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 latest guest on René Duprée’s ‘Cafe De René’ podcast was Rob Van Dam. He recounted being a part of the segment on IMPACT’s weekly show that led to the company being temporarily banned on the Twitch platform. The segment included Van Dam’s significant other Katie Forbes and her friend Jennifer Barlow. Twitch issued a statement to POST Wrestling at the time and noted that “sexual content is not allowed on Twitch.”
This was a skit that we did on IMPACT’s show with me and Katie [Forbes] and her girlfriend Jennifer [Barlow] and well, first off, just the fact that they started adding Jennifer into the promos made me realize like, ‘Wow. That’s how small the world is here’ is like we tweet a couple of times and then they pick up on our Twitter and that becomes the storyline. I’m like, you know, wow, because we posted some stuff and all of a sudden, it’s in the storylines. I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m okay with that. Whatever.’ But they did this skit, we were celebrating something and the three of us were in bed. You know, it was like a… I had a robe on and Jennifer says, ‘Let me see that Rob Van d*ck’ and rips it open. What else did she say? It was ridiculous. They wrote it, you know what I mean? They edited it, they showed it and then got banned from Twitch TV which I guess was a pretty good part of their audience so they were banned and then had to get, you know, reinstated because no sexual content.
At WrestleMania 19, Van Dam was a part of the dark match before the main show went live. He said at the time, he was not happy about the tag title match being slotted in the pre-show spot to give more time to the Miller Lite Catfight Girls.
One year we wrestled and I don’t know who [was in] the match but we were told, ‘All right, guys, we’re short on time. Your match is gonna get thrown on Sunday Night Heat but don’t worry, you’re gonna get paid the same. It’ll be just as if you were on Mania’ and I was pissed. I was pissed because one, the pay did suck and I was pissed, I was offended from the wrestler perspective that they didn’t have room for the Tag Team Championship match — I was offended — on the card because they had to make room for the Miller Lite girls to wrestle and you know, as a performer, I was offended because that was my position at the time.
RVD has not wrestled in Japan since 2011 when he competed at Wrestle Kingdom 5. He was recently contacted by Simon Inoki, son-in-law to Antonio Inoki, about coming to Japan once the COVID-19 pandemic clears up.
Perhaps we’ll work again [RVD & René Duprée in Japan]. I got a message from Simon Inoki a couple months ago and we talked a little bit and then he said, ‘Okay, cool, except COVID.’ When some of the restrictions clear up, then you know, we’ll probably talk again but, we worked it out though so…
** Prior to IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard To Kill event, W. Morrissey made the media rounds and guest appeared on Vegas Bad Boyz Of Podcasting. Morrissey feels that IMPACT took a risk by bringing him on board because of his past and he wants to make sure he provides a return on the investment.
Yeah, IMPACT took a risk on me last April. I know my history, I’m not an idiot and I know it was a risky decision they made and I came in and my goal was to make that risk pay off big time for them and to show the world what I could do. Over the past eight months, I’ve done nothing but that, so I think I have proven that I deserve to be in a world title match, I deserve to be a world champion and I think that I’m gonna be the face of that company and I think I deserve that too and that’s not me being an asshole, it’s me being realistic. That’s just what I believe and if it doesn’t happen, guess what? I’m just gonna keep working harder and harder and harder until it does happen.
Morrissey debuted for IMPACT at their 2021 Rebellion pay-per-view. Since coming into the company, Jimmy Jacobs has been helpful to him and Morrissey is appreciative of it.
I think everybody kind of got a good feel for me pretty quickly that I’m there to help IMPACT Wrestling, I’m there to help the brand and I’m there to be the best that I can be and work as hard as possible to help everybody including myself and I think a person there that has really helped me is Jimmy Jacobs. He is — because he was with me in WWE and just a lot of things I go to him for and I’ll say, ‘Is that frowned upon here?’ Or, ‘Am I doing something?’ And he’s always reassuring me, ‘No, this is a different place. Don’t worry about that’ so, and he’s kind of given me the lay of the land from the second I got there is Jimmy Jacobs so I’m really appreciative of him.
