POST NEWS UPDATE: Tony Khan: “Will Hobbs was a guy I earmarked for a big push”

Tony Khan dives into AEW Dark, Brian Milonas recalls working with John Cena and Vince McMahon on an indie show, Young Bucks talk Top Flight.

Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

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.

** AEW President Tony Khan spoke with Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald. Tony was asked for his thoughts on the growth of AEW Dark and he stated that he views Dark as AEW’s developmental project and is happy with how things have progressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It started early in the pandemic [longer episodes of AEW Dark]. I didn’t have any fans and I wanted to bring in lots of people to — first of all, to be able to develop more wrestlers but also, so we had fans at ringside, and I’m bringing these people in and it’s like, ‘Well, I’d like to take a look at these people and get them in matches and really build up a developmental system’ where we’re taking a look at all these indie wrestlers and also giving them a chance to work in a pandemic which is something I felt really good about because you know, through March, April, May, June it’s like, gosh, the pandemic just slapped everybody in the face and independent wrestling had become a non-entity, so for a lot of people their best chance of working in the wrestling business if they weren’t signed anywhere was to come work on Dark, which was great and we found some really valuable people in AEW through this program and so it’s our developmental system and we continue to develop wrestlers and we’ll have more new talent in this Wednesday and I’m sure we’ll find some more people that we have interest in and it’s really fun and I think it’s great for the fans to see the next generation of big wrestlers but also to see some of the top stars in AEW getting a chance to develop their move-set, getting a chance to tell their stories and we got great commentary with Excalibur and Taz and we have guest hosts. Ricky Starks is kinda the permanent guest host, and then we have other people who have come in and done a great job like Veda Scott and Anthony Ogogo and others.”

One of the talents to get signed by way of his AEW Dark performances was Will Hobbs. Tony Khan talked about his decision to sign Hobbs and working closely with Hobbs on several occasions.

“There’s some great stories out of [AEW] Dark and Will Hobbs, he’s a great example of somebody who I’d worked with on Dark and I decided, ‘Okay, well I’m gonna put him on Dynamite and then I actually agented his match with Darby [Allin] on the Saturday Night Dynamite and he did a great job and I really like Will and I decided I’m gonna sign him and push him, and then we had the All Out Battle Royale right after that. I agented that too and Will was a guy I earmarked for a big push, and so he’s a good example of somebody who came in to work on Dark and he’s gotten to do a lot more things and has become a contract wrestler here. So it’s a great opportunity for people to come in and make an impression on everybody here, but especially me and that’s the best way to get the contract.”

** The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) were interviewed by WrestleZone’s Bill Pritchard. The Bucks are defending their AEW World Tag Team Titles on tonight’s Dynamite against Top Flight (Darius & Daunte Martin). That match was announced for last week’s Dynamite but the graphic was taken down from AEW’s social media channels and Nick explained that he and Matt needed a week to recover from their match at Full Gear against FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler).

“That was announced — it wasn’t even supposed to be announced because we had known that it was gonna be this week, because we needed an extra week to recover from that FTR match. All four of us, we were pretty banged up so we needed — we just needed a little bit more time. We knew the match was gonna happen but we just needed that one more week off so that’s why that happened.”

Matt Jackson commented on the forthcoming bout against Top Flight. He mentioned that it reminds him of when he and Nick went up against Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin early in their career[s]. Matt added that he and Nick are hoping to recreate something similar with the up and coming duo.

