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.
** Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay, formerly Peyton Royce and Billie Kay of The IIconics in WWE, joined Busted Open Radio and opened up about their respective releases from WWE. The duo was released in April and said it came as a shock to the both of them.
Jessica: I wish I knew. To be honest, when I say that — it was a total shock. I had no idea. When I got the phone call, I thought it was in regards to something else. I was like, ‘Oh, they need me to do something. I’m needed for something else’ and when I heard those words, ‘We’re going to release you,’ my heart dropped and I was just — I was so shocked and I was just heartbroken and I don’t have any answers and I don’t think I’m ever gonna get answers. So at the moment I’m just trying to have peace with that.
Cassie: So it was absolutely a shock because obviously they do the budget cuts once a year but they hadn’t done it in a while and then I thought last year’s was just purely because of the pandemic so, I didn’t see it coming and maybe I should have, especially because I was really doing nothing since they split us up so, I was like laying in the middle of a massage in my bedroom and the husband [Shawn Spears] walks in and says, ‘You should probably check your phone’ and I was like, ‘Um, okay’ and then I checked it and I was like, ‘Yep, I’m done.’ Jumped up off the bed not wearing anything and that’s when I realized what was going down. Complete shock and I feel like we’re still going through waves with it where it’s like one day I’ll feel like so free and so excited for these opportunities that now we can take upon ourselves and then other days I sit there wondering like, ‘Ah, I just don’t understand’ and like Jess, I don’t think we’ll ever understand because I don’t think there’s much of a reason other than cuts had to be made.
After years of being together on-screen, The IIconics were split after losing a tag match that required them to break apart. Cassie feels that creative never understood them and recalled when Vince McMahon first heard them together, he requested that they be given a microphone every week.
So to be honest with you, I feel like creative maybe really never understood us. When we first came in, Vince [McMahon] really loved our first promo and he was like, ‘Give them a microphone every week’ which thank the Lord because not that many people get that opportunity and that’s such a good way for the audience to get to know you and understand who you are. So I know Vince enjoyed it but I just don’t think creative understood it and they kind of wanted to send us in this direction that — it was fine but I was like, ‘I’m not sure that they really understand what we kind of see for ourselves.’ But yeah, I don’t know.
For Jessica McKay, she feels that WWE creative thought they knew what to do with The IIconics. She felt lost when the split first happened but the move to SmackDown helped her. Kay said she talked to TJ Wilson about her next move[s] and thought the recruitment shtick she was doing was well received.
I think splitting us was — I [think] they thought they knew what they were doing by breaking us up but I don’t think they really understood it because we are different. Individually and together, it’s night and day and I think for entertainment purposes, it’s just so different and after they split us up, we were struggling. I had no idea who I was. You just took away not only my best friend and my tag team partner, but she was like my comfort zone, my support system and that was kind of stripped away and I was like, ‘I — huh, I don’t know what I’m doing. Who am I? I know who I truly am inside’ but I kind of had this image that I needed to be like, you know, come out and be sexy or hip or [a] movie star or something like that. I’m just like, ‘That’s just not me.’ That’s just not me and then it wasn’t until I got drafted to SmackDown which I think really helped me. I would talk to TJ [Wilson] a lot and be like, ‘This is what I wanna do, this is who I am. This is what I think is relatable to people’ and he was like, ‘Go for it. You need to do it’ and I was able to show for a while who I really am and I thought it was getting received well. I was having a blast at TVs, I was having fun, I was doing what I wanted to do and feeling really fulfilled. So that is why it was even more of a shock to me as well.
Before her release, Cassie’s last match was on Raw against then-Raw Women’s Champion Asuka. She had previously went on the Raw Talk show and gained a great deal of traction on social media for what she said about wanting an opportunity. After getting the match, Lee said she had a feeling that it would be her last and she only got the match because another talent contracted COVID-19.
