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.
** Billy Corgan sat down with Mickie James for an in-depth interview about James’ career in wrestling. Mickie looked back on the ‘Piggy James’ storyline with Michelle McCool and Layla El. James said whoever came up with the storyline wasn’t aware of what she was going through personally at the time but does believe the story was a personal jab and was done to humble her.
Prior to the ‘Piggy James’ angle, whatever, I also had a lot of personal stuff going on that was really, really affecting me and I think that it was just too much. It was all too much for me and it suffered but to have a ‘Piggy James’ angle thrown on you and I was probably 138 pounds, 140 tops.
And obviously, the business can play with your head a lot, right? So I took it very personal in the sense of — I think somebody thought I was fat and they thought it was funny. They thought I gained a few pounds, they had no idea what was going on with me personally. They thought they had an idea of something else that was that, whatever it was and it was a, ‘Let’s humble her. Let’s kind of devalue her a little bit and then let’s cut her loose because she thinks too highly of herself’ or whatever the case may be. I think it was one of those things and that will never be said but that was — personally I felt that was a humbling moment. ‘Let’s humble her down a little bit, because the fans love her too much. So let’s make the fans make fun of her and start to hate her a little bit so that way –’ I feel like it’s a lot — because these are all things that are done and I genuinely hated the idea and I tried to speak that and I go, ‘I don’t think that this is going to –’ yes, it’s a chance to help with cyberbullying and shine a light on it but, is there going to be a payoff? What’s the payoff because if it’s zero payoff then it’s all for nothing and now you’ve just made fun of me for no reason but, it’s also a cool space to really get Michelle [McCool] and Layla [El] over and in a space where people actually care about them and they see them as a valid team and out of it, that’s the one thing I’ll say, it did a couple things. I’ve had people come to me and I didn’t see it in the moment but I’ve had women come to me and men come to me and go like, ‘That thing resonated with me. That’s what really resonated with me the most as a wrestling fan because I was that person in school or I was that, so it really helped me, your strength through all that.’
When she was in Ohio Valley Wrestling, Mickie was told to lose her country accent because it “made her sound ignorant”.
I remember a moment when I was in developmental in OVW and I was told to — ‘I need you to lose your country accent. It makes you sound ignorant’ and I would just go — that was the first time anybody had said that to me. In a sense, I didn’t know — first off, I didn’t realize my accent was that thick. It was, I had to learn how to speak without it and obviously, it comes out with the more passionate, angry or if I’ve been drinking. Those are usually — or if I’m around my family. But yeah, and so I had to learn how to speak without it because I was like, ‘Oh gosh, I don’t want them to think I’m ignorant’ but then think about that statement in itself. The fact that-that statement was even said to me shows how ignorant that person saying that was in their mind about — because I go like, some of the top talent, champions have had really southern accents, been top draws.
James has been candid in media appearances over the past year concerning WWE not taking her ideas into consideration. She feels that some writers or agents didn’t go through with pitching ideas because of the thought that talents are only pitching things to solely benefit them.
I think it was a multitude of things. I don’t think it was always one thing. Some of it was like, I felt like sometimes, ‘Oh of course the girls wanna do something,’ you know what I mean? There was always that because everyone’s different and where they are with whether it’s how they were raised or what their beliefs or where they feel like — it’s an ever-evolving business and we still have a lot of the same people making the decisions so they just haven’t caught up, some of ‘em, you know? And that sense and other of it is just like, ‘Oh, Mickie, she’s –’ whether it was a personal thing. Maybe they just didn’t like me as a person but I felt like I always, for every fight, it was for a valid reason and it wasn’t just for my own best interest. I think that’s the difference. The business itself is such a self-serving thing and so a lot of times when a talent will go to the agent or whoever it is, they’ll automatically be on the defense because they think that they’re trying to do something that’s only gonna benefit themselves but when I’m sitting here going like, ‘No, this is not about me. It’s about the women’ or about us as a whole.
Continuing on the topic of storylines being presented, James said issues can arise when men writing storylines for women.
For me, in my experience, you know obviously, there would be times when I would argue that point too, whether it was a backstage or something and I would argue that with whoever my writer is and because he’s not a female, he couldn’t understand why I was saying, ‘That doesn’t really work. It doesn’t make sense. I would never really say it like that because that’s not how women think.’ Right [it’s not authentic to the character]. Not just the character but as a woman as well, you know and yeah.