“It’s like we’re switching roles because about ten years ago, there was this young team that people were talking about and they got an opportunity on a national television show and they wrestled the more established team, and I’m talking about Gen. Me versus the Motor City Machine Guns on Spike TV for IMPACT, and we were kind of like Top Flight and nobody had really heard of us but there was a little bit of buzz about us and we got this giant opportunity and we had this big upset and we were kind of made overnight. Like people took us seriously. We beat a team like the Motor City Machine Guns. That was one of their top acts, and so I felt like we could recreate that and have these young kids come in. They have a little bit of buzz but nobody’s really heard of them and I think we could make them stars overnight. Whether or not there’s an upset, I’m not gonna give that away but the fact that they’re gonna come in and there’s going to be a giant magnifying glass on them, a giant spotlight to show the world what they’re capable of because I’ve seen — it took me literally 30 seconds of watching one of their YouTube highlight clips to see I like their aesthetic, I like the way that they looked, I liked the way that they move, their tag team combinations were original and unique. I saw enough in 30 seconds to know I wanted to do something with them and there’s a genuine story, it’s real. When they hit me up on Instagram, they sent me a message. I never check my messages on Instagram. For some reason, I gravitated towards that, these guys and I clicked it and within five minutes, I was already getting an email out to them about getting them on the next [AEW] Dark. So, and I knew the goal in mind was to eventually wrestle them, and I didn’t know it was gonna come so soon. I thought maybe it would come in a couple of months but, I pitched it to Tony Khan and immediately he bit. He’s like, ‘No, we’re gonna do it like next week.’ So I was like, ‘Okay, great.’ Nick and I are always ready for more and always ready to put over the younger talent and I’m excited. I can’t wait to mix it up with them.”

** Brian Milonas and Beer City Bruiser joined Kevin Eck on the ROHStrong podcast. Milonas told the story of when he got to work with John Cena and Vince McMahon at a Chaotic Wrestling show in 2007. He detailed how the opportunity came about and what was running through his mind as he stood in the ring with Vince McMahon.

“So, John Cena’s dad, he’s involved in a lot of different promotions of the New England area. Johnny Fabulous, great guy, love him to death, super nice guy. But he was involved with Chaotic Wrestling where I came from so he kinda partnered with John Cena’s brother. He’s a police officer in I wanna say Newbury, Port Massachusetts or something and there was like an accident — he was in the accident and the police cruiser got ruined and there was like a police fundraiser for the Police Association in Newbury or Newburyport, one of those two. They are two different places believe it or not. Weird New England stuff. So, the funny story I always like to tell is the original main event for that show was supposed to be Hanson [Ivar] of War Machine versus Rick Fuller. But Rick, a former WCW guy…

But, I was supposed to wrestle Eugene. Well, my good friend, literally one of my best friends in the world, Hanson, politicked his way into wrestling Eugene and then I got moved into the main event defending the title against Rick Fuller. So we got to interact with Cena a lot during the day and John had actually been around Chaotic Wrestling a bit. When he first got on the road with WWE, he would come and train with us every Thursday night for a stretch. He was always just kind of around, and so we already had that relationship with him. His dad was always around, but he meticulously put together the finish of this match. Like step-by-step meticulous and I didn’t think anything of it. I’m just thinking like, ‘I mean the dude’s the WWE Champion, he’s the top guy in the industry. If he wants to call our entire match, I’m just gonna sit here and listen,’ because this dude is the top guy in the business. But he meticulously puts this entire thing together. So it ends up being like, I hit Cena with the championship belt and then Rick Fuller gives me something big and puts me in a submission hold and I tap out but no ref, the ref’s out cold. Then my manager gives Rick Fuller a low blow and then John Cena Sr. comes in and kisses my manager and it’s just all the commotion where everybody is down so I’m down, it’s like a quadruple down and I see somebody get in the ring and I didn’t see who it was and I’m starting to sell off at this point to go into — and I don’t remember what John had called but he had called like the entire thing to the finish. So I get up and I start to turn around. I’m like on a knee and I realize it’s Vince McMahon in the ring. Like I had no idea what to do, what to say. I’m just like — I didn’t know who got in the ring. I kinda was assuming it was Cena’s dad again, but to see Vince McMahon in the ring, I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Vince says to me, ‘Are you the heel or the babyface?’ And I go, ‘I’m the heel.’ So he grabs my hand and just raises it and the crowd’s booing and I wish I could tell you I was this snarling, drooling heel just absorbing it but my mouth was on the mat because I’m like, ‘Is this a fever dream? Like is this even real right now?’

Absolutely [had] no clue [Vince McMahon was there] and he was only in the building for like — his limo was parked at a side door. He came in, he did the spot and he left immediately so, he’s raising my hand, I go, ‘What’s next?’ Because I had no clue, and he goes, ‘I’m gonna slap Cena, he’s giving me the F.U. and I’m getting the hell out of here.’ So that’s what happens.”

