POST NEWS UPDATE: Jazz explains why she vacated the NWA World Women’s Title

Jazz on why she vacated the NWA Women's Title, Bayley's sit-down interview, Carmelo Hayes talks SmackDown dark match, Gail Kim note and more

Photo Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

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.

** The most recent guest on Straight Talk Wrestling was Jazz. She held the NWA World Women’s Title for almost 1,000 days but relinquished the belt due to “personal and medical reasons”. Jazz shared that losing her mother and father back-to-back contributed to her deciding to vacate the title.

It was very disappointing to me because I had to vacate it [NWA World Women’s Title]. I didn’t even really get to defend it to even give someone that opportunity to get the win or whatever, however I would’ve lost it or however. But due to health issues, but due to what I had going on at the time in my life, I had to take the time off and focus on me for a while. You know, I lost both parents back-to-back and it was just a lot. You know, people don’t realize when you’re a champion, when you’re a world champion, I mean it’s a lot of pressure. Everybody wants to be a champ but they don’t know what comes with the territory. I didn’t have time to mourn, I don’t believe I really got to shed a tear because I had to focus on, you know, being the NWA Women’s World Champion and you know, just my body just started to break down on me. It was messing with me mentally, physically, emotionally and I just couldn’t go on anymore so, I had to vacate it.

Jazz had a run with IMPACT Wrestling that concluded earlier this year. She almost declined the opportunity to compete for IMPACT, but it was Tommy Dreamer who convinced her to come aboard.

No, no [I did not have anybody else in mind to close out my IMPACT run with other than Deonna Purrazzo] and I’m so glad it was her. Let me start of saying that when I got the call from [Tommy] Dreamer to come into IMPACT, I almost turned it down because I know I’m not the Jazz that I was ten years ago, you know and I built such a reputation and a legacy and I didn’t wanna ruin it. I didn’t wanna ruin all the hard work that I put in [over] the last 25 years that I’ve been in this business so it was a very hard decision. But Dreamer told me, ‘Jazz, you’ve announced your retirement on a podcast. Like come on. You gotta do it on a grander stage’ and I was like, ‘You’re right Dreamer but I’m crippled man. I’m not what I used to be’ and he, again, Dreamer always having that faith, he was like, ‘I believe you can do it Jazz’ and I went in there and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. It was not easy but the girls, they were so open and working with me and accepting me with open arms and to for the first time in history, ever in my career, me having a tag team partner; out of all of my years in this business, I’ve never been linked of having a tag team partner and to have my partner be Jordynne Grace, oh my God, I remember when she first broke in when she was like 14, 15 years old and for me to have that opportunity to be a part of her legacy because Jordynne Grace man, she’s a tough cookie. She reminds me so much of myself. You know, she just reminds me so much of me, of how she is, she’s so dominant in that ring.

At IMPACT’S Hardcore Justice show, then-Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo met Jazz in a title versus career match. Jazz left it up to Purrazzo to lay out their match and she followed suit. She added that Deonna is everything a champion should be.

And I’m gonna tell you right now, when she [Deonna Purrazzo] came to me and asked me, ‘What do you wanna do Jazz?’ You know what I told her? ‘It’s all on you. It’s all on you. I’m following.’ That’s how much I love her and that’s how much respect I have for her. To me, Deonna is a true, true champion. She’s everything that a champion is supposed to be.

At WrestleMania 18 in 2002, Jazz was the first Black woman to walk into WrestleMania as champion and leave as champion. She holds that accolade in the highest of regards.

WrestleMania 18 of course, when people ask me my favorite match ever, it’s hands down WrestleMania 18. To be in the ring with Trish [Stratus] and Lita at the same time, you know, WrestleMania, gets no better than that. But I’m gonna tell you the best part about it; walking down that ramp, representing, the first African American woman to walk down that ramp during a WrestleMania as the WWE Women’s World Champion. Standing there at the end of the match getting my hand raised and walking back up that ramp and still WWE Women’s World Champion. That’s it. It’s nothing else for me to accomplish.

Over 20 years ago, Jazz and Rodney Mack founded the Dogg Pound Dojo school. They brought Thunder Rosa onto the team but due to Rosa’s schedule and her commitments to AEW, she had to leave her position with the school.

