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.
** Episode 36 of the MCW Cast featured Matt Hardy. During the conversation, Hardy stated that he believes had WWE not cleared Edge to wrestle, Edge would have ended up in All Elite Wrestling.
That was one of those things too. I think if they [WWE] hadn’t have cleared Edge and let him wrestle, he was going to end up at AEW. So they kind of had to go, ‘Oh. If we don’t want him to go, we got to let him have his way.’
On-screen, Matt Hardy is paired with Private Party (Marq Quen & Isiah Kassidy) and the remainder of the Hardy Family Office. Hardy takes a ‘pay cut’ out of Quen and Kassidy’s checks. Hardy said that idea stems from George South and The Italian Stallion (Gary Sabaugh) taking half of what he and Jeff were paid for WWE extra work.
We [Matt & Jeff Hardy] met The Italian Stallion and George South and we end up hooking with them and doing some of their shows because they needed a few more guys to actually go to WWE and we technically were never officially trained and then it got to the gig where we went to the WWE the first time and then we would work with Stallion and George South just like, you know, every weekend. They would work every Friday and Saturday. We’d drive, you know, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, wherever it would be and we’d make their shows, we’d work for them for free but then we would go every three or four months to WWE and whenever we’d get a $150 bucks, each of the three nights we do Raw or Superstars and a [WWF Wrestling] Challenge, we got $150 bucks, we had to turn over $100 for a booking fee. That was what they charged. That’s a true story and that’s a — I’m not gonna lie, that’s where a lot of the inspiration for my Big Money Matt character came [from], especially when I started doing the thing with Private Party in the beginning and taking 30 percent because they legitimately took 66 percent of our money when we would go to WWE those days. 66 percent.
Hardy commented on the several of the differences between how Tony Khan and Vince McMahon view wrestling. Hardy recalled one time when Tony Khan asked for the TNT Title to be called a ‘belt’ because ‘championship’ was being used too much. Hardy’s story was in reference to Vince McMahon not liking the word ‘belt’.
It’s great to hear that term [wrestling] used because that is what it is, that is what it will always be and you know, there was just — for so long, Vince [McMahon] just kind of [saw] that as a dirty word. ‘That word is beneath us. Let’s do something else’ and I get that and I can respect that, that he has a vision and he has this mold of this project he wants to create and it’s sports-entertainment, it’s larger than life and you can’t hate him for doing that because he has contributed so much to the pro wrestling industry and when it’s all said and done, at its core, it’s going to be pro wrestling because you can change the name, you can change the way it’s done a little bit but at the end of the day, it is pro wrestling. A very unique form of athletics and showbiz combined and for AEW to go all in, ‘Yes, this is pro wrestling’ and it’s something I heard just a while back. Tony [Khan] was back at the Go Position and they were going, ‘Yes, this is for so and so and the TNT Championship Title.’ He’s like, ‘Call it a belt! We’re saying championships too much! Call it a belt’ and that’s another word Vince hates but I mean he grew up as a fan and he likes and digs all that terminology and I love that it’s implemented in there because I feel like the fans, especially our fan base, they feel like they’re more at home and they feel like, ‘Yeah, this is cool. These people are like listening to us, they’re catering to us.’
Elsewhere during the podcast, Matt spoke about his interactions with Sting in AEW. He shared a portion of he and Sting’s first conversation when Sting arrived in AEW:
One of the first things Sting said after he was at AEW was, ‘I gotta tell you, they showed me the match you guys had, the Stadium Stampede. You know, when you went in the water and came out, you were a different gimmick. Like oh my God.’ He said that stuff was so great and he was just going into the whole thing. He said, ‘You know, I’m think I’m gonna do some of those while I’m here’ but he said, ‘You know, I feel pretty good. I think I can do a couple regular ones too’ and I said, ‘Really?’ I said, ‘That’d be amazing’ because he’s had a clean bill of health from his doctor and his neck’s been good, healing. I’m just so happy to see him getting to go out on his own terms.
** Prior to the 9/21 NXT 2.0, NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa spoke to Comicbook.com. Ciampa admitted that he had his doubts going into the first NXT 2.0 show but added that he could feel the excitement.
To me, I would say it’s very much business as usual. That’s on a very personal level. I’ve just been here for so long now. But for the younger guys and girls who are making their debuts, it does not at all feel like business as usual. You can feel that energy, and it’s contagious and it’s awesome. And that to me is what makes it so exciting. Even if I had my doubts walking in the door on Tuesday for our first-ever live go, the second I walked in and you felt that energy, and you see people pacing and you see the nervous reactions. You see people rehearsing in their heads what they’re going to do, whether it’s in their match or in their promo, or it’s just… I don’t know. It’s hard to put it into words, but it’s exciting.