** Heel By Nature obtained court documents that were filed on 11/17 which include consent forms from Matt Riddle, Gabe Sapolsky and WWN owner Salem Hamaoui. Last month, Samantha Tavel, also known by her in-ring name “Candy Cartwright” filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the aforementioned parties. WWE requested the consent forms from the defendants so they could move the case to a federal level.

The lawsuit that Tavel filed against Riddle alleges that she was harassed/sexually assaulted by Riddle. One incident in particular was said to have taken place after an EVOLVE event and Tavel added that Riddle bragged to then-EVOLVE owner Gape Sapolsky about it.

** Added to the 11/18 episode of NXT is Cameron Grimes versus Dexter Lumis in a Blindfold match along with Toni Storm and Ember Moon taking on Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez.

** Ahead of his match against Jacob Fatu in the main event of the 11/18 episode of MLW FUSION, Davey Boy Smith Jr. spoke with Sports Illustrated. Smith Jr. will be a free agent soon and he believes that a return to WWE is possible.

“I think it’s definitely a possibility. In addition to the WWE Hall of Fame, I was also supposed to be touring regularly with All Japan Pro Wrestling. I had a big opportunity with their Champion Carnival tournament in April, but I couldn’t travel to [Japan] with the pandemic.

“I have a lot to think about and a lot of options to weigh, but I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires in my future. A return to WWE is very possible.”

** Chris Van Vliet released a clip from his interview with JTG. The late Shad Gaspard became the topic of their conversation and JTG agreed that Shad should be the next recipient of WWE’s Warrior Award that is presented at the WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony.

“He definitely should. I don’t know what’s a bigger heroic [thing] than putting your life on the line, for his son but honestly, he would have done it for — if it was another child. If it was probably me, he probably would’ve done the same exact thing.”

** Former multi-time Women’s Champion Lisa Marie Varon was interviewed by Wrestling Inc. She told the site that some time ago, she reached out to WWE about a coaching job but it was unfortunate timing that led to her missing out on the position. She was informed that former WWE P.C. coach Sarah Stock filled the position.

“I talked [to them] a long time ago when I got divorced, [and] I moved back to California. So I was living with my brother, Mike, and I was living out of boxes. I didn’t want to unpack because they contacted me about possibly bringing me in as a trainer. And then I was calling, ‘Hello guys. I’m living out of a suitcase. I have one suitcase here at my brother’s house. Do I get an apartment? I can’t invade my brother’s family’s home.’ Even though they’re open arms. ‘You stay as long as you want,’ but I’m an adult. I need my own place. I need to set out my stuff, and do I unpack?

I finally called Fit Finlay. He goes, ‘They already hired somebody for the training spot. They went with Sarah Stock,’ which is a great choice. I love her. She’s gonna be a future guest on our show, but I just wished I got a call back just to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to go with somebody else. You can go ahead,’ and then as soon as I got the call, I was moving in with Torrie Wilson in LA. I was on hold.

I was like, ‘Okay, it’s been three months at my brother’s house.’ My brother’s like, ‘Have you heard back?’ And I go, ‘I called, but you don’t be a nag.’ But at the same time you’re like, I need to move on. I need to know what my next chapter in my life is. Do I go out to LA? Do I stay near my brother’s house? But I didn’t get the spot. My feelings weren’t hurt because I didn’t get the spot. My feelings were hurt with, ‘Well, I didn’t even get a callback to say move on.’ That’s when I got the boo-boo face.”

** Wade Keller welcomed AEW President Tony Khan onto his podcast. Khan looked back at the past year of AEW Dynamite and the progression and changes that have been made on-screen and behind-the-scenes. Khan feels that he has grown to say no to more ideas that he doesn’t feel strongly about.

