POST NEWS UPDATE: Stallion Rogers talks his WWE release, wrist injury, Santos Escobar

Stallion Rogers' post-WWE interview, Duane Gill on why he can't have 'Gillberg' merch, CM Punk & Danielson interviews, Santana & Ortiz

Photo Courtesy: JJ Williams

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.

** This past June, Stallion Rogers, the former ‘Curt Stallion’ was released from WWE. Prior to his release, Rogers’ wrist was fractured while training and he had to undergo surgery. He was cut from the company two weeks before he was supposed to be cleared to return to the ring. While speaking to Lucha Libre Online, he recalled the conversation he had with Matt Riddle following the release.

When I got the call — I’m in Florida now. I had one week off before I — so I got hurt while I was in WWE. Literally, the training after my Cruiserweight Title match, the next day I go into training and a dude breaks my freaking wrist and I was two weeks away from getting cleared before I got fired. They fired me two weeks before getting cleared and I was at my grandmother’s house having lunch with my grandma and my great grandma and we’re literally talking about work and my phone rings and it says ‘Canyon Ceman’ and I just go, I said, ‘Hold those thoughts’ and I walked outside, I waited ‘till I got in the backyard and I answered my phone, I go, ‘I’m getting fired huh?’ That was the first thing that came out of my mouth and he was like, ‘Uh, uh, hey man, I’m really sorry.’ I was like, ‘Dude, it’s your job. You’re not the one that made the cuts’, blah, blah, blah. ‘You’re just doing the firing because that’s what you’re paid to do and he’s just like, ‘Yeah man, really sorry. It’s budget cuts’, blah, blah, blah and I was like, ‘I get it.’ I said, ‘No sour grapes.’ I literally told him, I said, ‘I’m badass dude. I’m going to be all right’ and he started laughing. He was like, ‘Haha’ and before we got off the phone, I said, ‘Is there any chance that I could get my job back one of these days?’ And then I was like, ‘Not any time soon but like, you know, in a year or two?’ He goes, ‘I can’t answer that right now.’ I go, ‘All right, thanks man’ and that was it, click and as soon — oh yeah, I didn’t hang up. I was getting another call and I look and it’s Matt Riddle. So I answer, I’m like, ‘What’s up bro?’ And he’s like, ‘Hey bro, I’m at your apartment.’ Here in Florida, he was picking up a package that was for him, sent to my place for the backstory and he was like, ‘I’m at your apartment. I’m here, I can’t find the package’ and I was just like, ‘I just got fired’ and he’s like, ‘No! You’re lying’ and I was like, ‘No dude. I just got fired.’ I was numb. I didn’t know how to feel, how to think. I was just kind of like, ‘What can you do?’ There’s no point in crying, there’s no point in screaming. None of that is gonna fix anything so I was just like, ‘Yeah dude, I just got fired’ and he starts crying and I was just like, ‘I gotta let you go’, click.

He was not expecting to be cut by the company but if the opportunity to return came about, as of the interview, he would not accept the offer because of how other talents were treated.

You just don’t expect it [being let go from WWE], you know what I mean? And I didn’t do anything to deserve it I was told. All the coaches liked me. For as far as I know, Triple H and Shawn Michaels loved me. So it’s just weird, but like I said, I don’t have any hard feelings against the company or anything. If they asked me to go back, of course I’d be like, ‘Yeah, sign the check’ but that’s not where I wanna go anymore. That’s not where I want to work after I saw the way they’re treating people. I don’t care about myself in terms of like I get fired but the people that got fired that didn’t deserve it, the people that were making the company money and just got tossed to the side, that bugged me.

Rogers shared that shortly after the news of his release was made public, he was contacted by a Japan-based wrestling promotion, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him making his way over to Japan.

Japan hit me up an hour after I got fired and it’s just the whole COVID thing so that’s taken a toll on the timeline of me getting over there but other than that, I will wrestle where the money is. If you pay me, I will be there and I will wrestle.

He spoke highly of NXT’s Santos Escobar. Escobar welcomed Rogers with open arms and they became friends. Rogers said he appreciates the way Escobar carries himself and praised his in-ring abilities.

I do wanna put over Santos Escobar for a second, a little more than I did just because that guy deserves it. He’s done a lot for me in my time here. Not just in WWE but in Florida. He’s invited me into his home to work out with him, to meet his family, beautiful family. Very, very respectful. He reminds me of like a king. Just the way he is, his composure, the way he handles himself. Not only in a professional and business setting but in a personal setting. He’s just — he’s very royal, very regal and his wrestling is also very royal and regal in the prestige that it has. Not only his background and his lineage but the fact that he is so f*cking good. Like dude honestly, [unable to make out words] very, very lucky and I hope that he sees this and is like, ‘That son of a b*tch.’

When WWE purchased EVOLVE, Rogers was one of the names that was selected from the EVOLVE roster to join WWE and that’s how he was brought into the company.

It’s funny because my career snowballed from — I always dreamed of WrestleMania. That was the end-all be-all and when it started snowballing, it was with the ROH Top Prospect tournament. I did that and then I was in the very first class of the L.A. Dojo for New Japan and then from there, EVOLVE called me and they signed me, Gabe Sapolsky and that was the cherry on top of the ice cream essentially. Whenever that happened, it was a done deal. I’ve never contacted WWE. I had never hit them up and be like, ‘Hey, I’m a pro wrestler and I’d like to work for you guys someday.’ I just told myself, ‘If they want me, they will come to me’ and sure enough, EVOLVE got bought, they selected a certain few wrestlers out of the company and I was one of ‘em and that’s how I got picked.

