POST NEWS UPDATE: Highlights from Paul Levesque’s pre-TakeOver media call

Highlights from Paul Levesque's TakeOver media call, Erick Rowan opens up about his run in WWE, Dwayne Johnson calls out Donald Trump, NWA contract notes 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.

** Paul Levesque hosted the pre-TakeOver: In Your House media call ahead of the show on June 7th and below are highlights from the call (Audio can be heard via Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net):

– Levesque offered his condolences to the family of George Floyd and all families who have lost their loved ones to senseless violence.
– When asked about the possibility of NXT running outside of the Performance Center seeing as how Florida is transitioning into phase two of reopening, Levesque said that they are exploring options.
– When asked about Drake Maverick, Levesque said the tournament was already mapped out prior to the mass releases. They gave Maverick the option to work the tournament and everything was out in the open so it was a choice of ignoring it or trying to make something of it.
– Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream’s NXT Championship match at TakeOver is taped and the rest of the show is going to be live.
– When asked about Performance Centers possibly being opened in Japan and Latin America, Levesque reiterated that global expansion is always the plan.
– Levesque was asked if talents are undergoing COVID-19 testing and HHH said their medical team works with the government to decide which testing is the best. He did not mention which test[s] they use.

** Lewis Nicholls interviewed with former WWE talent Joseph Rudd, also known as Erick Rowan. Rowan was a part of the mass WWE releases/furloughs in April after being with the company since 2011. In the final portion of Rowan’s run in the company, he had the chance to work with and against Daniel Bryan in a storyline with Roman Reigns. Rowan feels that more could’ve been done with that and added that he knows WWE never expected him to succeed.

“They can always do more. Like you said, yes it was too short [the storyline with Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan] and I think a lot of that was a victim of just, we had the Draft coming up, we were switching networks to FOX, so they didn’t have a plan for me going on because they didn’t think I was gonna succeed. I know they didn’t think I was gonna succeed, because I wouldn’t have had people come up to me backstage and be like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe you’re doing this’ and then week after week after week, all of a sudden, they’re letting me talk, they’re letting me do more and more and more. So they were trusting me more and more and more, and then it just stopped when I got put onto RAW.”

Knowing how the company viewed him priority-wise, Rowan stated that it was a “bummer” but he just tried to make the best of all his opportunities.

“It was a bummer, but to me they were using me. Up until the end, I was used. So, I was always figured in somehow so I couldn’t really be upset. You know, I had the cage thing, whatever that was, but it kept me on television. Good or bad, it kept me on and that’s always what I say to people are like, ‘It’s good or bad. You try to make the best you can with it and sometimes you can make good out of it, but sometimes the writing is the writing. I don’t know what happens, I really don’t.”

The former two-time SmackDown Tag Team Champion talked about his release from WWE as well. He said after WWE received a great deal of backlash on social media for the caged spider storyline and they removed it as a whole, he ended up being home and off of TV. Rowan still feels that he has yet to hit the peak of his career and also has endeavors outside of pro wrestling that he’d like to pursue.

“The thing about all this is, we did get a message. We have an app that we had and it had a message from Vince [McMahon] that kind of explained that there’s gonna be layoffs. There’s gonna be furloughs, how the whole economy’s kind of churning and they basically have to let people go, and when I heard that I was like, ‘Well, I’m under contract so I can’t be furloughed’ so if they’re gonna let me go, they’re gonna let me go and to me, even the last time I was on television when they killed the spider like the day after because of backlash — because I don’t know why else they would kill it,” Rowan laughed. “It’s kind of like there’s no plans for it, so I was just sitting at home like a lot of guys were just sitting at home, and I don’t know. You get that initial shock and then it’s like, ‘Okay, well what’s next?’ Because you gotta keep going and my family, they know I got goals and things I wanna do outside of wrestling as well as still in wrestling, because I’m not even 40 yet so, I haven’t even hit the peak of my career and haven’t even got to begin to show people — these interviews that I do are so beneficial to show people that, ‘Hey, I have a voice, I can speak.’ I’m more than just some brute in the background on some weekly show or some guy that terrorizes people with a cage that’s smaller than them.”

Rowan is still under the non-compete clause in his WWE contract but he does have his eyes on a few talents in IMPACT Wrestling and Ring of Honor. He was specifically asked about AEW and shared his thoughts about the company and jokingly stated that he and Brodie Lee need to stay away from each other.

