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.
** Charles Barkley, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and analyst on TNT’s Inside the NBA, took to his ‘Steam Room’ podcast to heap praise onto Jon Moxley for stepping away from AEW to enter an inpatient alcohol treatment program. Barkley expressed how proud he is of Moxley and wants him to continue pushing forward.
Hey, this is serious right here. I know y’all don’t know this guy, his name is Jon Moxley. You guys know I’m a big wrestling fan. Shout out to The Rock. Hey Rock, we always gonna be close. I do all the stunt work. Y’all don’t know this, when y’all see his body, that’s me actually [Barkley joked]. So I watch a lot of wrestling, so Jon Moxley is a star on our network actually [TNT]. This is not a homer-pick. He wrestles for, you know — shout out to Chris Jericho. So Jon Moxley, he’s one of the biggest stars — yes, AEW. He left three months ago for alcohol treatment. You know I had a younger brother who passed away so I know a lot about addiction and he just came back this week and I just want him to know — we never met. I just wanna say man, I’m really proud of him. I wish him nothing but the best. I’ve been through it with my family and man, it’s a tough situation but I just want him to know, I’m really proud of him and just keep battling. That’s all you can do. That’s all you can do. So shoutout to those guys.
** The ‘Putting You Over’ Twitch channel has an interview with Hakim Zane a.k.a. Rohit Raju. Zane finished up a five-year run with IMPACT Wrestling and is now a free agent. He dove into the formation of Desi Hit Squad and said he did not want completely change his character. The change came about because IMPACT signed a deal with Sony SIX, an Indian television sports channel and they wanted to create an Indian stable. Zane was against leaning into that type of character because he did not want to be stereotyped or typecast.
I started out [in] IMPACT as ‘Hakim Zane’, which is my indie name, you know what I mean? And then they were like, ‘Hey, we signed a deal with Sony SIX. We want to create this Indian stable and we’re gonna repackage you. We want to change your name’ and do all this stuff and I was like, ‘Man…’ I remember talking to Scott [D’Amore] and I was like, ‘I don’t wanna do that. I don’t wanna get typecast, I don’t wanna get stereotyped.’ I’m cool with representing India, but I don’t wanna be the ‘evil foreigner.’ It’s like dude, I don’t wanna do that. That’s not my shtick and I remember having ideas and promos I wanted to cut where I wanted to flip it around. I wanted it to be like, ‘Hey, why don’t I talk about how you boo — the fans boo us just because we represent India.’ Like, ‘Yeah, you guys wanna do yoga, you guys wanna go down to your Indian cuisine and act like you’re cultured,’ you know, food. ‘You make fun of the guy running the convenience store but he’s living the American dream because you’re paying him. He owns six of these and he’s driving around in a new Audi because he worked his butt off coming from India and now you’re paying him while you get your next Slurpee and you wanna insult us, but you wanna take all of our stuff?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s really good’ and then none of that ever happened. I wanted to cut those promos, like hey, let’s flip the switch and show that you’re booing us only because we’re not like you. Instead, they took the comedic route and I just tried to stand out in all the promos, and I remember we weren’t doing anything. They had all these plans on paper and nothing ever happened. Like one of the guys never even came over here. I don’t know what happened. I can’t remember who it was but, never came over here and then I remember they hyped up Bhupinder [Singh] and he hadn’t even started training yet and now he’s — I think now they’re finally, after years of training, now they’re doing something with him. But yeah, I remember not wanting to do that and I remember doing it and I was just like, ‘Man, this is not fun’ and I just started making the best of it. I remember a couple of guys were like, ‘Hey man –’ dude, I don’t know how to act or what to do or how they wanted me to be and I remember a couple of guys just pulled me aside and were like, ‘Dude, we see you on the indies. Just do that, just have fun, be yourself’ and then I stopped caring and that’s what I did then that’s when I remember they were like, ‘What are you doing? You totally found your lane. You’re out there killing it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I just stopped caring because I — you guys aren’t really doing anything with us so I’m just gonna go out there and do what I have to do to make this fun’ and that’s what I did and I was waiting for them to give me a chance to do something so soon as they gave me the ball with the X Division Title, I changed the way I dress, I started to — I kind of upped my personality, the obnoxious level, you know what I mean? That’s what I started to do.
