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.
** On the December 6th edition of Monday Night Raw, Liv Morgan challenged Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title and Lynch retained. They headlined the show and while on Instagram Live with ProSieben MAXX, Liv shared that she and Becky were not the original main event. They were switched to the main event the day of.
Not until that day [did Becky Lynch and I know we were main eventing Raw] and all week I was hoping, I was hoping so much that we’d get to main event because I really want to pay homage but also, you know, do our own thing and I just was hoping it would be the main event and then I found out a couple hours into the day that we were gonna be the main event because originally, we weren’t. We weren’t gonna be the main event. It got switched and so it was just so special.
** Chris Van Vliet’s conversation with Dirty Dango (Fandango) is up on his YouTube channel. After spending 15 years with WWE, Dango was released from the company this past summer. He thought he was going to retire from wrestling after WWE let him go.
Dude, I thought a year or two ago, like when they [WWE] were making cuts and everything, you start to think of like when all your friends are getting fired…
Those are all my friends. Like 30, 40 of my close friends I started with. It starts to become more of a reality and you start to really think about, ‘What am I gonna do next?’ And I’m like, ‘There’s probably — I’ll probably never wrestle again.’ You know, I didn’t think I was going to because you know, I started in ‘99 so I’ve been doing [it] so long, I’ll probably just go full-time into construction, you know? And just do primarily rentals but, it’s weird. I feel like there’s two different directions you go when you get released. There’s like, you kind of just like — you’re kind of fed up with the business and it kind of — WWE kind of really wears you down or you just get motivated and excited to do some sh*t that you haven’t been able to do for a while and like Matt Cardona’s a perfect example. I just spent a weekend with the man and just, it’s really cool to see someone create a brand for themselves and you know, he did it even when he was in WWE but, that dude hustles man and he’s an inspiration for someone like me that if you still wanna go out and just create, you know, art and create characters and be able to do promos and just come up with your own sh*t, be creative, there’s so many different platforms and places to do it right now on the indies. It’s really cool to see. So honestly, I thought I would retire but, I’ve been busier and wrestling more in the last three, four months than I did in NXT for the last — for the two years prior to that, which is cool. I guess it’s kind of reminded me why I got into the business. You know, it’s cool man. It’s been really cool. I guess it’s not just work anymore for me. It’s what I — why I got into it, you know what I’m saying?
Before he began donning the ‘Fandango’ character, he wrestled as ‘Johnny Curtis’. In 2011, Dango was anticipating being released from WWE. He admitted that he had an attitude problem.
Yeah [I did have a moment where I didn’t know where I was going before the Fandango character] and that was briefly before we just talked about — right before we started NXT Redemption, they were gonna bring me up, I think just as a babyface and I think I had a little bit of an attitude backstage and Vince [McMahon] came up with those ‘crying over spilled milk’ promos with Johnny Curtis and then just kind of didn’t do anything with my debut. So yeah, I was kind of in limbo there just kind of anticipating probably getting released in the near future. This was around like 2011.
Continuing on the topic of releases, Dango said he and Breeze had a feeling that when WWE President Nick Khan came into the fold and releases started happening, they would be next.
I started to think like that [being in WWE forever]. You know, when the COVID cuts came, I’m like, ‘We’re definitely — we’re f*cking — we’re out of here.’ Then we never got fired. I’m like, ‘Well maybe I’ll just keep working here and I’ll be the next Brooklyn Brawler,’ you know? And I’ll retire when I’m 60. But then, when [Nick] Khan came in — is that his name? Khan? And he started cleaning house and I think [Tyler] Breeze and I were still on some sort of main roster pay scale so I think we both kind of knew it was coming, you know? And it sucks, but — because you’re not getting paid as much as you were obviously but it’s — for me it was exciting because I can go off and do some different stuff, you know? It’s just, you can’t work at that same place forever man and if you think you are — I started investing almost day one when I got on the main roster so, any young talent out there right now that’s watching this, it’s like you need to prepare for your exit almost when you start, you know? It’s just any athlete should do that I feel. If you think it’s never gonna end then it’s gonna be really rough, you know, if you don’t invest your money. You know what I’m saying?
When the ‘Fandango’ character was coming to fruition, Dango had a dark match before TV and he wrestled Sami Callihan. Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque let him know that this was a make-or-break moment because Vince McMahon was tuning in. Vince liked what he saw from Dango.
I remember I did the dancing in a dark match. I can’t remember… I think like Naomi maybe danced with me or someone like that and I’m like — and Hunter’s like, ‘Dude, you’ve been going to dance school? Vince hasn’t seen you dance. He’s gonna watch your dark match. Pretty much, if you do good, you’re gonna make a lot — like you’re gonna have a run. If you don’t, sorry,’ you know? So I’m like, well, f*ck. So you know, you go out, I think I worked Sami Callihan actually in like Providence and like, ‘Well this is it. Either I f*cking just completely dive into it or I’m gonna go hang out in catering for the next year and probably go work the ECWA’s Super 8 or something,’ you know, after. Back to the indies. So I just went out and completely just gave it a hundred percent and just faked it as best as I could in terms of being able to dance and Vince said, ‘Kid’s got balls. I like it,’ so… [Dango laughed].