** Episode six of the ‘Dropping Character’ podcast featured CM Punk. While reflecting on the ‘pipe bomb’ promo, Punk detailed having discussions about it with writers and Vince McMahon. Vince gave Punk several notes, one of which was to not mention Kevin Dunn.

When I showed up that day, he [Vince McMahon] found me and he said, ‘You’re gonna go out there and air your grievances tonight’ and I was [laughing]. ‘Sure I am. Sure I am, guy’, and he’s like, ‘Write some stuff down and let me approve it’ and I’m not gonna name names but I got with some people who were writers and I started talking about things that I wanted to say and they said, ‘Oh he’s not approving any of this. He’s not gonna want you to mention Brock’ because Brock Lesnar was gone and they had a tumultuous relationship with lawsuits and stuff that I would soon experience myself. You know, so, in my mind, what I did was I immediately just shut down and I went with the flow and I let them write stuff down and hand to Vince and Vince went, ‘Okay, this looks good.’ He gave a couple of notes, some of which I used. One was don’t mention Kevin Dunn who is the guy in the production truck, don’t mention somebody else. ‘Okay’, and then I went out and said whatever the f*ck I wanted.

Punk wore a Stone Cold Steve Austin shirt during the promo. He said he wore that shirt because WWE stopped producing his merch with the thought in mind that he would not be staying with the company.

And people ask me, they’re like, ‘Why were you wearing a Stone Cold shirt?’ I was wearing a Stone Cold shirt because I was leaving and the company stopped producing CM Punk shirts. When I went to the crate to grab a shirt, they did not have any and I grabbed the first shirt I saw and I went, ‘Steve, cool’, put it on. I grabbed it because it was a shirt that was there and they didn’t have any CM Punk shirts, you know? But, I’ve been very good [in] my career at dropping little Easter eggs here and there and stuff like that so I was just like, ‘This is gonna be great. This is gonna be a thing that people latch onto and they’re gonna be like what the f*ck?’ You know, and it was.

He remembered being called for a WWE Raw taping in Cleveland in 2005. He was paired with Mickie James, who Punk is good friends with. Things did not go well and Punk felt bad for Mickie because he felt like he messed up her chances of getting called up.

I showed up in Cleveland [for Raw] and I was in line at the rental car place and I saw my old friend, her name was Alexis Laree on the indies. She was Mickie James in the WWE and she had been in developmental for an extended period of time already and she was probably the best talent they had. She was amazing and she was like, ‘Hey Punker! Oh my God, you got signed, congratulations’ and she goes, ‘I hear we’re doing something together tonight’ and I was like, ‘Oh really? I haven’t heard anything. I was told to be here, here I am.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah’ and immediately I felt an immense pressure because this woman who’s a phenomenal talent, like a generational female wrestler, she had been kind of wallowing in developmental. Like, ‘Oh, I don’t have anything for you’ so now I’m like, ‘Oh man, I hope this is her ticket. This is it’ and I felt great hitching my trailer to her because she was so phenomenal and we get there and we’re wrestling, she’s my manager, valet, I don’t know. So we try to start getting answers from writers, and everyone’s just like, ‘Oh, we don’t know. We just know you’re a babyface and you’re wrestling a local guy and you’re going over’, you’re winning and we’re kind of rudderless. We’re like, okay, we’re asking everybody. ‘Are we boyfriend-girlfriend? Are we brother-sister? What are we? Is this just like a platonic thing and she’, you know and nobody could give us answers and I remember looking at her and I was like, ‘Mickie, I’m sorry. I don’t think this is gonna work. I have purple hair, I’m covered in tattoos and I’m walking to the ring with the hot girl with giant boobs.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna walk out that curtain and they’re gonna f*cking hate me instantly’, instantly and I’m supposed to be a good guy and she’s just like, ‘Let’s go out there and let’s just kill it. This is it. We’re gonna do it and we’re gonna go to the top’ and I was like ‘alright.’

We got out there and it sucks. It’s exactly right. They don’t know who I am, you know what I mean? It wasn’t the greatest match and like I said, they’re like, ‘F*ck this guy’, you know? Whatever and we come back and there’s a lot of faces that we’re like — talk about politics. Like, ‘Yep, see, we knew this kid wasn’t sh*t. Yeah, send them to OVW’ and I felt terrible for Mickie because I thought I screwed up her chance and I got sent to Louisville, Kentucky and I was like, ‘Oh, this sucks’ but that’s exactly why I thought, ‘I’ll be here six months to a year tops, that’s it.’

In the ‘Heels’ show, Punk portrayed the ‘Ricky Rabies’ character. Several years ago when Punk first auditioned for the show, he auditioned for the role of ‘Jack Spade’ which is played by Stephen Amell.

I first heard about Heels years ago. I wanna say it was — I’m not gonna get the year right. Two thousand, I don’t know, 17? They had the show in development and I was flown to California to audition for the role of Jack [Spade]. Yeah, I don’t even know if Stephen [Amell] knows this. I know [Mike] O’Malley knows it. Well he says he’s seen my — because I brought it up to him and he says he’s seen my original audition. ‘Oh man, I saw it. You were great.’ Heck yeah. I was so good that they shut down the entire production. That’s how good I was. But no, it was an opportunity so I was, man, I had a busy run in California at that time.