He was involved in an on-screen program with Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green in IMPACT. Both Cardona and Green told Zane that they were not aware of how talented he is and questioned why he was not receiving more opportunities in the company.
I have what I say — I’m not ‘over’ with the internet masses. I think some people, either they don’t get my work or it’s too old school for them or they just don’t care or the bandwagon — or the internet hasn’t told them to jump on the bandwagon yet and — but I have what I call a ‘cult following’. It’s like I’m a cult classic, a movie that not a lot of people watch but the people that do watch it, they absolutely love it and they get it and I think that’s what my work is and my peers understand my work because there’s plenty of guys that I’ve worked with that have never worked with me before and I remember I worked with Matt Cardona [in IMPACT Wrestling] and him and Chelsea [Green] were like, ‘Man, we didn’t know you were this good. You’re really –’ that was supposed to be a one-off and it ended up growing into this feud and of course with Matt always fueling stuff on the internet and I’m like, ‘Sweet. Cool, let’s go man, let’s go’ and we just kept going back and forth and I thought that was very — our internet feud and the jabs we were taking at each other, I thought that was far more entertaining than anything else we were doing. But the stuff we were doing in the ring, it just worked. I was the guy that people really hated and of course, I kneed Chelsea in the face and then I just cause all these problems and it’s funny because he’s this huge heel on the indies but I was out-heeling him on TV and I just thought it was great and it was fun and they were like, ‘Man, we didn’t know you were that good. You’re real good. How come you don’t get more?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know. I don’t know man. Your guess is as good as mine.’ Some people, they just don’t get it, they don’t see it or they don’t wanna see it or like I said, they’re not told yet to, ‘Hey! This guy’s cool. We should jump on his bandwagon.’ So, and it is what it is but I do know my worth and my value and I do know how good I am but I also know how good I can be and so, I’m still working on me and trying to get better and be in the ring with the best people.
** The most recent guest on ‘The Masked Man Show’ is Paul Heyman. Heyman reflected on the periods during his career when he led the creative for WWE. He explained why he does not miss being in that role and dove into the autonomy that can come with it. He mentioned that while he was head of creative during the ‘SmackDown Six’ era, that autonomy led to clashes with Vince McMahon.
The decision is yours and that autonomy comes with a great deal, not only responsibility but accountability and there is a comfort to that-that your own rise and your own downfall are in your own hands. Do I miss it? Not really [leading WWE creative]. I’m accepting of my circumstances no matter what my circumstances are or I wouldn’t be in the circumstances that I’m in. So, I don’t have autonomy in WWE. I had — the closest I came was in the fabled ‘SmackDown Six’ era of SmackDown where so much of everybody’s attention behind the scenes was on Raw. I pretty much got left to my own devices, good or bad in writing SmackDown. It just became a weekly thing of, ‘You got this?’ ‘Yes, I got this.’ ‘All right, run with it. Don’t screw it up.’ ‘I’m not gonna screw it up.’ ‘Okay. If you do, I’m stepping in.’ ‘Okay, you won’t have a reason to step in’ and then as we were getting closer to WrestleMania and then more things — ‘Oh, we’re gonna put this on your show.’ ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute. Why are you gonna put that on my show? We’re doing well without it.’ ‘Ah, we’re gonna put this on.’ ‘Ah, dammit, you’re screwing up the formula’ and then the clashes started and I was used to autonomy and then when I didn’t have the autonomy, it started becoming a headbutting session which I lost, and rightfully so because if one person had to leave at the time, it was not gonna be Vince McMahon, it was gonna be Paul Heyman [Heyman laughed]. So, but I can’t really tell you I miss it, because I’m terrible with reminiscing, I’m terrible with living in the past. You know, and I’m always accepting of the circumstances that I’m in because the autonomy I have is over myself and if I don’t like the circumstances that I’m in, I’ll either change those circumstances to the best of my ability to make it livable for me and inspiring and motivating for me or I’ll go and do something else, which is what happened in 2006.
Heyman spoke highly of MVP and what he has added to the presentation of Bobby Lashley. Heyman said he was aware that Brock Lesnar would be away for a portion of 2020 and felt that MVP could be the successor to the evolution of on-screen managers in wrestling.