A conversation was held about financial stability and setting yourself up for life after WWE. Dango said he didn’t start making “WWE money” until 2013 and he was brought into the company in 2006.
15 years though, seven of them were developmental so, three or four of those, you’re making $500 bucks a week. So six or seven years of, you know, you’re not on national television so, you’re still in the system, you’re still getting paid but it’s not like Randy Orton, you know what I’m saying? Where Randy’s on TV or — you know what I’m saying? I’m not trying to… so, it’s good in terms of equity into a company where maybe down the road if they ever wanted to bring me in as a coach or something like that, you know the system but in terms of monetary, I wasn’t making ‘WWE money’ for 15 years, you know what I’m saying? I started making pretty decent money in 2013 when we started the Fandango thing.
Back in 2013, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson gave props to Dirty Dango for fully investing into his character. With Dango coming from a lower-card spot to securing a match at WrestleMania and getting shout outs from The Rock, it led to some of his colleagues acting strange towards him.
He [The Rock] came up to me at TV and he goes, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ I’m like, ‘Curt. Curt sir. How you doing? Nice to meet you.’ He’s like, ‘No! Your name?’ ‘Curt, how you doing man?’ He’s like, ‘Dumbass, the f*cking gimmick.’ ‘Oh, it’s Fandango. How you doing?’ F*ck, I f*cked the whole thing up but, it was cool to hear him say that man [The Rock praised Fandango in 2013] and it’s tough dude. When you’re in the land of mid-card with all your other buddies and stuff and then you start to get a little attention, no one really has heat with you, not saying I had heat but, when you’re not doing sh*t on TV, no one ever really cares but then you start getting shout outs by The Rock and you’re getting WrestleMania matches, that’s when you’re kind of — people start to whisper, you know? And people get a little bit weird backstage, you know, and it was cool to hear him say that man, honestly and I’m a huge fan of Dwayne.
In August 2020, Breezango (Dirty Dango & Tyler Breeze) captured the NXT Tag Team Championships. Dango discussed what that win meant to him and Breeze and being able to show more layers of their characters other than the comedic aspect.
To go back to NXT and for them to put the tag straps on us, it meant a lot to me, you know? I know it meant a lot to [Tyler] Breeze because it kind of showed a different side of us where we weren’t just a comedy act. We could actually go out and work and the last couple of years on SmackDown, all we did was skits and stuff which is cool to show that in your body of work, you can show that you kind of have a personality and talk a little bit. But it’s like, it’s hard to shake that stigma of when you’re playing Kramer and you’re doing it pretty good, then you see Kramer in a different role, he’s still f*cking Kramer, you know? It’s hard man, it really is and I’m not saying we were on the caliber of Kramer but you know what I’m saying?
Exactly [you get typecast]. Like Santino [Marella] did his job so well, but if they just brought him back, like they took him off TV and brought him back as like a badass, it’s still — it’s hard, you know?
Earlier in the interview, Dango detailed how he structured the home he built. He said a wall fell on his back and his friend had to lift it off him. Dango wrestled for the NXT Tag Titles a month after the incident.
This wall right here, I built on the deck up here. This is the third floor and you build your wall on the deck and then you lift it up, you know, like Amish style and we did it in the spring when the wind was coming in off the ocean and this wall actually fell on my back and my buddy picked it up off my back and then I think I wrestled for the NXT Tag Team Championships like a month after and I was all f*cked up.
** During her appearance on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast, Deonna Purrazzo recalled herself and Chelsea Green pitching to be a team in WWE. They were told that being best friends does not mean they should be a tag team.
Me and Chelsea [Green] were told, ‘We just don’t know why best friends would be a tag team. Being best friends doesn’t mean you’re a tag team’ and I was like, ‘… Um, we have pictures together, we’ve traveled the world together. She’s legitimately been my best friend for like seven years. I think that we’d work together, I think that there’s a dynamic there because we literally spend every day of our lives together.’ So, you know, I think for some people, they see it, you know what I mean? And for other people, that’s not what they see so I mean, I don’t really know. I thought that was absurd but I couldn’t be a tag team with my best friend because we were best friends.
Purrazzo further spoke about several of the pitches she made while a part of NXT. She wanted to form a trio with herself, Chelsea and Rachael Ellering. Purrazzo also threw the idea out there of going on a losing streak and then snapping at some point.