Punk went on to speak about being peer pressured early in his WWE run because he did not drink or do drugs.

There’s a lot of bullies in professional wrestling and a lot of it comes down to people being taught by the previous generation to hold onto your spot. ‘Somebody’s gonna take your spot, the young guys are coming up. They’re gonna take your spot.’ So me coming in, I was a threat to a lot of guys and me being straight-edge, not drinking, not doing drugs, I was a threat to other guys. They didn’t get that. They would try to bully me into — like weird peer pressure like, ‘Have a beer!’ I’m like, ‘I don’t drink.’ ‘Well why? Why don’t you?’ Just weird stuff that grown ass men should not be participating in. But I got thick skin. What can I say? And a lot of it translates to people — you get punished in their own special way. I don’t know if that stuff goes on anymore. It’s a different company [WWE] from what people tell me but yeah, the pro wrestling culture definitely a lot of the time sucked and you know, lesser people could break, quit or whatever. I just always kind of looked at it like, ‘Well, if I get fired, I get fired. I have a back-up plan and that is just to go back seamlessly into the life I had.’ I could always do that.

** The most recent guest on the MCW Cast was Duane ‘Gillberg’ Gill. He explained that the reason he does not have ‘Gillberg’ merchandise is because he was told someone has their “thumb on him”. He believes someone has it in a contract that he cannot make ‘Gillberg’ merchandise or have action figures. He does not know if Goldberg is the individual preventing him from doing so but he recalled a conversation the two of them had.

One time I was doing an autograph session, I said, ‘I want to see Bill. I want to talk to Bill’ and he said ‘yeah’. So I walked down and he was up on stage doing stuff and I come walking up, he pressed me above his head and we did a bunch of pictures together and everything and he literally — it was just before he came back [to WWE] the first time to win the title and he gave me a hug and he said, ‘Thank you brother’ and I said, ‘For what?’ And he said, ‘If you wouldn’t have been pushing this all these years, they would have forgot about me and I wouldn’t be getting this run I’m in’ and I went, ‘Good. Now, do me a favor. Let’s have this match. Me against you. You’ll get a million, I’ll get 100 grand, I can retire.’ I said, ‘Let’s do it please.’ But from what I understand, somebody has a thumb on me. That’s why I don’t have shirts, I don’t have dolls, I don’t have nothing because somebody has it in a contract or something that says, ‘Gillberg gets nothing.’ I don’t know if it’s [Goldberg that has it in writing]. I don’t know but the people I know that are in the know, let me just put it to you that way, that I said, ‘Why? Why?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know!’ And then they said, ‘Let me search’ and they said, ‘Well what I can tell you is somebody’s got a thumb on you. That’s it. I can’t tell you no more’, and I said ‘okay’.

Gill reflected on being told he was being signed to the WWE/F. It was WWE writer and agent Ed Ferrara’s wife who recommended to Ed that Gill should be signed. Jim Ross pulled Gill aside and offered him a deal but Gill thought he was being ribbed.

What happened was Ed Ferrara, that night [Survivor Series 1998] when he went back to the hotel with his VHS tape – yes, that’s how long ago it was – with his VHS tape and they watched it in the room, his wife goes, ‘Look at that guy. He just loves being there man and he’s all about it. You need to hire him.’ So the next day, I’m there and — at the [WWE Raw] tapings. I thought I was there to do a job, you know what I mean? And Jim Ross comes up. I’m playing cards with Glenn again, Thrasher and he goes, ‘Duane, Duane, can you take a walk with me?’ I said, ‘Sure thing Jim. No problem.’ So I’m walking with him and all of sudden, we’re going around and we’re walking away from everybody and we’re walking. You know how you can walk underneath the seats? And he’s walking, I’m thinking, ‘Okay, what did I do? What did I do wrong? I ain’t been here in so long, I didn’t do nothing wrong man.’ So then he stops and he turns around and he goes, ‘Well Duane, I guess you’re wondering why I brought you back here.’ I said, ‘Well Jim, yeah. I kind of am’ and he goes, ‘Well, it’s like this: We wanna put the Light Heavyweight Title on you but to do that, we gotta sign you to a three-year contract’ and I went, ‘Haha!’ I said, ‘Yeah right.’ I said, ‘Paul Bearer, Undertaker, Headbangers, where you at? You son of — man, I’m gonna kick your ass.’ Yeah, [I thought I was being ribbed] and I turn around and I turn around and Jim Ross is like [straight faced] and I went, ‘You ain’t lying are you Jim?’ He said, ‘Oh no son. That’s a straight shoot’ and I went, ‘Well let me think about — yes’ and he goes, ‘No, take your time, call your wife.’ I said, ‘I don’t care about my wife. I don’t care about nothing.’ I said, ‘I’ll sign it. Where’s it at?’ [I didn’t talk money]. I said, ‘I’ll sign it’ and he goes, ‘Give me time to go get a contract, get it mailed here and all that.’ He said, ‘Just go sit down, take it easy.’