“I haven’t had any conversations. I’m still under a 90-day no-compete clause. But, as far something like that, that would be awesome to be able to show your talents on a national level because they do have a contract through TNT and they get great exposure, they have a lot of really good guys that work there that know what they’re doing and they’re giving kids chances so yes, I do watch. I do find it entertaining at points and not entertaining at other points which every show is like that. You can watch anything on television. There’s other guys on the independents that I’d love to work with. They have some big boys over at IMPACT, they’ve got some big boys over at ROH. You know, and that’s not even getting into overseas stuff. But as far as AEW would go, for me and I think Brodie [Lee] would say this as well, we need to stay the hell away from each other. Just keep finding each other somehow.”

Diving back into his run in WWE, Rowan revealed that his first WrestleMania moment occurred at WrestleMania 29 where he was a member of the “graveyard” for The Undertaker’s entrance.

“My first [WrestleMania] moment, believe it or not, was WrestleMania 29. Yeah, I was in a morph suit for The Undertaker’s entrance. I was moving my arms like one of those inflatable used car sale lot balloons, but yeah, that was my first WrestleMania moment.”

 

** Andrade joined in on a CMLL interview on June 3rd.

 

** WhatCulture Wrestling has an interview up with Eli Drake. In this 40+ minute conversation, Drake discussed a variety of topics including his deal with the National Wrestling Alliance. Drake revealed that he recently inked a new deal with the organization and should be with them into the next year.

“My current deal, I think my current deal is supposed to — I started the end of June last year? And it was a one-year deal but we recently just signed a new one. I’ll be there at least for the next year.”

Transitioning over to the topic of Eli’s run in IMPACT Wrestling, Eli recalled how he was let go from the company. He said he found out through social media and did not receive a phone call or text about being let go.

“If you’re in a romantic relationship and you have no communication, you have an awful relationship chances are. Same thing professionally. So, if you’re not telling me what you’re not happy with me doing or how I can improve it — if you talk to me, I’m super reasonable and easy to deal with if you just tell me what you want or tell me what I’m doing wrong and I’ll say, ‘You know what? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to piss you off. How can we fix it?’ But if I start hearing second and third hand or let’s say I don’t hear anything. In this instance, I heard nothing until the day I was fired. When I was fired was when I heard about it, and I heard about it via email. Nobody called me, nobody even texted me, nothing. I think actually, I didn’t find out via the email, I found out via Twitter because the morning I got fired was WrestleMania Sunday. I woke up to three or four text messages, ‘Hey is this true?’ And a link to a tweet. That’s how I found out.”

Eli Drake discussed Ricky Starks’ departure from the NWA. He said that NWA is giving talents the option to opt out of their deals if they have offers elsewhere or they can stay with the organization and restructure their current deal.

“I found out via the internet. I don’t keep my head into a lot of what’s going on in the company. I go, ‘You want me to do this? Cool, I got it.’ I’m surprised then I’m not, just because with the way that everything’s happening with the current climate in the world and we’re not able to do shows, NWA kinda giving the option for people that either restructured their deals or to possibly opt out if they didn’t want to take this downtime and possibly wait until whenever we can do shows again if they had offers from elsewhere. So I gotta imagine, perhaps he’s got feelers somewhere, he’s got an opportunity so I’m not terribly surprised, and I don’t know what or how his deal was structured but I mean, in my case, I’m good to stay where I am for now unless somebody comes to me with a really, really good offer but, so far so good but with Ricky, I’m not terribly surprised. At the same time, we would’ve loved to still have him on I’m sure.”

** Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson spoke in-depth about the Black Lives Matter movement and the leadership in the United States via Instagram. Johnson called out Donald Trump and asked questioned the leadership. Johnson also shared his thoughts about Donald Trump sending the military after peaceful protesters.

 

** D-Von Dudley chatted with Bully Ray and Mark Henry on Busted Open Radio about the death of George Floyd and the protests going on around the world in support of justice for Floyd. D-Von and Bully Ray recalled when D-Von was pulled over while they were in Houston and D-Von told Bully to not escalate the situation because the cop would shoot him and not Bully.