By the time he [MVP] showed up at the [2020 Royal] Rumble, I had pitched him and gotten him hired for four jobs. He was wrestling, he was managing, he was commentating and he was a producer because my theory was he may not last in three of them but there’s no way they’re gonna get rid of him on all four and I had no idea which one he was gonna end up keeping. If you had told he’s gonna end up as a commentator, great. As a producer, great. As a wrestler, great. As a mouthpiece for Bobby Lashley, great. I knew he’d up with at least one if not more of those but at least one and I knew he could concentrate on that one and accel at it because he turned to me and he goes, ‘Man, how many jobs did you pitch me for?’ ‘Four.’ ‘Four jobs?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘How can I do all four of them?’ ‘You won’t, but we’re gonna weed it out. But let’s see which one you accel in and that’s the one that we go with.’ I also knew that Brock [Lesnar’s] time was winding down, that he was gonna go home for a while and that the lead mouthpiece position was gonna be opened up so I brought him in to replace me. I brought him in as my successor. I brought him in to carry that role on because there were a few people that were helping someone do a promo, but they weren’t doing the role of the old school manager, the new school advocate and they weren’t being tied to a persona that you couldn’t imagine those two being apart and I knew that Lashley and MVP had such synergy and such chemistry that putting them together, you couldn’t imagine Bobby Lashley without MVP or MVP without Bobby Lashley. So I knew that dynamic would be such — forget about being gold, it would be platinum. It would be such box office that they would just gel together and become an act as one. So, that’s the real successor to the evolution of where managers have gone. That you be with an act and so identify with that act that you complete it and it’s not the same without you, and again, since I knew Brock was gonna take time off, MVP was the heir apparent to carrying on that role in the lead position in this industry.
Since the late 1980s, Paul Heyman has been involved in the wrestling business. Heyman does not know what his endgame is because he feels he is still learning and does not think he’s peaked professionally.
I would suggest I’m still figuring this all out. I see things today from a different perspective than I even did three months ago and I look back at how I thought three months ago and I’m like, ‘Man, what a dumbass I was. Really? That’s how I was thinking? And they let me get away with that? Wow, what a moron, what a schmuck.’ You know, my father used to say the goal was always to be smarter tomorrow than you are today and smarter today than you are tomorrow. I’m still learning, I’m still having fun learning. I’m still very passionate about what I do, I still really enjoy what I do. If you were to ask me what is the greatest moment of my career, my honest answer would be, ‘I haven’t had it yet.’ If I feel that I’ve peaked, if I feel that anything that I do is living off my laurels, if I feel that it just simply cannot get any better than this moment, I’m getting out, because there’s nothing left for me to chase. I have been fortunate and blessed enough to be accepted by the audience in a completely different perspective and role than I started at 35 years ago.
A career highlight for Heyman was when WWE traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble event. It was the first of WWE’s string of shows in the country. Heyman was debating on if he should do the signature introduction for Brock Lesnar because he was not sure if the audience would say it with him. Heyman was taken aback by the crowd’s response.
We were going to Jeddah for the first show that we had in Saudi Arabia and I turned to Brock [Lesnar] and I said, ‘Do I do the introduction here? Because it doesn’t work if they don’t do it with me’ and Brock says, ‘Yeah, yeah, we do it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, but what if they don’t give me any feedback on it?’ He goes, ‘We don’t do it a second time.’ So, you know, I’m just — I’m spending the whole show wondering, ‘Oh my God. What’s it gonna be like?’ And we can go there and it was, I don’t know, maybe 60, 75,000 people at that first show. You know, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, my name’ and they’re all doing it and I’m thinking, ‘My God, they’re doing it with me’ and I go, ‘Is Paul Heyman’ and there’s 60-to-75,000 people in Saudi Arabia saying that their name is the name of a Jew boy from the Bronx, and all I could think of is, ‘Man, if my father could see this, he would be laughing his ass off,’ because it’s not just the fact of the acknowledgement of understanding what we’re doing and knowing the shtick, but for that many people in Saudi Arabia to say that their name was Paul Heyman, that was a sincere career and life highlight.
** Ahead of the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match, Lita joined Booker T’s ‘Hall of Fame’ podcast. She shared her thoughts about the growth of AEW’s women’s division. She feels that for a period of time, it was the “Britt Baker show” but as she continued to watch the product, she noticed an emphasis was put on the entire division.