** Sports Guys Talking Wrestling welcomed Doc Gallows onto the show. He told the story of when he and Karl Anderson took on Katsuyori Shibata and Hirooki Goto at Wrestle Kingdom 9. During a forearm exchange with Shibata, Gallows knocked him loopy but Shibata was able to regain his wits. Gallows thought he hurt Shibata and was worried.
I’ll give you a Wrestle Kingdom story that could’ve changed the course of my career if [Katsuyori] Shibata wasn’t such a tough guy. In Japanese wrestling, as wrestling fans and people who watch, you guys know the forearm exchange is a huge thing in Japanese wrestling. The one-two, back and forth, the big stiff forearm shots, you know, to the jaw, to the side of the head, to the shoulder, whatever you’re doing. But I broke my right elbow about 15 years ago in WWE developmental. I never had it fixed so that elbow is like a calcified antler sticking out of my right arm so I’ve never thrown a good forearm shot and been able to control it very well and I expressed this to my Japanese management on several occasions but they wanted to see that and that’s a big thing and we tagged in for Shibata’s hot comeback and he popped me with one forearm and I popped him with one back and he went to sleep live on pay-per-view in front of 45,000 people and thank God his muscle memory and him being such a badass MMA, pro wrestler guy kicked in and he was able to come to and go through the motions and finish the match and the sequence that we were headed into but, I had a little dookie in my shorts there for a second thinking I really screwed up bad.
** Tom Hannifan, the former ‘Tom Phillips’ is now the lead play-by-play announcer for IMPACT Wrestling. He made his debut at the Hard To Kill pay-per-view. Tom spent the last nine years with WWE and while talking to Renee Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast, he shared that he was “heartbroken” about his WWE release.
But yeah, it’s been really good for me [losing weight], it’s been good for my mental health. I know everybody talks about mental health but, it’s been a rollercoaster past year for me and I won’t get into too much but like — I know [Renee Paquette likes to deep dive into things]. There’s a lot of stuff in my personal life that has changed and in terms of obviously leaving WWE as I mentioned, this is all that I knew for nine years so, I was heartbroken when that happened so, a lot happened in a very short span. If anything that this past year has taught me is that it’s the old cliché that good things come to an end and that’s okay.
He was later asked about his working relationship with Vince McMahon. Hannifan said he and Vince’s relationship was always professional and they understood one another.
Very professional. I know a lot of people wanted to make sure that they were like really close friends with him [Vince McMahon] or something like that. I just always treated everything like, ‘Okay, you tell me what you want me to do and I’ll go do it, period,’ and I just left it at that and so, I always felt it was very professional and we understood each other. If he fed me something, he fed me something but like, I just tried to keep it simple that way. My dad was a Marine so when I grew up, he always taught me the value of being like, ‘Go to work, do your job and do whatever they ask you to do.’ So, I took that personally.
At Hard To Kill, Hannifan and D’Lo Brown welcomed Ring of Honor’s Ian Riccaboni to the commentary table to call the ROH World Title between Chris Sabin and champion Jonathan Gresham. Hannifan told Riccaboni that the bout is his to call and he’ll [Hannifan] be there to add in.
Well then we had Ian Riccaboni on for the Ring of Honor World Title match and listen, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I know every last thing about Ring of Honor and Pure Rules so, first of all, Ian’s a Philly guy so it was like awesome. I was genuinely wanting to work with him and it’s literally my first night out I get to do that so that was sick. But I told him, I was like, ‘Dude, this is your company, this is your match so like, I’ll be there to drop in a few things here and there’ and he and D’Lo just ran. It was so much fun. It was easy.
He discussed the transition from the WWE style of commentary to the free-flow style outside of the company. He mentioned being able to actually say the words ‘Bullet Club’ and ‘pro wrestling’ was cool to do.