I don’t know. I’m so new to this, I don’t even know what not to say, what to say but that match I had with Asuka was kind of strange because afterwards I felt so happy and so fulfilled like, ‘Yes, I feel like I’m finally scratching my wrestling itch.’ But I had this really freaky feeling overcome me and I like to think I’m a little bit psychic so maybe that’s why I had the feeling. But I just had the feeling that-that was going to be my last wrestling match, and there was nothing — it was just this feeling that came over me and then it went away and then nothing. But, and then I found out afterwards I only got that match because someone had COVID. It wasn’t because my Raw Talk promo got me the opportunity or — every time I spoke to creative, I couldn’t get past creative. I just could not get through the creative walls and get ideas pitched and I was just struggling. I had this strange feeling that-that was my last match.
The question was presented to them that if one gets a call from a company/promotion and the other does not, how will they navigate that. Cassie says she and Jessica are a package deal and they’ll move forward together.
I don’t know if we’ve necessarily talked about that [one of them getting a call but the other not getting one] but what we do know is that we’re a package deal. We’re gonna move forward together and that’s what it is.
Further speaking about what their next move could be, both specifically mentioned IMPACT Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling. It is just a matter of narrowing it down to which company is the better fit.
Cassie: I think — it’s tough because for example, AEW, I think we could really help their women’s division. They don’t necessarily have a women’s tag division, I could be wrong, I’m not sure. But I just feel like we have that TV experience that we could bring to the division and help build that up and with IMPACT, they have a women’s tag team division, a well-established — the Knockouts division that I easily feel we could slip into so it’s like, I feel like we have a lot to offer both of them and it’s — I don’t know, I don’t know.
Jessica: It’s tough. It’s tough to figure out where you think would be the best fit because we are wrestlers but then we are heavy personalities and characters and we love that so I think it’s just blending the two like we always have and just figuring out which company we think we would be better with, you know? AEW or IMPACT.
As the conversation was nearing its end, Jessica McKay shared that she has been married for almost seven years. McKay added that she likes to keep her personal life to herself.
So, I actually announced this on our first episode of the podcast but it was only for the audio. But I came out and said that I’m actually married. Yes. Yup. So I’ve been married for almost seven years and we’ve been together for almost 13 and it is something that I have kept private since I moved here so it was a big deal letting that out because I’ve been extremely private about my personal life, and I love that no one knows.
** During a Sign-It-Live stream, Highspots Wrestling Network owner Michael Bochicchio said WWE visited the Highspots in-person store and were filming for Sgt. Slaughter’s ‘Most Wanted Treasures’ episode that aired on A&E. Bochicchio shared that WWE cut Highspots out of the episode, including the footage of them purchasing an item from the store.
They [WWE] came here. They cut us out though. We saw the episode, we kept waiting like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna be in it’ and they’re like, ‘Nope.’ They cut us out. We’re on the cutting room floor. But they did put footage of us at a wrestling show, right? So they came all day and they had Sgt. Slaughter at the wrestling school then Sgt. Slaughter came over here and then, you know, ‘bought something.’ You know how it works. But we got cut out.
For us, little spoiler here, we actually sold them something and they just cut it out. I guess the item wasn’t cool enough. They probably had a higher-ticket item. I didn’t get to watch the whole episode but… it happens. We didn’t have enough stuff.
** Part two of Steven Muehlhausen’s chat with Jim Ross is up on DAZN.com. Ross complemented several of AEW’s young core of wrestlers. He feels that Wardlow is a talent that Vince McMahon would try to convince to switch his place of employment.
I love all of our homegrown talents. Certainly not saying that I don’t have the same level of appreciation to the vets like Dustin Rhodes and Chris Jericho. Jon Moxley is in that middle area. He’s still a young guy, but he’s a veteran. He’s been wrestling a long time, and he’s damn sure good. But I like what we’ve done with our homegrown kids. There’s Ricky Starks, Jungle Boy, Jack Perry, Darby Allin, MJF, who may be the top of the list, Sammy Guevara, who is going to be a big star. I love Santana and Ortiz. I’m a mark for Jake Hager. Wardlow is going to be a huge star. Trust me on that. He’s the kind of guy that McMahon would covet. He’s the kind of guy that McMahon would do anything to change Wardlow’s mind about his place of employment. I love this kid. (He’s) big, pleasant, polite, intelligent, never had any issues with any of those guys in the locker room. Sammy can be a wild child. Bill Watts, my old mentor, said one time, ‘You got to let these horses run JR.’ That’s what they are, and you got to let them have their head and go out there and do it.