Yeah, I think they’re finally starting to add and strengthen that roster because for a while — I mean this tends to happen a lot, right? If something catches fire, you go with it and it ends up being a one-person show so it was like the Britt Baker show for quite a bit there and then now they’re like, ‘Oh wait, we can’t just like throw Nyla to the wayside after we use that — we can’t throw –’ like Ruby [Soho], you’ve gotta build everybody up and kind of keep it going so watching them kind of have some life on the women’s side of things because the men’s [division is] so hot and they have everybody you could think of but the women were really lacking and so to see them kind of putting some more emphasis on that and you know, I remember seeing the match, the Hardcore match with Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker and that really putting the women’s division on the map over there.
As of the interview, Lita was unsure of what her future in wrestling looks like post-Royal Rumble. She’s excited about the future and that excitement makes her think about roles in wrestling she has not been utilized in yet.
Yeah, you know, I don’t know. I’d have to think about that [where she thinks her spot in wrestling is post-Royal Rumble] because honestly, I had been so off-grid with pandemic life. I was just sinking in real nicely to pandemic life which is not seeing anyone, not going anywhere and have that almost as an excuse to be like, ‘Oh! Pandemic,’ whatever. I’m just, ‘My garden’s never looked better. I’ve never slept eight hours a night consistently more in my life.’ But, here we go, right? This opportunity fell in my lap and you know how it is, once you get around it, you start going, ‘Well wait a minute, maybe I could also do this or that’ or you know, and, ‘Maybe I’ll leave my house more regularly.’ So far, like I had a great time at SmackDown, I’ve been feeling stoked about the Rumble so, yeah, it’s a question mark right now but I won’t lie, it gets your wheels turning of what like — there’s no doubt that I’ll love this business ‘till the day I die and maybe there’s a spot in it that I haven’t been utilized in.
Both Booker T and Lita chatted about their experience working together on Tough Enough. Lita said she would sign on the dotted line immediately to do another Tough Enough if she could work with Booker again.
Book, I would sign on the dotted line today if we were both doing another show [Tough Enough]. I had so much fun; the experience but working with you, getting to work together. We had like a similar — but we would phrase things slightly different, just trying to figure out how it’s going to get into somebody’s head. I think it’s a really fun show and as people see, you don’t have to win it to make an impression, because people go on all the time to create their own path.
** IMPACT Wrestling commentator Tom Hannifan appeared on The Ringer’s MackMania Podcast. He was asked to recount one of the more difficult storylines or matches to call from his time in WWE. Hannifan explained why it was challenging for him to commentate Randy Orton and ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt’s storyline.
One of the more challenging ones was just the amount of layers there were for the Randy Orton-Fiend angle that took place within the last year, just because when you add in a character that is supernatural like The Fiend was and there have been plenty of those characters in the history of professional wrestling. There’s a lot of different things that you have to be very careful of in terms of how you phrase things and just using the right words. You know, Alexa Bliss’ involvement obviously, her change as a character was taking place at that time so it’s like, ‘How do I phrase this? Where do I put this? How do I feel about this? How do I react as a character?’ So, there were a lot of challenges to that and obviously that culminated at WrestleMania  in a big match and it’s like listen, you wanna do these guys justice. It’s, you know, Bray Wyatt and Windham and Randy Orton, two absolute greats within the business so it’s like, ‘Okay.’ There’s a lot of pressure that goes into it but, they can be complicated sometimes so it’s just working as a team and I was grateful I had Byron [Saxton] and Samoa Joe with me for that.
As he looks back on his nine-year stretch with WWE, Hannifan would like to be remembered by the WWE faithful as someone who could work with anyone. He went on to mention that what he did with Corey Graves on NXT commentary is special to him.
Just that I did everything. I mean, you can’t really control what your legacy or what people think of you. That’s for them to decide but I prided myself on being able to do everything. There were different points where I called every show imaginable in the company and I take a lot of pride in that. I work with a lot of different partners and that was something Michael Cole always said to me over the years. He’s been there for 25 years and he was like, ‘I’ve been able to work with whomever you put next to me and I can make it work.’ I pride myself on that and then you know, fast forward to IMPACT Wrestling and the great D’Lo Brown gets taken out; I’m working with Trey Miguel, Ace Austin, Madman Fulton, my own boss Scott D’Amore, Mickie James at one point. It was just this cast of characters and I’m like if I hadn’t had that experience, I wouldn’t be able to sit there and be like, ‘Great. Next person up, whatever’ so, that’s what I always prided myself on and hopefully the stuff like [Corey] Graves and I did in NXT, that was really special. It just means a lot to me so, you know, it’s for people to decide. I can’t control that.