Bully Ray: “So, Houston, Compaq Center, you’re driving, you’re doing about a 100 miles an hour. You get pulled over, the cop asks you to get out of the car. You get out of the car, then I got out of the car like five minutes later and I came to the back by the trunk and you and the cop were just talking and then I think I said to the cop, ‘Officer, what’s the problem?’ And you looked at me and you said, ‘Bubba, not now. He’ll shoot me. He won’t shoot you.’ Now we’ve been laughing about that story for years, but now, it kinda takes on a different meaning and a different tone. Did you really, truly feel that way back then?’”

D-Von Dudley: “You know, I get it that some officers, again, like I said, whether you’re black, white, Latino, it doesn’t matter. You always have that fear of probably once you walk out that door, never coming home. But that’s a chance that you take when you decide to basically police the area that you’re doing and making sure that justice should be done with all. But I don’t understand, again, some of the actions that are taken by some people that look at a race of people and basically just decide that they’re all criminals, they’re all this and that and blah, blah, blah. They’re not good citizens and that’s wrong. It’s something that shouldn’t be done.”

** WWE has appointed Bandar Al Mashhadi as the Vice President & General Manager for the Middle East & North Africa. Al Mashhadi is taking over for Carlo Nohra, who served in that role for more than six years. Some of Bandar’s new duties include managing local operations for WWE’s 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Entertainment Authority and leading WWE’s business initiatives and day-to-day operations in the MENA region.

** NWA World Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa joined the ‘This Is The NWA Podcast’ and while the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on, the NWA decided not to run empty arena shows but have been pushing out their ‘Carnyland’ series on YouTube. Ricky Starks recently departed from the organization and Thunder Rosa explained why she has not followed suit:

“Again, I’m really happy to be part of this company because again, I could’ve just said, ‘Okay, you know, I’m just gonna part ways and do whatever I want and maybe not wrestle and just focus on other stuff.’ But, I won’t because they took a chance on me and they continue to take a chance on me and they see the talent and they see something in me that nobody else, by far besides Lucha Underground, when I had a mask on — done it for me as Thunder Rosa so, there you go.”

** ABC Action News uploaded a video to their YouTube channel of Titus O’Neil speaking about the murder of George Floyd and the protests in Tampa, Florida.

 

** Brian “Road Dogg” James joined Corey Graves for the latest installment of WWE’s After The Bell podcast. Road Dogg is a part of the NXT creative team among his other duties concerning the brand. He has also worked on the SmackDown creative team and explained his stance on the micromanaging of talents that WWE does.

“Look, I would love to come up with the story or the angle and let the talent fill in the blanks, but there’s very few talent — I’m not saying there was more back then. I didn’t know about this part back then. I didn’t know about the part where they either let you go and give you some rope and you either zip line to the other side or you hang yourself, and so I didn’t know about all that. But there are some talent nowadays that you can trust to fill in the blanks and there’s definitely some talent that you can not trust. So as far as the micromanaging goes, I was guilty of that for sure. People up the ladder from me are too, but it’s because of that. There’s so few that you can just go, ‘Yeah I can let him go and he’s not gonna say the wrong thing and he’s not gonna do the wrong thing. It’s actually better if I let him be him. If I let her be her.’”

While speaking about the current NXT roster members, Road Dogg went in-depth for his praise of both Dexter Lumis and Adam Cole. James feels that Lumis is starting to hit his stride and there have been conversations of moving Lumis to that main-event spot as he continues to develop on-screen.

“Well I think Dexter Lumis. I think again, he’s right out of the gate but right out of the gate interesting as a character and people wanna know more about him and as a human being, he’s a great guy with a lot of really cool talents and so we’ll be getting into those. But again, it wasn’t me. It was a team effort of how — so I had a class before the TV started. I had a class down there, and of course we didn’t do much in-ring stuff because I wasn’t an in-ring guy. We watched a lot of tape, talked about a lot of characters and he was one I got really interested in and I went too far with and I had him in licking people in a rear-chin lock and lick their cheek and just go way too far and then you see what works and what doesn’t work, t’s easy to reel it back in. The hard part is getting them out of their comfort zone and get them to go that far and then you can kind of reel it back in and control it a little bit. But he was one that was definitely a team effort, but his character alone has already got people talking and his character alone [has] already got us thinking, ‘Main events’ and stuff like that, and this guy, he wasn’t even on TV three months ago and now we’re talking about putting him in that picture.”

As far as NXT Champion Adam Cole goes, Road Dogg spoke highly of Cole’s professionalism. He stated that if Cole had the size of Karrion Kross, he’d be the Universal Champion right now and has no doubts about that statement.

