POST NEWS UPDATE: Highlights from the pre-TakeOver 31 media call with Paul Levesque

Highlights from the pre-NXT TakeOver 31 media call, Miro reveals that he tore his bicep before his WWE Title match, Variety article notes that AEW's second show is coming in 2021 and a note on when the WWE ThunderDome concept was formulated.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

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 “Triple H” Levesque held the pre-NXT TakeOver 31 media call today. Below are notes from the call (Audio courtesy of Prowrestling.net):

– Levesque states that this TakeOver will have a unique feel and look for an NXT show.
– He believes this TakeOver card will stay solid but anything could happen in the coming days.
– The Performance Center is available for use again after the outbreak. Notes that WWE wants to keep their staff safe and do contact tracing.
– Paul Levesque is asked about the rumored NXT party and are there punishments for ignoring COVID protocols. He says they are urging talents to take precautions.
– Kyle O’Reilly has been in the main event conversation for a while and Levesque admitted that the current circumstances sped that process up.
– On the topic of WWE traveling again on a week-to-week basis, he does not see that happening for a while.
– When asked about the forthcoming WWE Draft that starts on 10/9, Levesque said that he does not know how NXT will be incorporated.
– Levesque was asked if there has been any conversations about moving NXT to a different day. Levesque says that he doesn’t hear any of the other companies being asked that question. Adds that he is happy with where NXT is but discussions about the possibility are always open.
– The call is closed by Levesque confirming that Tegan Nox has already had surgery for her torn ACL and thinks highly of her as a person and an athlete.

** Chris Van Vliet conducted an interview with Miro, the former Rusev. Miro revealed that weeks before his WWE Championship match against AJ Styles at the 2018 Extreme Rules pay-per-view, he tore his bicep but did not tell anyone because he thought it was his time to become WWE Champion.

“I thought I was [a world champion], I thought I was. Honestly I did and I tore my bicep three weeks before my AJ [Styles] match. But, I didn’t tell anybody because I thought it was my moment. I thought it has come because the people kind of led me to believe that this could be my moment and they booked me in this one-off with AJ, which we didn’t even have a live event match because you know, if you have a title match, most likely you run two loops before that, get your timing, get your match kind of worked out. None of that happened, none of that happened. We had one match, straight up on pay-per-view. Nobody cared, then they moved on to the next thing. They used me as a filler. The top act of the company, they used me as a filler and they will tell you the desire of how much they wanted me there and I knew that. So I was like, ‘Alright, well if you guys wanna do that, I’ll still do 100 percent, but when the time is right, I’ll go to a place where they will support me,’ because even when you’re a businessman and you’re investing in stock, why would you sell or why would you cut that stock short when it’s escalating or it’s up. As a businessman, it makes no sense so it’s got to be something personal.”

On the topic of Rusev Day with Aiden English, Miro said that he was aware that the powers that be were not fond of Aiden, although they didn’t want that relayed back to him.

“It [Rusev Day] didn’t happen and then once we started steamrolling, they just started pulling the plug and they just… it is what it is. It brings me down because they really disliked Aiden and I told him that, but everybody was scared to tell him and I was like, ‘No, I’m gonna tell him because we’re trying to highlight Aiden in a few spots’ and they told us no. Aiden was supposed to do this dive and they said no dive. ‘Okay, what about [a] baseball slide?’ ‘No, no baseball slide’ and then I got pulled on the side and they told me, ‘We can’t highlight Aiden.’ Like what!? How does that even make sense? I was so mad and that’s what I’m saying. Once again, you can’t do this, you can’t do that but why can’t he [do it]? Why are you stopping us from getting the reaction that we want? That’s what pisses me off. I don’t get pissed off about, ‘They should’ve been this, they should’ve been that.’ No, it’s about you’re taking opportunities that were there. We’re having a match already and you’re stopping him from showcasing. I don’t understand that.”

Elsewhere during the conversation, Miro discussed having to see Lana kiss Bobby Lashley. He says it was hard in a sense that Lana was told not to post photos of herself and Miro while the storyline was on-going but makes the point that again, no follow-up happened storyline-wise.