** Jimmy Jacobs was invited onto the ‘Way of the Blade’ podcast to break down his ‘I Quit’ match with B.J. Whitmer from IWA Mid-South. As the conversation rolled on, Jimmy reflected on his career and said if there’s one regret he has, he wishes he could’ve had a TV run in WWE.
You know, my regret is that I like never had a run on TV with WWE. That’s something that would’ve been nice, you know? Even a nice couple-year run so then I can go back on the indies and charge an extra $50 bucks [Jacobs joked]. You know, and even to me, going to WWE was always about you go there so you can get the notoriety so then you can leave there. It was always that way to me so, only, only because I want to have more indie wrestling dates probably do I wish I had a WWE on-screen career. Other than that, man, not really. There are guys that I would have loved to work with on TV. A lot of times people ask me, ‘What match would you wanna have?’ And there’s no match where I go, ‘Oh yeah.’ Look, Mick Foley of course would be like the guy, right? But it’s more of like, ‘What feud would you wanna have? What story would you wanna tell?’ Like I would love to have had a, you know, me and John Cena with a microphone in the ring. Like that’s something that excites me. But none of those things are realistically gonna happen and I’m past the point where I would be willing to do the work to make that happen, you know what I mean? I’m not — there’s nothing in my career that I go, ‘Oh man, I need to do this. This is a goal that I need to accomplish in my wrestling career.’ At this point it’s just, yeah man, I come out and play when people want me to play. That’s where I’m at.
He is currently a member of the writing team at IMPACT Wrestling. One of Jacobs’ favorite stories from his time in creative writing is the ‘Undead Realm’ storyline involving Rosemary and AEW’s The Bunny. The way the storyline concluded holds weight with Jimmy.
I mean, look, one of my favorite things I’ve probably done in my career is the ‘death’ of Allie [The Bunny]. So, the whole Undead Realm world was, you know, this world where Su Yung takes these people. You know, it’s a supernatural world and in one of the undead realm-cinematic things we did, it ends with Allie taking a — basically a — getting stabbed in the throat and dying and if you watch the entire story — I always wanted — when I first started this story, I always wanted it to end with Allie dying. I didn’t think we would get the chance to do it but I was like, ‘At the end of this story, she has to sacrifice herself for Rosemary and die. This is what it has to be’ and we did it and if you watch it on YouTube, I pretty much — I love all of it. I love the music they play in the background. I love Rosemary and Allie’s sort of acting at this point. Like Rosemary’s crying because that’s her real best friend and Allie was leaving to go to AEW and there she is dying and the sad song’s playing and Allie hits the line, you know, ‘Demon, it’s okay. I’m whole again,’ because she gets her soul back in this moment of sacrificing herself for the good. It’s like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s the stuff I get excited about.
Yeah look, I’m not saying the whole cinematic thing was the best. It had moments to it. It had some moments to it. Nice little cameo in there. If you watch, you’ll see but it’s that end. To me, that end is emotional and always kind of chokes me up when the music is playing and, ‘It’s okay, I’m whole again’ and then she disappears.
Jacobs touched on how co-creating ‘The Ballad of Lacey’ song which he used in Ring of Honor caught the attention of then-booker Gabe Sapolsky. He felt that Sapolsky realized what he could do after putting out that song and envisioned how a story between Jacobs and Lacey (Larissa Vados) could play out.
Gabe wasn’t very high on me. Gabe Sapolsky, the booker for Ring of Honor so, we were gonna do a little feud with me and B.J. [Whitmer] and I think he was gonna sort of drop me after that. B.J. was gonna kind of beat me, I was gonna leave. B.J. was gonna go and continue doing his thing. He was feuding with — they were doing a CZW invasion angle at the time. But, as fortune has it, as legend goes, I came up with The Ballad of Lacey which is a music video and a song I wrote for Lacey [Larissa Vados] who was managing at the time and Gabe freaking loved it and finally, Gabe was gonna invest in me. He saw what it was. Like, ‘Oh, I see this guy now. I see what can he can do.’ Before that, he kind of kept me around but didn’t really like me that much but I was kind of popular. So B.J. and I, we were gonna have one match first in Detroit and it was a good match, it was good. I had my working boots on. I knew that this was the start of something for me potentially. I knew the Ballad of Lacey had just come out, it’s my first match with that as the song and so I had a lot of stuff in my head that we can do.