“But Adam Cole is the most professional, most talented — he gets it, he gets every aspect of it. He could cut a promo — he’s one of the guys when you go, ‘I need you to do a minute’ and that’s all you say to him, and he gives you a minute of hiccup-less verbiage that just makes you go, ‘Okay that was perfect. Thank you.’ Every single time. That’s Adam Cole in a nutshell. But he’s also a great worker. He has a great psychology. Man, if he was Karrion Kross’ size, he would be the Universal Champion right now, and if he wasn’t, I’d be wondering why. That’s the kinda guy he is, that’s the kinda human he is, that’s the kinda talent he is. Incredible, and so he’s probably my favorite guy but from a guy who’s now on this side of the fence, having to work with that guy, he gives you everything you could ask for and more and you don’t even really have to ask for it. It’s just like a dream. He’s a dream superstar.”

** Dragon Gate cancelled the remainder of their June shows. Dragon Gate’s last show was on May 31st in Kobe, Japan.

** Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp chatted with Zicky Dice. Zicky spoke about his current contract with the NWA and shared that it runs through January of 2021.

“Believe it or not, I held onto that title without a contract. That’s a scary spot. You don’t want to have Zicky Dice holding a title without him under contract because that means Zicky Dice could do whatever he wants, and some of these ideas come into my mind sometimes. It’s been hard containing Zicky Dice. A lot of my exes will tell you the same, this one did it. But, the contract I’m under right now is until the new year. This goes through January, and we’ll see. I’ve got goals. I hate that word. I’ve got plans. You’ll never know where you’ll see Zicky Dice or where he’ll end up or what’s next. But, I’m looking to build the Zicky Dice stock and I’m looking to build the brand as a whole. I’m literally looking to take over the masses.”

** In conjunction with UNICEF, The Bella Twins have launched a GoFundMe for mothers in need.

** Bill Pritchard of WrestleZone spoke with the NWA World Television Champion Zicky Dice. Zicky opened up about Ricky Starks’ departure from the NWA. Dice and Starks were close friends and Dice admitted that Ricky’s departure from the organization has been tough to deal with.

“I’m a little bummed out about Ricky Starks not being a part of the NWA right now. I had met Ricky for the first time at NWA, and we stayed in the same Airbnb together and we got linked up in this program together and whatever went on between them, its been tough for me to deal with. I’m not gonna lie to you, because we became friends and there was only a few people I knew prior to going to NWA and that was Dave Marquez, Billy Trask and Royce Isaacs and that’s because I worked at Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. Ricky won’t tell you this, but he loves me and I love Ricky to death. Ricky actually came out. I convinced him to come and hang out. He flew from Austin and came to hang out with me for 20 hours and flew back. We did something awesome together that I will send your way as soon as it’s done, but that’s been a little difficult for me, I’m not gonna lie, and because I find comfort in hanging out with Ricky and making friends. I’m still at the bottom of the totem pole at the NWA and I know that and still trying to find my comfort zone there and some might say that I might’ve overstepped boundaries at times but that’s okay because as you can see, Zicky has graduated ‘Heat 101’.”

NWA Vice President David Lagana has openly stated that the National Wrestling Alliance will not be running empty arena shows during the COVID-19 pandemic. Zicky Dice talked about some of the rumors he has heard regarding the NWA and when they could possibly be back up and running.

“It’s tough right now. I’ve heard rumors of maybe October, maybe November and then I’ve also heard January. So I don’t know. I really don’t know, but all we can do is try and stay relevant, try and stay on top and really try and do something different than what some of the other brands are doing at the moment. I’ve heard that they don’t wanna do any empty arena shows. I’ve also heard recently, a rumor that someone might be feeling a little different now so I don’t know what to expect, but I’m here for the ride and either way, I’m gonna do what I can to entertain and over-deliver for everybody.”

** The 2015 WWE Elimination Chamber pay-per-view was the focus of Arn Anderson’s latest podcast.

** Tammy “Sunny” Sytch sent out a number of tweets on June 2nd that were racially/politically charged and she followed up with tweets to detract from what had been previously sent out.

