe it to Steve to give it a shot,’ and we did. But I never thought it was a strategic idea, especially doing it in his home state, in his home market area of Houston at the Astrodome. But I was amazed by the crowd that we drew. I wasn’t surprised, because the product was red-hot then. The irony of that is that, I remember when we were booking that card, and then you know, I think I mentioned to Vince that, ‘You know, it’s a hell of a card, but what are we gonna do with Triple H and Undertaker?’ Because they weren’t booked, and he said, ‘Well, we’re gonna book ’em.’ So they had a match, and that was the quote-unquote ‘Get them on the card.’ If you wanna look at that logic, that’s a horrible way to put it because they’re two of the very, very best that we had. But they weren’t involved in major stories at that time, for whatever reason. That’s not a good answer either. But I just thought that the card was loaded. I thought the Dudleys, Edge and Christian and the Hardy Boys made themselves famous and a lot more money by their performance in the TLC match. I thought that Rock and Steve had a hell of a match, no doubt about that. But I just wasn’t prepared for the change in persona of Austin. To me, Austin turning heel was like John Wayne becoming a Nazi. It didn’t fit the script.”

** AEW’s Britt Baker turned 29-years old on April 23rd.

** Ring of Honor is hosting a “Trivia Night” on the Zoom service with their wrestlers and non-wrestlers who’d like to participate. The deadline for entry is April 29th, 9 AM EST and more information can be found on ROH’s official website.

** Dean Malenko was the most recent guest on the AEW Unrestricted podcast. When asked what talents in AEW have particularly caught his attention, Malenko named Darby Allin as one of those talents. He said Darby has something about him that allows him to stand out from the rest and he’s looking forward to seeing how Darby’s career pans out.

“The first guy that sticks out to me, number one, I’ll always mention is Darby Allin. We always talk about the ‘It’ factor. He’s just got this thing that just makes him different. Yeah, there’s a lot of guys that do flips and tumbling acts and dive through the ropes and all that but just something about him, that he does it different and he has his own stamp on it more than anybody else, and he understands the audience, he understands that part of the business, understands about getting himself over and doing anything he can to get your name out there and your face out there and he’s done a great job and I look forward for the future for his career for sure.”

** Kofi Kingston spoke to Sports Illustrated about Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

** Chris Hemsworth told Screen Rant that the Hulk Hogan biopic is currently being scripted.

** Ring of Honor uploaded the full match between The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Mike Bennett & Adam Cole) (w/ Maria Kanellis) vs. The Young Bucks and AJ Styles from ROH and NJPW’s War of the Worlds event to their YouTube channel.

 

** ‘Metro’ released their interview with Shawn Michaels and Michaels revealed that during he and Vince McMahon’s match at WrestleMania 22, Vince refused to protect himself when Shawn was coming at him with ladders. Shawn praised McMahon for being a hard worker and never asking someone to do something he wouldn’t do.

** Lacey Evans interviewed with Sporting News and shared her thoughts about the recent WWE releases.

** Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda chatted with Deonna Purrazzo.

** IMPACT World Tag Team Champion Ethan Page joined The WrestlingINC Daily Podcast. Ethan said that in his IMPACT contract, it reads that if he doesn’t perform, he doesn’t get paid but during this COVID-19 pandemic, Page has been paid by IMPACT Wrestling anyway.

“Me personally, I’ve had nothing but good things to say during this entire thing. My wife, the same. We had three events cancelled that we got paid for and we didn’t have to leave the house and to me, in my contract, it says if I don’t perform, I don’t get paid. So, I didn’t perform and they still paid me. So, to me, that just shows a different character than most companies in this situation and I’ll be happy to pay that forward in any way I can. Maybe just telling you how good they’re treating us. Maybe that’ll help them out.”

** Below is an excerpt from Natalya’s latest article for the Calgary Sun in-which she wrote about the late Howard Finkel.

“My first encounter with Howard was when I was in WWE developmental and I was being brought up to the main roster. Howard called me with that unmistakable, distinct voice of his and said that I was needed for SmackDown. I jumped up and down, as I was so excited that I was going to the main roster! In that phone call, I felt like I had “made it,” too. Howard talked to me about how much he enjoyed working with my family and he said “congratulations” to me. That was such a happy moment for me and to this day, I am so grateful that he was involved in that call. Years after, whenever Howard was at a WWE event or backstage, he would always make it a point to come find me and talk to me. He was the kind of person who always wanted to give you his time, which I feel is one of the most valuable gifts a person can give.”

** The Miz, Titus O’Neil and Seth Rollins are participating in the NFL’s Draft-A-Thon live stream throughout the week to raise money for COVID-19 relief.

** Chris Bey did an interview with Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture and Bey said that while the “Sign Chris Bey” movement was making the rounds on Twitter, he was already signed to IMPACT Wrestling and just wanted to ride the wave. When it comes to AEW, he never spoke with anybody in the company and the interactions with Cody were just in good fun.

“I was just messing around when I did the thing with Cody. I tweeted him the old picture I took with him the Summer before, and then he responds to it, and it’s like, ‘Okay, this is wild’… I would also be lying if I said that wasn’t the plan. Anything that I put out there into the universe that’s the plan. When I put the picture up with him, I expected him to see it, I didn’t expect a response and I didn’t expect the things that came after that. I didn’t expect for him later that night to follow me on Twitter, and then every now and then to go back and forth with me on Twitter. But while all that was happening, to the public eye, they were all seeing me talk with Cody, I never talked with anybody at AEW. While all that was happening on Twitter, me and IMPACT were having the conversations, they were talking about how they were gonna bring me on… I remember that morning, I’d sign that deal with IMPACT. If I am being honest, I had signed it two months before this. So two months before the announcement, I was already signed. So the whole time while they had the sign Chris Bey hashtag and stuff, I was already signed. I was just riding the wave. I remember waking up and seeing people tweet that Cody was talking about me, I remember checking my phone and I had seen a lot of posts about it because it had happened maybe thirty minutes before I woke up… shortly after I see it, I find the clip and I listen to it and I remember thinking, ‘Maybe if this conversation would have happened,’ and then [Cody] DM’d me and asks me to text him, so I shot him a text message and he asks me if I had signed anywhere and I told him I did, and he just congratulated me and told me we’d see each other down the line… Right after that and maybe a couple hours later the news dropped… So the internet took it and spun their narrative on it about me signing with IMPACT right under AEW’s nose and all sort of stuff. But the reality was IMPACT talked to me first, they gave me all the opportunities throughout the last year and a half and I have to bring my story full circle.”

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 394 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.