His emo-esque character during his time in Ring of Honor was Gabe Sapolsky’s idea. Jimmy was not aware of what being ‘emo’ was about. He reached out to Colt Cabana who sent him a link and suggested that Jacobs should be the 2006 version of Raven. It was soon after that Jacobs’ longtime friend helped him put together ‘The Ballad of Lacey’ song.
See, I wasn’t an emo kid. It was Gabe [Sapolsky’s] idea to have me as an emo character and I painted my nails, but that’s it, and so Gabe texted me or emailed me in late ‘05, early ‘06 and he goes, ‘Hey, I don’t know what emo is, but people tell me you’re emo and I know I wanna slap emo kids so, can we do an emo gimmick?’ And I didn’t know what emo was. I remember I instant messaged Colt Cabana when AOL was a messenger and I was like, ‘Hey, Gabe sent me this’ and Cabana goes — Cabana like sent me a link about emo and he goes, ‘Go and be the Raven of 2006.’ He’s like, ‘Dive into this’ and you know, so that’s what I did and I emailed Gabe back, I said, ‘Hey, I think we can do this. But, I think the best way to do it is I’m in love with my manager Lacey and she doesn’t reciprocate my love’ and so, I didn’t know what emo was. I was in a — I liked pop-punk back in high school so I was in a pop-punk band when I was in high school so I went to my buddy I was with, I was like, ‘Hey man, you gotta help me out, I’m dying here. Can we write this song together?’ And so we just wrote this song together and when we did it, I was like, ‘This is it. This is gonna be the thing for me’ and at that point it was.
** Sheamus talked to TV Insider about Ridge Holland’s arrival onto the main roster. Sheamus wants to help Ridge find success and is not worried if a younger talent comes along and takes his spot or becomes more popular than him. Sheamus also touched on his house show matches with Rick Boogs and how their first go-around was not smooth, but he gave Boogs some pointers going into their second match to help him improve.
I’m a firm believer in helping talent. I’ve never been one of these people worried about my spot or what if he comes in and becomes more popular than me. I’ve done a lot. There is one thing I haven’t done, which is winning the IC [Intercontinental] title. Something on my radar right now. I will say I’ve been doing that a lot—working with young guys. I think there is a lot of great potential in Ridge. He has such explosive power and speed. He looks the part. He is from England, so now there is another person to get behind. I want to help him in any way I can. That’s my role, and I enjoy it.
I was in the ring with Rick Boogs a couple of weeks ago on live events, and I enjoyed it. The first night wasn’t great. The second night in Boston I had a lot of ideas to help make his performance better, and what would suit him. I’m not only thinking about myself but the guys I’m in the ring with. That’s the way it should be with everyone. [William] Regal did that for me. I got to work with Batista, John Cena, Triple H. They were always helpful to me…I want to do what I was taught, especially the ones that want the help and are passionate. I enjoy that part of the process as much as doing my own thing in the ring. I feel like I’m in a great place and spot.
** The most recent guest on Gregory Iron’s ‘Iron-On Wrestling’ podcast is Anthony Greene. Greene, formerly known as ‘August Grey’ in WWE, was released from the company in 2021. He recounted the lead-up to being signed by WWE, including being released from his EVOLVE contract and Gabe Sapolsky telling him to get in the best shape possible, although Sapolsky could not tell him exactly why he needed to do that.
So yeah, it was mid-pandemic — I guess we’re still in the pandemic but it was like mid-lockdown and I was told by Gabe [Sapolsky] like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna get rid of the EVOLVE contracts probably and unless there’s any interest by WWE, we’re gonna release you of your EVOLVE contract’ or whatever. I had like a year left, and I said, ‘Okay, of course’ and then a couple days later, he goes, ‘I can’t tell you what is or isn’t gonna happen. All I can say is if you can get into a gym, I would do it. If not, do cardio and you should be doing like a million pushups a day. Just get in the best shape you possibly can’ and it was very cryptic but like, I assumed it was a good sign, whether it’d be like a tryout or whatever and then a couple weeks later, he said, ‘You’re gonna have an interview with WWE.’ Interview went well and then I was offered a contract a week-and-a-half later.
