POST NEWS UPDATE: Wardlow weighs in on not being considered one of AEW’s ‘four pillars’

Wardlow weighs in on the 'four pillars' conversation, D-Von Dudley on The Usos using 3D, Adam Scherr/Bray Wyatt, Tama Tonga notes and more

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling

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.

** To promote the 1/19 AEW Dynamite, Wardlow was interviewed by ’98 Rock Baltimore’. He was asked for his thoughts about not being considered one of AEW’s ‘four pillars’. Wardlow does think he’s overlooked in that regard and mentioned that he had been signed to AEW prior to their 2019 All Out event.

Absolutely, every day [I wonder why I’m not considered an AEW pillar]. So I think I get looked over simply because the fact that-that very first Dynamite in Washington [D.C.], I was not seen and I was not seen for a number of weeks until November when I debuted and attacked Cody [Rhodes]. But just because I showed up, you know, a few weeks late, I was still signed well before that first Dynamite, before All Out. You know, so I am an original and I believe I’m the foundation that those four pillars stand on.

He talked about what The Pinnacle would look like without him in it and also imagined what the group would look like presentation-wise if he was leading it.

With Wardlow leading it [The Pinnacle], I think we would be the definition of the name ‘The Pinnacle’, truly. But obviously, with a certain individual in that group, that will never be the case. What does The Pinnacle look like without Wardlow? They look much, much more weak and I don’t think they’d be able to call themselves the top of the top. I think they’d have to change their name from The Pinnacle to something a little more fitting.

** The ‘Wrestle Buddy’ podcast welcomed D-Von Dudley onto the show. As the conversation rolled on, D-Von shared his thoughts about The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) utilizing the 3D on WWE TV. He mentioned that The Usos asked him about doing the move nearly a year ago and he enjoys seeing them pull it off.

I love it [The Usos using The 3D]. That’s what people don’t get, The Usos and I at live events and things like that had talked about them using the 3D. They came to me and asked me about a year-and-a-half, maybe two years ago and I remember telling them, you know, ‘You guys can use it. Me and Bubba not using it anymore. You know, so why not? Use it.’ I know The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) had tried it a couple times. The Bar tried it even at live events and you know, Bubba came back and said something, you know, ‘Don’t make me and D-Von come back’ and I sat up there and said, ‘Bubba, I told them to use it. We were talking about it,’ and so, I think it’s great because again, we’d been talking about this for months and so when I was watching the show [WWE Day 1] and I saw them use it, I was shocked. I was — I literally jumped out of my seat. I was like, ‘Yes! Yes!’ You know? And I was like, ‘He better not kick out, he better not kick out. Nobody kicks out of the 3D’ and there was no kick out so it was great. I loved it. I texted them and I told them, I said, ‘Phenomenal match on both parties.’ The New Day as well of course and I said, ‘Tremendous finish’ because I remember they were doing a splash or a double splash leading up and right before was the double superkick and there was a kick out. I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ When I saw that, I said, ‘There better be a huge finish after this because there’s no way they can do all of that, kick out and then have something that can compliment that’ and sure enough, they did. It was 3D.

When D-Von is on the road with WWE, he produces the 24/7 Title segments on top of his other responsibilities. He said that Vince McMahon has given him full creative control with the 24/7 Title and allows him to oversee those how he sees fit.

And the 24/7 Title with Reggie. I’ve had great times with those. All of those matches with Reggie were great. I enjoyed so much of it and you know, Vince [McMahon], he was able to give me — he goes, ‘D-Von, that’s your baby. You have creative control. You know what I want, my vision. Go head and put your twist on it’ and he let me, he allowed me to do that. He allowed me to be in charge of those matches and I think that’s why we were able to be as successful as we were with the 24/7.

He spoke highly of the current WWE roster and the company’s younger talents. D-Von feels that at times, they are not able to what they want to, but he also understands Vince McMahon’s way of thinking as far as keeping a leash on some talents.

Well, I think — this young roster nowadays I think is great. They’re very innovative. Sometimes, I do feel that they’re not able to do what they fully wanna do, but you know, you gotta understand, Vince [McMahon] has to have a leash on people because you know, sometimes you can let ‘em go but then sometimes you gotta pull them back. It all depends on what it is.

When The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bully Ray) split in the early 2000s, D-Von adopted the ‘Reverend D-Von’ character. For the character’s on-screen debut, he defeated Triple H. D-Von heaped praise onto Levesque for helping him establish the character. He mentioned that he believes it was Levesque who is responsible for him securing the WWE producer job.