My husband [Rodney Mack] and I founded this [Dogg Pound Dojo] in 1997. So, yeah, once we got to San Antonio and always was a fan of Thunder Rosa and I just loved her work ethic, you know? And I just figured the three of us teaming up together that you know, we would be unstoppable and we did that up until her schedule got completely hectic and she had to leave and follow her dream and focus on her career and that’s being with AEW and trying to become the Women’s Champion in AEW.

** WWE’s Bayley was spotlighted on the San Francisco 49ers’ ‘Verified Faithful’ series and when asked what is next for her, she said her first step is to perform in front of fans. She feels that she is not fully developed yet and has not reached the level she wants to be at. Bayley suffered an injury in July and was given a recovery timetable of approximately nine months.

I have yet to perform in front of fans and that is my first step and that’s just what we do it for, you know? You feed off the energy and what we — how we connect to our fans so, honestly, I do have a lot of things that I still wanna do. I don’t feel like I’m fully developed yet, I don’t feel like I’m at the level I wanna be at yet. Yeah, I’m at the top and I am the best, I know but I need to get higher because you need to keep pushing.

** Ahead of NXT WarGames, North American Champion Carmelo Hayes appeared on ‘The War Report’ on RNC Radio. Hayes reflected on the dark match that he and Trick Williams were a part of prior to the 11/12 Friday Night SmackDown. He felt the anticipation leading up to being tagged into the match and feels he’ll be back sooner than later.

A little bit of both [nerves and just wanting to execute the game plan]. It was weird because right before leading up to it [SmackDown dark match], we were in Gorilla Position, we didn’t feel anything. It was like, ‘Oh man, this is like out of body’ because it was like — the thing about that match, it made me appreciate NXT a little bit more in the sense of like, it was more — I felt at home in NXT. I felt really out of — it was just a weird feeling man. Everything moves so different up there but it was an amazing experience, being around that — being in front of that many people. I think Trick [Williams] started the match and I’m glad he did because I was on the outside and my heart is beating, just holy crap. This is crazy. Soon as I got tagged in, it was like go-time but, watching it from afar, I was like, ‘Man, this is kind of freaking crazy’ but, great experience. I’ll be back up there sooner than later.

Hayes touched on the lineage of Black North American Champions as there have been six Black champions out of the 11 total. He did express his feeling that the last few North American Title reigns (as a whole) have been watered down.

That’s a great point. It is a really good lineage [Black North American Champions]. It’s wild, somebody did post a picture with all of them and I think there’s only been like 14 North American Champions but, I don’t know. It feels great but I feel like the last couple of runs have been watered down and I’m just being honest and I feel like that’s part of the reason why I’m trying to run with this ‘A Champion’ thing. I made a post on Twitter like an hour after I won the championship. I said, ‘I’m gonna make this championship the A championship’ and that was just me talking smack. That wasn’t me trying to pitch anything or move it forward and it caught but I truly do feel that way man. You look at the lineage, you’re right, there’s so many good people that have held that championship and it doesn’t get the justice that it should have. So if I can, you know, talk my talk and make people believe that it is more important than, you know, I guess people might look at it as, then I’ma do that. I think people are starting to feel that it is more important now.

In the past, Carmelo has spoken about his communication with Shawn Michaels. Michaels told Carmelo that he’s not here to help Carmelo be liked, but he is here to make sure Carmelo is successful.

You know what it is bro? Is I believe everything I’m saying. I don’t say it unless I believe it and it is — I do feel that-that does hurt me a little bit because these older — not gonna say ‘older guys’ but these more experienced guys, I feel like they do take it to the head. But like I said in that first one [promo video] — man, I’ma tell you, Shawn Michaels told me, he said, ‘I’m not here to help you be liked, I’m here to help you be successful’ and that’s coming from Shawn Michaels. I took that to heart. I said, ‘You know what? Bet. If they don’t like me, that’s their problem but I’m gonna be successful one way or another.’ So that’s how I carry myself so, I say what I wanna say and I believe what I’m saying and I think that they believe what I’m saying too so it gets them a little bit pressed and at the end of the day, I don’t care. That’s how I’m gonna do my promos from this point on is just say what I feel.