I mean, yeah [I had to find myself as a broadcaster again]. You go from the pressure being, for a number of different reasons in terms of the way that WWE produces their shows but like, all of a sudden it’s like, okay, like, it’s all on you. It’s largely your show. I was given a lot of faith to go out there and do what we did with D’Lo [Brown] so yeah, it was nerve racking because I’m like, ‘Oh, this is what I did’ and then as you remember from WWE, there’s certain ways that they like things done and things said and not said and all of a sudden, I can say certain things that I wasn’t able to say and I was like, ‘This is really cool.’ I think I said it on the Countdown to Hard To Kill, we couldn’t refer to Bullet Club, obviously for trademark reasons and we always danced around it and we said ‘The Club’ so I was like, ‘Oh, I can say Bullet Club on the air. I can say pro wrestling’ and it’s just like little trademark things and branding things that WWE likes to do and that’s fine but, there’s just so many little changes here and it’s just, yeah.
** Kaito Kiyomiya was on the losing end of the tag match at the NOAH versus NJPW show. He teamed with Keiji Muto to take on Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Kiyomiya reacted to a comment made by Okada which is that if he’s frustrated, he should come to New Japan. Here’s the response Kiyomiya gave to Tokyo Sports:
If I go to New Japan, I think I’ll have a different experience from NOAH. I’m sure there are many different worlds. But right now, the world I want to cherish is NOAH. I can’t speak highly of NOAH [at the moment] because I’ve lost, but I want to do well here.
** Coming off the heels of his appearance at IMPACT Wrestling Hard To Kill, Matt Taven guest appeared on The Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast. He shared his thoughts about Ring of Honor announcing the Supercard of Honor event for April. Taven still isn’t quite sure what the future holds for Ring of Honor and said if the ROH Tag Title match at Final Battle was his last ROH match, he’s happy with that.
No [I still don’t know what’s going to happen with Ring of Honor] and I still have no idea if that match will be the last match I ever had in a Ring of Honor ring. No idea and if it was, that’s exactly the way I wanted to go out. You know, The Briscoes and The Kingdom or The OGK have had a rivalry that has lasted half of my career in Ring of Honor and there’s no other people or group of guys that I would rather be in the ring with for my last time in Ring of Honor than Mike [Bennett], Mark [Briscoe] and Jay [Briscoe] because Mark and Jay, they are Ring of Honor and to me, I felt like Baltimore should’ve kind of really been a ‘thank you’ to them and so anything that I can do to be a part of that is kind of like — it makes me feel like I — I kind of got to a height of Ring of Honor that I could put myself in the final match against The Briscoes and feel like this is how it should go. So it’s kind of — it’s a pat on the back just for me to be in the ring with those guys in what could be, like I said, my last match with them.
Taven appeared at Hard To Kill alongside Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis-Bennett, PCO and Vincent. Taven and Vincent had been at odds on ROH programming, but Taven explained his logic behind him and Vincent working together now and said he’d rather trust the devil he knows than trust the devil he doesn’t.
You can always use a wild card. Well, here’s how I phrase it: When the chips are down and you have to make a deal with the devil, would you rather make a deal with the devil you know or the devil you don’t? And to me, I’ve known Vincent for years. I mean the guy has cut me with an axe and drank my blood. I don’t know how much closer you can get with a human being. So, when you’re publicly fired and don’t know what’s happening next, man I’ve worked too hard for this to end like this so I’ll make a deal with the devil and I’ll choose that devil, being the one that I’ve known since day one in my wrestling career.
** IMPACT Wrestling senior producer Josh Matthews was interviewed by the Alliance Pro Wrestling Network. When asked if he misses being the lead play-by-play announcer for IMPACT, Matthews said ‘no’ and explained that he wanted to step into his current position once the now-retired Keith Mitchell departed IMPACT for AEW.
No [I do not miss being the lead play-by-play IMPACT announcer]. I’ll be really honest with you, I love broadcasting wrestling, I love calling action, I love sitting out there but, for as long — once Keith Mitchell left IMPACT and went to AEW and now Keith has retired recently and nothing but the best to Keith from his 40-year career that spanned, you know, World Class, WCW, TNA, IMPACT. There was a void and the void was in our producer’s chair and we tried to fill it and I ultimately asked many times, ‘Can I please try it? Can I please just try it?’ And maybe got in over my head and you know, told Scott D’Amore many times, ‘I can do it. I’ll be fine’ and ultimately we made the decision that I was gonna try it and I love it. There’s no place that I’d rather be right now in my career than sitting in that chair producing the show and making all aspects of the broadcast as strong as they can be.