MJF is a prodigy. He’s special. He’s a lot like a young, and I worked with him, a young Paul Heyman. He has a great gift for the English language. He has a heel’s mindset. He’s very clever, very creative. I think he’s as good a talker as there is in pro wrestling right now from my ears. Darby Allin is a ratings machine. Every time we put Darby in a segment, the ratings either grow or hold steady. We don’t ever see a loss or two now with Darby Allin. I love Darby. Darby doesn’t realize his size. He didn’t realize that he’s under 200 pounds. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t let himself get labeled in that box either. He’s comfortable with who he is. He’s got a unique style. Orange Cassidy is a little older than two of those guys I’ve talked about in their 20s. When I first saw him work, I said, ‘What have we done? What happened? Why did we hire this guy?’ Didn’t understand his gimmick. I didn’t understand his persona. I realized, ‘Okay, hold the fort here, JR. This kid, you need to give some time. Be patient for once in your life’. So that’s what I did, and now I’m a big fan of his work because he’s different. He hasn’t copied his game from anybody that I can recall. I’ve seen a lot of guys since my debut in 1974. He’s just different. He’s a quality guy, educated, smart. We don’t have a lot of these issues with guys showing up abrasively late or being malcontents. We got enough locker room leaders that don’t want to tolerate it. They lived that life. Chris Jericho doesn’t want to get involved in heavy-duty politics. He’s lived that life. I can tell you from being in that political world of pro wrestling, this is a lot more fun. A lot more fun in AEW.
The working relationship between AEW, IMPACT and New Japan Pro-Wrestling is ongoing. J.R. would like to see AEW do more with New Japan and added that Kazuchika Okada challenging Kenny Omega for the AEW World Title is something he’d like to see.
I think as it relates to Impact, that’s done through the cooperative efforts of nature of Tony Khan. Don Callis is a part of the management team at Impact and the on-camera manager of Kenny Omega. I think I’m going to sound bad saying this, I’m sure. I think this relationship has helped Impact more than it’s helped AEW. But I don’t know that we’re measuring. I don’t know that we’re judging, quite frankly. If it helps the wrestling business, and it makes it more fan-friendly, then we all win. Tony Khan’s philosophy is to do business with everybody that we want that can help our brand. I think that’s kind of the concept, and I don’t think it’s going to end with Impact.
I’d love to see us do more with New Japan. I had my little run there for three years doing New Japan voiceovers with Josh Barnett. I developed a friendship with a lot of those guys, just like I’ve done with this roster. I’m pulling for them. I know how talented a lot of those dudes are. I would like to see a pay-per-view with Okada challenging Kenny Omega for the AEW title. Why not? That’s easy layup booking, but there’s a history there. There’s a backstory. You could lead into this thing for weeks and weeks until the day came for the big event. So things like that excite me. They got a lot of great talent over there that could match up with some of our guys. Darby (Allin) would be great. (Chris) Jericho had his run there and drew money. He sold tickets. I think there’s a possibility that could happen down the road. I’m not in that circle. I’m not leaking any information that I shouldn’t be talking about out of school. But I just think it makes too much common sense that once these COVID issues have been better addressed globally, I think that could happen. It may not be this year. But I think somewhere down the road. We’re not going away. They’re not going away. So when the time is right, you never know. I think it’d be fun for the fans.
** Kamille of the National Wrestling Alliance joined the Keepin It 100 with Konnan podcast. Back in 2016, Kamille moved to Florida and she decided to show up to the WWE Performance Center and asked for a job. This led to Kamille receiving a tryout.
So when I first moved to Florida, I was like, ‘Well I’m gonna have to get a job. Obviously I need money while I’m here.’ So, I printed out my resumes and I dressed up and I was driving around and I thought about it, I was like, ‘The Performance Center is here so why don’t I just drive by the Performance Center and give them –’ because I was like, ‘I can work there doing some creative stuff or something and become a wrestler.’ I didn’t know any better, I didn’t know how any of this worked so, I somehow, online, find the address to the Performance Center. I’m a female, I’m good at detective work. [Yeah, it was] 2016, and I show up there and it’s all blacked out on the outside and I’m a little bit nervous. I’m like, ‘Ah, I don’t know if I should do this or not.’ I was like, ‘F*ck it.’ So I went up and I buzzed the buzzer and they were like, ‘Hey, can we help you?’ And I was like, ‘Hi, I just moved here. I’m looking for a job and I’m also interested in becoming a wrestler,’ and they were like, ‘Uh, one second’ and then they ended up letting me in.