When he first started doing enhancement work for WWE, there was a point where contracted talents would always pick him for their matches. It got to a point where Vince McMahon had to stop Gill from going back out to the ring and stated that his show isn’t the ‘Duane Gill hour’.

I was doing two, three, four [matches for WWE]. I remember one time I was up there and that’s when they had the trailer that they all sat in, the production trailer and Vince McMahon comes out of the trailer and he goes, ‘You, get undressed now and get in your street clothes.’ He goes, ‘This is not the Duane Gill hour. Stop using him’ because I went out like four times in the first hour.

The creation of the ‘Gillberg’ idea was discussed during the podcast. Duane said they would watch Goldberg’s most recent WCW match to mimic the bout. Before his first ‘Gillberg’ appearance, Vince McMahon told Gill that he was expecting him to do well which led to him being nervous. It was Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque that calmed him down.

I came home and by Wednesday, I got a call from the office and they said, ‘Hey, you know, we want you to be Gillberg and you’re gonna — the count starts 0-1, 0-2.’ I said, ‘Woah, woah, woah. I don’t wanna be Gillberg’ and they said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘I’ll lose my title. I just won the damn thing’ and they go, ‘No, that’s the beauty. You’re gonna wrestle heavyweights. You can’t lose your title.’ I said, ‘When do we start?’

[This was during Goldberg’s winning streak], yes. So we started 0-1, 0-2, 0-3. We would watch and see who he wrestled and then make fun of the actual match he had and everything. It was a ball. They had no clue. They had no — and what was funny was, the day that I was going to do it, I’m all happy all day. About an hour before the show, Vince [McMahon] walks up, puts his hand on my shoulder and he’s like massaging my shoulder and he’s going, ‘So, you ready for tonight? I’m really counting on you. I hope you do a good job. Have a good one.’ So now I’m like [nervous]. I’m crapping myself so I’m like, ‘Oh God.’ I’m walking back and forth, I’m worried and Triple H, came up to me and he goes, ‘Duane, what is wrong dude?’ And I told him. He goes, ‘Oh man, don’t worry about that.’ He said, ‘You’re doing a spoof.’ He said, ‘Remember when I did The Crock and all that and everything?’ He said, ‘It didn’t matter.’ He said, ‘If you slip and fall and roll down the damn thing, just jump up and go rawrrrrr!’ He said, ‘They’ll think it was all part of it.’ I said, ‘Okay. Yes.’ It took the weight of the world off my shoulders but the only thing that I messed up was I had Chuck Norris gloves, not knowing there was a metal bar running through the palm and if you watch the very first time I came out, I come out, ‘Rawr!’ And I slap myself in the head. Man, almost knocked myself out because that steel bar.

When it comes to being labeled a ‘jobber’, Duane sees no issue with that and stated that he was able to work with some of the best talents, become friends with those people and got paid for it.

I’ve been on WWE TV in four different decades and when I went up there, I went up there, I mean, I was — to me, a ‘mark’ is a wrestler because if you think about it, yeah, we call fans marks but no, who’s the mark? The one who says, ‘I don’t care how much I make, I don’t care how bad it hurts, I don’t care [about] nothing. I wanna be one of them’ and you know what I mean? The smart person is who says, ‘I’ll pay ten dollars and 20 dollars and watch, sit here and watch these guys kill each other’, you know? And we did whatever it took, no matter what. I mean how many times did we basically wrestle free? I mean and really go out there and put it all out for free. To go up there and do the jobs and I was wrestling with the very best at the time on TV and they’re the people that I admired and wanted to meet and everything and then to actually get to wrestle them then become their friends and hang out with them, go to bars them, you know what I mean? It was awesome. It was awesome to me and people go, ‘You’re a jobber. You’re a jobber.’ Yes I was.

** During his appearance on the WrestleSlam Podcast, Rich Swann heaped praise onto new AEW signee Lee Moriarty. Swann stated that Moriarty is going to be someone that people look at in the same light as a Bryan Danielson or Nigel McGuinness.

There’s so many people on that list though [PWI 500]. Even in the 40s and the 50s and beyond like Lee Moriarty who I believe just signed a contract with AEW and now hopefully he’ll be able to cross the forbidden door. I’ve gotten to wrestle with him on the independents and I feel like he’s going to be a really great professional wrestler in this day in age. He’s going to be somebody that people look at like a Bryan Danielson or like Nigel McGuinness was. He’s gonna grow in his career and I feel like he’s gonna be somebody that people are going to be really watching out for so before that day happens, I’d like to 450 splash him.

If there is another chance for an IMPACT-AEW crossover match, Swann would like to once again share the ring with Adam Cole, but on a bigger stage.

If there’s anybody that I’d love to get into the ring with at AEW, it’s Adam Cole.

Yes indeed-y and it’s somebody that I would love to get into that ring with and just to see where we’ve grown as performers. Back in the day, we were very young and we were very fortunate to be traveling to the places that we did like Jersey All Pro, Dragon Gate, EVOLVE, CZW, Ring of Honor but now to see us, we’ve both been to the World Wrestling Entertainment and now he’s on his new venture at All Elite Wrestling and now I’ve become a world champion in my own right at IMPACT Wrestling and he was a world champion in WWE as the NXT Champion. To have us touch after so long, I feel like we would, again, create a masterpiece.

** While doing a virtual signing for K & S WrestleFest, Santana and Ortiz listed off several talents in AEW who they think could catch some eyes if featured more. Names like Marko Stunt, Darius Martin of Top Flight and Lee Johnson came up.