** On 9/20, AEW and the Owen Hart Foundation announced a partnership that will see AEW roll out Owen Hart merchandise, action figures and there will be a tournament in Owen Hart’s name. Chris Jericho told Stephanie Chase during their chat that AEW and Martha Hart had been working on that deal for a year-and-a-half.
I mean it was a passion project [Owen Hart/AEW deal] for me obviously and obviously for Martha [Hart] and Tony [Khan]. We worked on it for a long time, about a year-and-a-half to put the deal together, figure out what we wanted to do but I just knew I wanted Owen’s legacy to be something positive and something great as far as wrestling goes, rather than just be dwelling on his death and I think that’s the main reason why we all wanted this to happen is that we can celebrate Owen Hart’s career, the contributions that he made. He was a pioneer. What’s his connection to AEW some people are saying. Well one of the connections is that he’s specifically the reason why I got into wrestling. Owen Hart was the guy. To an extent Shawn Michaels and Ricky Steamboat but Owen Hart was the one to me that like, ‘I wanna be like that guy’ and so there’s your connection to AEW. The original AEW face of the company is an Owen Hart fanatic, is an Owen Hart disciple and that’s the reason why we wanted to do this and we’ll do the Owen Hart Cup, do the tournament and just make people feel good about Owen rather than feel sad.
Back in late 2019, as AEW was heading into their Full Gear event, Jericho shared that he got AEW in some trouble with WarnerMedia. Jericho said the higher-ups were not pleased that he lit a cigar on the show. Jericho doesn’t remember the exact verbiage that was relayed to him but he stated that it was something along the lines of the show being pulled if it happens again.
Obviously there’s certain things that we’ve been reprimanded for. There’s a few that I could tell you. But I think we’re not stupid. If something goes on that the company, the parent company doesn’t like then we don’t do it anymore and I think that’s one of the reasons why AEW is as successful as we are because we’re not afraid to take a few chances and we’re not worried about taking some chances and not worried about getting slapped on the wrist if we do something that we shouldn’t do. We just don’t do it again but there hasn’t been that many times. Like I said, for me, there’s two times that I can recall that they said, ‘Don’t ever do that again’ and I was like, ‘Okay. I had no idea.’ One of ‘em actually was when we beat up Dustin Rhodes when I was feuding with Cody [Rhodes] way back at the beginning and we beat him up in the parking lot and then as we left, I lit up a cigar and they did not like that. ‘No smoking allowed on the show.’ They were super, super angry about it. ‘No smoking allowed’ and I was like, ‘Really? Out of all the things, that’s what they’re mad at?’ But they were very adamant that they did not want any smoking on the show and if you do this again — I don’t know if this was actually ever used but the way it was told to me was like, ‘We’ll pull the show if you guys do this again’ so it’s like all right, I don’t need to be smoking. I just did it because I thought it was an asshole thing to do and apparently, so did they.
Going into the fifth and final ‘labour of Jericho’, one of the rules was that Jericho could not use his ‘Judas’ theme song. He admitted that there were some concerns about the crowd not remembering the lyrics. It was suggested that lyrics appear on the screen above the ring but both Jericho and Tony Khan wanted the moment to be organic.
Oh by far [the crowd lived up to expectations]. It was one of the coolest moments of my career in that we didn’t really know how it was gonna go. There was no real guarantees. We really left it up to the fans. I got so many suggestions during the week of people saying, ‘You need to put lyrics sheets under the chairs.’ We even actually had come up with kind of a karaoke thing on the tron where the words were on there and they would light up as you’re supposed to sing them and it just didn’t feel right and I talked to Tony [Khan] about it and he agreed. It’s like when you go to a concert, you know when to sing. So let’s make this organic. If they know it, they’ll sing it. If they don’t, they won’t and either way it works because if they don’t, then MJF’s evil plan worked. Don’t think that’s gonna happen. I think they’ll end up singing it and they did. They got in-sync right away because we were worried about that. ‘Are they gonna know when to start?’ And then they just basically went off the cue of me coming out and it was really cool because everybody was in on it, everybody did it and it just was like this chorus, this choir of people singing the words to the song with no music behind it and it just — they did it last week when Dan Lambert cut off Judas. They just kept singing it on their own and it’s like, that’s pretty cool man to know that people know the song that well to where they’re able to sing it with no teleprompter, no cue, no nothing. Just singing and that was a very special moment for us.
** Adam Cole joined Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast for an in-depth discussion about his time in WWE and joining AEW. Cole was questioned about the opportunity to move to the main roster from NXT. He admitted that it made him nervous and he knows quite a few people that grew frustrated by being put into certain situations on the main roster.