Kamille started training with D-Von Dudley. She said D-Von was not happy with her when she did an independent show without his blessing because she was still in training.
I didn’t get the head nod, the go-ahead [from D-Von Dudley] to go start working. Yeah, [I had to get permission].
No [I was not under contract]. It’s just like a respect thing. It’s like an unspoken type of rule almost.
** Stephanie McMahon guest appeared on Variety’s ‘Strictly Business’ podcast. She commented on WWE continuing to do business with Saudi Arabia. McMahon stated that she wants WWE to be involved in the change of culture in Saudi.
So WWE takes the approach that we wanna be a part of the change and not judging any other brands or other decisions that any other companies make. Everyone has to do what’s right for them but for us, it’s about being — you have to be there to be able to be a part of the change. For example, in Abu Dhabi, different scenario but it took us six years to be able to have our women perform but we went and if we would’ve pulled out, then we would’ve never had that opportunity. Sometimes it takes persistence, sometimes it takes tough decisions and of course that was a very tough decision and we decided ultimately we wanted to be there to help affect change and we were able to do that. That’s a remarkable part. I mean it’s amazing what you can do when people really come together for the right reasons.
** Inside The Ropes caught up with CyberFight President Sanshiro Takagi for an interview. Takagi shared his thoughts about talents who are a part of CyberFight competing in AEW. He thinks the standing relationship is solid and would like to see Joey Janela, Orange Cassidy and Hikaru Shida appear for/return to DDT Pro-Wrestling in Japan.
I think the relationship is great, at least from our end. It’s actually not that hard to travel to the US from our end, but then again there is the issue of losing two weeks in quarantine when talent return to Japan. But since they put our talent on their shows, we’d like to return the favor too when the situation allows. We’d like to get Kenny Omega back in DDT after COVID subsides too.
There are a lot of DDT family/alums in AEW such as Ethan Page, Ricky Starks, Sammy Guevara, Colt Cabana, Thunder Rosa, Royce Isaacs, and I want to see all of them succeed.
Other than the talent we’ve already had in DDT, I’d love to book Orange Cassidy. I’d also like to bring Joey Janela to Japan too, not just to return the favor of him being a great host for Yoshihiko’s US tour; I’ve always had in interest in booking him. We also have a relationship with Hikaru Shida; I was actually one of the judges in the audition for the movie that ended up kicking off her pro-wrestling career. She’s doing great right now, and I’d love to see her make a triumphant return to Japan in DDT one day.
** In late March, All Elite Wrestling officially announced that Red Velvet had been signed to the company. Velvet recently chatted with Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald and said she was told at the Revolution pay-per-view that she was going to be signed full-time. She credited the match with Cody Rhodes, Shaquille O’Neal and Jade Cargill that took place before Revolution as one of the reasons she got signed.
Well, yeah, Brandi [Rhodes] being pregnant is a beautiful thing but it was a blessing in disguise and everyone always says when one door closes for someone, another one opens but I’m extremely grateful that I was chosen to be the one to replace her and to this day, I hope I made her proud but I was out there to not only prove what I can do but to make her proud, have her live a little bit through me through that match that she couldn’t be involved in. But, I was actually just walking around the arena on the day of Revolution and I remember I got pulled aside by Christopher Daniels and he just held my hand and he wasn’t saying anything so I just automatically thought that I was in trouble and I just looked at him like I was at the principal’s office. Like, ‘What’s going on? Am I in trouble?’ He was like, ‘No, I have really great news for you. We want to sign you full-time.’ I mean, it’s no secret I was there. I was on a tier zero before that and I won’t go into too many details about what that contract is but at Revolution, I was told I was going to be signed full-time with All Elite so that was just — I was excited about just even watching Revolution and supporting everyone there but that day was really special because I didn’t see it coming so, I think I’ll always be grateful no matter the outcome or the heat, I will always be grateful for Cody [Rhodes], Shaq and Jade [Cargill] because they put me to the test that night and that’s what I believe helped me get a full-time contract so, I’ll always be grateful.