The partnership between Hayes and Trick Williams has been displayed on-screen since the rebranding of NXT. Carmelo said things began to formulate while he was in the Breakout tournament.

Trick [Williams] got signed at the same time I got signed and he really didn’t have any experience. He trained I think — he was training for maybe a couple months before he came here. He was actually training with Rikishi and he was actually in [unable to make out promotion name] for a little bit. I don’t know if you guys knew that. So he had a little bit of experience but, it came down to like, ‘Hey, we need to get Trick on TV. You know, there’s something there with Trick, and Melo, you know, he’s kind of doing his thing at the Breakout tournament, let’s throw them together.’ So they put Trick and I together and we were cool, but we’ve gotten a lot — now we’re boys, now we’re tight for real for real. But I think they put us together and it was like, ‘All right now, go make it work,’ you know? And we made it work. I wasn’t gonna fail and Trick knew for damn sure. Trick’s like… so we both got on and took us here.

** While speaking to ‘Metro’, Doug Williams expressed that he’s open to the idea of being a trainer for WWE. Williams is not chasing after a full-time contract as he’s enjoying his current schedule. He brought up how easy it is to work with the National Wrestling Alliance due to their taping schedule.

To be honest with you, I’m not really interested in full time contracts with anyone. I’m doing it for the fun and enjoyment of it.

If they [WWE] have the capacity to bring in new trainers, I’m always open to that idea. It’s kind of a perfect thing as well in that it’s not something they [NXT UK] do weekly, they do their tapings in a bunch, it could be ideal from that perspective! We’ll just see how it goes. The beauty of NWA is they do their TV tapings every couple of months, so it’s easy to come in, work for five days, and go back home to continue doing independent shows and bits I want to do myself.

Williams is hoping to continue working with the NWA beyond this weekend’s Hard Times pay-per-view and TV tapings.

I hope so! I don’t know really. It’s like anything, isn’t it? It depends how I’m perceived. It’s not cheap to bring me over here from the United Kingdom, put me up, all that. I certainly hope so! Even if it’s not just a wrestler role, if they wanna use me in any other way as well, that would be good.

** East Coast Autograph Auctions hosted a virtual signing with IMPACT Wrestling Co-Head of Talent Relations Gail Kim. Several days ago, PWInsider noted that Gail would be taking on an on-screen authority figure role in the coming weeks on IMPACT TV. Gail commented on that and teased the possibility of it happening.

I can let people know; I feel like I saw a tweet about it anyways that I may be appearing on-camera again for IMPACT Wrestling. So, I may be. We’ll see. Not in a wrestling role if I do.

Gail does wish that she could wrestle but said her body is broken down.

I wish could wrestle though to be honest. My body’s so broken down.

Kiera Hogan opted to depart IMPACT Wrestling to join AEW. During Kiera’s appearance on GAW TV, she said she feels “lost in the shuffle” in AEW. Gail discussed Kiera’s IMPACT departure and her run in AEW thus far.

I think that, you know, when she made the decision [Kiera Hogan leaving IMPACT to go to AEW], I think that it’s — I tell every talent who wants to move on when they feel like — you know, you can’t regret a decision — I always feel like someone has to go on and experience it themselves or else they’re always gonna wonder ‘what if’ so I think, you know, it was a natural progression. Unfortunately, I think that she hasn’t exactly done what she’s capable of doing so far, but hey, it’s just a learning experience. We all go through jobs and companies so, maybe she will make her way back, who knows? You know, you never know. All I know is that when Tasha [Steelz] turned on her, I could see that everyone was just stunned. They couldn’t even believe it when you watched it. They’re like, ‘…What’s happening right now?’ Because they were on such a roll. I do miss Fire ‘N Flava though I will say.

One of the questions presented to Gail during the signing was if she ever met the late William Moody (Paul Bearer). She recalled Bearer referring to her as a “China doll” when they crossed paths.

No [I haven’t met Paul Bearer]. Uh, wait, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I don’t know. He called me a China doll or something one time. Yeah, when I started out. I heard something and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ But whatever. That was my only recollection that I have. I don’t remember. I have a really bad memory guys. So I may have met him early in my career but I don’t think so.