For sure, but that’s not to say that I didn’t want to do that and experience it. I wanna be able to look back on my career and say that I accomplished or did everything I wanted to and again, even I had a really short stint where I was getting the chance to work on SmackDown and work on Raw and I got to do the match at Survivor Series and all of those were very positive experiences as well. It was all crazy and that’s a whole other story with the whole last-minute thing. That was bonkers. All of it was very positive. But yeah, there certainly was a fear and it’s not because of anything other than the fact that I feel like I had known so many people who had gotten upset or stressed out by situations they were thrown into, which again, I’m like that annoyingly optimistic person that finds the positive in everything. But yeah, that was a concern and it was something I was a little bit worried about because so far, in the 13-and-a-half years that I’ve been in the pro wrestling business, I have not gotten to a point yet where I’m like, ‘I hate this. I am not having fun.’ I’ve been very lucky, fingers crossed, the entire time.
The former NXT Champion spoke about his relationship with Shawn Michaels and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque. Cole said he still has a great relationship with both of them and wants to maintain that relationship. He said both Levesque and Michaels were aware he was leaving NXT and he was completely honest with them.
The nice thing about my relationship with him [Triple H] and my relationship with Shawn Michaels, they are so positive. Like to this day, positive. I formed a bond with Hunter, with Shawn that I would like to think and they have made it very apparent to me as well that it’s a relationship that we’re always gonna keep because I loved working with those guys. He knew what my goals were, the things that I wanted to accomplish. I think a big reason I loved NXT so much was again, we had that freedom and that ability to wrestle super cool, longer matches and get to show ourselves off like artistically in that sense. NXT was kind of built on that mentality. I got in at like the perfect time, at least for what I love about pro wrestling. He understood that I wanted to continue doing stuff like that. He knew that my Twitch was super important to me and I know that’s a big no-no in WWE which is unfortunate. But yeah, I was very open and very honest with him to the point where I was still thinking about what I was gonna do even when my contract was up. He knew that and then when the decision was made, he knew that and Shawn knew that so I’ve always been open and honest with them right out of the gate because they’ve always been open and honest with me. I love Hunter, I love Shawn. They have been nothing but incredible to me. They made me better as a performer. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at in AEW right now if it wasn’t for those two and I really do mean that, seriously. When I think about the performer that I was in Ring of Honor, as much as I learned and as many great people as I got to work with, getting that four years with them is priceless. It’s absolutely priceless.
Cole was on the set of WWE Backstage when CM Punk made his first pro wrestling-related on-screen appearance since leaving WWE. Cole reiterated that he had no idea Punk was showing up and when he heard ‘Cult of Personality’, he still didn’t piece things together.
It was awesome [CM Punk’s appearance on WWE Backstage]. I legit had no idea. No clue. I remember there was this funny thing that not many people picked up on but some people did is when his music played, I still didn’t think he was actually gonna walk out. So I remember I like jokingly air-guitared, thinking like, ‘Oh cool, okay. We’re gonna play this song. Woah, there he is.’ Like no idea. That was awesome. That was awesome and that was in the middle of the madness of that crazy November.
When it came time to make his decision about either staying with or leaving WWE, Cole said probably the hardest thing to factor into the decision was the thought of splitting away from DaParty (Xavier Woods, Cesaro & Tyler Breeze).
Very hard. That was probably the hardest part about the decision [to leave WWE was also leaving DaParty] I think. I really formed a close bond with [Xavier] Woods and Swiss [Cesaro] and [Tyler] Breeze over the pandemic. Again, the backstory to that is sort of funny too because Claudio and Breeze and Creed all wanted to start producing some more content since the pandemic started and they were like, ‘I think we wanna start playing UNO. We need a fourth guy’ and I didn’t know this but when I did the first episode, I was kind of on trial. That was my audition and I didn’t even know that. I was like, ‘Okay, yeah I’ll do it’ and they I guess all knew immediately, ‘Oh my God, this is our four-man crew’ and then between all the fun content that we produced and all the fun moments that we’ve had together, so I talk to those guys every single day. We have a group chat and we talk every single day. So that makes me feel better, because it doesn’t feel like I’ve lost that connection with those guys but the most important thing, kind of — not even kind of, for sure was so many different messages that we have gotten. So many different situations that people have been in, talking about family members passing away or an animal passing away or them losing their job or whatever it was and them saying that those videos really helped them get through a really rough time is so crazy and so humbling and so cool. I wish so bad there was a way for us to still be able to do stuff together. I really, really do. But I did say it’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later so, doesn’t mean that it’s done forever but I love those guys to death. I love everyone who watched UNO and watched all the content that we did because what an amazing group of people. Yeah, I’m gonna miss it a lot.