** Coming out of his NXT UK Heritage Cup trophy win, Tyler Bate chatted with ‘Metro’ and he commented on the upcoming one-year anniversary since the #SpeakingOut movement began. Bate is hopeful that what occurred will help lead pro wrestling in the direction it needs to go in.
I just have a faith, really, and a trust that it will help steer pro wrestling in the direction that it needs to go in.
He dove into his thoughts about the traditional British style of wrestling. Bate says the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Cena come and go but the one true constant is the artform of pro wrestling.
For me it’s the foundation – the hold for hold pro wrestling, the purer side of it, laid the foundation and set the ground for everything after it to be built on. You can’t build a house on rocky foundations. There is no WWE without the wresting. The wrestling is the one thing that is… as an artform, the wrestling is the one thing that is timeless throughout all of it. The Stone Cold Steve Austins, the Hulk Hogans, the John Cenas – they all come and go, they will always pass, but the pro wrestling is the one thing that stays true constantly. So, it’s an honor for me to be the representative for that.
** Darby Allin had ten defenses of the TNT Championship before losing it to Miro. Allin explained to Stephanie Chase during their interview that he feels he lost the title at the right time.
Absolutely [it was the right time to lose the TNT Title]. Go out while you’re on top. I don’t wanna overstay my welcome. I don’t wanna be one of these jerk offs that people are always like, ‘Dude, when is he gonna lose this thing?’ So, it was — I felt like it was the right time. So, you know, yeah.
At Double Or Nothing, Darby and Sting are taking on Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky. Outside of their work in EVOLVE, Allin said he’s wanted to work with Page again for quite some time.
Even before he came in. I [was like], ‘I need to work with this guy.’ Even before he came in, so, we [Darby & Ethan Page] have a long, long history and I wanna tell that story on national television.
** Wrestling Headlines’ Joey G. spoke to Maria Kanellis-Bennett for an exclusive interview. She told the site that Ring of Honor has been taping matches for Women’s Division Wednesday since January.
It came about organically. We’ve been filming matches since January, and we didn’t really have a place to put them. But at the beginning, we also didn’t know when we were going to have the tournament with all the COVID restrictions and how many people we can bring into each taping. We’ve really just kind of had to keep an eye on things to find out when this was going to work. But we accumulated a lot of matches. And with that we’re like, ‘Alright, how are we going to deliver these to the Ring of Honor fans?’ Previously, there had been some women’s footage from Ring of Honor on Wednesday. So we thought why not make it an entire show? And, you know, why not just remind the fans, hey, women are still here and put on to great matches, and give you a little taste of what you might see in the tournament.
Looking back on her time in WWE before being released alongside Mike Bennett, Maria said she was comfortable with finishing the rest of her career in WWE.
Yeah, so Mike did ask for his release. I did not. I was I was okay with living out the rest of my career in WWE. I wanted to have that nice, nice relationship moving forward with them and you know, be able to go back because it becomes a bit of a fraternity of people that you know, you continue to want to see a couple times a year it’s usually at SummerSlam and then also WrestleMania. So I was okay with, you know, spending the rest of my career that way. For Mike it was different. Mike asked for his release because he still wants to wrestle, he still wants to get out there. Throw down. He’s got a lot of fight left in him when it comes to being inside the ring. But I knew the second week where we were there that it wasn’t gonna work. Very second week, I got in the car and I went, that’s it. We’re done. We’re done. I knew. I knew. So when did we sign with them? Was it 2017? I think it was the end, I think, was it? The end of June, by the end of June? I knew.