At WrestleMania 25, Gail was a part of the ‘Miss WrestleMania’ Battle Royal. She was supposed to use a hurricanrana to eliminate Jillian Hall over the top rope but Gail ended up eliminating Jillian and herself.

I’ve never told this story before I don’t think. So, I was supposed to eliminate Jillian [Hall] I believe? Something like that, with the hurricanrana over the top and Lisa [Marie Varon], she was supposed to do something else where she pulled herself kind of on that rope and I’d have to go back and watch but from what I remember, I went to go catch the rope to hang on and because Lisa, Victoria was coming up at the same time, the timing, sometimes things happen and I eliminated myself, yes. So, I’ve eliminated myself a few times now.

IMPACT’s Knockouts Knockdown event was taped in September and aired in October. Gail is hoping to do another installment of the event and mentioned the new batch of talent[s] that have hit the free agent market as of late.

I hope so. I really wanna do it again [Knockouts Knockdown] and I just think there’s so many talented women out there, especially right now because of what’s happened with ROH and a lot of releases happening. I just feel like we went from slim pickings to, I mean, just so many great talent out there. I honestly just wanna hire everyone. It’s just hard because we have a lot of people, right? So…

** NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose went live on Instagram with WWE Deutschland. She reflected on the on-screen feud she had with Sonya Deville that concluded at SummerSlam 2020. Mandy shared that she and Sonya had a lot of input and say in that storyline.

My favorite moment when I was teaming with Sonya [Deville], mhm, we had a lot of good moments. I have to say our storyline itself. The reason why we love that storyline so much as much as the outcome didn’t really pan out the best because of other situations but, we had a lot of input and say in that storyline and we were so — I guess because we’re best friends too, we were so invested in making it be the best so we cared about each other, we wanted each other to look good. There was no actual hate, you know? Obviously we just — we wanted it to be really good and there was a lot of truth as well that came out in that story and I think those are the best stories obviously, when they feel real and the fans can get behind. But I have to say maybe the moment when she cut that promo on me and we really both felt it and tears were coming down my face, she was so intense and it kind of feels like a breaking point for her career because I think people were like, ‘Wow, Sonya was like –‘ just like a mic drop promo. It was really great. You know, we wish we had fans there obviously. It was during the pandemic but I would say that whole storyline with Sonya was a lot of fun.

Oh yeah, 100 percent [that trust between Mandy & Sonya was a good foundation for their feud]. I always trusted her in the ring, she always trusted me. Although she did hit me a lot harder which I’m not too fond about. No, I’m kidding. You know, her real fighting comes out with me because she knows how tough I am too so like some of the girls don’t know that because she knows I used to wrestle my brothers growing up but like, she used to hit me pretty hard. I used to be like, ‘Come on. What are you doing?’

On the topic of possibly teaming with Sonya again, Mandy said they both like the idea and doesn’t see why it couldn’t happen.

I’ve been hearing a lot of questions lately in other interviews I’ve been doing about Sonya [Deville] and I coming back together. I like it, we both like it. I think there could be something in the future, why not? I mean we kind of — we have such an amazing friendship, we have a business together. I think we definitely could have another tag team run in the future. You know, I mean you never know what could happen in WWE, that’s for sure.

Mandy is 1/3rd of Toxic Attraction alongside NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne. Rose wanted to swerve viewers with the group because of the assumption that Gigi and Jacy might begin to paten themselves after Mandy. She compared it to being a part of ‘Absolution’ with Paige and Sonya Deville.

Yes, I did think something was special right at the start [of Toxic Attraction]. Like I said before, I didn’t really know where it was gonna go. We kind of wanted to swerve the fans a little bit because I think a lot of people assumed I was gonna make them a little bit more like me, but they’re their people, they’re their own characters already and you know, these girls have some experience out on the independents and they’re great, incredible women and I think we all can help each other and I think with that and sometimes like, sometimes you kind of bring things out of other people when you put them in a group too because they can feel a little bit more confident, they can work with other people. I think that kind of helped Sonya [Deville] and myself with Paige in Absolution and I always kind of relate back to that because you know, Paige always helped us with little things because Paige has so much experience and I kind of look at it like myself doing that for the women but, yeah. I think I always thought there would be something there but I didn’t know really where it was gonna go but I love what it’s turned into.