Back in November of 2019, Adam Cole headlined Friday Night SmackDown against Bryan Danielson and picked up the win. The match came about after the Saudi Arabia-WWE travel delay situation. Cole feels that things came together perfectly that night.
Never [touched prior to that SmackDown match], and again, I had been a fan of Bryan. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that CM Punk and Bryan Danielson were two of the guys that got me into not only independent wrestling, not only Ring of Honor but the fact that wrestling existed outside of WWE, WCW and ECW. I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s wrestling in Japan. There’s independents all over the country’ and those two are the ones who were responsible so right as I came into Ring of Honor, he was leaving to go to WWE. So I never had the chance to work with him ever and then when that all went down and that all happened, my God. Again, the fan in me was so excited to get the chance to get in there with him which is really cool and the funny thing is too, I wouldn’t have changed the circumstance at all. Like it was perfect. It was this crazy, chaotic, ‘Oh my God. What are we gonna do? Okay, let’s just let Adam Cole and Daniel Bryan go nuts.’ It was so much fun. So much fun.
On the topic of talents outside of AEW that Cole is eyeing, he does want to wrestle Jonathan Gresham and Kazuchika Okada.
I’ve wrestled Jonathan Gresham before and he’s in Ring of Honor. We did the finals of a tournament in Pittsburgh and that went really well and Gresham has always been really, really good but he’s on fire right now. He’s a guy I would love to wrestle again and I’ve been fortunate enough to wrestle [Hiroshi] Tanahashi in a singles match but I’ve never wrestled [Kazuchika] Okada in a singles match, so he’s a guy I would really love the chance to step in there with as well.
** D-Von Dudley welcomed Drake Maverick and Renee Michelle onto his Table Talk show. Maverick recalled urinating on himself at the 2018 Survivor Series event after the device that was designed to release liquid malfunctioned. Maverick detailed the reactions from Brian ‘Road Dogg’ James, Triple H and Vince McMahon once they found out he urinated on himself.
I come backstage and Road Dogg’s there. He’s like, ‘Hey, can I talk to you? Was something wrong with that contraption because that kind of looked like it sucked?’ I went, ‘Yes it was something wrong. It didn’t work and I had to wet myself.’ He’s like, ‘What a minute, you shoot pissed yourself?’ I’m like, ‘Yes! Look’ and he’s like, ‘Aha! Hunter’, ‘What?’ ‘He shoot pissed himself. Aha!’ ‘Vince!’ ‘What?’ ‘He shoot pissed himself.’ ‘He what? God damn!’ Usually you go over to Vince [McMahon] and Hunter and you give ‘em a handshake and thank them for allowing you to do business and everything like that but, on that day, I was excused from the handshake as it was covered with [pee]. It’s a story for the ages. I’ll be looked back on as the guy that peed himself and some people will call it pathetic. Me, I saw that as an opportunity to show my boss I will do absolutely anything to get the job done so, there you go.
Maverick was asked if he ever feels embarrassed by some of the things he is asked to do on WWE television. Maverick said he views those moments as just another day at work.
I’ll have you know, I’m a very, very serious competitor. But at the same time, it is, to me, another day at work. Whenever I’m given something, it’s not about me. It’s about how I’m gonna make the audience feel and it’s how I’m gonna connect with the audience because I grew up watching a lot of British television and I also grew up watching a lot of WWF wrestling where people like Bobby Heenan were always the foil, they were always the weasel. There always has to be somebody that is the butt of the joke. I have enough confidence in myself to be okay with the butt of the joke, receive all the haha tweets, receive all the laughter from children and everything like that because I know what role I’m playing. I know this isn’t James actually peeing his pants. This is Drake Maverick peeing his pants and so when that’s presented to you, some people will be like, ‘Oh God, that’s gonna make you look so pathetic.’ I know, it’s perfect, right? I’m a beggar. How much more pathetic can you be surrounded by two enormous men to do your fighting for you then peeing your pants at the first sight of danger? It’s pathetic, pathetic. So why would anybody cheer me? They boo me and they react. I remember when [I was] with AOP [Akam & Rezar] and we go to the live events and they come out and they’re awesome and they’re monsters and they’re killers and they get in there and they’ll be monsters and they kill everybody. But the audience knows they’re pre-conditioned to boo them but what’s [the reason] to boo them? Because they’re awesome. So then after I peed my pants, we go out there and they’re chanting, ‘A-O-Pee-Pee’ and I’m looking around, ‘No! No!’ But there’s reaction there, which is also important for our business is getting them to care enough to even open their mouths and say something.