“Well, the thing is, it was hard because it’s real life and then she was told not to post any Instagram photos of me so now, you’re taking a work and translating into real life and of course CJ being the most professional wrestler there is out there, she follows instructions to the T. She doesn’t post anything with me, she does everything right but it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, somebody gets tired and everything gets thrown away. While in AEW, we don’t do that, we follow through. We follow along the stories and one story leads to another and to another and they’re all so easy to follow and it all makes sense. It’s not thrown away stuff, it’s not, ‘Let’s move on and forget what happened yesterday,’ none of that. Everything is thought out way in advance, as it should be, as it used to be.”

Miro spoke about “The Bulgarian Brute” version of the Rusev character and shared that people in Bulgaria hated that he was playing a Russian on television.

“In my eyes it made sense. I don’t think we told that story right. I think we just threw it out there, but it didn’t matter because we had so much heat that it didn’t matter what we did. That probably even gave it more heat if anything else. People in Bulgaria hated it, they probably still do. But it didn’t matter, I was living my dream. You could’ve gave me a freaking Tennessee flag, I wouldn’t care.”

** All Elite Wrestling was profiled by Variety for the one-year anniversary of the company. Tony Khan, Cody, Brandi Rhodes, Jon Moxley and TNT executives were interviewed for the piece. In the article, it’s mentioned that AEW’s new one-hour weekly show will debut in 2021.

AEW had already earned the trust of WarnerMedia by that point. The media conglomerate announced in January that it was extending its deal with AEW through 2023 while also adding a new one-hour weekly show that will debut in 2021. But AEW’s ability to adapt to the pandemic has only deepened the respect that WarnerMedia executives have for the company.

Brett Weitz, general manager of TBS, TNT and truTV talked about how Tony Khan and AEW have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think where the rubber really met the road was during when COVID hit and watching Tony really pivot and grow,” says Brett Weitz, general manager of TBS, TNT, and truTV. “And he was able to keep those storylines going and put so many great things together, even through a global pandemic, and that tells you everything you need to know about the DNA of that brand and that guy as a producer.”

Sam Linsky, senior vice president and co-head of scripted originals for TBS, TNT and truTV stated that there are plans to expand AEW further across the WarnerMedia portfolio.

“We have an opportunity to use all facets of WarnerMedia in a way that most places can’t. We’ve got a comic book company. We’ve got video game companies. We’ve got merchandising people. We’ve got people who make animation for television. We’ve got reality television producers. It’s all in house. So we have a real opportunity to spread this IP and grow it across WarnerMedia.”

** Stephanie McMahon chatted with INSIDER about the creation of the WWE ThunderDome. ‘The Famous Group’, who helped WWE bring the concept to life were a part of the piece as well. It’s noted in the article that it was shortly after WrestleMania that the ThunderDome concept was being formulated.

In April, WWE was back producing live broadcasts in behind-closed-doors venues. This was helped by Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, deeming sports an essential business critical to the state’s economy.

Shortly after that, WWE held talks with The Famous Group, a Los Angeles technology company specializing in mixed reality, augmented reality, and virtual events.

With it becoming increasingly apparent that mass gatherings were not happening any time soon, the WWE wanted to find a way of bringing its fans into an arena through virtual reality.

** Ethan Page chatted with Sports Illustrated and was open about his contract status in IMPACT Wrestling. In the article, it’s noted that his contract with the company expires at the end of the year and he talked about the perception of IMPACT becoming more positive.

“If someone is willing to put my name on a contract and lock me down for a certain amount of it, I am going to represent as positively as I can. Impact started promoting my vlog, and people watching got a glimpse of that locker room camaraderie. It’s more of a family environment backstage now more than ever, especially with the new additions.

The perception of the company is changing slowly, and if you want to give me a little credit for that, I’ll take it. My goal has been to make Impact a destination and a cool place to perform. And because I know the length of my contract, I want this place to be looked at as somewhere cool, because it’s where I am.”

** The Singh Brothers (Sunil & Samir) were profiled by Global News Canada and during their package, it was stated that they are hoping to return to WWE within the next two months. The last time The Singh Brothers competed for WWE was in February in their home country of Canada.