I mean I was definitely labeled as a problem [in WWE]. I was definitely labeled as someone who has a loud mouth but, for a long time I wanted to check every box. I wanted say — and I think I went in with that mindset of like, ‘If this doesn’t work out, I’ll be okay because I’ve already conquered what I would go back to,’ in terms of independent wrestling so, I think that when I went in, it was kind of like, ‘If this works out, great and if it doesn’t, okay.’ But when I got to that point of like, ‘This isn’t working out,’ I went and I had vignettes made and I pitched all these ideas and you know, me and Chelsea [Green] pitched being a tag team. Me and Chelsea and Rachael Ellering pitched being kind of like a female Undisputed ERA, Shield-type thing. I pitched a ton of different ideas. I pitched — they had me lose a couple times on TV. I pitched losing and making that a thing until I snap, you know what I mean? I pitched I don’t even need to win the match. Let me just keep the armbar and get disqualified and that can set up a feud with this babyface and I would do extra promos and film stuff at home and I really can say at the end of the day, I put every bit of me into that place to make it work and it didn’t because when I feel taken advantage of or I feel like I’m not wanted, then I have an opinion about it and I’m going to stand up for myself and I’m going to advocate for myself and I don’t necessarily think at the time that was what they wanted out of talent.
Deonna used the opt-out clause in her Ring of Honor contract to leave the company for WWE. Prior to being hired by WWE, Purrazzo worked extra spots for the company. She had a conversation with Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque about why she hadn’t been signed. Levesque told Purrazzo that is was due to logistics and some things being out of their control. He felt like he owed Purrazzo an apology because it was clear that she would fit in.
I had been to Raw and SmackDown, had a ton of tryout matches at SmackDown, I had also had an official NXT tryout in February of 2016 that, you know, I killed and was told, ‘You killed it. But just not right now’ and then I felt like if I was gonna be rewarded, I would at least have a first-round match [in the Mae Young Classic] and lose and I couldn’t even get that so, I kind of took that as like, ‘Mhm, don’t really need to be doing stuff with them right now because clearly I’m not being valued’ and you know, I had a long conversation with Hunter and he was like, ‘I don’t owe you an apology but I feel like I do because you can look around, you know you fit in and you belong here but, it’s demographic, it’s logistics and there’s things that are out of our control that we need to do for this show,’ which I appreciated tremendously. He spoke about me on like ESPN or something but, it all boiled down to like, but what I’m doing is not working so, let me take some time and the next time they asked me to be an extra, I said no. I signed a contract with Ring of Honor and then like four months later, they were like, ‘No, we want to hire you’ and I was like, ‘Wait, what? Why now?’ Right before I had just been announced to compete at ALL IN. I was signed to Ring of Honor and I had an option to get out of my Ring of Honor contract if I wanted to anyway so there was potential for me to leave and not be like tampering or anything like that. But yeah, so I mean I agreed to go and I cut a Japan trip short, I cancelled off ALL IN and then I started at the P.C. in July of 2018.
At IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view, Purrazzo is challenging Mickie James for the Knockouts Championship. Deonna reflected on her run with IMPACT so far and feels the company has rebuilt her wrestling-wise and rebuilt her confidence.
Yeah, it was the perfect storm. I just think up until when I started [at IMPACT Wrestling], so May of 2020, I just needed a company to really take a chance and go full force with me. I hadn’t had that up until that point with a major company. I didn’t win the Women of Honor Championship tournament back in Ring of Honor and then I went to NXT and we all know how that worked out for me and then so it was kind of like a company really needs to make a chance if I’m gonna make this work and I want to accomplish real goals of mine; that was to always be a champion, and IMPACT was just willing to, again, give me the creative freedom to see The Virtuosa through and see if it had potential to work and then also too, I mean [they] gave me the championship right away, which I — honestly, when I found out, I said to Steve [Maclin], ‘I’m only gonna tell you because I swear to God it’ll change.’ Like I’m gonna get there and they’re gonna be like, ‘Just kidding, you’re losing’ and I was just so blown away that they trusted me that much and saw that — saw all the potential in me and saw who I could be right off the bat because I was in a weird space. So I didn’t even believe that I could necessarily live up to that. But they have rebuilt me wrestling-wise from the ground up and my confidence as a person from the ground up. So I can’t speak enough, I gush over how much I love IMPACT because I just think that the environment is everything people who have been through some stuff in wrestling is looking for; just opportunity to be themselves and be creative and not be afraid to make mistakes.
** Bret Hart is accepting his Canada Walk of Fame honor on December 17th and ahead of the ceremony, Hart recorded a Q&A for the Canada Walk of Fame Instagram page. Hart was asked if he would consider becoming an on-screen character, commentator or manager in wrestling again and said no. He thinks he’s too blunt to be a commentator, but jokingly said he’d entertain the pitch of him versus Donald Trump at WrestleMania with Vince McMahon as the referee.
And I will say no. That will never happen [Bret being an on-screen character again or a manager/commentator]. I have no time to do that. I did my time on the road. I like to think I saved my money and I like to get away once in a while and do the odd little bit here and there or do, you know, anything sometimes to get out of the house but at the same time, my days of sort of playing a character for wrestling, I don’t need it that bad and I’m happy kind of just making up time with my grandkids and being home and you know, kind of smiling about stuff like that. I mean if there was something where it’s like I could wrestle Donald Trump at WrestleMania and Vince McMahon was gonna referee it or something, I’d hear it out because it’d be funny to hear it but the thought of me going in there and wrestling somebody is pretty unlikely and as far as managers and all that kind of stuff, I don’t — Bret Hart was a wrestler, not a manager and I don’t wanna be remembered as a manager and so I would never do it. I was a great wrestler. I don’t wanna be a referee either and I don’t wanna be a commentator because everything I say hurts. Sometimes I can be too honest.