** Below is Inside The Ropes’ interview with Tommaso Ciampa ahead of NXT TakeOver: In Your House:

 

** Lio Rush was released along with Drake Maverick in the mass WWE releases/furloughs in April. Maverick was re-hired by WWE and that storyline played out on the June 3rd edition of NXT. Rush took to Twitter and reacted to said storyline:

“Man….Are they going to hire everyone back then? Kind of a slap in the face to use this as a shoot work. But i guess I’m not surprised. Super happy for anyone getting there job back. But damn, real trauma and a lot of others were apart of this.”

** In her latest post for the Calgary Sun, Natalya spotlighted Titus O’Neil and his efforts and contributions to his community. Below is an excerpt from Natalya’s piece:

“When I heard the news of Titus’s award nomination, I was so happy for him because I’ve seen first-hand all of the incredible work he’s done for people all over the world. Every day, he is doing something to give back to others. Titus has established a foundation called the Bullard Family Foundation where he raises money throughout the year to give back to multiple charities and people in need. This past Christmas, I took part in an event that Titus hosted to help donate more than 20,000 Christmas gifts to families in need. In May, Titus asked for my help to feed 5,000 frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, once again bringing our community together by the masses. A week before Mother’s Day this year, I called Titus up and said, “I want to do something amazing for underprivileged moms. What can we do to help?” Within an hour, Titus had a game plan that would see 50 moms each get a five-course meal, as well as every mom being given hundreds of dollars in self-care gifts and supplies that they greatly needed to get by. Titus is the person behind so much good and he leads by example through good times and tough times. I am in awe of how he never stops finding ways to give back.”

** Demi Burnett welcomed Nikki and Brie Bella onto her ‘Big Demi Energy’ podcast. Nikki revealed that on the season finale of Total Bellas on June 11th, the gender of she and Artem Chigvintsev’s child will be revealed.

** Booker T took to his ‘Hall Of Fame’ podcast to discuss Randy Orton and Edge’s forthcoming match at Backlash which is being dubbed the “greatest wrestling match ever”. Booker first revealed that he’ll be on the Backlash Kickoff show and then proceeded to talk about the expectations for the match.

“I think these two guys can go out and bring you to the point to where you say, ‘Man, this was a really, really good match.’ One thing about Edge, what’s gonna be unique about seeing Edge go out and perform if he can pull it off — that’s the question mark. If he can pull it off, you’re gonna go out and see a guy do something that you don’t see these guys do today, and that’s go out there and give you a certain move-set but its storytelling is gonna be something that you go, ‘Wow, okay. This is…’ So that’s what I’m wondering. Is it gonna have that Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, WrestleMania feel in Houston, Texas? Where you saw the two oldest guys on the card go out and perform better than anybody on the card. Are we gonna see something like this? Do we have the right two guys to actually be able to go out there and pull something off like that? I think so. Is it gonna be the greatest wrestling match of all-time? To hell with that. I’m just playing.”

** YOH of Roppongi 3K did an interview with NJPW1972.com and part two of that interview is up on the company’s official English website. YOH shared his thoughts about Bullet Club’s El Phantasmo. YOH is of the belief that El Phantasmo could have Kenny Omega-like success and ultimately become the head of the group.

“Honestly it wouldn’t surprise me if he had a Kenny Omega like path, and took over the whole BULLET CLUB.”

As far as Roppongi 3K goes, YOH does think there is a future as a singles wrestler for him but that comes after he and SHO capture the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.

“We still have places left to go as Roppongi 3K. It’s a process I’ve thought about for years now. I think we can get the heavyweight tag belts. Once that goal’s been achieved, then I can think about singles as well.”

** Matt Morgan filed paperwork to run for the Seminole County Commission District 1 seat, which is currently held by Bob Dillari. Matt Morgan is the current Mayor of Longwood, Florida.

** Part 6 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s interview series is up on NJPW1972.com.

** Sportsnavi LIVE chatted with Jay White.

** Chris Jericho will be back on commentary for the June 10th episode of AEW Dynamite.

** Mirror Sport posted their interview with Rhea Ripley. Ripley is all in favor of another Mae Young Classic tournament and/or Evolution pay-per-view. She feels that there are so many talented women in WWE that need to be spotlighted on a stage such as the aforementioned events.

“Because there’s so many females in WWE today, I feel like we do need something extra. Whether that be a show for ourselves, or a new title, or Evolution again, or a new Mae Young Classic, I feel like there definitely needs to be something. I would love for there to be another Mae Young Classic just to see all of the other athletes out there that are trying to get into WWE. There are so many females on the indies and they deserve their shot as well, so I would love to see that.