** AEW commentator Tony Schiavone wrote an article that is being featured in Atlanta Magazine.
** While speaking with Robbie Fox on ‘My Mom’s Basement’, Mick Foley shared that he’ll be on a future episode of Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
But I will say I was really happy with the documentary WWE did seven or eight years ago for old Mankind and that was one of the reasons where I was a little hesitant when I was approached by A&E. I was like, ‘Hasn’t my story been told?’ And the director, Thomas Odelfelt really convinced me that he had a new take on it and when I went to do the Stone Cold Sessions with Stone Cold Steve Austin, he was really, as we say in our trade, putting it over, and because he was going to be talking to me about it, I said, ‘Okay, I’ll watch the first 20 minutes’ and I was really, really impressed.
** During Jon Moxley’s appearance on Wrestling Observer Live, he discussed how much he enjoys teaming with Eddie Kingston:
I’ve been blessed with some good tag team partners over the years. Sami Callihan, obviously The Shield and now I’ve got Eddie Kingston who’s my best friend in the business. So like, and it’s so much fun. We just — getting to work with him is like, it’s not even work, especially promos and stuff. We just show up to the spot where they tell us is gonna be a camera and we just start riffing and whatever they get, they get. They keep telling me that the real money is gonna be in the outtake footage of me and Eddie riffing for an hour and then stuff that they just refuse to put on TV but like the crew guys and everybody in the room is just cracking up and they’re like, ‘They’re gonna release like a four-disc DVD of the outtakes.’ So that’s just pure fun. It’s not even like work.
** NJPW1972.com chatted with Yuji Nagata as he quarantined in Japan after his trip to Jacksonville, Florida for AEW. Nagata thought the American fans would not remember him, seeing as how it had been decades since he appeared on TNT.
There were so many eyes on the product that I was on Nitro two or three times, and still wherever I went people would recognize me. I really wasn’t sure anyone would remember, but as it turned out, a lot of people did, all those years later. There were so many people and other wrestlers backstage who came up to me saying they remembered this match or that, or they were big fans. It was a bit weird, but it was definitely nice to have that VIP treatment.
Nagata posted a photo on social media of himself, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sonny Oono and Rocky Romero together in Jacksonville. Nagata said Nakamura drove three hours to visit him and Sonny made the trip from Iowa despite having heart issues.
Right! Sonny isn’t in the best of shape with his heart, but he made it all the way from Iowa to Jacksonville. Shinsuke Nakamura came by my hotel as well.
No, it was a three-hour drive for him [Shinsuke Nakamura]. There are quite a few guys moving from WWE to AEW right now, so there were all sorts of people backstage. I ran into Paul Wight, and Sting as well. Sting took care of me when I was in the US back in the day. You wouldn’t tell he aged a single day, but when I asked him how old he was, he went, ‘How old do you think? I’m 63’
Jon Moxley defeated Yuji Nagata on Dynamite to retain the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Title. Before the announcement that their match would be on Dynamite, Nagata thought the match was going to take place on NJPW Strong.
I honestly had thought the whole time we were going to do it on NJPW STRONG. However much I thought about how NJPW and AEW relate, I didn’t think we would do it on Dynamite at all.
** Simon Hill welcomed Mike Bennett onto his ‘Keep It Locked’ podcast. During his time in WWE, Randy Orton looked out for Bennett on several occasions. Mike touched on a few of those instances and credited Orton for being good to him.
For me, like you said, Randy [Orton] was one of those guys that was always just from the minute I got there, he always kind of looked out for me and took care of me and was always really nice. I don’t know if he knew of my work before or what. If he did, I find that incredibly humbling and awesome. I’m not gonna assume that he did but maybe he saw my work when I was there but, believe or not, when I got switched over to 205 [Live], he actually messaged me and he was the first person that messaged me and was like, ‘Hey, I’m happy that people are gonna finally gonna be able to see what you’re able to do. You’ll get TV time’ and I always remember being like, ‘Wow, he didn’t have to do that’ and that went a long way and to this day, we still message back and forth. He fought for me and Tony Nese to get involved in a dark match after Monday Night Raw or after SmackDown, just so we could get in there and that was one of the last things I did was get RKO’d by Randy and I remember being in there and him just making me laugh while we were in the ring. He’s just a really good dude, or at least he was really good to me and that always meant a lot to me and I always look back and I’m like, ‘You know what? That’s how you treat people’ and that always went a long way in my eyes.