At this point in her career, Mandy does feel like a mentor to some of the talents of NXT’s women’s division. She reacted to the potential response to her saying she’s a mentor without having a great deal of experience in wrestling. Rose said she has life experience and wants to prevent talents from stressing over small things like she and Sonya did.

Yeah, I would [say I’m a mentor at this point in my career] because you know, some people think just because I don’t have years and years under my belt which I don’t think that really matters to be honest because it’s life experience. As you know, as you get older, the more mature you are and the more things you’ve been through is what teaches you kind of how to get through things and there’s a lot of young talent in NXT right now and I think it’s great and I think the biggest thing that I take with my career and Sonya [Deville] and I always talk about it and I tell her stories because we kind of joke around about it because we were them at one point. Some of the girls, when they’re talking about things, I try to chime in and I’m like, ‘Girls, try not stress over that. It’s not gonna matter’ when in that moment, Sonya and I did and she jokes around because she was pretty bad at one point. We would help each other but it’s like we all stress about these little things of whether a coach told you this and it’s like, ‘Guys, it’s not the end-all be-all. Be who you wanna be. They’re coaches because they have to teach you and coach you but take everything with a grain of salt’ and that’s like the biggest thing I tell these women because at the end of the day, once they make it or whatever they consider making it; on TV or whatever it is, that’s all that matters and just kind of helping their career kind of take off but you know, to sweat the small stuff, it’s just not gonna get you anywhere in this business I say so, I take pride in helping the girls right now and I feel good about myself because I think along the way too, I’ve helped myself as well so, I feel like giving back is always gonna kind of, you know, be a great thing for yourself as well.

Elsewhere during the conversation, Mandy heaped praise onto Asuka and Asuka’s ability to adapt to most of the talent[s] she’s in the ring with.

I have to say Asuka [I enjoyed being in the ring with the most]. Asuka is — and a lot of people say this but Asuka just has this special feeling when you’re in the ring with her. She brings this and obviously the experience and… yeah, she has such a presence about her and I feel like I could speak for a lot of the other women too, she’s able to work with so many different women but kind of just like, what’s the word I’m looking for? Adapt to so many different styles, right? Because she has that specific style but all the other women are so different too so like, she’s able to adapt and she obviously is so good but she makes her opponents look good, she’s so much fun, you feel it more when you’re in there with her. No [you don’t have bad matches with Asuka].  

** STARDOM CEO Rossy Ogawa spoke to Tokyo Sports and was asked about the recent Ice Ribbon talent departures. He mentioned that when there are women in Japan who depart their respective promotions, the assumption is that they’ll join STARDOM. Rossy is not interested in saying who is coming or not coming into STARDOM but added that it’ll be interesting to see if there are any surprises in the future.

I wonder about that. In any organization, everyone who quits is considered to be a member of STARDOM. It’s not interesting to say who is coming or not coming. It will be interesting to see if there will be any surprises.

He discussed dealing with mass talent departures while working for All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling. Rossy feels that every wrestling organization has issues under the surface level and when it comes to a talent being set on wanting to leave, there is not much that can be done to prevent it.

I have also experienced (mass departures) during my time in All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling. There are peaks and valleys in running a business, but if you can hold on, you can keep going. For those of us who are doing this, the only conclusion is that we have to do it. Whether it’s a good idea or a mistake, we won’t know until later. The people who are leaving are probably prepared to do so, and they must have the ‘odds’ in their favor.

I think every organization has their own issues, more or less, under the surface. It’s a fact that there’s nothing you can do about it.

** Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald caught up with NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa for an interview. Ciampa spoke highly of Bron Breakker and feels that Bron is the closest to Kurt Angle in terms of a talent stepping into the spotlight early in their caree and delivering on their potential.