Prior to the EmPower show coming to fruition, James wanted to do an all-women’s show in WWE. She feels all the resources and tools were there. When it comes spotlighting the younger crop of talents, Mickie is of the mindset that today’s crop of talents can’t be built without yesterday’s top stars.
But then coming out of that I go — and all the attempts [to do another all-women’s pay-per-view in WWE] and it wasn’t just — I know I’m not alone when I say this; of doing another pay-per-view, of perhaps a 30-minute show and we can say all the things we want but I just know that there was all the tools, all the resources, all the talent, all the legends. It would have literally just taken the click of a button to make it happen in a real space and it was just never done but yet we — there were other shows that were done that were in that same vein. It was never gonna — I don’t think anyone had this like unrealistic — in this moment in time, where it would compete with like a primetime show. It would more live in its own space but it’d be a beautiful space to help build and create talent and get them experience because one thing that a lot of talent, especially right now in these times is not getting is experience in front of people and on television and that’s where you learn the most and that’s where you really grow and develop as a character, as a performer and know how to and you have to have people that have been there and made money on television to be able to help you learn how to make money on television. You can’t build today’s stars without yesterday’s stars helping guide them because there’s an art to this business as you know and it’s just yeah, so…
NWA World Women’s Champion Kamille appeared several times via cutaway segments during the interview. Kamille credited NXT for lifting up their women’s division and giving women a fair shake.
NXT created — I feel NXT really did a really good job of creating a women’s division and lifting up the women’s division to be more athletes and have more athletic style matches and that’s when I kind of remember the — it changing and women really getting a fair and equal opportunity.
** Ron Simmons did a virtual signing with Highspots Wrestling Network. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Simmons was in the process of writing a book. He added that the book is coming along.
I have actually [thought of writing a book] and I got started on it then this worldwide COVID thing hit and that kind of put it on hold but, it’s coming brother. Thanks for asking.
As far as the current wrestling product goes, Simmons mentioned AJ Styles as someone that he likes to watch.
Well you know what? I think I kind of like watching AJ Styles because he knows how to blend in something with the old style, telling a story which they’ve gotten away from doing. I kinda like to watch him. He knows when to do certain things in the ring. I like the way he’s working.
** New WWE signee Faith Jefferies (Faithy J) appeared on The Roundtable Pro Wrestling Podcast. Faith was hired following the recent tryouts in Las Vegas and she gave her take on why she was a part of the group that got signed.
I believe… they look for personality, a character. You have to be larger than life, not that they weren’t [those who were not signed]. Sometimes people don’t understand fully, especially if they’ve never been in wrestling because there were some candidates that were athletes so, never necessarily — I think all it is-is everybody in that room was capable of being [there] and making it but you gotta show them who you are the first minute you walk in the hotel. You’re being watched from the minute you land actually.
** The latest guest on D-Von Dudley’s Table Talk podcast was Shayna Baszler. She detailed how some of her on-screen presentation and in-ring style was inspired by Minoru Suzuki. When Shayna signed with WWE, she realized she and Samoa Joe had several similar things about them and she went up to Joe to let him know that she wasn’t purposely copying him.
I started wrestling and I did some time wrestling in Japan. I did the indie thing that everyone does and went to Japan and lived and wrestled there for a while and all that and just because of the nature of my training and my coaches, I really paid attention a lot to the Japanese wrestling scene. That was, I don’t know, that’s just the way I came up, and so, Minoru Suzuki is one of my all-time favorite wrestlers, still today and he comes out with a towel over his head like Taz, like a hood and I remember thinking like, ‘Oh man, I wanna do something that’s kind of like him but not exactly like him so I’m gonna put the towel around me. I’m not gonna put it on my head’ and then I was like, ‘Aw man, the sleeper, that’s like I can get to the back in submission wrestling, shoot wrestling. I know all these tricky ways. That’s gonna be great. That’ll be a great finisher for me. He uses it, I’ll do it, okay cool’ and then I remember I signed [with WWE] and I was like, ‘Am I Samoa Joe? Like did I just become –’ he wears the towel, like what? So I went and told him this story and I was like, ‘I want you to know –’ so I was in NXT for a while but I came up to Raw, that was like one of the first things I did was go up to him and go, ‘I did not intentionally copy everything that you did, but I’m sorry? I don’t know’ and Joe’s cool. He was like, ‘Ah. Don’t worry about it’ but, it was funny.