** A recent guest on ‘Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw’ was Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat. Before joining WWE, Steamboat trademarked his ring name and nickname. He shared Vince McMahon’s reaction when he found out Steamboat already trademarked his names:
Just prior to going to Vince [McMahon], I had already trademarked the name ‘Ricky Steamboat’ and owned the rights to it, only in wrestling-related events and soon as I left the house and I was at the airport, I called up my trademark attorney. I said, ‘You need to trademark The Dragon for wrestling before Vince.’ I got it, yeah.
Yes [Vince had something to say about it]. Two weeks later I’m doing TV, first TV. We’re passing the hallways and he goes, ‘You beat me to it.’ I didn’t know what he was talking about. I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ He says, ‘You got the rights to The Dragon’ and I said, ‘Well, just business Vince, just business, you know?’ I own the rights to ‘Steamboat’ and ‘The Dragon’, only in wrestling-related venues.
When the idea of Steamboat blowing fire came to fruition, Vince McMahon sent Steamboat and Bruce Prichard to meet with Brian LaPalme, who was a ten-year veteran at fire breathing. As Brian was demonstrating, the wind blew the fire back in his direction and set his face on fire. Steamboat told Prichard to relay to Vince that he’s not going through with the fire breathing stunt.
You know, Vince [McMahon] wanted me to learn how to blow fire and Bruce [Prichard] was being sent down just, you know, being from the office to oversee it and I found out earlier that they went to Barnum & Bailey and their fire breather rejected it because he didn’t want to give away his secrets. You know, circus, right? So they got a hold of a guy named Brian LaPalme and he had like — it’s like one of those little parking lot carnivals and we’re standing in the parking lot and then the big top, the big tent was not fully put up yet but Brian LaPalme — and he was a fan. He was a wrestling fan. He was so excited to show me and he used Kerosene. Filled his mouth up with Kerosene but he told me, he said, ‘Ricky, if you ever do it outside, hold your torch up and you look at the flames and make sure that the wind is blowing the flames away from you, so that the wind is always at your back.’ So I [said], ‘Okay.’ So he fills his mouth up with Kerosene and just as he takes that torch and he gets ready to blow it, the wind shifted and the wind was blowing in his face so be blew, the Kerosene went into his face and now I see this guy running around the parking lot with his face on fire.
And I looked at Prichard and I said, ‘Now Brian LaPalme told me that he’s been doing this circus act for ten years.’ I said, ‘You see that ten-year veteran running around with his face on fire?’ I said, ‘You call Vince up right now and tell him I ain’t doing it. I’m not doing this,’ and so Brian, he came back and his face was rosy red and he said, ‘No, no, no, everything’s okay. It’s just like a real bad sunburn. It’s just superficial. Real bad sunburn’ and he said, ‘I wanna teach you.’ So we started off with little shot glasses and then we ended up — and we finished that day, I came back the next day and then I started doing cupfuls inside the tent because the big top was finished and learning how to blow fire that way but there was a moment to where I was watching a ten-year veteran fire breather running around with his — his eyebrows were gone, his scalp was burnt halfway back to the middle of his head. The next morning we showed up for round number two and he was living in like one of those little Scotty Trailers that you towed behind your car with a little trailer so I knocked on his door and he showed up. He had all these huge water bubble blisters on his face and he started popping ‘em and he was laughing. He said, ‘Oh I just saved it so I could show you. I just wanted to get a laugh out of you’ and you know, all these big water bubble blisters.
He [Bruce Prichard] didn’t say anything. His mouth was down to his — his jaw dropped down to his knees when he saw the guy running around with his face [on fire]. Came back with no eyebrows and half his scalp burned off.
He told the story of when he held up promoter Jack Tunney for money. Steamboat and Jay Youngblood were scheduled to take on Jack and Gerald Brisco in Canada but there was an issue with Steamboat and Youngblood’s plane. Tunney sent another plane to pick them up and took the cost for that out of their checks. Steamboat met with Tunney and explained why he thought that was not fair. Steamboat then asked for an additional $1,000 for he and his partner and said they wouldn’t perform if his request wasn’t met. Jack and Gerald Brisco supported Steamboat and Youngblood.