He’s good [Bron Breakker], he’s got potential, he’s got it in his blood. There’s a difference too of that; that second generation, third generation thing. Something about growing up around it. When you talk to them, they understand it at a different level and that’s a good thing, he’s a sponge. He has an understanding of this. Obviously I wasn’t even wrestling when Kurt Angle started but, if feels to me from the stories I’ve read about Kurt Angle, this is as close as I’ve ever seen of somebody walking in-in January, being in match 16 tonight in a Ladder match, then going to be in WarGames, he’s already headlined a pay-per-view, he’s been to the UK. That’s crazy, right? Can you imagine match 16? It’s crazy.

** Lucha Libre Online has an interview on their channel with Cam Jaxson, the former ‘Denzel Dejournette’ and ‘Desmond Troy’ in WWE. He recalled working some of the Performance Center shows during the early months of the pandemic and a “popular wrestler” on the roster jokingly asking him why he was being jobbed out so often when he has a legit amateur wrestling background.

I remember — I don’t wanna say any names but I remember when I was doing the matches at the Performance Center when they was doing — when I was doing Raw and SmackDown, I kept coming in every week. There was a pretty famous wrestler I will say that said, ‘Hey man, aren’t you a shooter and can like kill all of us?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ But not like, ‘Yeah! I can.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess’ and he said, ‘Why are they jobbing you out every week and stuff like that?’ Joking obviously and I said, ‘I don’t know. I just do what they tell me to do’ and he said, ‘Me too.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, but the stuff they’re telling you to do is a lot cooler than the stuff they’re telling me to do’ but that was cool because even then when we were walking in, we had to have our masks on so like, when I have a mask on and this person recognizes me and they’re famous or like a really big deal, that was like also a source of validation so it was like yeah, it doesn’t really matter to me and he was joking to me when he said that. He wasn’t like, ‘Hey, go out there and try to win on national television’ because we know how that went. But, I just thought that-that was really cool and I just know how to — what I need to do and what I get myself into when I get myself into collegiate wrestling or wrestling in high school or professional wrestling when it’s a production and a show.

Jaxson was recruited by former WWE talent scout Gerald Brisco and he detailed the first time Brisco approached him. Brisco told Jaxson that after Jaxson becomes an All-American, he can change his life.

So there was a tournament in California that we had. It was the Roadrunner Open and it was in Fresno, California or no, it was at Bakersfield or it was Bakersfield’s tournament. I remember that and I remember this was going into my breakout year so, I remember getting off. I think I’m about to go to the semifinals or either going to the finals, I can’t remember. But I’m just going through the — the area I guess I wanna say is like concourse. You know you can go into the stands and all of that, that big circular area on the outside. So I’m just walking around, I think about to go back to where my team was sitting and Jerry Brisco came to me and said, ‘Hey, are you the guy that just wrestled from App State?’ I’m like, ‘Yes sir, that’s me’ and then he pulls out his card and it says, ‘Jerry Brisco, WWE talent scout’ and I was like, ‘Okay, this is really cool.’ Like this answered my question from years and years ago like, ‘How do people become WWE wrestlers?’ And he said — he gave me basically a rundown like, ‘I’m a talent scout for WWE and I’m very interested in you. I like your size, your speed, your athleticism.’ Basically kept it short and sweet, he said, ‘Give me a call after you’re All-American. I can change your life’ and then [as] a young kid, I like the sound of that.

** Big E appeared on the Big Ten Championship Live Tailgate and reflected on how his professional life has changed since becoming WWE Champion.

It’s kind of incredible so you know, I’ve been around for a while now and I thought there would be some life changes but, man, I got to be a part of [Tyson] Fury-[Deontay] Wilder, getting to go to Iowa-Penn State, getting all these incredible opportunities because I’m WWE Champion so that’s been a blast but man, I don’t know why I have a house because I’m never there, constantly on the road but it’s been a blast.

** Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson welcomed Eddie Edwards onto their Talk’n Shop podcast. Edwards was trained by the late Killer Kowalski and he recalled his early conversations with Kowalski about joining his school. Edwards had to come up with the training fee so Kowalski jokingly told him to rob a 7-Eleven.

So Sumie [Sakai], she had brought it up [idea of heading to Pro Wrestling NOAH]. She asked would I go over and stay for three months at a time or whatever. I mean, I’m like, ‘This is the dream.’