Greene dove into the early days of his career in wrestling. He brought up a conversation he had with Mike Bennett in 2013, during which Bennett told him he needed to get in shape. That positively impacted Greene and shortly afterwards, he began working on his physique.
In June 2013 is when I had a conversation with Mike Bennett who is one of the nicest guys but he couldn’t have been more honest with me. We were on the same show and I asked him what he thought of the match. He’s like, ‘Your wrestling’s fine but man, you need to go to the gym. This is an esthetic business. You don’t look good’ and he said it as nice as possible but it was like, it was the kick in the ass that I needed and that happened on a Saturday. That Monday, I signed up to the gym and started going after that.
He went on to tell the story of what he learned from Lee Moriarty recently when Greene felt that one of his strikes did not look sharp.
I had recent conversations with Dan Garcia and Lee Moriarty who I think are two of the best right now obviously. Just look at their success and how quick they’ve gotten it but I remember I wrestled Lee Moriarty at AIW and one of my last strikes just didn’t connect the way it should and I think overall, the match was great and then I told him like, ‘Oh man, I really wish this looked a little bit better’ or whatever and he said, ‘It’s a fight. Not every strike is gonna land. You know, it was enough. It just wasn’t enough to put me out.’ That’s a good way to put it.
** Bobby Lashley is making the media rounds to promote his match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Title. He chatted with New York Post and was asked if he’d be interested in being presented as a solo act without a manager. Lashley doesn’t think something that works should be changed.
I don’t think it really matters either way. I think what we’re doing right now works, so we always try to change things that work. I don’t think we need to change anything. We should just let it work.
That kind of really locked it in. Everybody thought, ‘Drew’s gonna beat him at Mania and then we’re all going to jump up and down and cheer.’ Nope. I win.
** Towards the conclusion of Dean Muhtadi (Mojo Rawley’s) show on TMZ, he discussed Matt Cardona’s performance at GCW’s Hammerstein Ballroom show. Muhtadi touched on the idea of going one-on-one with Cardona in the future.
You know, I gotta say, seeing his [Matt Cardona’s] new attitude is very tempting. I like to see it. That being said, kicking the crap out of broski, is again, one of my favorite things to do ever so, I don’t know. I’m kind of walking a fine line here. I guess this thing could go either way. Guess people are just gonna have to stay tuned and find out.
I don’t know [how I felt going into the match with Eddie Kingston]. I’ve known Eddie for a while and he’s someone I really look up to and admire how he carries himself and I’ve said this, all this stuff I’m saying now, I’ve said before and I’ll say it over and over again but I just really look up to him and we both spoke about wrestling before and we both have a very similar philosophy on what professional wrestling is. He’s on the run of his career right now. You know, talk of the town and doing big things on AEW so, bring the fight to him, you know? Show people I ain’t messing around. I had six months off, I had to deal with some stuff but I ain’t messing around anymore. I lost too much time in this game and if you let this game pass you by, it will and I ain’t letting that happen anytime soon.
** Brie Bella is going to compete in a sanctioned match this Saturday for the first time since 2018. She told TV Insider that she is not sure if the Royal Rumble will be a one-off appearance for her. She stated that with Bryan Danielson being on the road full-time, it could be tasking for both of them to take on a full-time wrestling schedule.
I tell everyone ‘one time.’ Then I get there and get the itch. You never know when WWE pitches you. They always find a way to get the Bellas back. Never say never. I think I will admit my concentration now is my children and my businesses. I’m so busy, but wrestling is my No. 1 passion. And when I’m in that ring, it feels like home. I’ll never be able to ever get rid of that feeling. There are times when I am like, ‘I could go back.’ It’s hard because my husband is full-time on the road. That’s the only thing.
** Sports Illustrated’s ‘This Week in Wrestling’ column includes an interview with Bryan Danielson. Danielson further commented on the idea of forming a faction in AEW. It is not something he has immediate plans for, but he views it as an effective way to help younger talents progress.
I have no immediate plans, but I think it would be cool, and I think it’s a good way to mentor. One of the big success stories of AEW is the mentoring of younger talent in two specific scenarios. One would be Sammy Guevara with Chris Jericho, which I think has really helped Sammy. It’s helped to develop Sammy’s personality. He started off doing one or two lines in an interview, and now he can go out there, and he’s trusted to do a whole interview.