I would love to see another Evolution. I would absolutely love it! That was so much fun. Dakota (Kai) and I actually opened up Evolution in a dark match for the NXT UK Women’s Championship. So being in the first match to ever come out on Evolution is insane! It’s another thing in the history books for me that not many people will probably know, but I know. Another Evolution would be fantastic because we do need that stage and we need to shine the way that we should shine.”

** Anthony Carelli, also known as “Santino Marella” was announced for ‘Real Canadian Wrestling’s’ tour in October.

** Sam Roberts spoke with Flash Morgan Webster on the most recent edition of Webster’s ‘Wrestling Friends’ podcast. Sam did commentary on NXT on the USA Network several weeks back and as far as possibly making that a full-time gig, Sam is interested in that happening.

“I would love to, I would love to. Doing commentary for NXT that week was like, it really felt like this was something I could do, and a lot of people were like, ‘This is something you should never do’ and I was like, ‘I disagree. I disagree very much.’ Yeah man, it was really cool to get to do that because as a fan, I’m sitting there going, ‘There’s no commentary team that I would break up. There’s no commentary team that I would insert myself in.’ You know what I mean? But just as a person, with my own goals and my own things that I wanna do and I think are fun and that I could be really good at, absolutely. I think doing commentary would be a dream come true on top of a dream come true. It would be a blast.”

** To promote her match on the June 3rd episode of NXT, Candice LeRae made the media rounds and she spoke with Newsweek. Candice talked about the vignettes that she and Johnny Gargano have been filming at their dinner table and regarding some of the comments that they’ve made in those vignettes, LeRae says those are real feelings being pushed out from herself and Gargano.

“There were a lot of real-life feelings. There were a few times that Johnny and I were noticing that fans were turning their backs on us. In Io [Shirai’s] cage match with Shayna [Baszler] where she lost, and I was out there to help Io, [The crowd] were like 50/50 and even after the match they were like, ‘Io is alright I guess’ and then when she turned her back on me and started beating me up some people were cheering.

I was just laying there thinking, ‘How are you cheering for this? This is bad. You shouldn’t be supporting somebody doing something bad.’ I didn’t cost her the match, but they were booing me and cheering her and it was just so weird, and I just realized the shift in fans and how they were just, like, being little rebels, and Johnny was experiencing some of the same things and we both started to get frustrated, and a little bit of it was what was bottled up inside of us and we used that to fuel everything that we’re doing now.”

** Both Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Shawn Michaels were interviewed by Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. Michaels spoke about the prestige of the NXT Women’s Championship. He said there are no definites in the wrestling business but does believe that the NXT Women’s Title is one of the top titles in all of the sport.

“There are no definites in this business, but I’d argue it’s pretty close. The women of the past helped develop this division, and it still operates at the highest level. I can still remember visiting NXT before I was working in the Performance Center, and I watched Sasha and Charlotte. I can remember watching a match and thinking, ‘My goodness, these two are incredible. If I were going to Monday Night RAW, I would want to steal all of that.’ I was just so impressed by what they were doing in the ring.”

** Some transcriptions of Jeff Jarrett’s sit-down chat with FOX Nation’s John Rich are up on FOX News’ website.

** On June 16th, the 1996 WWE Survivor Series event will air on FS1 prior to WWE Backstage.

** Bobby Lashley was a part of a media call with international news outlets and Digital Spy asked Lashley about his feud with Rusev who was released from WWE in April. Lashley says that he feels their feud never reached a conclusion and wishes that he could’ve had the match with Rusev that he wanted to have.

“I really don’t know what happened to tell you the truth. I think we were at the point where the revenge needed to happen and it didn’t. I don’t know where we could have went or where we were going to go with it. I just wish that I could have had the match that I wanted to have with Rusev. I’ve seen him in some great matches and I think I could have had one with him.”

** AEW World Tag Team Champion Hangman Adam Page chatted with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone on the newest episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast. Hangman recalled his experience with WWE and that came from John Laurinaitis coming to a wrestling school in North Carolina that owned the rights to the name “NXT”. According to Hangman, in exchange for the name, Laurinaitis scouted some of the talents at the wrestling school.