Renee Michelle spoke about how she got into the wrestling business and it was Duane ‘Gillberg’ Gill who recruited her after spotting her at a show.
I did not get into wrestling until I was actually 26 years old and what better way to be founded [than] by a TNA — I think it was TNA back at the time and by Duane Gill [Gillberg]. I was actually dragged to my first wrestling show and it was solely because my ex during the time, him and I are mutual friends, they dragged me to a wrestling show. I never watched anything about wrestling. All I see is these big dudes in like their underwear that I thought were underwear at the time, knocking each other out and I’m like, ‘I’m gonna get some nachos and jalapenos’ and this bald, old man with papers in his hands chasing me down the hallway like, ‘Excuse me, have you ever thought about being a wrestler? You have a really good look. I think you’d do great’ and I’m like, ‘Who are you!?’
** Ring of Honor’s Shane Taylor guest appeared on the Ringside Mayhem podcast. Shane shared that there was an idea thrown around amongst the creative powers that be that had to do with him portraying a more ‘street’ character. Those who were present for the meeting immediately stated that Shane would not do it and Shane added that there was no way he was agreeing to that.
I know that there was gonna be an idea pitched because of my background, that people wanted to see me do a more street version of what I’m doing and I shot it down immediately. I think even when it was brought up in a meeting, the people that knew me that were in there were like, ‘You know Shane’s not gonna go for this, right?’ No, no [they didn’t still try to pitch it]. It was told to me and I was just like, ‘Yeah, you know that’s not happening.’ They’re like, ‘We already told them’ so it didn’t even make it to me, you know what I mean? ‘Just so you know, this is what was brought up’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, that wasn’t gonna happen.’ They went, ‘Oh, we know.’ But that’s what I mean about people being lazy. It’s easy to hear, ‘Okay, this kid came from this. Okay, we’ll just play that up.’ Like no. I’m not gonna go out here and be your f*cking minstrel show bro. I’m not gonna do it. Just because I come from a street background doesn’t mean that’s what I’m gonna portray the rest of my life. There’s no growth in that. I’m much more than that, you know what I mean?
Taylor was ROH World Television Champion from May of 2019 until December of that year. He feels that he was overlooked and not presented in the same manner as former holders of the title were.
Before, when I was [ROH] TV Champion, I was overlooked. People were, you know, like no stars were brought in for me to wrestle. No stars were brought in from different countries to elevate me as champion. Hell, half the time my name wasn’t even announced on the card. You didn’t know there was gonna be a TV Title match, and we’re talking about, this is a title that Jay Lethal helped made damn near as important as the World Title. Guys like Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish helped, Adam Cole, [Matt] Taven, the whole nine and now it gets to me and granted, when it was Jeff Cobb, aye, Jeff Cobb is the champion. He’s gonna be here, he’s doing this, he’s doing that, dope. But then I get it and it’s crickets.
No, I think the fans reacted. I think, for a long time, a lot of people thought that I was just someone who was just happy to be here or I was just like a nice guy, you know what I mean? I don’t know what it was but I definitely know they thought I had a ceiling and they thought I had a plateau that I was gonna reach. The problem is they set that plateau for me. That’s not one I ever saw for myself. So I just smooth went past it, because there is no limit to what I can do. There is no platform, there is no plateau, there’s no ceiling. I’m gonna be exactly who I wanna be and where I wanna be. I know where my place is. A lot of times, it’s just not where they want you.
I love Vince McMahon, I do. He’s great, but he’s very stoic, and when I went out right before [at] AEW, Tony Khan was like, ‘Bryan! Let’s goooo!’ I had incredible conversations with Vince and you know, when he gives you his approval, it’s a different form, you know? But when I saw Tony there and he’s like wild-eyed and like so excited. It was funny.
There was a conversation held about Vince McMahon being over-protective of Danielson. Bryan feels that WWE believed that he was injury prone.
So first I wanna say this by saying, okay, their [WWE] story of me, and which they believe is that I’m injury prone, just because of — the reality of it is I’ve wrestled for 21 years. I had one surgery which was my neck surgery which I was out for nine months and then I was forced to retire due to multiple concussions. But all of the concussion doctors have cleared me and that was concussions over the span of, at that point, 15-plus years, you know what I mean? And so I haven’t had that many injuries. I’m really durable and especially when you compare me to say Triple H or John Cena or all of these other people, like hey, I haven’t had any problems with my knees or anything like that. That sort of thing.