This is my third year [in wrestling] but I’m 22 at that point. 18 [years old], starting training at 17. Started training at 17, debuted at 18, yeah.

I didn’t think he would [Killer Kowalski would let Edwards train at that young of an age] and I’m like, I’m watching and my mom brought me. I’m watching. So he’s like, ‘You gonna sign up?’ I’m like, ‘No. I thought we had to be 18.’ He goes, ‘Ah, bullsh*t!’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, I gotta get the money’ and he’s like, ‘Go rob the 7-Eleven. Come back, give me money.’

And the funny thing is my younger brother who is three years younger than me, he’s 14 years old at that point, he lends me the money to join wrestling school which of course he’s never let me forget… and how did my younger brother have more money than me? I don’t f*cking — what is he doing? What are you doing?

Edwards had several runs in Pro Wrestling NOAH that adds up to a decade with the company. Sumie Sakai connected Edwards to people in NOAH and that kicked off his relationship with the company.

Sumie [Sakai] had brought it up [the idea of going to Pro Wrestling NOAH]. It was unreal. So, Sumie came to [Killer] Kowalski’s, I was there everyday, all that bullsh*t like nonstop and she asked if I would wanna go over and do that. I’m like, ‘Without a doubt’ and she sent me pictures of the dojo and it’s a small little dojo I’ll be living in. I’m like, ‘This looks amazing, yes. Without a doubt.’ No, [it was in a different area than the current dojo.] It was a different Ariake [Japan] before they tore down [the] Ariake [dojo]. So, we go over there for the indie shows and I go to the Budokan show and I meet Ryu Nakata who was the booker, I don’t know, Vice President, whatever, you know, but up there. He said, ‘Do you want to come over and train?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Okay’ and then that was it from there.

** At the AEW Dark tapings at Universal Studios in October, Kidd Bandit made his AEW in-ring debut by teaming with Dean Alexander to take on Too Fast Too Fuego (Fuego Del Sol & Cody Rhodes). Kidd Bandit talked to Steel Chair Magazine and said while en route to Universal Studios, he felt that he was not deserving of the opportunity.

I will say, I did spend a good chunk of the trip [en] route thinking that I am not deserving of this opportunity. I was worried about what it was going to be like. I’ve never been on TV before. With the exception of the Nightmare Family Showcase, 90% of the stuff I’d done had been in front of about 20 people tops. I’m looking at the views for that Dark episode, and it’s passed half a million. That’s a lot, that’s a lot a lot.

He further spoke about the exposure he was able to receive from the Dark appearance and said his goal is to end up on the AEW talent roster.

Oh, absolutely. I mean, to say I had it good would be accurate, but I’m not a celebrity. I guess I’m getting to that point where I should conduct myself as such and should block out a lot of the mean sh*t I see. It did come as a surprise, though, when I read some of the mean things that people would say about me. None of y’all know me. Then I remembered, sh*t, I’m a wrestler. I was on TV; I remember going on YouTube and seeing all these mean comments that are now directed towards me from people I don’t even know. To me, that was shocking. It was also a very good learning experience for me. If I want this to be my career, I need to have thick skin. I think being put on a stage where I had exposure, but not too much exposure got me prepped for whatever comes next. Hopefully what comes next is All Elite though I’m happy to work my way up there.

Bandit trained at the Nightmare Factory alongside Brooke Havoc, who is currently sidelined with a torn ACL and meniscus. She suffered that injury during the East Bay Pro Wrestling Young Lions Cup. Kidd Bandit stated that Brooke was supposed to win that tournament.

I’m not going to lie, I think I could have done better. My first match set the tone, it showed what I could do as per what people expected from us. Sadly, my fellow alumni from the Nightmare Factory, Brooke Havok got injured at the Young Lion’s Cup. She was already coming into the tournament injured, and I saw her rehab. When I was at the Nightmare Factory, she was still on crutches and rehabbing her knee. You could hear she wanted to be back as soon as [she] can. Seeing her back and wrestling again was wholesome. When you know personally who she is, what she’s been through, you naturally root for her. She was actually supposed to win the tournament, and no one had a problem with it because everyone knew the road to recovery she had to go through and the passion she had for this. So seeing her get injured in her match took the air out of a lot of us. Me and Lord Bengston had to wrestle each other in round 2, and we’re both Brooke’s friends. By the time we locked up, we weren’t there 100% emotionally. We’d just seen our friend get robbed of her moment. We actually decided to do a tribute to her during our match. I did her old finisher, a Sliced Bread Bulldog, and I remember halfway through thinking, ‘Sh*t Bengston, I’ve never done this move, why am I doing this in the Young Lion’s Cup? I’m going to botch the f*ck out of it.’ Thankfully, I didn’t, but I just remember thinking, ‘Damn, what am I doing?’