“It might’ve been my first year of college maybe or maybe even the Summer before I went to college. I guess I was 17. There was a guy somewhere in Western North Carolina who apparently owned the trademark or copyright to NXT before they started NXT. This is a story I understand, so in a trade for that copyright or trademark or whatever it is, they sent, it might’ve been Johnny Ace I think down to his place to have him look at people for the day and he talked and did generally watch some of these matches so that was my first contact with them, and then I got put into their big database of local guys who did a lot of the little extra stuff but I never really had a proper tryout I guess.”

** Sugar Dunkerton, also known as “Pineapple Pete” in All Elite Wrestling joined Chris Jericho’s Talk Is Jericho podcast. Suge D connected how his WWE tryout promo inspired him when he did his ‘Road To’ promo for his match against Jericho on Dynamite. In his WWE tryout promo, Suge felt that he was not himself and it did not turn out well for him so when it came time to film his segment for AEW, he presented the authentic Sugar Dunkerton at 100 percent.

“When I went to that WWE tryout, that was around the time they did promos, and they’d film your promo, they’d look it over, they’d critique it etc. etc. I went and one of my really, really, really good friends told me that, ‘Hey! When you get in that promo room, do not cut a wrestling promo. Be real with them, tell them what’s on your mind.’ I got so scared that if I told them who I really was and what I was about and what I stand for, that it wasn’t gonna resonate so I did wrestling promo 101 and this and that and a bunch of buzzwords and it sucked. I knew it sucked, and what hurt most was you’re sitting at that panel of people and one of them does the — one of them at the time, would look at the independent talent, so he’s looking and he’s like, ‘Man, I was just expecting more’ and it’s like damn. You wanna do a redo and you can’t. So, when I was told, ‘Hey, this is about to happen. They’re about to give you a promo. You’re gonna get some footage that’s gonna show on Road To and you’re gonna get this.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever gonna get this again’ and again, it’s that swinging. So it’s like, do you wanna be remembered for faking it or do you wanna just go out there and give the real and even if you don’t come back again, at least they know what you stood for and what you’re about.”

** Ahead of his WWE Title defense against Bobby Lashley at Backlash, Drew McIntyre was a part of a international media call. Steel Chair Magazine was on that call and they asked McIntyre about his program with The Undertaker, Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns from the Summer of 2019. McIntyre shared the details of how that feud came to be and what it was like to work with The Undertaker on and off-screen.

“I think I found out I was in the match, close to the late minute. I remember when Taker came back; it was one of the few surprises in wrestling because it’s so hard to keep a secret with social media these days. We managed to get right up to Taker appearing. The lights went out when we’re about to give the coast to coast to Roman, I was holding Roman in the corner, the lights came on, and Taker was standing right there. The reaction around the building, the reaction on social media was that of pure shock. So for a start, I was proud that we actually kept a secret for once, and building up to the match, myself, Shane, and Roman were very adamant that we’re gonna give him a match that he deserves after that last match (with Goldberg) that didn’t go particularly well.

In my head, I was thinking, this has been coming a long time for myself. I don’t know how many matches he’s got left in him. I got a few things on my list I really want to accomplish now that I’m back in WWE. Number one was to become champion (shows the WWE title to the screen), got that right here. And off there was getting that big singles match with The Undertaker. I’m all about moments these days rather than just the moves in there. It’s good to have a good match, but it’s all about the story and those moments. And I suggested to Taker the one point where we came face to face in the match, and he was cool with that, and I could hear the crowd rumbling. And at the very end for the finish, he did the throat slash and I appeared up behind him. There were a couple of cool moments.

We had that match. It got received really well. He (Undertaker) was very happy with it, and I might have dropped it in the conversation that there was a certain match we were hoping to have about ten years ago. Now that we’ve been in there together, and you know what I’m capable of these days, and the way I think these days. I think he seems pretty keen that we could do something down the line. Fingers crossed that match happens because I really think we could do something special.”

** Comicbook.com posted their interview with Candice LeRae.

** Ring of Honor’s Flip Gordon chatted with Wrestling Inc.

** Marti Belle was the most recent guest on the Prime Time with Sean Mooney podcast.

** Austin Aries appeared on VOC’s ‘IN THE ROOM’ podcast. Aries shared a his thoughts about what went wrong in his WWE career. Aries stated that upon his arrival in the company, he was put on notice that he needed to be on his best behavior on top of WWE not having creative plans for him.