One of the biggest victories that I had… as [the] Reverend D-Von character was the match I had with Triple H and you know, my opinion, I say this a lot, I don’t think Hunter would have ever laid down for me on SmackDown if he thought that-that character wasn’t good enough for him to do that or to help bring it to the next level. So apparently, I was doing something right for Hunter to take that approach and I remember Hunter giving me, you know, some good feedback on the Reverend D-Von character. I will always be grateful for Hunter for helping me to maintain my sanity during the Reverend D-Von character. There were times when it was me and Bubba [Bully Ray] versus say, him and Stephanie McMahon where he would, you know, come to me during the match and would say, ‘D-Von, let’s shine you. Let’s get you over.’ I’m like, ‘Great,’ but Hunter was always in my corner, I never had a problem and ‘till this day, I will always say that it was Hunter that brought me in as a producer.

Elsewhere during the conversation, the topic of discussion became the TLC match from WrestleMania 17 involving Edge and Christian, The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy). D-Von suggested that-that match should go into the WWE Hall of Fame.

In my opinion, I think that we should — you know, the n.W.o got inducted into the [WWE] Hall of Fame and those guys were already in it. How about a TLC induction? How about recognizing how special that much was? Because think about it, not only was the match special, but they actually named a pay-per-view after it. So, you know, it has some relevance to it to be special, so why not put that match in the Hall of Fame?

Earlier in the interview, D-Von expressed how much ECW meant to him and his career. He said he’ll always be a ‘Paul Heyman guy’ because of how Heyman protected him early in his career when the outside world could have “crushed” him.

But I loved ECW. ECW is where I got my start. When no one else would give me a shot, ECW did so I will always be grateful for ECW and I will always be a Paul Heyman guy. You know, I get it, some people say what they say about Paul but Paul protected me in a lot of ways with his business. I could have been crushed a long time ago because a lot of people don’t realize, it’s not what you do in the ring, it’s what you do outside the ring that matters that either make or destroy your career and you know, I was young. I was a young punk and you know, growing my — trying to fill my royal oats and all of that and I was getting in a little bit of trouble along the way. Not much, but just little things here and there but that could’ve destroyed me and it didn’t and I was really taught by [Tommy] Dreamer and Paul Heyman what to do and what not to do, which I believe every young promising star at some point needs to have that guidance to guide them along the way.

When D-Von first arrived to ECW, he shared that one of the first things he learned was how to swing a chair. He recalled working with former ECW talent J.T. Smith and Smith’s wife requesting that he step away from wrestling due the injuries he tallied up. D-Von said when he hit J.T. Smith with a chair and gave him a concussion, that was the final straw for Smith’s significant other.

The first thing I learned when I came to ECW was how to swing a chair. Poor J.T. Smith got the hell beat out of him. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Paul [Heyman] just told me, he goes, ‘D-Von, you gotta swing this chair. If you don’t swing it right, these fans will sh*t on you and I won’t be able to use you for the next six months to a year. So you have to be able to swing this chair’ and I told Paul E., I said, ‘I don’t know how to swing the chair.’ He was like, ‘Don’t worry, just bring it up and down, that’s it.’ He didn’t tell me how hard. I was like, ‘Oh well’ and [I] gave J.T. Smith a concussion where his wife told him she didn’t want him wrestling anymore, you know, because he was getting hurt so much and that was kind of like the last straw. To this day, any time I see J.T. Smith, I hug him and I apologize. I’m like, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry’ and, ‘D-Von, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it python,’ and I’m like, ‘All right, cool.’

** Adam Scherr f.k.a. Braun Strowman, EC3 and The Narrator hosted a new edition of ‘Control Your Narrative Weekly’. On 1/22, Scherr is teaming up with Erick Redbeard to take on nZo and Bully Ray for Northeast Wrestling. Scherr extended an invite to Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt) to come be a part of the match.

You know, you guys have heard that noise before, right? [Bray Wyatt’s flash sound before his entrance] If you haven’t seen what I’m talking about, just type in YouTube when you get done watching us, ‘Windham Rotunda’ and he’s up to something. He flashed a graphic of Erick [Redbeard] and I versus nZo and Bubba [Bully Ray] this weekend in Poughkeepsie [for Northeast Wrestling] so, friend or foe, Windham, show up, come to Poughkeepsie. Answer your damn phone, anything. You wanna get these [hands]? Come get ‘em. You wanna come be my brother? Come on. I’m sure Erick would love to see you as well as the rest of the wrestling universe so, yeah, there’s that.

** While appearing on the All Real Wrestling Podcast, Tama Tonga recounted the story of how he believes he secured his job with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He was involved in a tag match that was to highlight Hirooki Goto. Tama landed face-first on the outside after doing a suicide dive and dislocated his shoulder in the process. He finished the match and once he got to the backstage area, he was told to go home and heal and then when he returned, he was placed into the Young Lion system.