The idea of bringing back the six-sided ring was discussed. Matthews explained how tasking it can be from a production standpoint to make it happen. Bringing it back for one night only is a big factor as to why it has not happened yet. Matthews does enjoy seeing the online debates about whether it should return or not.
It’s hard honestly, logistically if it were just to be one night to bring that back [six-sided ring] and I think that that’s kind of, you know, that is a big factor as to why. I, as a fan of IMPACT over the years and TNA over the years, to me, it was never — it was cool to see and then it was cool not to see and it was cool see to it come back and then it was cool so, I don’t know. I know that fans often get into these debates about the six-sided ring and whether or not it should come back or whether or not it shouldn’t come back but, you know, that’s six [ring] skirts, that’s more skirts to — you know, I now think of it from a different standpoint, right? Now we have to order more turnbuckles and we have to order different ring skirts and canvases and things like that but, as a fan, watching, it’s always a fun debate to have and you know, as long as it’s not around, the fans can debate or not [if] it should be around.
** Comicbook.com has an interview on their site with Johnny Gargano. He told the site that he believes Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory can make a lot of money for WWE. Gargano said he’s happy to see Theory in the position he’s in on Raw and during an exchange between the two, Gargano told him to become WWE Champion.
It feels like Austin just kind of went from me being his father figure to Vince McMahon now being his father figure. But yeah, it’s wild, man. I’m so happy for him because he does work really, really hard. And Austin and Indi (Hartwell) both, it was always my mission this past year to put them in a position to where they could be Superstars. And they’re so young and they’re so talented, the both of them, and I feel like WWE has such a gold mine in Austin and Indi that I hope they take advantage of it because I feel like they can make that company a lot of money for many, many years. But yeah, it’s so cool to see. I left a comment on one of his Instagram posts and told him to go become WWE Champion because he’s got all the tools to do it. So it’s just very cool to see him get that opportunity.
On the lead up to NXT WarGames, Gargano teased the return of the ‘Rebel Heart’ theme song which he used for WarGames and his final appearance on NXT TV. He feels that the theme is linked to his Johnny Wrestling persona and recounted how fun it was to see the hype surrounding it.
I’ll always be Johnny Wrestling. It was such a fun thing, especially for my last TakeOver and I guess my last appearance on NXT television, to be able to come out to ‘Rebel Heart’ and have that back because I feel like that’s the pure Johnny Wrestling at his core.
And I feel like people missed that so much, and that was on purpose. I felt like for a long time I did the pure Johnny Wrestling thing… I did the pure Johnny Wrestling thing for so long that if you’re a character for such a long time, people grow stagnant of it, people get tired of it. If you watch a television show, you read a comic book and the same character’s around and he’s doing the same thing all the time, (it) gets tiring, you know?
So I wanted to get people a break from that, but it was so rewarding for me to be able to hear people want that again. That was really fun for me to be able to read the comments. And when I teased ‘Rebel Heart’ coming back, people were so pumped and it was really cool to kind of bring that back for one final go-around. But like I said, I will always be Johnny Wrestling, no matter what.
** This past September, Zicky Dice confirmed that he signed with IMPACT Wrestling. He recently spoke to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp and explained why he opted to sign with IMPACT over MLW who also made him an offer.
[The IMPACT Wrestling offer] came out of nowhere. Right before that, MLW had made an offer, like the week before. I was in this waiting period, just keep pushing and seeing what happened. It was the next week that I had gotten an email from Scott D’Amore. We sat and talked, then we met in person and talked in person. I felt that, where I was in my career, that was the right choice at the time. I’m very happy with the choice I made. With IMPACT, I can still show up at AAA, New Japan, I can go to NWA, AEW if I’d like. The door is open, if you will, and I’m looking to really turn things up a bit. If you’ve seen Zicky in the past, expect it when you least expect it, because it’s coming.