** To open the latest Gettin’ Better with Ron Funches podcast, Funches reflected on making his in-ring debut at Game Changer Wrestling’s ‘Highest In The Room’ show. Funches lost to Tony Deppen in the match. He spoke about how special it was and how being in a wrestling match was always a dream of his.
I got such a big high out of it, out of proving to myself that I could do something that I never truly thought I could do. That’s what I think life is about; taking those chances, flying in the face of that fear. You don’t think I was scared? I got a new TV show I’m supposed to start working on. If I hurt myself, I literally would’ve been f*cking up my whole career and life. Yeah! But, I like having fun, I trust myself, I trusted the people I was working with and it turned out so much fun. If you didn’t see it, it’s on the FITE TV app. It had some wonderful cameos from Paul Scheer, Danhausen, Allie Katch and it was just truly one of the best experiences of my life and wrestling might not be the thing that you enjoy, but I think overall what I wanna get across is that we all know life is f*cking short. Have fun. Don’t let the fact that we’re… seems to be funneled towards going back to work, acting like none of this ever happened. Don’t do that. Go towards your happiness, realize how fragile life is, how short life is, how things can go away at a drop of a hat. If there’s something that you wanna do, if there’s something on your bucket list that doesn’t hurt somebody else, that doesn’t affect somebody else’s life, why don’t you go out there and start heading towards it? Doesn’t mean you’re gonna get it right away. I was training for wrestling. I’ve been training off and on for a couple years. But, when I finally did it, [that] experience, it was one of the best days in my life. I’m never gonna forget that and it doesn’t mean anything to anybody else. Somebody else — to me, [it’s] a really great juxtaposition because I spent my weekend doing sets in pro wrestling when the Emmys were going on and for some people, going to the Emmys and being involved in that type of environment and being involved with all the celebrities and stuff, that would be their dreams coming true. For me, being in the ring at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in the middle of Hollywood in front of 1,000 people and 2 Cold Scorpio, that’s my Emmys. I also would go to the Emmys if you invite me. I would go. But I know what’s important to me. That’s my goal.
** NJPW pushed out their interview with Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki is currently on a tour of the U.S. and while he is doing the NJPW STRONG tapings, he has a handful of independent dates lined up in the coming weeks and months. Suzuki said he was contacted by one organization in the U.S. and then the offers continued to roll in.
At first, when I received an offer from an overseas organization, I said, ‘Hmm, what should I do?’ Still, when [I return to] Japan from overseas, [I would have] to be isolated for two weeks, and there is [still the] G1. However, while doing so, offers continued from other organizations, and I thought, ‘Maybe this means go!?’
Suzuki was asked about the NJPW STRONG program. He said he does not watch it and questioned why he has to pay to watch.
I have no impression [about NJPW STRONG]. Don’t watch it, I don’t know. In the first place, why do I have to pay to watch a [New Japan show]?
** Chase Owens brought New Japan Pro-Wrestling announcer Kevin Kelly onto his Twitch stream for a Q&A. Kelly said he understands why some viewers have not been as eager to watch the NJPW product as they have been in the past. He feels that the wrestling is still at a high level but the excitement level is not the same.
But you know what? There’s a lot of people that have kind of tapped out for a little while [on New Japan]. Totally get it. It’s not been the most exciting thing to watch lately. Not that the wrestling isn’t good. There’s two parts of it; there’s wrestling and then there is excitement and I think that it translates through the screen when — that’s what I was just about to say [the crowd not being able to make noise]. It’s the sizes of the crowd because they can only sell so many tickets, right? And that’s only what they’re allowed to do [clapping]. They can stomp their feet. They can’t, even with the mask on, they can’t yell. You don’t get to hear, ‘Chase-son!’ I miss that. I miss that. So, some people are gonna jump back in for the G1. The hope is-is that you’ll stick around on [NJPW] World because right after G1 is Best of Super Junior and World Tag League.
Gabriel Kidd has not wrestled since May of this year. Kevin Kelly said Gabriel is preparing to move back to the U.S. where he’ll be training at the L.A. Dojo. Kidd is getting is visa renewed.
I’ll tell you folks. Gabe [Kidd] is gonna be heading out to L.A. very soon. He’s getting his visa renewed. Once his visa is all renewed, he will be heading over to the States and he’s gonna be training at the L.A. Dojo which is where he was training out of. When the pandemic started, he was in Japan but he technically [was] training in L.A. with [Katsuyori] Shibata and they said, ‘What would you like to do? Go back to the U.S. which is shut down or stay here?’ And he was like, ‘I’ll stay here.’ Yeah, 18 months he wound up being here. He’s basically been here the whole time.