Ortiz: Marko Stunt [could be featured more]. He gets featured but they don’t let him wrestle nearly enough and if you’ve seen his indie stuff, Marko, there’s potential there for him to have amazing matches.

Santana: For me, I think Jungle Boy — he’s not [on the undercard]? Doesn’t mean he’s not… I mean there’s a few. But again, AEW’s roster is stacked. You have so much talent.

Ortiz: Lee Johnson is great. Lee has gotten a few opportunities to show what he can do. Dante [Martin is good]. His brother too, Darius, he’s working through an injury right now but when they get back together, we really wanna work them as a tag team. We dabbled them a little bit. I forgot what match we did [that] they were in and we did a little something with them and the chemistry was there. I’m dying to wrestle them when Darius gets better.

The conversation focused in on Marko Stunt and how AEW would be able to present him in-ring wise in a believable manner. Ortiz believes that Stunt has the ability and could be AEW’s version of Spike Dudley.

Santana: At the same time, wrestling was always something that allowed you to suspend your disbelief.

Ortiz: I think personally, that’s what I’m saying. If you kind of see what he could do more and put him in those situations where [he] can really flourish. I feel like it’s been really minimal in AEW and I feel [if] booked the right way, it would be great. But yeah, he has a lot of fire and he can do a lot of cool stuff and he’s a wild man. He takes bumps off the apron and — he’s Spike Dudley. He’s like our Spike Dudley, you know what I mean? He’s entertaining to watch and when Spike got any kind of offense, the fans were behind him because, you know, so I think so. That’s me. I might be bias because he’s a friend but yeah.

Santana and Ortiz have yet to be announced for the Chris Jericho cruise. They were on the first two but do not plan on being on the upcoming cruise.

Ortiz: I don’t think so actually [he & Santana being on the next cruise].

Santana: I haven’t heard anything. I mean, we were on the first two and they were cool but, I think I’m good this time.

Ortiz: I don’t wanna go.

** Ahead of his match against Kenny Omega at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam, Bryan Danielson spoke to Bleacher Report. He said he’d love to work the NJPW G1 Climax tournament but added that he’ll be fine if he does not get the chance to.

There are things I want to do, but I don’t ever think of them as goals. Oh man, I’d love to do the G1. But if I never do the G1 and all I ever do is wrestle in front of 19,000 people at Arthur Ashe Stadium, I think I’m going to be OK, I’m sure. So it’s weird as far that kind of stuff goes because there are so many things you can’t control. I would love to do the G1, but until we get COVID under control, that’s not even possible for me to go quarantine for two weeks.

Danielson talked about his new theme song that was created by Elliot Taylor. He said he talked with Tony Khan about using Europe’s ‘Final Countdown’, but it was too expensive.

Tony and I talked about a couple of things. We had talked about ‘The Final Countdown,’ but that was way too expensive. I hate talking business stuff when I don’t exactly know what it was, but it wasn’t just the amount of money. They would only let [AEW] play it like 20 times a year or something like that. For several $100,000 you can play ‘Final Countdown’ 20 times a year. That doesn’t work for us.

I had kind of wanted something a bit different, so I reached out to my friend, Elliott Taylor, and said ‘Hey, here’s an idea. But I don’t know if it’s any good. Could you do something like this?’ He dropped everything. I think he’s done 72 hours in the studio and made the song that I come out to now, which I think he’s also going to do a full-length release because it actually has like two chorus lyrics.

I really, really liked it. And it also incorporates a chant that people would do when I was on the independents. I kind of wanted to get it in there. I would love for people to start chanting it again.

** Taylor Rust guest appeared on the ROHStrong Podcast and looked back on his run with WWE. Rust said getting there was always a goal of his and said had he been let go the day after being signed, he would have been fine with that because he would know that he was able to make it to WWE.

I’ve been doing this stuff since I was 17-years-old brother and when I started, my goal was WWE. That was when I started and you get told at that age, especially, ‘You’re too small. It’s a pipe dream, come on.’ It’s like saying I wanna be a pro baseball player like a little kid. ‘Yeah okay kid. That’s a lot harder than you think it is.’ That’s the exact same thing but I was dead set on that and you know, I’m sitting here, I’m in my 17th year now in this business doing the job that I wanted to do when I was 17-years-old and it’s always felt so surreal and I was very happy with it and at the same time, I also was very content the entire time. I had said that if they [WWE] released me the day after they signed me — like I move there, I got everything settled, I go and I show up for my first day and they said, ‘You know what? We change our mind. We’re gonna cut you.’ I would say, ‘Thank you for your time. I’m glad I at least got to prove to everybody that I could do it and that I could get signed by WWE.’ So the fact that not only did I get signed but I got to TV right away, got used very well the entire time I was there. They put me with Malcolm [Bivens] who’s a tremendous mouthpiece. I loved working with him so much. Got paired up in a solid group with Roderick Strong and Hideki [Suzuki], two amazing other wrestlers. They painted me in a very good light and I can’t complain about a single thing while I was there. Honestly, it just happened out of nowhere. All of a sudden, I know this is going great for you but, we need to let you go. It’s still very baffling to think about but I don’t dwell on those negative things. Life is all about moving forward and handling those unknowns as best as you can and carrying it with you and it’s how we react to things that makes us who we really are.