They [MLW] also have a great team and boy, they can pack the house. The office is very easy to talk to and a great experience overall. It was a tough decision. When I was thinking, I was taking it to the wife, I’m bouncing things back and forth and thinking, ‘Should I wait?’ Back and forth emails with Regal for a little bit. I was sitting and waiting and was in this weird floating area and I was hoping I would hear back from AEW and I was in this weird zone. I had to let things play out the way they were supposed to. After some long hard thought, I said, ‘I’m gonna go to IMPACT.’
** Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald conducted an interview with Kimber Lee. She was trained by WWE’s Drew Gulak and Kimber said for a period of time, she resented Gulak for how tough he was on her. She also wouldn’t have had it any other way because Gulak never treated her different from her male counterparts.
He’s tough [Drew Gulak as a trainer]. I can’t say — there were points when I first started that I resented him a little bit because of how much he put me through. I was the first female he ever trained. I’m really kind of his first student period that was ever just his and not only was I the first student, I was also a female and in wrestling, we’re kind of the minority and we have a reputation for ‘not being as good as the boys’ and Drew wasn’t gonna have any of that. I had to do all the same drills, I was the only female in my class so if we were doing like a fireman’s carry while running drill, I still had to do it with a guy that was bigger than me. He didn’t care. He was super hard on me, he yelled at me, he beat me up but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world now. It’s tough to be a female in this business so you have to be able to get through the tough part and you should be kept to the same standard as the males that are here and try to be better than them and that’s always what I’ve tried to do. Now we’ve progressed from just student-trainer to a relationship where he’s like one of my biggest confidants, somebody I can look up to. He’s still, even being in WWE, me and you may know Wheeler YUTA, is another student of his and anytime we see each other, we’re like, ‘Have you talked to dad recently?’ So, it’s just — he’s become one of my best friends from being this trainer and he still looks out for me and if I need advice, he’s got it.
For a good portion of 2021, Lee had been paired on-screen with Deonna Purrazzo. She feels that Purrazzo has a claim to be the best women’s technical wrestler and spoke about the off-screen friendship they were able to establish.
You know, I can’t say enough great things about Deonna [Purrazzo]. She is a fantastic wrestler. She’s an amazing — she claims [to be] the greatest women’s technical professional wrestler and she has every right to say that. She’s one of the best. She — a lot of the time, the technical side of stuff that women can struggle with and she shows that, ‘No, you can be just as good.’ We’re not aligned anymore. I have been transported to the Undead Realm and I’m kind of possessed by Su Yung now… Thursday nights on AXS, gotta watch it, see what’s going on. But, it’s somebody who we had been acquaintances on the independent scene. When I was signed with WWE, she wasn’t there. We were kind of passing ships in the night there so we didn’t really work together much while she was there because I was gone at that time. But, getting to work with her more in IMPACT really kind of made a friendship that I didn’t know was possible so she’s become somebody I really trust now too so it’s a cool thing.
** Jonathan Hood welcomed Jeff Jarrett onto his ‘Tuesday Wrestling Tuesday’ show. On 1/15, Jarrett is appearing at GCW’s ‘Say You Will’ to follow up on his surprise debut earlier this month. Jarrett shared that he has a mission statement to get across in GCW and it’ll slowly be revealed.
No, I’m not [sure what to expect from the GCW version of myself]. But, I’ll tell you what, and to get my cheap plug in but it’s completely reality-based. On my podcast, ‘My World’, it has been a lot of fun, at times therapeutic, at times it brings up fun feelings. I candidly — there’s some feelings that I dive into and go back and retell stories and you know, have a little anger and resentment and, ‘Why did this happen? Why did that happen?’ And at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason and as I walk into Chicago this weekend, there’s a lot of, I guess you could say the sum total of our parts as who we are. When I look at the landscape of the industry and I’m talking bring it all in; WWE, AEW, both of those promotions are very strong in the Chicago market and look, going back 30, 40 years ago, it was the Verne Gagne market. One thing that is sort of tried and true is the very base of this business and I think a lot of guys today, Matt Cardona formerly known as Zack, you know, Zack Ryder, the guys come in and think they are the greatest thing since sliced bread. They’re the new, the this and that and they revolutionized this and done that. When in reality, I look back over my 35-year career and it just comes a time and place — some folks are referring to me as ‘The Last Outlaw’ and maybe that’s the voice that I’m gonna have, that — I’m not exactly sure [about] the message I’m gonna deliver Saturday but it will be a message and that’s sort of my mindset. I’m not even completely clear. Conrad [Thompson] has asked me on the air on the podcast and he’s already asked me a number of times off the air, ‘Like what is it?’ And I just said, ‘I’ve got a mission statement but it will be slowly, slowly revealed.’