Bennett recounted the feeling amongst the talent roster after Kofi Kingston won the WWE Championship. He said Sami Zayn put it best when he said it was like one of the talents who was not positioned as a top guy finally broke through.
I think that’s a common misperception that people don’t seem to understand. Everyone in that company [WWE], unless you’re a top guy, is in the same boat. Everyone’s fighting for TV time, everyone’s fighting to be relevant, everyone’s fighting to work, everyone’s fighting for this. But, in this weird way, we supported each other because we knew how incredibly hard it was to break through to get to that next level and I remember sitting backstage and I think Sami Zayn said it best where like when Kofi [Kingston] finally broke through and became champion, it wasn’t this collection of like, ‘Aw man, that should’ve been my spot’ or blah. It was this collection of, ‘Oh, okay cool. One of us, one of the guys that was down here finally broke through. Good, good. Okay, good. Who’s the next guy?’ It was like the idea of rooting for the next guy because we’re all in the same boat trying to get to that spot.
** WrestleTalk pushed out their interview with Lance Archer. At AEW’s Jon Huber (Brodie Lee) tribute show, Archer sported gear that was similar to what Brodie wore prior to arriving in AEW. Archer said he went and picked up the clothing last minute and shared that Amanda Huber was happy with Archer’s tribute to her late husband.
As far as wearing what I wore, I didn’t consider it his WWE gimmick because he was wearing that before he ever joined WWE, when he was doing Brodie Lee in Japan and around the independents and places like that. And a friend of mine suggested it. We were getting ready for the show, and that whole card was put together on a last-minute thing, there was supposed to be a whole different show and then that was decided on and graciously and honorably put into that match. It was one of those things, a friend of mine was like, ‘Hey man’, and this was like two hours before the show, he was like, ‘Hey, why don’t you dress like his old Brodie Lee in his independent gear?’. And I was like, ‘Oh man, what did he wear?’, and he sent me a picture with the tank top and the jeans and the bandanas and all that stuff. So I scooted off and ran to the store and bought all the stuff. I kinda let a couple people know what I was planning on doing, but I really didn’t tell a lot of people, and in fact I had everything on. And I’d walked by Amanda a couple of times, and she was just focused on staying strong for the day because she had her boys there, it was obviously so new to the whole situation, she was beyond emotional, and she’s as strong of a human being as anyone could possibly be, so nothing but love to her for being able to hold it together in that crazy moment. And she didn’t notice (what I was wearing), she told me this, because it wasn’t until, because she was out watching us live, and this was one of the bigger fanbases we had at that point because we were allowing limited fanbase back into Daily’s Place at that point, and this was one of the largest groups that we’d had watching a live event. When I walked out, she said she saw me, because she told me this afterwards, so did the match, I’m in his gear and everything’s going on, and then we get to the back and I remember she walked up to me and just kind of gave me a big hug, and she goes, ‘I had no idea what you were planning on doing’. And I was like, ‘I walked by you like two or three times’. She was like, ‘I had my head down, I was just trying to stay focused and not break down’, and I was like, ‘I completely understand. Were you okay with it?’ She was like, ‘Beyond okay’. She was taken back in the best way, it was a really good tribute in her opinion, and that made it worth it in every sense to me, the fact that she was good with it, that she liked it, that she was happy with what we did.
** Taylor Wilde took to her Wilde On podcast and explained how her return to the ring and creating her podcast has helped her see her contributions to women’s wrestling. When she left wrestling in 2011, she admitted that she felt bitter and detailed why she felt that way:
Creating the Wilde On podcast as well as being back on television has given me the greatest gift of knowing what I had contributed to women’s wrestling. When I walked away in 2011 so bitter and so disheartened and thinking that I didn’t get to do what I really wanted to do, I didn’t give to women’s wrestling what I wanted to give because I didn’t have the platform and I didn’t have the strength to stand up for myself where in reality, I left my f*cking mark and these women that I get to face now are people that used to watch me on TV that I motivated and it’s such a gift because these are the women that inspired me to get back in the business and it’s this beautiful synchronicity so, yeah. Wrestling’s weird man.