During his time with NXT, Rust Taylor worked closely with Shawn Michaels. He said Michaels was the one who told him he wanted to get him on TV right away.

I worked with Shawn [Michaels] more so [in NXT]. He was the reason I actually started TV right away. So he took notice of me when I was there and he looked up my matches online. He pulled me into a meeting in his office and we had a great talk and he told me, ‘Hey man, I looked up your stuff. I don’t know who you are, but I love your work, I love your look and I think you can be something big here. I wanna use you right away’ and hearing this from Shawn Michaels is like, ‘Wow, okay.’

** On the most recent Something to Wrestle with podcast, Bruce Prichard shared his thoughts about Michael McCord, also known as ‘Austin Idol’. Prichard feels that Idol was not able to get over outside of a select few areas in North America. Prichard recalled a conversation he had with Vince McMahon Jr. and McMahon passed on Idol because he did not make much noise while using his real name.

I’m gonna get hate mail on this one but Mike McCord, Austin Idol. Mike McCord was a name in the south and a name in New York City, worked with Pedro [Morales] in The Garden and things like that. Um, good hand, decent. All of a sudden, after Mike left and had the plane accident with Gary Hart and the one [where] Bobby Shane lost his life and Buddy Colt was injured as well but it was — Mike reinvented himself completely as Austin Idol. But outside of Alabama and Tennessee, Idol never got over anywhere else and to — I asked, you know, a long time ago, to Vince [McMahon], I’m going back many, many years because I was thinking of — and this was in the late 80s and I’m like, ‘Hey man, what about Austin Idol?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, barely got over as Mike McCord. No interest’ and it was in some ways the stink of Mike McCord that they didn’t wanna take a chance on Austin Idol and you know, look man, good for him. He was huge in Tennessee and Alabama so I don’t think he’s shedding any tears.

Prichard mentioned that while he was in TNA, he was the person that put an end to a Steel Cage match happening in every match at the ‘Lockdown’ events.

I remember going to TNA and they had one show that all the matches were inside of a cage. To me, just, I hated it and if you go back folks, yes, I am the one that stopped Lockdown having all the matches in the cage. Well yeah [it was silly] because the first match, you’ve seen everything you can do in a cage.

The topic of the podcast episode was WWE Unforgiven 2006. Super Crazy was in a dark match prior to the pay-per-view and Prichard heaped praise onto Super Crazy and feels that he never got his just due.

To me, the guy in my opinion [that] never got his just due from big stardom was [Super] Crazy because he was one of the most talented guys I’ve ever worked with personality-wise and also just [a] genuinely great human being. Super Crazy was so underrated and one of the best to ever step in the ring. He could tell you stories, he could cut promos, he could do everything and yeah, people are gonna say, ‘Okay, he didn’t speak English Bruce.’ Yeah he did. He spoke enough that he could communicate because he was able to communicate through his emotions and he had that ability and he was just an incredible, incredible talent.

Back in 2006, 2 Cold Scorpio worked multiple dates for WWE at house shows and dark matches. Prichard said he doesn’t remember much of that because he feels Scorpio was past what he was in his prime.

God, I don’t even [remember who got 2 Cold Scorpio that look from WWE in 2006]. It’s funny, I remember the situation, I remember the match. I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding it, because Scorp was so beyond what he was in his prime, in his peak, and I think everybody was kind of like, ‘Okay.’ But it was most likely a situation where he was looking for something, gonna be in the area. Hey, we’ll take a look.

No [I don’t think he could have been an agent/producer]. He was a guy that could do some incredible moves.

Randy Orton was a name that Prichard spoke highly of. He feels that during that 2006 time period, there was nobody in wrestling that could touch Randy.

I think that Randy Orton, you know, you look at his career and man, the son [of a] b*tch gets better with age but this was at a time that I don’t think anybody could touch him in the business.

Randy Orton’s opponent at Unforgiven 2006 was Carlito. Prichard said he always preferred Carlito as a babyface although Carlito was a heel for the majority of his WWE run.

I really thought that Carlito frankly was a better babyface, because first time I ever saw Carlito was in Puerto Rico and we were over there doing a show for Víctor Quiñones’ group and with Savio [Vega] and those guys. Carlos [Colon’s] TV was on and Curt Hennig was on the island for Colon so I ran into Curt at the hotel bar and we sat and had a few drinks and he was telling me all about — he goes, ‘Oh my God. You gotta see this kid Carly Colon’ and he says, ‘Bruce, if there’s anybody here, this guy’s it’ and so my first exposure to Carly was as the babyface Carly Colon for his dad’s promotion and he just was magnificent as a fiery babyface. He had the fire, he had the likeability, and if you know him, the real human being is just a sweetheart of a guy so did he portray a heel? Yes. Very well. He just, to me was a better babyface.

** While making the media rounds to promote Rhodes to the Top, Cody and Brandi Rhodes along with AEW President Tony Khan were a part of PaleyFest Fall TV Previews 2021. Cody said he’s excited for people to see that he does not have as much power in AEW as people would think and that Tony Khan is the one steering the ship.