We were wrestling at the time, Jay [Youngblood] and I were wrestling against — the only time I ever did this [stood up a promoter]. Jay and I [were] wrestling [Sgt.] Slaughter and [Don] Kernodle and we were in Roanoke in the afternoon, matinee show and we had a private plane to go to Toronto. Well, when we finished the Roanoke show, we got on the private plane. It was a King Air which is pretty top turbo crop King Air and we were in Roanoke and the airport’s down in the Valley as soon as we were — Freddie, Floyd, the pilot. As soon as we lifted off and I don’t know, we got three or four, five hundred feet up off the runway, I’m sitting there looking out the window and this big puff of black smoke in the right engine went dead and Freddie gets on the mic and he’s calling the tower. He said, ‘We’re coming in. If anybody’s landing, please redirect them.’ He said the words I’ll never forget. He said, ‘We’re falling out of the sky.’ With the weight of them wrestlers on the plane and we had not gotten up high enough yet. We had, you know, full throttle and it took both engines so, we came around, they landed and this was on a Sunday afternoon, of course there’s no mechanic and so Freddie got on the phone and he called some people he knew and a couple of pilots flew up to Roanoke and we were in a Learjet and I’ll never forget, we’re sitting in the jet and the pilot looks back over his shoulder at us and he said, ‘What time are you boys supposed to be in Toronto?’ [We] said, ‘Well we’re the main event, we’re on last. But the show just started as we speak.’ You know, the show had already started. So, we took off and that son of a gun went straight up in the air, put the hammers down and we are laid back in that seat, that Learjet was wide-ass open and we are just — but he got us there.
Now we had the match and as you know Gerald [Brisco], whenever you wrestled in Toronto, if you’re there the following show, you get your paycheck from the show before. So Jay and I get our paychecks and I’m looking at it and I know what kind of money we drew there in Toronto. We almost sold it out every time we wrestled there; me and Jay, right? And I called [Jack] Tunney, I said, ‘What’s up with this paycheck?’ He said, ‘Well, to get you guys up here, you know how much it cost for that Learjet?’ I said, ‘Let me get this straight: We’re paying for that Learjet and you are writing it off but it’s coming out of our pay?’ So I said — I said, ‘I’m not working.’ So Tunney says, ‘Ricky, we gotta –’ it was me and Jay against you and Jack [Brisco]. He said, ‘We got a hell of a house out there.’ He says, ‘Man, what will it take?’ I said, ‘You need to give me and Youngblood and then you also need get to Don Kernodle and Sgt. Slaughter, add each of us a thousand bucks’ and I said, ‘You need to get more money for me and Jay tonight in the locker room before we go out in the ring and it’s got to be American. Thousand dollars cash, American.’ Tunney looked at me and he goes, ‘Ricky, where in the hell am I –’ this is like, I don’t know, eight o’clock at night now, nine o’clock at night. He says, ‘Where am I gonna get that kind of American money cash?’ I said, ‘Jack… you go in your office, you move that picture that’s on the wall to the side and open up your safe.’ I didn’t know if there was a safe there or not. I swear to God I didn’t know, I just said it.
I said, ‘You just go up in your office, open up that safe and you got those ribbons tied around them hundred dollar bills and you bring me a thousand and you bring Jay a thousand and then you give me two envelopes with Kernodle and Slaughter’s name on it to make sure they get their money,’ and he came back with the money and then me and Jay wrestled Jack and Jerry. That’s the only time I ever held up a promoter, only time. But I just thought it was crooked to take it out of our pay and yet he — I said, ‘You and your company are gonna write it off and yet the boys are paying for it.’ I said, ‘That ain’t right. That ain’t right.’
Gerald Brisco chimed in on the discussion and recalled he and Jack taking their boots off and changing back into their clothes to show solidarity with Steamboat and Youngblood. Steamboat said that helped convince Tunney to meet the request.
Brisco: Absolutely [I was gonna walk out with Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood]. I mean we’re gonna back up our brothers here. I mean, you know, Ricky said, ‘Hey, I’m having some financial issues with Tunney. I might not work.’ Well we’re working against him tonight and we know Tunney. If they’re not working, they’re gonna ask us to work singles. They’re gonna ask us to go out and do something. So Jack [Brisco] looked at me and we said, ‘We’re with you Ricky.’ We unlaced ‘em and took ‘em off and sat there and sat there in the dressing room with our street clothes on until Ricky gave us the nod and we got back dressed but yeah, we were willing, for a brother, you know, willing to sacrifice a good payoff.
Steamboat: That also helped with Tunney, convincing him, when Jack and Gerald took their boots off. So, but that also just added the icing on the cake of, ‘Well, I better get the money to these guys so we can keep the show going.’
Ricky has spoken in the past about his communication issues with Dusty Rhodes while Rhodes booked for Jim Crockett Promotions. When Steamboat chose to depart Jim Crockett for WWF, he said Crockett did not try to stop him because he knew Steamboat and Rhodes did not see eye-to-eye.
No. No [Jim Crockett didn’t try to talk me out leaving] and that’s funny, no. He understood where I was coming from and because he knew how Dusty [Rhodes] was going to use me and he appreciated all that I did for the company for all those years.