** Eva Marie joined Renee Paquette for a live recording of Oral Sessions in Las Vegas. Eva spoke about her pairing with Doudrop (Piper Niven) and shared how much she enjoys working with her.
I love working with her [Doudrop/Piper Niven], she’s phenomenal. Not only just an incredible athlete, but some people I’m really fortunate because when we first met, we exchanged messages prior to actually meeting in person and we just hit it off. We knew we were gonna work together, but we just didn’t know what that was going to look like quite yet.
In early May, vignettes to promote Eva Marie’s return to WWE began to air. She said an exchanging of emails between herself and Vince McMahon led her to returning to the company.
I had a conversation with Vince [McMahon]. We basically — emails.
So that’s basically how it started, just because of always keeping in contact via email of things I was doing outside of WWE, making sure that he was fully aware of Eva Marie is willing and ready to come back whenever you see fit and that door is open on my end so it’s one of those things to where if you want something, go ask for it or go get it and make sure that other person or avenue kind of knows about it so that way they’re not fully closed off, and what’s the worst that could happen? It’s just you’re in the position before where you were originally.
** During the CarCast podcast, Goldberg talked about his son Gage’s involvement at the SummerSlam pay-per-view. Gage was put in the ‘Hurt Lock’ by WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. Goldberg said Gage was visibly smiling while this unfolded so Goldberg had to grab him to alert him about his facial expressions.
He says, ‘Dad, when you came over and grabbed me, you were choking me.’ Like, ‘I saw you smiling man so I had to get the smile off you.’
The kid is impervious to pressure. Like impervious. He did four hours of homework before he went out and you know, jumped in the ring with a 290 pound freaking monster who’s beating his dad up. So, it didn’t bother him. It didn’t phase him one bit. He did really great.
** So CATCH by Hal 2 has an interview with NXT Champion Samoa Joe. Joe went over his working relationship with Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque and how they’ve built a rapport and mutual respect.
I just think I have a good relationship with him [Triple H]. I think it’s just we’ve done good business with one another, been very honest in our dealings and have built up a rapport and a respect. I never knew Hunter previous to coming into WWE, so it’s just kind of an earned relationship. We’ve — he’s consulted me on things. I like to think I‘ve come through with my recommendations and kind of based on that over the years that I’ve been in WWE and our conversations, in our talks about how we envision a lot of the future of the industry, like a lot of that coincides and lines up so… and you know, it kind of spawned from that and this role in NXT and what I was doing was talked about years prior. This was already something that was kind of spoken about so, it wasn’t — the transition was very, very easy. The pitch to me was very, very easy because it had already been made so, it was just a matter of just signing a few other papers and I was right back to work. But I did get a nice month vacation so I do appreciate that.
** The Shining Wizards Wrestling podcast welcomed Mickie James onto their show. With NWA EmPower taking place this weekend, Mickie was asked if the event will become an annual presentation. She said there have been conversations regarding that.
We’re hoping, I’m hoping [EmPower happens more than once]. We have definitely talked about this being — especially because we are introducing the [NWA Women’s Invitational] Cup as an inaugural thing so this will happen, that will happen, the Cup will happen every single year. Oh my God, this Cup. This has been the toughest thing, it’s so crazy. Like this one cup is driving me crazy. But, not putting the matches together, the cup itself. Oh God, I can’t. It’s been like insanity trying to get this thing done. However, the cup itself is going to be an annual thing and the whole deal is like we’re gonna find the top ten prospects or the top ten women that we think would make incredible NWA Women’s Champions and every year we’ll have this cup so there will be one winner and she will always get a championship title shot at the NWA Women’s Champion, so, this first one will be the very next night at 73 [Anniversary] so my hope is that EmPower is an annual thing and we can present this cup at every EmPower and we can keep moving forward but I do feel like this is the first many kind of women-driven products as a whole so I’m excited about that.
One name that Mickie is looking forward to possibly working with is Mercedes Martinez. Mercedes was released from WWE in early August. Mickie said while she was actively a part of the main roster, she wanted Mercedes in the locker room.