** Nyla Rose appeared on The LGBT Sport Podcast. She stated that prior to signing with AEW, she had become content with staying on the independent scene and working dates in Japan. Nyla never thought she would get a look from a major organization.
Very surreal. Very surreal moment [signing with AEW]. I, by this point had kind of relegated myself to the idea. I just made peace with it, you know? ‘The indies is as far as I’m gonna go. No one’s ever gonna look at me, no one’s gonna take me serious and that’s okay.’ I had become okay with that. I’m just gonna shine the brightest, the best that I can on the indies. I’ve got a good thing going with my relationship with Japan. That’s always there. It’s always a great time. So that was my world. Little did I know, behind the scenes, all the work I had been putting in on the indies and in Japan was getting noticed.
** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated conducted an interview with Bryan Danielson. Danielson shared that there is a reason for him wearing a plain white t-shirt to the ring on AEW programming. He said he wanted to strip everything down and see if just him on the surface level is enough to present.
That’s been an intentional thing on my part. Not wearing a merchandise shirt, not wearing a Bryan Danielson shirt. Not that I won’t in the future, but the idea is to strip everything down and see if what I present and what I do is enough. And I think it is.
I’m at a point in my career where I really want to challenge myself. If I wasn’t already known to people, could I come in and get massively over? I think about that a lot. I also try to simplify my life. The older I get, the less I need. A plain white T-shirt is exactly that in its most abstract form.
Danielson stated that being in AEW makes him nervous and admittedly scared. It is a feeling that he has not felt in a long time.
I appreciate the job that I’ve had, but I’m ready to try something different. There is a part of AEW that scares me and makes me nervous. I haven’t felt that way in a long time. I was very comfortable in WWE. Sometimes, you need to do the things that scare you a little bit.
And I just knew this was right. I remember watching a random Dynamite, and Cody [Rhodes] was wrestling Penta. Penta was standing on the top rope, and Cody did a springboard up to the side and then a top-rope hurricanrana. It was amazing, and my jaw just stopped. I know Cody, I rode with Cody, Cody and I are friends. At least I thought I knew him until I saw him do that. I asked myself, ‘What on Earth is going on over there?’ In my mind, I was thinking, ‘I can’t do that.’ Then I started thinking about it, and I thought, ‘Yes, I can.’ So the idea of pushing myself past comfort zones I’ve been accustomed to, that really excites me.
** While speaking to Wrestling Inc., MLW’s EJ Nduka shared that Adam Cole and Damian Priest were the locker room leaders for the men’s NXT locker room.
I’ve been in the RAW and SmackDown locker rooms a handful of times, but I’ve been in the NXT locker room. For the most part, the NXT locker room was dope. When I was there, [Damian] Priest, [Adam] Cole and some of those guys were the locker room leaders, and they’re approachable. They’re cool guys. So it’s not that much of a difference as far as the locker room.
** The Shining Wizards Wrestling podcast welcomed Alex Zayne onto their show. He detailed the lead-up to him joining WWE. He had conversations with the company pre-pandemic and recalled William Regal coming to a New Japan show to chat with him in-person.
I was already in talks with WWE then [early 2020]. So, when the pandemic hit, they… so it was January. I was in talks with them February. It was like the first week of February 2020, I was supposed to do a tryout originally with WWE and I got that because when I was gonna do that European tour, I was already trying to work dates out for it. I reached out to Jim Smallman to get me on PROGRESS and he was like, ‘Hey, I’ll gladly put you touch with them, but if you ever wanna give NXT a try, let me know’ because he had started working with WWE so I said, ‘Hey, of course I’m interested in that’, whatever and it was like a day later, something like that, William Regal was calling me and I was on the tour bus with New Japan at the time and so I answered and they needed — that’s when we scheduled the actual tryout and then I’m on the tour bus, Regal calls me because they wanted blood work and physicals and stuff before the tryout and I was like, ‘We’re like seven days out from the tryout. I can’t get this stuff to you. I’m on a tour bus right now. I’m on the road’ or whatever and they’re like, ‘Okay, we’ll reschedule. Have a good tour’ and then Regal actually came and we met backstage at the final date. I think it was in Atlanta maybe? For that New Japan tour that we did early 2020. It was like a southeast sort of tour.
Zayne, the former ‘Ari Sterling’ was released from WWE in August. As his 30-day non-compete was coming up, he asked WWE if he could get out of it early so his first match back on the indies could be for GCW.
I mean that’s home to me [GCW]. That’s where I had my final indie match before moving on to WWE and originally, I was really trying hard to make that my first return match as well. But, that didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. I was trying to return the weekend before my 30 days was up and I was asking WWE for like, ‘Hey, can I do that?’ And I buried ‘em already so there’s no need to go further with that.