No [I didn’t have conversations with Vince McMahon prior to my departure]. Yes [I just rolled the dice and told Jim Crockett I was done] and it wasn’t a week later, George Scott, who was the booker for Vince, that I got a call from George. He said, ‘I heard you gave your notice.’ I had been working, at that time, almost ten years without any time off at all. No vacations, no nothing and I was looking forward to a couple of months off after I gave my notice to Crockett and Dusty, and God, it wasn’t but maybe two or three weeks later that I was up in Connecticut talking to George and Vince and gonna start working with the WWF.
Steamboat’s ring name was inspired by the late Sammy Steamboat. Sammy reached out to Ricky and gave him his blessing to use the ‘Steamboat’ name.
Well, as Gerald [Brisco] knows this, some of the old timers can be a little bit salty, right? You know, they can be a little bit salty if you’re trying to do a family relationship or getting a rub off the name, maybe they’re thinking you didn’t earn it, you know? Guys would campaign their names for 20, 25 years, you know? Eddie Graham told me not to worry about that [Sammy Steamboat possibly being upset about Ricky using the ‘Steamboat’ name]. Sammy was a true good guy and you know something John [Layfield]? I never met Sam Steamboat, but — I never met him. But while I was in the Carolinas, I got a letter, a letter that was sent to [Jim] Crockett’s office, addressed to me and it was from Sam and in so many words it stated, he says, ‘I know you and I have never met. I’ve heard good stuff about you. I am happy that you are carrying the name with respect and you’re doing well’ so, I got a thumbs up from him.
** Jason Powell welcomed ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods onto his Pro Wrestling Boom podcast. Prior to the announcement of ROH’s hiatus, Woods planned on re-signing with the company when his deal was up at the end of the year.
Yeah, mine was coming up at the end of the year [ROH contract] and I was [thinking] like, ‘Man, you know, is a new deal coming up? Gonna be great. Hopefully gonna get a raise, an extension on my deal’ so I was totally blown out of the water when that was announced that-that wasn’t gonna happen.
Yeah [I was planning to re-sign with ROH]. I hadn’t really thought about going anywhere else. I mean, the reigning Pure Champion, there’s no reason to look other places when you’re kind of at the top. So, hadn’t really thought about going anywhere else.
He was asked about the morale backstage at Final Battle and noted that everyone digested things differently. Woods said things were shuffling as far as the card goes and match times were being cut.
I think everyone is perceiving this differently [ROH’s hiatus] and they experience it differently, you know? For me, I was just trying to deal with a whole bunch of things coming up at once and I was stressed for sure, you know? Because we’re getting our times cut and we’re getting told different things because things are changing on the card and you know, pretty typical for a wrestling show. The mood seemed good [at Final Battle]. We were all like — there were moments when people were just kind of not themselves and I think it was good morale overall. People seemed to be happy to see everyone and I remember the first — the taping after we had got the call which I think was that weekend which was, woof, big yikes. I’m walking out [to] the ring, just kind of warming up and stuff and normally I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky person. I like to mess around with everybody and be pretty jovial and Kenny King was like, ‘Man, you’re not even smiling. Dude, they messed you up’ so like yeah, there were times where it definitely takes an affect and it makes you realize the reality of what’s happening but, you know, aside from that, people are in pretty good spirits and we all wanted to put on a hell of a show and I think we accomplished that and hopefully it’s not the last but if it is, I’m happy with the body of work that I’ve put in-in Ring of Honor as a whole.
Jay Lethal departed Ring of Honor and joined AEW. Woods felt that Lethal’s absence at the ROH TV tapings after he went to AEW was noticeable.
I guess if I didn’t live where I live and things were a little different, I would say Jay Lethal [would be the hardest to say goodbye to at ROH], but because I live by Jay, we train together a lot. When he wasn’t there at that last set of tapings, man everybody felt it. It was like, ‘Woah, this is strange’ because he had gone to AEW [and] stuff and you know, I’m not gonna put his personal business out there but, he wasn’t there for that set and everybody felt like Jay is — you can’t — ah man, I’m getting emotional. You can’t say Ring of Honor without thinking of Jay Lethal and that was hard but I’m fortunate enough that I have a — Jay’s like my best friend. I have the opportunity to train with him and talk to him on a daily so I think that would have been pretty crappy if I wasn’t able to have that relationship with him. He’s definitely someone I look up to just as an individual, as a wrestler. Loving wrestling, Jay is like goals. He’s wrestling goals.
After Bandido contracted COVID-19, Lethal was slotted into the main event of Final Battle against Jonathan Gresham. Josh Woods said when Lethal came back to ROH, it was like nothing had changed.
Yeah, Jay [Lethal’s] always been someone who’s gonna garner attention man. The way he carries himself, he’s a great human, people just love to see him. There’s so many people who will come up to Jay and talk to him and me personally, we had talked the day before so I knew he was coming and part of me is like man, I would’ve been super stoked if I had seen him there and not known but, but I knew and I obviously was still super excited but, yeah, I was in the ring with Jay beforehand. We were just going over stuff and goofing around. It felt like nothing was wrong in the world. When you have those relationships with people that make you forget what’s happening and they make time stop and Jay is one of those people.