** Lio Rush versus ACH was announced for Joey Janela’s Spring Break during The Collective weekend in October.

** Sports Illustrated’s ‘This Week in Wrestling’ column features an interview with Chris Jericho. Jericho said that his book which includes a list of every match he has had in his career will likely release before the end of 2020 or early 2021. The book will be available for pre-sale on October 7th, which is the day of his 30-year anniversary celebration on AEW Dynamite.

“In an ideal world, this would have come out in October. We’re looking at before the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021.”

** AEW World Champion Jon Moxley spoke with Bleacher Report ahead of Dynamite. Moxley stated that he wants to wrestle into his 50s and later elaborated on what he would like to do in his post-in-ring career and listed off positions such as producing, coaching or possibly working one match per year.

“I’d like to wrestle until I am in my 50s, but it can end at any time. I don’t want to spend nine months filming a movie when I could have been having matches. I want to do as much wrestling as I can while I have that window of time. Acting could be a thing for later.

I want to ride this for as long as I can even if it comes down to having to take longer periods of time off. If it gets down to where I can only wrestle one match a year like The Undertaker, then so be it. I could totally see myself being in a producer or coach role. I could see myself being a trainer or booker. I probably won’t know until that day comes, but there is also a good chance that one day I am just going to be gone and you will never see me again. But wherever I’m at, I’ll be all good, so don’t worry about it.

I’m the luckiest guy in the world because I get to do the thing that I like as a living and got to turn it into a career. It’s really cool.”

** The next portion of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s interview series is live on NJPW1972.com. Tanahashi talked about Antonio Inoki’s era of New Japan and discussed where the “Strong Style” branding came from.

“I don’t think I ever really understood what it was. I think then, and now, I really just see it as just some words, branding. Marketing strategy really. A long way back, I did an interview with Inoki for Weekly Playboy magazine. I asked him just that same question, what Strong Style meant. He said, ‘That? That’s just something everybody just started saying and it got carried away’ (laughs)”.

** Tama Tonga welcomed Chase Owens onto the Tama’s Island podcast. Owens stated that he submitted his application to the U.S. Embassy in Japan and is working on getting himself cleared to come into the country.

** The National Wrestling Alliance sent out a survey to determine the amount of interest in the return of NWA Powerrr. It’s noted in the email that it will allow them to show potential sponsors that wrestling is worth investing in.

** Tyler Breeze chatted with Joshy G of Sideshow Collectibles about his career in WWE and the two also did a workout at the conclusion of the interview. The NXT Tag Team Champion talked about his pairing with Fandango and shared that originally, he did not want to be a part of any team or pairing.

“It was kind of a mix of a lot of different random things. So, basically when I got called up, like I said, I kind of found the groove of what Tyler Breeze was so I didn’t wanna be with anybody. I didn’t wanna have a manager, a tag partner, anything. I just wanted — I liked what I was doing and when they paired me with Summer [Rae] and I love Summer but, I was just like, ‘[Sighs], I don’t need to have a manager, I don’t need to have someone with me. It messes up that dynamic of what it is.’ So then we tried that and it didn’t really work and then I was kinda by myself again, they split us up and I think Fandango, they were saying, ‘Hey, we’re probably gonna pair you two together’ and again, I was like, ‘[Sighs], I don’t want a tag partner, I don’t need a tag partner or whatever’ and then when they actually did pair us together, we kinda like meshed really well and the characters together started to blend really well and we were actually working with R-Truth and Goldust as kind of a comedy angle but we weren’t really supposed to be the funny ones. It was Goldie and Truth were the funny ones, but we kind of found our groove, which if you know Dango at all, he’s a very funny guy and we just kind of bounced off each other well where it kind of went, ‘Okay, there’s something more here’ so we kind of started — we played out that, whatever it was supposed to be. That ended and we were back to doing nothing.”

Tyler talked about the idea he pitched for his character when he first came into WWE and initially wanted to be a model who did not know how to wrestle.

“I’m gonna come up with this character that basically doesn’t know how to wrestle and that was my original pitch was that I’m just a model and I think wrestling’s cool because there’s a lot of cameras and that’s it. I didn’t wanna know how to wrestle. I wanted to just somehow stumble our way through that but that was my initial pitch, and they were like, ‘Well, I don’t know if you can have a character that doesn’t know how to wrestle because that might be a little difficult but maybe you just limit it and do whatever.’”