** Monthly Puroreso has a Q&A on their site with Jonathan Gresham. The former ROH Pure Champion talked about working with Shingo Takagi in New Japan in 2019. Gresham explained that his match with Shingo was the reason he decided to create an on-screen character. He did not like the feeling of when the match was announced, the runaway assumption was that Shingo was winning.
It was. But sometimes there’s situations where someone’s aura, can – not overshadow, – but, kind of …squash someone else unintentionally. So the situation I was in, was that there was really no hope for me to even make it seem like I could beat Takagi. But this was before ‘The Foundation’ had been officially born. So at that point, I built a reputation being a technical wrestler. But I had not built a character around it. The character around it came after the BOSJ.
So for me, it helped me realize I needed to start creating my character and that aura around myself. That was something I felt when I was out there. I felt it while we were planning the match. I felt it the entire tour. They told me at some point I would wrestle Tagaki. So when I found that out, I felt it straight away. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling. But it was a humbling feeling. It made me understand what the next step was for me.
** Sports Guys Talking Wrestling welcomed Jay White onto the show and White discussed the addition of Chris Bey to Bullet Club.
You can see the value in Chris Bey yourself so obviously we can see that. We’re always keeping our eyes out for guys like Chris Bey and we wanted somebody in IMPACT to be able to represent us [Bullet Club] and I don’t know if there’s anybody that could really do that better, other than the likes of Chris Bey. Me and him actually met years ago when I was still on excursion before I went back to Japan. We met in California I believe. I’ve kept an eye on him since then and stuff and it was the right time to give him the opportunity of a lifetime and of course he’s taken it and he’s run with it.
** Write-up #74 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series is up on NJPW1972.com. Tanahashi recalled having a match in the G1 against Shinsuke Nakamura and suffering a broken orbital bone. Doctors had to cut out some of the muscle near Tanahashi’s eyeball, take cartilage from his ribs and transplant it to the orbital floor.
The coin toss! I remember it now [since] you mention[ed it]. That was a really hard thing to convey to the crowd and I’m sure the fans didn’t like it. It was in that semifinal with Nakamura that I hurt my eye. It was in the middle of the match; he hit me with a knee and then followed with a mid kick that blasted me right in the eye. I lost all focus in my vision; all of a sudden I could see five or six ropes in the ring. That was the one and only time in my career something like that happened. When you do in your orbital bone, you get incredible nausea, and when I was throwing up backstage, that’s when they realized it was probably a broken orbital and I got taken to [a] hospital.
I couldn’t look to the right at all. Where the fracture was, the muscles that control the eyeball had gotten wedged in there. So they had to cut out some of the muscle, and then take cartilage from my ribs to transplant it in the orbital floor. It was a six hour operation. The wild thing is I had tied my hair up, because I figured having it down wouldn’t be good for the surgery. But that actually made my head heavier, and messed with my circulation, giving me this bald spot, about the size of a penny. An extra souvenir of that injury I guess.
I’m looking forward to my next opportunity. Of course Becky Lynch has the SmackDown Women’s Championship right now, so I think that would be my next goal is to face Becky and to try to win that SmackDown Women’s Championship so I’m excited about that opportunity and looking forward to it when it comes.
** Finn Balor and fellow members of the WWE roster just wrapped up a tour of the United Kingdom. Along the way, Balor was interviewed by Glasgow Live and told the site that he believes former NXT UK Champion WALTER could adapt well to Raw or SmackDown. Balor added that if he could, he would change the name of NXT UK to ‘NXT Europe’.
That match [against WALTER] is something we were leading towards before the pandemic. It didn’t happen. Whether we can get back there soon remains to be seen but that’s a match I would absolutely love, and he’s someone who, with a couple of small tweaks, could adapt well to RAW or SmackDown. I would be open to a couple months or a couple of years running NXT UK. The one thing I would change is to make it NXT Europe as I really feel like it has a strong European influence right now. But yeah, that is something I’m really open to.
** Roderick Strong vs. Chris Hero from Ring of Honor ‘Battle For Supremacy’ 2008:
** FOX News picked up a story about Joe Gacy’s new character that he debuted on the most recent NXT 2.0.
** Joseph Laurinaitis (Road Warrior Animal) passed away one year ago today.
** ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C was a guest on the Battleground Podcast.
** Steven Muehlhausen of DAZN conducted an interview with Tommaso Ciampa.
** Lucha Libre Online has an interview with NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch.
** The latest Battle of the Brands episode via UpUpDownDown:
** Matt Hardy turned 47-years-old on 9/23. AEW’s Dr. Michael Sampson has a birthday today as well.
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.