** The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast welcomed Vincent and ‘The Bounty Hunter’ Bryan Keith onto their show. During Vincent’s portion of the podcast, he reflected on ROH Final Battle and the main event between Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal for the ROH World Championship. Vincent said it was a collective decision amongst the talent roster to go to the ringside area for the final stretch of Lethal versus Gresham.
Yeah, it was just kind of that like one last hurrah, you know what I mean? [Locker room coming out for the end of Gresham vs. Lethal at Final Battle] and just kind of like, you know, we’ve been a part of this whole thing the whole time and just kind of [to] see Gresham who’s worked really hard, get his moment, you know? So it was pretty cool. It was cool man. I really liked it. It was cool to just have everybody there a part of that one last moment there and it was cool and I’m happy for Gresham, you know what I mean? Proud of Gresham. He’s worked really hard over the years, really great guy and I wish him the best too with TERMINUS and all that stuff so…
Vincent was the head of The Righteous group in Ring of Honor which consisted of BATEMAN, Dutch (Bill Carr) and Vita VonStarr. Prior to Dutch joining the group, Chuckles The Clown was in that muscle/heavy role but Vincent wanted Dutch in The Righteous from the start.
Dutch and BATEMAN are very easy to bounce ideas off of because we all like similar stuff. We have very common interest, the three of us so it made it [The Righteous] — once Dutch came on, it made it, you know — I just felt like he, at the time, was that last piece of the puzzle that I was looking for-for somebody in that group that works, you know? And he’s fantastic in the ring and he’s just — he’s got a great personality, you know, on-camera and stuff so, he was like the last piece of the puzzle. So I was actually really excited that they made that happen because for a long time, Dutch was my pick. Now Dutch was my pick long before Chuckles [The Clown] and then that happened and you know, afterwards I was like, ‘All right, Dutch now?’ and then Dutch debuted on the [19th] Anniversary pay-per-view with the balcony thing there.
When Bryan Keith came onto the podcast, he detailed how he formulated his bounty hunter persona. It derived from a conversation he had with Booker T while working a Reality of Wrestling event. Keith has also taken bits and pieces from throwback western films that his father showed great interest in.
It started off, I was just like a cowboy and I wrestled at Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling and he told me, ‘Have you ever seen Sammy Davis Jr. in The Rifleman?’ And I never seen that before but, he was like, ‘He’s a bounty hunter and I want you to try and hone in that character and make that yours’ but this was like way back then. This wasn’t even now. This was probably like seven years ago or something he told me and that mixed with like, my dad is a huge fan of westerns. He loves like all westerns and one of the big ones he enjoys is ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ so that character, the man with the harmonica, I felt like every time he just came around and you heard that harmonica, it was too late, you know? You already dead already so, I felt like just mixing that with the screw culture and the gritty hard-working-ness of Swishahouse and you know, S.U.C., Screwed Up Click of Houston, that hard Houston vibe mixed with western-ess and I’m also a big fan of hardcore; hardcore bands and death metal and stuff like that so just, I feel like what you see today is just a mix of all that in a pot together and that makes The Underground King, The Bounty Hunter Bryan Keith.
** The Righteous (Vincent, Dutch & BATEMAN) captured the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles at Final Battle. Coming out of the event, Dutch (Bill Carr) spoke to Ringsiders Wrestling and he said he was originally supposed to join The Righteous in December 2019. Dutch made his ROH debut at the 19th Anniversary Show in March of this year.
So, me and Vinny, we’ve been friends for a while now and we kind of hit it off right away because we both have the same interests, we both love horror movies and so, you know, we were kind of doing our own thing, I was doing Team Tremendous [Dutch & Dan Barry], he was starting out with Ring of Honor with The Kingdom [Matt Taven, Vincent & TK O’Ryan] and everything. Then he started The Righteous and I was one of the first people that came to mind, but there just wasn’t — the role wasn’t there for me just yet. Now initially, I was supposed to join them back in… December of 2019. Didn’t work out that month so we were gonna figure out, ‘Okay, maybe February we’ll do it.’ But then, COVID hit of course so that got put on the backburner until what was it? The 19th Anniversary Show I think I debuted at so that was March it got pushed back to but, yeah so, it was in the works for a while.
Although Ring of Honor is going on hiatus from live events, Dutch says The Righteous do have plans to work together on the independents and want to defend the Six-Man Tag Titles.
Oh yeah, absolutely. That is the plan [for The Righteous to stick together post-ROH]. We haven’t even begun to do what we can do I guess. We haven’t, you know — we haven’t shown the world what we are capable of doing yet. So yes, we do plan on staying together. It’s just, we all live — I live in New York, Vinny’s in Florida, BATEMAN’s in Los Angeles so it’s just kind of, okay, we gotta figure out how to get to the same places at the same time, you know? And I put out on Twitter yesterday that we’re willing to defend these titles wherever so I’m hoping that a few companies catch on and are like, ‘You know what? Let’s do it.’