“So we’ve been doing this well over a year and we’ve had great success and we only had one week, this whole time where we didn’t put out a new show and it was the week of Christmas in 2019 and that prior week, December 18th was the only time we’ve lost head-to-head and I really had to do a lot of reflection on what put us in that position and what I could do to change things and what I could do to change the process and I became… more motivated — that’s the wrong word. I shouldn’t say motivated. I became more productive in terms of trying to come up with my own ideas and also in terms of managing other people’s ideas or just organizing a show or taking outside ideas and trying to package them together. I just tried to become more active and say no to more stuff, and that was a big thing. Just not rolling over on stuff I don’t believe in and I tried not to do it as much this year and I think the show is better for it, and that’s probably been the biggest change in 2020 and it’s… the early shows, there’s a lot of really, really great stuff and it shows and it’s great stuff because we had it planned for a long time and it was the stuff we really wanted to do but there’s some other stuff where I think the shows have gotten a lot better this year.”

** Former MMA fighter, football player and independent wrestler Yaw Jason Osei was interviewed by ‘Baylor Lariat’. He submitted an application for a WWE tryout as a joke while training for an MMA fight and heard back from the sports-entertainment company about a tryout. Osei described the tryout as one of the hardest things he’s done.

** The new NXT North American Champion Leon Ruff was interviewed by Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture. Ruff reflected on his North American Title win and initially thought it was a joke when he was told he was going to be the champion.

“That moment everything that I did to pursue wrestling, every sacrifice that I made was worth it. I felt validated. It felt good to know that it paid off, I did myself a good job. I was doing a lot of work and I just kept telling myself, ‘If you keep doing this one day it will all pay off.’ So when it all did it was a great moment….I couldn’t believe it because at first I thought it was a joke. I thought somebody was playing a prank on the new guy; ‘Yo, we’re gonna make him believe this and then we’re gonna see how he looks when we tell him no’ but when I found out it was real, I had to take a second to think because Johnny Gargano is somebody that I admire a lot. When I discovered who he was on the independent scene I started to watch a lot of his matches and his documentaries. I used to write a lot of notes about him, so not only to wrestle him on TV but to take the title from him, it was mind blowing, I couldn’t believe I got the opportunity to do it and I felt really fortunate.”

Leon believes it was his matches against Aleister Black on RAW that got him spotlighted for more opportunities in WWE.

“I can honestly say it was the Aleister Black match because we ended up having a match twice. I see a lot of wrestlers that will come and just go through the motions and get it over with because they’re not shining, they’re not the stars, but I feel that with me they saw somebody who was willing to take the extra step, go the extra mile, no matter how much time he’s given that he’ll make the most of it. I felt like that’s what they saw, somebody who makes the most out of a little.”

** TNT Champion Darby Allin was interviewed by Scott Fishman of TV Insider. Darby detailed how he began working with the likes of Steve-O and Tony Hawk for content that ends up airing on AEW Dynamite.

“They just started following me on Instagram. I hit them up. I said, ‘Yo, this is what I want to do. I want to bring my world into wrestling instead of just wrestling into wrestling.’ I was inspired by names like Tony Hawk, Steve-O and Bam Margera. I want to bring that world into wrestling because I feel there are a lot of fans that fell out of love with wrestling. Now they can see all these cool people collaborating and doing stuff. I’m at Bam’s house right now filming stuff. I’m trying to do as much as possible.”

** Below is the newest episode of WWE’s The Bump featuring the likes of The Undertaker, Sasha Banks, Leon Ruff, Candice LeRae and Johnny Gargano. Scheduled for the Survivor Series edition of The Bump is The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins), Bruce Prichard and Lana.

 

** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated caught up with Leon Ruff ahead of the 11/18 episode of NXT. Ruff was asked for his thoughts on working in the enhancement talent role and he doesn’t understand the mindset of feeling “too big” for a role as such.

“I’m really glad you asked me this, and I’ve been waiting to say this for the longest time. My thought process was that there are no small roles, only small actors. Being a smaller guy in wrestling, I am used as enhancement a lot. So many guys have told me they’d rather not wrestle than to have that job on TV. I don’t understand that mindset. When you have talent, you should add to the show. That’s what it means to be a performer.

When I was in the ring with Aleister Black, I knew I had less than a minute and I might not get any moves in, so how could I stand out? You do whatever you can do. All I could do was take a kick, and I took it the best I could.”