I would love to work with Mercedes [Martinez] who I thought — I love Mercedes and I’ve worked with her and known her pretty much her whole career and I think just our paths were so very different and I was so excited to see her finally get a chance at NXT and to be able to come in and I just — the whole time I’m going like, ‘Ah, I just wish they’d bring you to the main roster. Like you need to be here,’ you know? No offense, I just selfishly wanted her in our locker room because I felt like she had put in her time and put in her dues and paid her dues for a very long time and yeah, plus she’s just a badass and I like her a whole lot so, you know.
** Frank Mandolini of the Last Minute Wrestling Podcast welcomed Alex Zayne, the former ‘Ari Sterling’ onto the show. Zayne was a regular on the 205 Live brand and he recounted being told that when a smaller-scale match is happening, dial it back in the ring.
In WWE, they’re like, ‘Oh, you know, smaller match, tone it back’ or whatever so I would. ‘Oh, let me do the Asai,’ like the moonsaults. ‘I’m gonna do that and I’ll do the Dragonrana and stuff like that’ and they’re like, ‘No, dial it back’ and I’m like, ‘That’s me dialed back. What do you want?’ That’s as dialed back as I get, I’m sorry.’ So, yeah. That’s funny because when people hear that and they’re like, ‘What are you gonna do? You’re gonna get in there and just do an arm hold?’ I don’t know arm holds man, no. I’m gonna do a flip still. It’s just one that I can definitely not land on my head and break my neck.
When he first arrived to WWE, Zayne said there were talks of pushing the cruiserweights and putting more stock into the division.
Early on when I first got there [WWE], I know there was a lot of talk about pushing more for the cruiserweight division and putting more stock into it and stuff like that and for a moment there, it looked like that was the way they were leaning due to people that they were signing, due to propping this up, using incredible talents like Santos Escobar, using incredible talents like KUSHIDA and like, those are people, in my opinion and a lot of the wrestling world’s opinion that could be the top of any company. They’re ridiculous and so I think they were really put in a good position. I don’t necessarily think against that now. I just think that they have a smaller pool of course because they sliced a lot of the whales out of it so, once you pull so many people out of it, it’s like do you have that strong of a division? Maybe they do, maybe they’ll sign some more people, maybe they’ll stop sweating the cruiserweight division all together even though they were just talking months ago about doing big things with it. Eh, it’s always hard to tell and card subject to change always. Always, always, always.
Prior to joining the sports-entertainment company, Zayne heard the negative stories about WWE and went into the job on defense. After spending some time there, he felt welcomed and didn’t leave with any bad memories.
I think all of the memories there are fond memories. I really don’t have any negative memories there at all. I know that we hear a lot of like nightmares about the place. I went in kind of like, I don’t know. In this weird sort of like, kind of defensive mode when I first worked there because you hear all these negative things about [the politicking] and the environment, right? And I was there and it was a super positive environment and everyone just like grinding and working hard and want you to succeed and everyone’s just super supportive of everything you’re doing. So there’s so, so much positive there and I mean unfortunately, job security is sort of a miss in this day in age too. Not in wrestling, just in life in general. So, it’s an unfortunate part of that — of life, right? So, I mean until we started getting these waves of firings and stuff like that, that would put everyone sort of on edge and for me, I was just like, ‘If it happens, it happens. I’m just gonna keep doing what I can while I’m here and if it happens, it happens.’
He had been a part of NJPW STRONG tapings before getting signed. He believes Rocky Romero brought him in through Will Ospreay’s recommendation.
Rocky, Rocky [Romero] has always brought me in and I think that’s sort of off the recommendation of Will Ospreay. So shoutout to Will Ospreay. We came up in a similar backyard circle on the internet called The Backyard Wrestling Link.
** Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards welcomed AEW referee Bryce Remsburg onto the AEW Unrestricted podcast. Remsburg was the ‘referee’ for Invisible Man versus Invisible Stan at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3. Remsberg credited the crowd for making that easy to get through. (Click here to read Remsburg’s comments about signing a new deal with AEW)
Yeah, they definitely announced the match [Invisible Man vs. Invisible Stan] before they asked me if I wanted to do it so, it’s a good thing I said yes. But, there is a — I guess I was uniquely qualified or something but, and a lot of people had a lot of very nice things to say about this including Mark Henry who told me his son watched it this past week which I was — and I was like, ‘Did you watch it Mark?’ He’s like ‘no’. I was like, ‘Yeah, maybe not. Maybe that’s for the best.’ But it was a unique moment in time in which a lot of people have a lot of nice things to say about that but in the true sense, the real stars of that are the audience that Joey Janela and GCW cultivated, because had they not been involved, you know, intrigued and excited about this, it would’ve been a long eight minutes for Bryce or ten minutes or whatever it is but, I was given this weird shaped ball to referee a match between two invisible people. I kind of created what would be I guess a stand-up comedy set list. ‘We’ll do this, then we’ll do this and if this is going well, maybe it’ll take a little longer. This isn’t going well. We’ll skip to this thing’ and I ran it by two people who I trust who now both work for AEW as well. One was Orange Cassidy, and one was All Ego Ethan Page who are kind of comedic wrestling brains that I trusted that were in the building and they maybe tinkered a little thing here and there but more or less, I just went out there and it was a blur and then it was over and I didn’t think much of it and opened my phone and it was, you know, the craziest response I’d ever gotten.