** John Cena was a guest on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and participated in a number of segments with Fallon. During the interview portion of Cena’s appearance, he spoke about the ‘Elbow Grease’ children’s book and in the midst of talking about it, reiterated that his WWE career is not over.

“With the Elbow Grease books, I have a very young audience at WWE, a lot of kids, a lot of families and as my in-ring career is not as — it’s not over but it’s not as active, I wanted to continue sending messaging to those younger viewers because so many times, parents will be like, ‘Hey, your ‘Never Give Up’ words have helped my son or daughter.’ Okay, so I created a children’s book series that’s fun and bright and colorful and about monster trucks so first and foremost, it’s a fun read.”

** Axios.com has a story up about sports and financial markets colliding and WWE is included in the article.

** The following video is from the Proresu Today YouTube channel:

 

** PEOPLE.com spoke to Roman Reigns and Stephanie McMahon about WWE’s efforts in helping the fight against cancer.

** Ethan Page announced that he has tested negative for COVID-19 and he’ll be in action for Black Label Pro this weekend.

** Dark Order member Anna Jay was the latest guest on the Battleground Podcast. Anna detailed how she got involved with All Elite Wrestling and eventually ended up signing with the company.

“So, I train at the Power Factory. There’s a connection there, QT Marshall who is my coach, knew Cody Rhodes and AEW kind of started. It was after I had already been training so AEW was not a thing when I first started. So, during the pandemic, they did not have their hands on a lot of wrestlers due to travel restrictions and that sort of thing and I was in driving distance. So, I got the call. They wanted me to come do a dark match with Penelope Ford. That was my first match with AEW and then, I went there, I did the match and then I got called the next week to have the match with [Hikaru] Shida on Dynamite the following week and the rest is history. So, I really lucked out.”

Anna Jay discussed the possibility of winning the AEW Women’s World Championship. She feels that she is finding her footing in the company and is focusing on that but isn’t ruling out a title win either.

“You know, I would love that. I think right now, I’m building up my repertoire and I’m trying to get better and I’m getting my reps in right now so, I don’t know if I want that to happen right at this moment but I do want it to happen sooner than later and I definitely want to wrestle [Hikaru] Shida again and you know, hopefully get that belt one day so, I’m not ruling it out but I’m also gonna give it time.”

** John Cena guest appeared on Good Morning America to speak about his children’s book ‘Elbow Grease’.

 

** Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture spoke with Candice LeRae to promote her NXT Title match at TakeOver 31. LeRae shared that she has thought about how much younger some of the talents in NXT’s women’s division are compared to her and questioning if she’ll be able to keep up, along with balancing that she and Johnny Gargano want to start a family.

“My age plays a factor a lot of the time, it’s no secret, I am not the youngest girl on the roster. {laughs} Today I just turned 35. All these girls are coming in, they are so much younger than me and I am like, at what point am I not going to be able to keep up with all these girls? As other girls are earning their opportunities and are having their opportunities, I am so happy for all of them. All the girls that are working on NXT are such amazing people, and they all work so hard. So I’ve never had a moment where somebody else was given an opportunity and I am like, them really, over me? It’s always been, man that girl, she deserves it. But they are all younger than me, so I am going, as happy as I am for you and as much as you deserve this I am not getting younger. {laughs} Let’s be honest, I am not getting younger. Johnny {Gargano} and I want kids, so I think I put this pressure on myself and it’s not anybody else doing it, it’s this weird pressure I put on myself…”

Candice talked about she and Io Shirai’s match at TakeOver: Toronto in 2019. LeRae admitted that she was not confident going into that bout but has now truly found herself character-wise.

“Last time I felt like I wasn’t so confident. I was still trying to find myself in WWE and figure out how do I give this older indie version of Candice but also give them something new? This new WWE version of me. I felt there was so much pressure going into that Takeover because that was actually my first Takeover and it was just butterflies, crazy. I was not super confident, but now this time around I feel a lot more confident. I feel like I kinda found myself and Io {Shirai} just brings out the absolute best in me, whether she’s trying to or not. She makes me push myself and anytime I am in the ring with Io there’s stuff that happens that I didn’t even know I could do or I didn’t even know was possible and I am excited because there’s so much more at stake and I am more confident in me and this new me.”