** New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Master Wato was the focus of a Q&A on NJPW1972.com. He shared that Hiromu Takahashi inspired him to become a junior heavyweight. Wato has not considered moving up to heavyweight and said the junior matches are better.

Me wanting to wrestle as a junior was all because of Hiromu Takahashi. I think I have to overcome him, and then everything will change for me.

Not really [haven’t considered moving to heavyweight] – I’m proud of the junior heavyweights. I think we can do stuff the heavyweights can’t. And I think the matches are better, honestly. The heavyweights get more focus, it’s them on the posters, and I want to change that.

** Prior to NXT WarGames, Comicbook.com pushed out their chat with Raquel Gonzalez. She touched on the shift from NXT into NXT 2.0 and stated that she has enjoyed the transition and new look that the brand has adopted.

I love the new colors and the new atmosphere that we have going on right now. I feel like it’s very bright, it’s very welcoming, it’s very open. And what we really want right now is to get more interaction from the fans, from our people especially, people who are watching every week. And I think a lot of people as well don’t know that they can come to the shows every week if they are in Orlando, if they’re vacationing, if they live here. You can actually come watch us live every week for free here at the CWC and kind of experience it yourself.

** Bianca Belair uploaded a new video to her YouTube channel which is a recap of her Survivor Series week in New York.

** DDT Pro Wrestling ‘D-Ou Grand Prix 2021 II’ Results (12/5/21) Korakuen Hall
Pre-Show: Hideki Okatani & Yuya Koroku def. Yuki Ishida & Yukio Naya
Pre-Show: Yusuke Okada def. Mizuki Watase
– Akito, Saki Akai & Toi Kojima def. DISASTER BOX (Kazuki Hirata & Toru Owashi) & Antonio Honda
DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship: Kazuki Hirata def. Akito (c)
DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship: Toru Owashi def. Kazuki Hirata (c)
Three On One Handicap Match: Danshoku Dino, Yuki Ino & Yumehito Imanari vs. Sanshiro Takagi – No Contest
– Masahiro Takanashi def. Shunma Katsumata
– Jun Akiyama, Naomi Yoshimura, Tetsuya Endo, The Bodyguard & Yuji Hino def. Chris Brookes, HARASHIMA, Kazusada Higuchi, MAO & Yuji Okabayashi
DDT Universal Championship: Daisuke Sasaki (c) def. Soma Takao
D-Ou Grand Prix 2021 II Final: Konosuke Takeshita def. Yuki Ueno

** TheWrap spoke to WWE’s Lacey Evans for an interview.

** Hugo Savinovich of Lucha Libre Online conducted interviews with Jay Lethal, Bobby Fish, Sam Adonis and FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) ahead of Triplemania Regia.

** NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Results (12/5/21) Shizuoka, Japan
– Ryohei Oiwa vs. Yuto Nakashima – Time Limit Draw (10:00)
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: Taiji Ishimori [10] def. DOUKI [4]
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: YOH [10] def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru [8]
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: El Phantasmo [10] def. Ryusuke Taguchi [8]
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: Robbie Eagles [10] def. SHO [12]
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: Hiromu Takahashi [11] def. Master Wato [6]
Best Of The Super Juniors Tournament Match: El Desperado [11] def. BUSHI [8]

** To promote the 12/6 Monday Night Raw in Memphis, Tennessee, United States Champion Damian Priest spoke to FOX 13.

** Mike Johnson of PWInsider conducted an interview with Raquel Gonzalez. Gonzalez also spoke to the Miami Herald’s Jim Varsallone.

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 2808 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.