** Arab News published a column that was written by Mansoor. He wrote about his transition to Monday Night Raw with live crowds and getting adjusted to the environment. Mansoor is feeling more comfortable as the weeks go on.
Being on RAW has certainly been a learning process. It’s a weekly show and things are so hectic because there are three hours of programming to organize, but every week I feel more comfortable in terms of knowing and being aware of who I am.
We’re now back to having full crowds at events which is huge. Suddenly, things don’t hurt as much. The adrenaline is pumping, you hear more of the crowd and you’re trying to win them over or, in some people’s cases, trying to get them to boo you. All of that influences you as a performer and inspires you to push even harder. I love it, I’m so happy the fans are back and I hope it doesn’t go back to the way it was.
He is in a partnership with Mustafa Ali. Mansoor always wanted to work with Ali, although he initially wasn’t sure if it was going to work.
I was always hoping I would get to work with him, and when I was elevated to RAW, the opportunity presented itself. He had gone through a lot of changes, and his character took a much darker turn. I wasn’t exactly sure how it was going to work and there is a very stark contrast between us; he is very serious and is trying to get things done. He doesn’t really want to have fun, but I’ve managed to get him to crack a smile on a few occasions. Now that we’re part of a tag team, and an alliance, I’m trying to get him to have fun. That feeling of making people happy, and seeing kids in the crowd rooting for you, is more rewarding than anything else in the world.
** Newly crowned NXT UK Champion Ilja Dragunov was a part of a media call and Vicente Beltran asked him for his thoughts about WWE’s current world champions. Dragunov thinks a match between himself and WWE Champion Bobby Lashley would be intriguing.
I think Bobby Lashley would be a big competition because it is something that would be really fit with my will, with my intensity and this would be something I think people would really interested to see because this is a thing of power. The obvious power of Bobby Lashley and the obvious power of my will and my endurance.
** NWA correspondent and interviewer May Valentine guest appeared on ‘A Wrestling Gal with Ella Jay’. Valentine has yet to make her in-ring debut and she explained that she doesn’t feel 100 percent ready to do so.
I don’t feel like I’m ready yet. I didn’t do anything in a ring for over a year, and I’m hoping to be able to get back to training in the next few months. Pretty much, I’ve been training in Vegas but I live in Los Angeles. So it’s really like about how much can I make trips and stay in Vegas. So I’m hoping to find a better setup.
** Nicole Savoy is debuting for MLW on October 2nd at their FIGHTLAND show.
** 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Jay Lethal vs. Alex Shelley vs. Ace Steel from Ring of Honor ‘Testing the Limit’ 2004:
** Titus O’Neil is going to be a part of the Orange County Blossom festival where he’ll be one of many Black men in sports that will be honored.
** Rikishi is doing a meet-and-greet with fans on August 29th in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
** The latest Battle of the Brands episode from Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze:
** NJPW Summer Struggle Results (8/26/21) Korakuen Hall
– Ryohei Oiwa vs. Kosei Fujita goes to a 10-minute time limit draw
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Master Wato def. Robbie Eagles & Tomoaki Honma
– Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & DOUKI def. Tiger Mask, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
– Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Jado def. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
– Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan def. Satoshi Kojima & Kazuchika Okada
** Mario Lopez recapped his experience at SummerSlam while on Access Daily.
** WGN-TV spoke to John Cena to promote the ‘Vacation Friends’ film.
** Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone conducted an interview with E.J. Nduka.
** Jazzy Yang talked to Sportskeeda about NWA EmPower.
** Thunder Rosa joined Allie (The Bunny) on her YouTube channel.
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.