** While speaking to Chris Van Vliet, Killer Kross shared that when was on his way to Full Sail for the first time since signing with WWE, he wore a mask until he met Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque in person. He did not want word to get out that he was in the area.
He did [Jon Moxley put me in contact with Triple H]. I waited for the appropriate time to contact him. I was on the subway at the time and I spoke to him, and it was a super pleasant conversation. I did have a correspondence over the years with WWE with tryouts and background stuff. But that was the conversation that really cemented a lot of different things, and just having the ability to get to know him and understand exactly what he is looking for. I had the feeling from the conversation that he [Triple H] was looking for guys that were 110% in, and then some. I’m not going to wait to be told, I am going to be committed and bring everything into this and embrace the process. I was very protective about being signed there, I didn’t want people to be stooging this off. When I first arrived in NXT, I put on a luchador mask. I’m in a 3-piece suit with a lucha mask, which I used to use when traveling to Mexico. Fans and media would be at the airport. If there’s a car outside, you can only mess around with so many people in the airport. So I was walking around NXT in the mask, and I wondered if anyone would recognize me? I thought I would have to get this close [puts hand in front of face] before he would recognize me.
I think he just knew. But he started laughing and I started laughing. I walked up to him and shook his hand and said, ‘I’m sorry, I just wanted to protect this. I didn’t want anyone stooging this off.’ Then he just started laughing and said, ‘I appreciate your commitment.’ But I thought it would be a funny ice breaker.
** Ella Jay of ‘A Wrestling Gal’ podcast spoke to Jade Chung. Jade is a former in-ring performer and is married to current IMPACT Wrestling talent Josh Alexander. During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jade and Josh watched throwback IMPACT events on the official IMPACT Twitch channel. Chung was saddened when the watch-along streams were no longer being filmed which led to her launching her own podcast.
Again, the pandemic, it was like, ‘I want to do something’ and at that time, IMPACT had stopped filming the IMPACT Plus Playback. It was a show that my husband [Josh Alexander] and I hosted together where we would watch past TNA-IMPACT pay-per-views, TV tapings, matches on Twitch every Wednesday and I loved it, it was great because I was still involved in wrestling that way, right? Because wrestling still makes me very happy even though I’m not actively involved and then it got — you know, it got canceled so I was really, really sad and you know, I thought, ‘What could I do?’ And it was my husband’s idea, ‘Why don’t you just do a podcast?’ And I said, ‘Well…’ I joked about it and then I said, ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll do that.’
** Ariane Andrew promoted her fitness app while on CBS 5’s ‘Arizona Family’ show.
** WWE uploaded behind-the-scenes footage to their YouTube channel of Sasha Banks doing the special introduction for ESPN’s College Football National Championship game.
** Below are videos from John Cena’s return to The Tonight Show:
** Sammy Guevara’s latest Vlog:
** Matt Cardona and Brian Myers have a new Vlog on their YouTube channel which recaps their experience at the IMPACT Wrestling ‘Throwback Throwdown’ taping.
** 2point0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) uploaded the following video to their YouTube channel:
** The Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows’) IMPACT Wrestling Hard To Kill Vlog:
** Big E appeared on ‘Unnecessary Roughness’ to talk college football.
** DAZN pushed out their interview with Diamond Dallas Page.
** David Arquette spoke to Comicbook.com.
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.