** Judgement Day 2001 was the focus of a recent Grilling JR podcast. When WWF acquired WCW, one of the talents that was brought in was the late Chris Kanyon. There were a number of talents who made sure to mention to JR that Kanyon was gay.
And [Chris] Kanyon was a great frame, 6’3 or 4. I didn’t know all of his issues, had no idea. If I had to do it all over again, a lot of hires, I would have went back and did a more thorough background check. Not that he was doing something illegal but he had some drug issues, and then he also was — you know, everybody made a big deal out of him being gay. I didn’t give a sh*t. Why would I care? It doesn’t matter to me. So, and it shouldn’t matter to anybody else.
Well, the boys would go off the record and whisper, ‘Well JR, you know he’s gay.’ I said, ‘I didn’t know that but thanks for telling me.’ What do you say? So he was a great, talented guy. I think the Dark Side [of the Ring] is doing some stuff on him this year, because my buddy Rafael Morffi is on that, got to interview for it. Rafael and Kanyon went to high school or junior high together. Yeah, they were good friends.
Jim Ross recalled enforcing a rule that talents had weigh-in so that their weight could be kept track of. JR said some talents were not big on the rule.
That was part of that whole situation was it went back to my old term ‘reliability.’ Can a guy that doesn’t want to lose weight become really reliable? And the worst thing you can do is say, ‘Oh, I’m on a diet, I’m working on it’ and you weigh the same thing or a little bit more the next week. I started having guys weigh in. That pissed a lot of guys off. They said, ‘I don’t understand why I have to weigh in.’ I said, ‘How f*cking hard is it to stand on a scale? What do you care? We have reasons for these things.’ So I don’t get it. So that’s kind of where we were there.
** Lucha Libre Online conducted an interview with Vladimir Kozlov. He told the outlet that John Cena was a big supporter of he and Anthony Carrelli (Santino Marella’s) team in WWE. Kozlov then went on to speak about he and Carrelli’s friendship.
John Cena was a big supporter. Big supporter of our tag team. Even when we [Kozlov & Santino Marella] got the first title, John Cena was involved. It was great. We had so much fun. We are still friends, we’re like brothers. We talk all the time, we support each other and don’t forget, Santino was a Judo National Champion in Canada. He’s a badass guy. When you see [him] in the ring, he’s funny but when you see what he’s doing, I’m telling you, he’s [a] professional fighter. I like him a lot. He’s my brother.
** Muscle & Fitness profiled AEW’s Wardlow. He feels that The Pinnacle (Himself, MJF, Shawn Spears, Cash Wheeler, Dax Harwood & Tully Blanchard) are the most impressive faction that wrestling has seen in the last 15 years.
I truly believe that The Pinnacle is the most impressive faction in the wrestling industry for 15 years. There’s no weak link in this group. The Inner Circle were formed in AEW on night one and they were the first major faction, running wild, but there’s a reason we are called The Pinnacle, they are gonna get hurt badly inside that football stadium, and then hopefully they will move on with their lives.
** The Wrestle Buddies podcast welcomed Cody Rhodes onto the show.
** Christian Cage & Colt Cabana vs. Daniel Bryan & Christopher Daniels in Ring of Honor.
** Eugene S. Robinson of OZY has an extensive interview with Lana.
** Mike Johnson of PWInsider spoke to AEW’s Santana.
** Lance Archer appeared on the Sports Guys Talking Wrestling show to promote AEW Double Or Nothing.
** Chicago Tribune has a story up about Warrior Wrestling’s ‘Stadium Series’ shows in Chicago. The publication chatted with Matt Cardona for the piece.
** Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze’s latest Battle of the Brands episode via UpUpDownDown:
** Natalya’s recent Calgary Sun article is about Bret Hart and his forthcoming A&E documentary that airs on June 6th.
** Kal Herro, who recently competed on AEW Dark was interviewed by CBS 58.
** Renee Paquette did a Q&A on her YouTube channel to promote her cookbook.
** Sportskeeda’s Rick Ucchino recorded an interview with NXT North American Champion Bronson Reed.
** TNT Champion Miro was interviewed by the New York Post.
** WWE’s Natalya turned 39 on 5/27.
** Lucha Libre Online chatted with Chelsea Green.
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.