** During a recent episode of Jessica McKay and Cassie Lee’s ‘Off Her Chops’ podcast, they recounted several of their interactions with Brock Lesnar in WWE. The duo decided to knock on Lesnar’s locker room door on one occasion and they had a good conversation.
Lee: One time we knocked on his [Brock Lesnar’s] locker room door. He came out, we had a good chat.
McKay: Had a great chat, yeah.
Lee: He just laughed at us.
McKay: He was always so nice though. We used to talk to him down the hallway when we walked past and I told him he looked jacked one time. He liked to hear it.
** Prior to his AEW World Title defense against Bryan Danielson at Winter Is Coming, Hangman Adam Page spoke to Bleacher Report. He was asked about the ‘Cowboy sh*t’ chants and thinks people just like having a reason to say “sh*t”.
It’s pretty cool. I think everybody just likes an excuse to say ‘s—t’. So when you have a perfect excuse to scream ‘Cowboy s–t,’ it’s kind of fun. So yeah, it’s pretty cool. It’s validating. Two or three years ago when we started AEW and we were untethered, unrestrained and unscripted, we were just allowed to be ourselves. I would have been cool if I had put myself out there and was, over the years, wholly rejected. I get to be myself. If it was rejected, that’s fine, but it hasn’t been. And there’s really no more validating feeling that you can get professionally and personally than 10,000 people screaming ‘Cowboy s–t.’
** QT Marshall spoke with Robbie Fox on ‘My Mom’s Basement’ and recalled AEW President Tony Khan informing him that he would be wrestling CM Punk in Chicago on the Thanksgiving-eve episode of Dynamite.
Man, I was getting ready to go out for commentary on [Dark] Elevation, possibly to start something and Tony [Khan] pulled me aside, he’s like, ‘Hey, next week you have CM Punk.’ I was like, ‘Okay. In Chicago?’ He’s like, ‘Yep.’ I was like, ‘Okay. Why?’ [QT laughed]. No, and he was just like, ‘We talked about it and this is something I think we wanna do and you know, it’s gonna be a really good thing because it’s his hometown and people hate you so it’ll be a really good dynamic and just have fun’ and I was like, ‘That’s awesome’ because someone like Punk, you know, not to get too inside but, we can just go out there and kind of wing it, you know what I mean? Have a couple of bullet points and that’s what I was trained to do. You know, and I thought we had a really good one and it was — the fans really enjoyed it and you know, there was some pushback but there’s always gonna be pushback when it comes to me and I kind of realized that and I enjoy it.
** A press conference concerning the NJPW versus NOAH show is taking place on 12/17. The press conference is going to air on NJPW’s YouTube channel.
** Scott Fishman of TV Insider published his interview with Freddie Prinze Jr. The former WWE writer shared some of the feedback he’s received about his podcast from those in WWE or people who once worked for the company. He said Sheamus sent him a message about it.
Sheamus texted me and he wrote in his Irish accent, ‘Ah Jaysus Freddie… I love you brother.’ I wrote back that I loved him, too. I tell a story about the first promo class that Vince [McMahon] held… I have gotten some feedback. They know it’s all love. I had such a wonderful time. Most everyone was good to me. It’s an old school company. They make you earn respect. That’s how the whole company was. I really responded well to that. That’s why I still have good relationships. Even the ones I didn’t have good relationships with, I still speak openly about. Everything I’ve said isn’t something I wouldn’t say to their faces. I don’t say anything mean or anything.
** Ring of Honor uploaded the following match to their YouTube channel featuring the late Jimmy Rave:
** Caprice Coleman wrote a feature about Jimmy Rave that is up on Ring of Honor’s website.
** Jon Huber (Brodie Lee) would have been 42 years old on 12/16.
** Bianca Belair chatted with the Milwaukee Record for an interview. She told the publication that if a fellow talent is having wardrobe issues, she often fixes it and she creates gear for Montez Ford as well.
** CTV ‘Your Morning’ welcomed Bret Hart onto the show.
We had a chance to chat with @CWOFame inductee @BretHart about how he felt when he heard the news. Click here for the full interview with the 'Hitman': https://t.co/Hhd65Re4kP pic.twitter.com/xbPrtneZ7u
— CTV Your Morning (@YourMorning) December 16, 2021
** Kofi Kingston appeared on FOX 45 Baltimore.
** NJPW1972.com has a written recap on their site of Hiromu Takahashi’s post-Best of the Super Juniors win press conference.
** Sports Illustrated chatted with Cody Rhodes and the focus of the interview was what Jim Ross adds to the AEW commentary team. Rhodes is looking forward to Ross’ return after his skin cancer treatments.
** Drew McIntyre volunteered at a food bank in Texas and The Dallas Morning News has a story about it.
** The Bella Twins were interviewed by Renee Paquette on SiriusXM.
** NWA World Women’s Tag Team Champions The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) appeared on Women’s Wrestling Talk.
** WrestleZone’s Bill Pritchard conducted an interview with IMPACT World Champion Moose.
** Matt Cardona sat down with Fightful.
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.