I got in there in 2010 [NJPW] and I was already on their TV and stuff. But I was just — I was jobbing for everybody and that was my job just to put people over and so I — I don’t know. I kind of just was like, ‘When am I gonna get paid?’ That was my mindset, you know? I wasn’t looking towards being on TV, I wasn’t looking towards — I was just trying to put some money in my damn pocket because I was so damn broke. So, man, I didn’t really become part of their roster until — the beginning was 2011, the end of 2011 into 2012 is when they inserted me into their Young Boy system, their developmental system because I came in green and they knew that but I was just a filler. I was just like, jobbing for people and so, I’m real expendable, you know? And so, I had done something at the end of 2011. I was actually on my last tour and they were gonna send me home and I was done and so, you know, I had done something. I did a dive on this — I did a dive and the guy missed me or I overshot the guy and I spiked the ground, the cement and I hit here [side of my face] and it knocked me out and I dislocated my right shoulder and the next thing I knew, I wake up and they’re counting. [Red Shoes] Unno, the referee was counting and all I hear is ringing so like, I get up and I make it back to the ring and everybody, the whole arena is silent and the wrestlers are just looking at me like, ‘Holy sh*t’ so, we get in and it was the beginning of the match. It was like within the first three minutes of the match and I had to take the heat so I go in, I take the heat and then finally after the heat, [Hirooki] Goto, I was tagging with Goto, Goto finished the match for us but they couldn’t call the match because it was Goto’s big return to Mexico and so, it was supposed to highlight him so, anyways, I think that kind of — that got me the job that I was able to finish the match and so, you know, when I came to the back, the boss was just like, ‘You go home, heal up and then you come back’ and when I came back, I was put into a developmental system so I think that’s when I first became part of New Japan really.

The Good Brothers (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) returned to New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2021 and won the Tag Team Turbulence tournament. They have yet to receive their shot at the IWGP Tag Team Titles. Tama thought Gallows and Anderson were going to come back to Japan. He feels that he tried to set the table for some interactions, but it was not followed up on.

We were the OGs [Bullet Club in Japan] but they [Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows in WWE] were The O.C., they were The Club, they were the — they had a few names and it never bothered me, you know? It never bothered me. I thought it was funny when they came back and I thought they were going to come back and we were gonna like, figure out some stuff here to come back to Japan but obviously the pandemic, so I thought it was funny to — when they started their stuff, want us to poke fun at it and see what we can do with it, you know? We kept throwing them damn alley-oops but nobody was dunking it.

** Current IMPACT Wrestling commentator Tom Hannifan, the former ‘Tom Phillips’ sat down with Chris Van Vliet for an interview. Hannifan recounted having to go to the WWE Performance Center to learn how to take a bump in case a situation arose during an on-air interview where he had to fall. Hannifan’s attempts resulted in Michael Cole and Matt Bloom laughing.

Oh God no! [I do not want to get in the ring]. So there was one instance where we had to learn how to take a bump. It was a safety measure, say you are doing an interview in the ring and there is an attack from behind, you are caught in the melee, so you might have to take a bump or get out of the ring. Escaping the ring is not that easy, so I remember being at the Performance Center, it’s me and a handful of the announcers, and we had to learn how to take a bump. Michael Cole is there watching, Matt Bloom is there watching, and I took one bump, forgot to breathe, my legs stayed straight up and the wind is knocked out of me. Cole and Bloom are there laughing hysterically and they are reminding me that I have to sell, I’m like [raspy], ‘I am selling!’ It just sucked, and I’m thinking about the guys who are taking horrific bumps in the center of the ring and in the corners, and I’m like what is wrong with these people? But you understand the glory of being a superstar. But it is just not for me.

Hannifan learned and trained under Michael Cole. He brought up how patient Cole was and Hannifan stressed how important that was to him.

While I did not have a ton of patience, he was very patient with me. It was just to be patient, keep working and not give up on circumstance. I was moved around shows on the carousel, and I was so freaking young. For him to be patient with me, that was the biggest thing.

Throughout his time in the company, he was on the call for Raw, SmackDown, NXT, 205 Live and NXT UK. Tom has fond memories of his NXT UK commentary stretch and described it as one of his best experiences.

One of the best experiences I had was at NXT UK, which is criminally underrated. Just having that opportunity to briefly be working over there in the United Kingdom with the extraordinary group of talented people that they have over there. Everybody that they have on that show wants to be there. That for me was an opportunity at the end of 2019. I had been taken off of SmackDown, I did 205 and NXT UK for a while, and then in 2020 I came back for the Rumble. But I just prided myself on staying up to date on everything, because at one point or another, I had to cover everything.