One thing I’m real excited about is I chose in the beginning of AEW to be on-screen as the Executive Vice President, one of the Executive Vice Presidents and that was something that was actually of course happening off-screen. That choice, for the unindoctrinated are the — there are folks who mistake me to a degree as having far more power than I actually have and it will be very exciting for me to see people discover that Tony [Khan] is the man and that Tony is the guy. Honestly, it’s the first thing I said when I sat down for my very first one-on-one interview with Rhodes to the Top was, ‘Tony’s the boss.’

** The new NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa spoke to PWInsider and responded to those who are not too pleased with the NXT brand undergoing its recent change:

Well, man, I mean, coming from me of all people like Tommaso Ciampa is NXT. You know what I’m saying? It’s hard pressed that anyone’s going to argue with me to tell me that NXT’s dead when I’m holding on to the NXT title. Goldie Ciampa 2.0 is just started and we’re six days in. This is going to be a very special time. Five years from now, ten years from now, people [are] going to look back and think, ‘Ah, that was the heyday. That was special. I remember when.’ That’s what always happened in professional wrestling. Everybody always looks at something ten years later and then reminisces about how special and how great it was. It’s a constant cycle and that’s going to happen again. I get it, man. I get people who are having trouble letting go maybe of some of the black and gold or they’re having trouble letting go of 2018 or 2019. But man, I’ll be here to tell you that it’s 2021 and Tommaso Ciampa is the two-time NXT champion and the greatest sports entertainer of all time. Now, I get to prove it to the world week-in and week-out. Because that’s what I want to do. I want to prove it to the world, week-in and week-out. I want to defend that title, man. I do. I want to showcase that title. I want the NXT title to become the most prestigious title in the entire world of sports entertainment. I want to take on everybody from Carmelo Hayes to Bronson Breakker. I want to take on Samoa Joe and Pete Dunne. Heck, I want to go to Survivor Series and I want to step in there with Roman Reigns and Big E and I want to prove to them and prove to the world that I’m every bit as good as I say I am. Then I don’t know, maybe come end of November, December, January, people are going to look at this NXT 2.0 like, ‘Hey, you know what? It ain’t all that bad. These Takeovers, yeah, they ain’t all that bad. These guys are killing it. The passion is still there.’ Different color scheme, different label, whatever, the passion is still there. That’s the key to this whole thing. It’s the passion. I hope the fans continue to bring the passion because when I look around in our locker rooms, all the boys and girls and man that passion is there. I mean, it might be there tenfold right now, more so than it’s ever been before. Just give it time, like give it a shot. I know it’s just words coming out of my mouth, but let the actions speak for themselves. Tune in the next couple of weeks and see what NXT 2.0 is all about. These guys and girls are out, man. They’re out for blood. They want to prove to the world that they’re just their next level talents.

** News 12 Brooklyn caught up with Adam Cole and Britt Baker. Cole spoke about how influential CM Punk was on his wrestling career and Cole wanting to be better at promos because of Punk.

I think the biggest one for sure is CM Punk [names that Cole would like to face in AEW]. The fact that he’s here is really cool. Again, I’ve been very open, just on my personal Mount Rushmore of who means the most to me within wrestling, CM Punk is on that list for me. He’s a guy who made me decide, ‘I really wanna focus on promos. I wanna make sure I get good interviews’ and stuff like that because he was so captivating. He’s a guy who introduced me to companies like Ring of Honor and the independent wrestling scene.

** After retiring from in-ring competition in 2019, Hazuki returned to STARDOM this past August and her return match is scheduled for October 9th. She recently did an interview with Tokyo Sports to discuss her return. It was after the Hana Kimura Memorial Show that Hazuki first thought about returning to the ring.

After the Hana [Kimura Memorial Show], I thought I liked professional wrestling. However, I was quite at a loss if I didn’t do it, and I felt that I started to move a lot from a month before I [returned]. What pushed [me] back? It may be the biggest that the [fans were] waiting for the return when I tweeted.

In part two of the conversation, Hazuki expressed that initially, it felt good to be done with wrestling, but there was a part of her that could not admit she wanted to return.

At first, I felt, ‘I’m glad’, so I don’t have to do anything, so I see Twitter, ‘Oh, I’m doing a big match like this. What kind of position would I have been if I were there?’ When I met a [regular] person, I felt like, ‘I’m not going to do it anymore,’ but there was a conflict [because] I wanted to do [it] somewhere in my heart but I couldn’t say it.

** Amy Hudson, Spotify’s business operations and partnerships lead was interviewed for Muse by Clio’s ‘Time-Out’ series. She expressed her excitement about WWE’s audio content deal with Spotify.

I’m excited and proud of our recent partnership with the WWE. Spotify and The Ringer will be the exclusive home for WWE’s audio content. The WWE has such an engaging fan base and by combining a best-in-class audio studio like The Ringer with a best-in-class content and entertainment brand like the WWE, we’re excited to be able to create new audio content for those fans.

** Prior to the 9/20 edition of Monday Night Raw, Kofi Kingston spoke to Comicbook.com for an interview. Kingston admitted that last year when New Day was split in the WWE Draft, he was upset and did not get why a decision like that was made.

So first thing, and you see this when it happened, I’m really, really upset, I was pissed. I was like, ‘Why would you break us up? We sell an incredible amount of merchandise. The thing that we do, we bounce off each other so well to the point where there’s no one that can do what we do, why would you put us on different shows?’ I was really, really hot.