** Amy Dumas (Lita) appeared on the 11/17 episode of The Bachelor.

** Shawn Michaels talked to CBS Sports about The Undertaker.

** Renee Paquette is launching her ‘Oral Sessions’ podcast.

** SPORF Wrestling has an interview up with Kofi Kingston. During their chat, Kingston talked about his role as a druid of The Undertaker’s prior to Kingston signing with WWE.

“So for me, it was before I got signed, and a lot of people wouldn’t know this because I was completely cloaked and draped in black, but I was actually a druid when Undertaker was having a feud with Randy Orton, and Cowboy Bob Orton actually posed as a druid and he came out and then all the druids came out and then we all ended up walking back but one druid stayed and that was Cowboy Bob Orton, and I was one of those druids so…”

** U.K. outlet ‘Metro’ chatted with Shawn Michaels to promote The Undertaker’s ‘Final Farewell’ at Survivor Series. Michaels discussed the progression of he and Undertaker’s professional relationship and eventual friendship.

“That’s the way we conducted ourselves from that point on, even though there were times I drove him a little crazy just from what I was doing. He never said anything, and he never let on that it was like that. We would still go in the ring – it was magic. We just focused on that aspect and kept on separate sides of the locker room until many years later.”

** Ring of Honor Director of Operations Gary Juster shared his fondest memories of Bobby Heenan and Gene Okerlund.

 

** NJPW Results (11/18/20) Korakuen Hall
– Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma def. Gabriel Kidd & Yuji Nagata
Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match: BUSHI (1-1) def. Yuya Uemura (0-2)
Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match: Master Wato (2-0) def. Robbie Eagles (1-1)
Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match: SHO (2-0) def. DOUKI (0-2)
Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match: Taiji Ishimori (1-1) def. Ryusuke Taguchi (1-1)
Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match: El Desperado (1-1) def. Hiromu Takahashi (1-1)

** SPORF posted a clip from their chat with The Undertaker.

** WWE put together a list of the top-ten WWE Championship title changes on RAW.

 

** Chris Dickinson and Mike Bennett’s match to determine the new United Wrestling Network World Champion has been postponed due to Dickinson suffering an injury.

** A GoFundMe was started to keep the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania up and running.

** USA Today ran their interview with The Undertaker.

** On the 11/24 edition of IMPACT Wrestling, Rich Swann is defending the IMPACT World Title against Ken Shamrock. The tournament to crown the new Knockouts Tag Team Champions will continue on the program as well. Nevaeh and Havok defeated Alisha Edwards and Tenille Dashwood in the first round on the 11/17 show.

** Baron Corbin returned to the ‘Who Goes There’ podcast.

** Stuart Goldsmith welcomed Colt Cabana onto the ‘Comedian’s Comedian’ podcast.

** Ice Ribbon P’s Party Results (11/18/20) Saitama, Japan
– Matsuya Uno def. Honori Hana
– Rina Shingaki & Yuko Sakurai def. Banny Oikawa & Madeline
– Suzu Suzuki def. Momo Kohgo
– Tsukushi Haruka & Yappy def. Satsuki Totoro & Yuki Mashiro

** Highlights from Ariel Helwani’s interview with The Undertaker is up on the ESPN website.

** The newest edition of Ace’s HIGH is up on NJPW1972.com.

** NJPW1972.com posted their interview with Tama Tanga.

** Here’s the cold open for MLW’s Restart:

 

** UWN Prime Time Live Results (11/17/20)
– Slice Boogie def. Keita Murray
– 1 Called Manders def. Richie Slade
– Lindsay Snow vs. Ruby Raze ended in a Double DQ
– Danny Limelight (w/ Papo Esco) def. Clark Connors
CWFH Heritage Heavyweight Championship: Ray Rosas (c) def. Andy Brown

** The UpUpDownDown crew recorded another UNO session.

** AEW’s Luther was a guest on Bodyslam.net’s ‘The Push’ podcast.

 

** Arn Anderson’s latest podcast was based around the 2010 WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view.

** Murphy is the next guest on WWE’s After The Bell podcast.

** Alicia Atout caught up with Lady Frost and Savage Gentleman.

** Ring of Honor’s Sledge wrote an article for the ROH website.

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