** On night one of NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 16, Shingo Takagi lost the IWGP World Heavyweight Title to Kazuchika Okada. Shingo spoke to Tokyo Sports as a part of the publication’s interview series for their yearly awards. He gave the following remarks when asked about the loss to Okada:

The shock was huge, but there’s no point in dwelling on it forever. I think the true essence of Shingo Takagi is to crawl up from here. I realized some things in the Okada fight, so I have a good feeling that I can still do well [going forward].

** Sebastian Hackl of WWE Deutschland went live on Instagram with Big E. The former WWE Champion looked back on his transition from NXT to the main roster. He feels that he was not comfortable when he was called up and was too worried about not upsetting people or stepping on toes.

No, that’s — I guess it’s something that I don’t know if I would have admitted to myself at the time but no, I think you’re right [about not feeling comfortable on the main roster when I first got there] and you know, I think on one hand, the ‘Five-Count’ really allowed me to open up and to — like I just had so much fun doing that and interacting with the crowd and then I come up on the main roster and I’m this silent bodyguard with no personality. But even beyond just the characters and the presentation, you know, I think I really — it did take me some time to get comfortable because I think in many ways, NXT, especially then — this is the Hulu days. If you live in the United States, this is when you could only really catch us on Hulu. It wasn’t the NXT that NXT became, you know? When Samoa Joe, when Cesaro, when Sami Zayn, when Kevin Owens were really dominating the brand, the TakeOver era. We weren’t during the TakeOver era and in many ways, I think I was comfortable in NXT and I felt like, ‘All right, this — in many ways, this is my show,’ especially when I had the title but then you get on Raw and SmackDown and you’re dealing with just these massive names with the John Cenas, the Kanes, Daniel Bryan and I think for me and something that I wish I could have — you know, I kind of wish I could have gone back and change but I’m glad — you know, I learned some things but I really wasn’t comfortable as I wanted to be. I think I was too worried about not upsetting people or not stepping on toes and all of that and it took me a while to really find my comfort zone but no, I think that’s a really accurate and honest way to depict it is really, it just took me a while to get comfortable again.

** Dallas, Texas’ own E.J. Nduka was profiled by The Dallas Morning News ahead of MLW Blood & Thunder. Nduka shared that one of the reasons he chose to join MLW is because during their conversational phase, they were the only organization to not ask about his release from WWE.

MLW was actually the last promotion that contacted me. The reason why I went with MLW, they were the only ones that did not ask me what happened. I was not trying to keep doing interviews and talking about why I got fired. I wanted to become a star.

** Daily Star pushed out their interview with NXT UK Tag Team Champion Trent Seven. Trent feels that NXT UK were leaders of the pack in wrestling when it comes to making empty arena wrestling work and touched on how long the NXT UK talents had to compete without fans.

No other professional wrestling brand in professional wrestling or sports entertainment on this planet has had to do what NXT UK has done. The hoops it has had to jump through and the red tape we’ve had to work through. No one did it for as long as we did and I don’t want to say we mastered it, as I don’t ever want to go back to that again, but I truly believe that the quality of performance from our roster, from bell to bell all the way through, is second to none as far as the empty arena era goes. I think that’s shown us how hard our team works, and just how much our team wants it and wants this brand to succeed.

** New York Post caught up with IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions The IInspiration (Jessica McKay & Cassie Lee). McKay looked back on the opportunity she and Cassie had to score a win in Australia at WWE Super Show-Down in 2018.

One that means a lot to me would be our tag-team match against Asuka and Naomi at Super Show-Down in Melbourne for so many reasons. That was really our first huge show in our home country (Australia). Our families were in the crowd. We won, which was amazing.

** As of this writing, Atsushi Onita, Jun Akiyama and Tatsumi Fujinami are scheduled for the Jumbo Tsuruta 23rd Anniversary Memorial Event on May 31st. The event is taking place at Korakuen Hall. Dory Funk Jr., who helped train Tsuruta, is hoping to be at the show live. Tsuruta passed away in May of 2000.

** The Tennessean caught up with Paul Heyman and Charlotte Flair to promote the 1/21 SmackDown in Nashville, Tennessee.

** Alicia Atout pushed out her interview with Chris Dickinson.

** For edition #90 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series, he spoke about his 2011 G1 Climax matches with Toru Yano and Lance Archer.

** STARDOM’s Momo Watanabe did an in-character interview with Tokyo Sports.

** The following video is from Hikaru Shida’s YouTube channel:

** Joe Galli, commentator for the National Wrestling Alliance, appeared on “Da” Podcast.

** MLW’s Richard Holliday was interviewed by Fightful. Holliday also spoke to WrestleZone.

** An article about WWE’s Damon Kemp (Bobby Steveson).

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 8477 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.