** Paul “Triple H” Levesque, Kyle O’Reilly, Santos Escobar and several more talents joined WWE’s The Bump show. Next week’s announced guests are Wade Barrett, RJ City and Ken Jeong.

 

** At IMPACT Wrestling’s ‘Victory Road’ event on 10/3, Deonna Purrazzo will defend the Knockouts Championship against Susie. The show will feature Heath and Rhyno taking on Reno Scum (Luster The Legend & Adam Thronstowe), as well as Tommy Dreamer taking on Brian Myers. Tenille Dashwood is facing Jordynne Grace and the X Division Champion Rohit Raju is issuing an open challenge at the event. Adding on to the lineup is Ace Austin and Karl Anderson teaming up to face Alex Shelley and Josh Alexander.

** Edge called into Busted Open Radio with David LaGreca and Bully Ray.

** Here’s the 9/29 episode of AEW Dark:

 

** Josh Barnett is competing in a Bare Knuckle Fight on October 23rd against Marcin Rozalski in Poland.

** Dave Bautista shared on Twitter that RZA from Wu Tang Clan was going put lyrics over his theme song for free when he returned to WWE in 2014 but the company turned it down.

** Scheduled for next week’s United Wrestling Network’s ‘Prime Time Live’ show is NWA Television Champion Zicky Dice and a mystery partner facing The Pope and Watts. Chris Dickinson is taking on Max Caster and Bryan Idol will be in action against Levi Shapiro.

** WWE talents made their predictions for the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

** Heather Monroe guest appeared on the Women’s Wrestling Talk podcast. Heather talked about her opportunity to work with All Elite Wrestling in August on AEW Dark and Dynamite respectively.

“I just went out there and I trained with them and kind of earned my spot in that way so I felt pretty good about that. I talked to Jake Atlas about it and he kind of pushed me to take another step because that’s just the type of person that he is. He’s always there to push people. He’s been pushing me about other stuff too recently and I’m like, ‘Okay fine, I’ll do it’ but I finally did that and then got to spend the week with him which was nice. But went down there, trained with the girls and trained with Dustin Rhodes and it was really, really nice to A, be training again, and B, just show what I was made of because I’m really confident in my training and who I am when I’m training so I think… I earned that spot on Dynamite and I felt good about it.”

** On the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho, Chris Jericho and Lance Storm reviewed their first match with each other which was their respective pro wrestling debuts.

** Below is the cast for the “Young Rock” series that’s scheduled to premiere on NBC in 2021. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson revealed the cast on his Instagram page.

– Adrian Groulk: 10-year-old Dwayne Johnson

– Bradley Constant: 15-year-old Dwayne Johnson

– Uli Latukefu: 20-year-old Dwayne Johnson

– Joseph Lee Anderson: Rocky Johnson

– Stacey Leilua: Ata Johnson

– Ana Tuisila: Lia Maivia

** Billie Kay and The Hurt Business’ theme songs have been uploaded to WWE’s Music channel.

 

** A new episode of Uno with the UpUpDownDown crew is up.

** Ring of Honor’s Director of Operations, Gary Juster has a new YouTube series and in his first episode, he shared his memories of the late Road Warrior Animal (Joe Laurinaitis).

** Ruby Riott reacted to photos and videos from her childhood and shared the reactions on her YouTube channel.

** Inside The Ropes posted a clip from their stage show with Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson. In the clip, J.R. talked about why he decided to leave WWE.

 

** Asuka uploaded a new video to her YouTube channel.

** Mike Johnson of PWInsider chatted with Candice LeRae.

** Brian Myers was the focus of Pro Wrestling Junkies’ latest virtual meet-and-greet session.

** JBL will join Corey Grave on the 10/1 episode of WWE After The Bell.

** Mance Warner appeared on Cultaholic’s ‘Desert Island Graps’ podcast.

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 1115 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.