But after I calmed down a little bit, I realized that it was really for the better, because Big E, and I said this for a while, he has always deserved a chance to shine, he’s always deserved a chance to be the face of the company. And in order for him to do that, you really had to allow him to show that he could do it on his own, that he could be on his own and go out and perform at a high level. So, it was for the better. It was for the better for him to be able to go out and step out on his own and do his thing. So, for us, we never looked at it as a breakup per se. A lot of people were, ‘Oh, you guys have broken up.’ It’s like, ‘No, we’re just diversifying our investments, where Big E goes over to SmackDown, he takes over-over there.’ He became Intercontinental Champion with the quickness. Myself and Woods, we became tag team champions, and now we’re doing it again. And then he becomes Mr. Money in the Bank over there. He ends up doing exactly what we planned on having him do, and exactly what he planned on doing, getting to the top of the ladder, and it wasn’t even a pun intended, but being at the top of the food chain at the top of the mountain.

So yeah, man, we come back together now and we’re stronger. We’ve all grown as performers, so that was always the plan. That was always the plan. I never really put stake in what anybody says, because things are always changing multiple times on the daily. You’d be so surprised if you knew how much things would change and how frequent change came with what we do. So, the plan was never to completely be separated, but I don’t believe in things until it happens. Nevertheless, here we are back together again, the boys are back and Big E is WWE champion and all is right with the world.

Big E has openly stated that just because he is WWE Champion, that doesn’t mean he views himself as the locker room leader. Kingston believes that Big E is selling himself short.

I think he’s definitely selling himself short because he’s a leader by example, for sure. Everyone respects E and everyone respects what he has to say. He has the incredible gift of being able to galvanize people with his words, as you’ve seen so many times on Raw and SmackDown.

Yeah, he’s definitely a locker room leader. People look to E’s story and they see, again, that hard work pays off. He came into this industry when someone asked him if, ‘Hey, you want to be a wrestler?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll try it out. Why not? Give it a shot.’ And now look at him. He works hard, he’s busted his chops the entire time. And people see that, people notice that. His matches, the way he puts his body on the line with almost every single match and his dedication, people see that.

When you’re in a spot where you don’t really know what to do to climb the ladder and how to advance your career, you can definitely look to E’s career and you look at it and you say, ‘Well, this is how he did it. He just kept his head down, his nose down and he kept on working and pushing forward, and now he’s the WWE champion.’ So you’d be a fool to not take note of that and apply it to your own craft and sell yourself. So yeah, he’s certainly a locker room leader in my eyes.

** Drew McIntyre was a part of a media junket during WWE’s tour of the United Kingdom. McIntyre reacted the idea of being moved to SmackDown in the 2021 WWE Draft (courtesy of GIVEMESPORT).

I’ve heard a lot of people saying I’m going to SmackDown, but I don’t mind if a lot of people are coming from SmackDown to Raw that I can work with, but I’m excited for the possibility of some top-level feuds. All I ever want is to be in something exciting storyline-wise, and the draft always opens up that possibility to get a fresh move.

** The Bollywood Boyz (Samir & Sunil Singh) sat down with Denise Salcedo of The Sportster for an interview. They shared that DEFY Wrestling is going to be their home promotion going forward. They went on to further reflect on their time in WWE and expressed that their in-ring work was at an all-time high while they were on 205 Live during the pandemic.

Sunil: In 205 Live there were no real storylines, just go wrestle. I felt our work was the best it’s ever been.

Samir: Being on 205 the last year and a half, our confidence as far as in-ring work was at an all-time high. When you’re on the sidelines you kinda lose your legs so to speak and you lose your in-ring conditioning, so for us, it was like our wind is back. We were booked constantly, we were flying in from Vancouver to Orlando for 205 Live for 10 months during a pandemic.

** Session Moth Martina wrote an article for Independent.ie and below is an excerpt from her piece:

After losing our old wrestling school [OTT Wrestling] at the start of the pandemic and receiving absolutely no government funding, we managed to get a brand-new premises in Tallaght.

The School of Irish Wrestling will be opening its doors to aspiring wrestlers on September 25. They will be trained by some of the best performers Ireland has produced.

I am proud to say I’ll be the school’s first female trainer. I am excited to teach the new recruits the importance of character work and how it can set you apart from the crowd. I want to raise the next generation of Irish female wrestling talent. I am very excited to see where each of their journeys takes them, whether wrestling remains a hobby or turns into a full-time career. I have taken a young girl named Eliza under my wing.

** Randy Orton was a guest on Barstool Sports’ ‘Sundae Conversation with Caleb Pressley’.

** Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs’ interview with Bianca Belair:

** Booker T shares his thoughts about Big E’s WWE Championship win:

** Trailer for Netflix’s ‘Escape The Undertaker’ starring New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) and The Undertaker:

** Rappler.com posted several more highlights from the recent international media call with Riddle.

** Fightful’s Jeremy Lambert spoke to independent talent Davienne:

** The latest ROH Week By Week YouTube show included several matches from the Wrestle Carnival show in the U.K. which featured ROH’s Joe Hendry and Session Moth Martina.

** A story about Ted DiBiase Sr. speaking at a Church in Tennessee.

** Stephanie Haney welcomed The Miz onto her 3 Things to Know podcast.

** The latest upload to the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel:

** Tommaso Ciampa did an interview with Sports Illustrated.

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 2248 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.