“I can give you six different answers depending on what talking point I want to use, but at the end of the day it wasn’t my decision there. It was nothing that I asked for, and it was nothing that I was given a heads up that was coming.  That question is probably better to ask Vince or to the people that were in charge. I’ll be honest… I came in as a short old white dude. I’m 5’8, 5’9 in my boots; I was 38 years old.  I came in basically on secret, double probation; that’s what I was told… I came in being told that, not that I wasn’t welcome, but that I had to be on my ‘best behavior’…  Despite all of that and them really not having a plan for me, I get my eye hole broken and I offer to do commentary and I spin that into the main roster run into a WrestleMania match. I did all of that in 18 months. I don’t know what else I was supposed to do or what people were expecting. I don’t think walking in there I felt like this was going to be a fit for the next 10 years of my career. I think we both went in there with some reservations, and I think we both proved each other right as far as what they thought of me and what I thought of the system… Ultimately it was their decision to move on and I can only go by what I’m told.”

** Ethan Page’s latest VLOG features backstage footage from the latest set of IMPACT Wrestling TV tapings.

 

** Darren Paltrowitz of The Paltrocast/Sportskeeda spoke with Chris Bey for an exclusive interview.

** NJPW1972.com has an extensive interview up with YOSHI-HASHI.

** Former AEW Women’s World Champion Riho turned 23-years old today.

** WWE Champion Drew McIntyre chatted with Men’s Fitness UK.

** Below is the newest episode of Battle Of The Brands:

 

** Caprice Coleman watched back his first match in ROH and the video is up on Ring of Honor’s YouTube channel.

** Eric Bischoff spoke about the progression of Drew McIntyre as WWE Champion while speaking with talkSPORT.

** IMPACT Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace chatted with Chris Van Vliet and shared that she and Jonathan Gresham have rescheduled their wedding to September 27th.

** Stephanie Chase of Digital Spy conducted an interview with Tommaso Ciampa. Ciampa shared that he was not necessarily pleased with how he and Johnny Gargano’s feud ended because he was interested in how a crowd would’ve factored into how the match would’ve turned out had it taken place in front of fans.

“It’s a tough one. So much had to change with there not being a crowd. I don’t know if I’m happy with how it ended. I’m happy it did and I’m happy we were able to move on. I think we needed that. I think NXT needed it. I think the fans needed it. I was really looking forward to the dynamic between Johnny and I in the final match because I had no clue where the crowd was going to lay. I just didn’t know who they were going to cheer and boo and I feel like that that noise and that energy adds so much to it that I wish we had that part. But with that said, I think we did make the best of what of what was handed to us. So it’s a tough one. I don’t know. I can probably answer that better five, 10 years down the road to see if I’m happy with how it lives on.”

Ciampa also spoke about the arrival of Timothy Thatcher in NXT. Thatcher recently defeated Matt Riddle in a Fight Pit match and feels that-that match type could be a signature of Thatcher’s.

“It feels very much like (Thatcher) may have fell upon his niche in a sense. I can see in the next couple of years any time Timothy Thatcher has to end a feud that the Fight Pit comes back. Heck I would love to do that with him. We’ve crossed paths in the independent scene a couple times and we have really good chemistry, we’re very similar in our intensity and style. I think he’s awesome.”

** Bullet Club member and former 6-time IWGP Tag Team Champion Tama Tonga chatted with WhatCulture Wrestling.

** Below is Sportkeeda’s interview with Tyler Bate:

 

** NXT UK’s Wolfgang did a Q&A with ‘Wrestling News World’ and reflected on the ladder match that took place at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II for the NXT UK Tag Titles. There was a spot during the match when Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster were on opposite sides of the ladder and were going to jump onto Mark Coffey and Wolfgang separately. Mark Coffey’s table collapsed and both Andrews and Webster decided to jump on Wolfgang at the same time. Here’s Wolfgang’s recollection of that moment:

“I hadn’t noticed until Mark Andrews began climbing alongside Flash, by that time it was too late to do anything and I was crushed through a table by both men. If you watch on the WWE Network, you’ll see upon impact I grab whatever’s closest to me, which so happened to be Flash’s head, while screaming in pain into his ear. Not something I’d like to experience again, however we still managed to walk away, Gallus Boys on Top.”

** Bellator MMA Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg spoke with Alicia Atout for an exclusive interview.

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