And I’d say the same about Darby Allin and Sting. That’s a different kind of relationship. But when you talk to Darby about how Sting has mentored him and helped him, those are things that are really beneficial in wrestling. That’s one of the things I would like to do. Right now, I’m on this solo quest. That’s something for more down the road.
** Former ROH World Television Champion Silas Young guest appeared on the Wrestling Perspective Podcast. He expressed interest in working with the NWA and Game Changer Wrestling. Young feels that the NWA is a place he’d fit in with.
Yeah, you mentioned it, the NWA [is a place I’d like to work with]. I love the way their product looks. It looks so old school. It reminds me of wrestling when I was a kid so NWA is definitely something, you know, that I’d definitely be interested in. I just know it’s so hard right now with, you know, you get a whole roster of people that are released, it’s so much available talent out there and just in general, the indie scene is so flooded with new guys and girls working, you know? There’s so many schools out there that are putting out a whole crop of new trainees or new wrestlers every few months. So, you know, I think it’s a little bit more difficult to get into some of those places but you know, you mentioned the two that I would definitely be interested in; GCW and NWA and you know, they’re two very different types of feels but I feel like the character and what I do, I feel like it could really work both places so I would definitely like to try working for the NWA though for sure.
** Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Takashi Sugiura, Masa Kitamiya, King Tany, Muhammad Yone, and Yoshiki Inamura will be absent from NOAH’s 2/12 event because they’ll be wrestling for ZERO1.
** Gabriel Hodder and Adrian Soriano of the trio ‘Primal Fear’ were interviewed by Hannibal TV. They’ve competed on AEW’s Dark and Dark: Elevation shows. They have a close relationship with QT Marshall and he helped put them in contact so they could inquire about an opportunity at AEW.
Hodder: I mean QT [Marshall] works there and we — I personally reached out to QT. Like I DM’d him asking how to go about to get an opportunity for AEW and he just sent me the email, like the connect email and I just sent in my resume. You just keep sending the emails until they get back to you and it took a… a few months.
Pretty much, we’ve had a personal relationship with QT. When we first started training at the Monster Factory, he was there and he played a role in our development and when he — I think he lived in Jersey and then he moved to Georgia, opened his school.
Soriano: And we went down for his opening weekend and we stayed in his house during that camp. QT is someone who is really good to us and like, I’m super grateful for it and I mean, he’s a great guy to have — to know, to have connections with but even with those connections, you know, we still had to hustle to even get just that Dark match. Just because you know someone don’t mean they can get you a job.
** Newly crowned GHC National Champion Masakatsu Funaki told the press that he’s hoping to work with Katsuyori Shibata. Shibata sporadically competed for Pro Wrestling NOAH throughout his career.
It was different in form, but it was filled with talented people [group that Funaki was once a part of in NJPW]. In that sense, I would like to work with Katsuyori Shibata. He’s really the number one person I want to join Kongo. It would be better to have another guy like him.
At NOAH’s 1/22 event, Funaki opted to leave M’s Alliance to join Kongo after defeating now-fellow group member Kenoh for the National Title. Funaki knew he wanted to be part of the group after watching Kenoh and GHC Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima’s 60-minute time-limit draw in November 2021.
When I saw that [Nakajima & Kenoh’s 60-minute time-limit draw], I thought that these two are [two] of the top five wrestlers in the world today. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this for another 10 or 20 years, so I want to be around and do what I can. I also wanted to change my environment. There are other people I want to fight, so I thought it would be best to join Kongo.
** Dalton Wagner, offensive lineman for the Arkansas Razorbacks is a part of WWE’s inaugural N.I.L. class. Wagner was interviewed by ‘The Arkansas Traveler’ and it is noted in the article that he initially turned down WWE’s ‘Next In Line’ offer.
** NFL Network’s ‘Good Morning Football’ welcomed Seth Rollins onto the show.
** Sporting News published the written version of their interview with MJF.
** The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie Bella) are scheduled for the women’s Royal Rumble match. The following video of Brie training for the Rumble was uploaded to their YouTube channel:
** WWE UK sent Sportskeeda a transcript from a media call that Becky Lynch was the focus of.
** NJPW1972.com published a feature story about the in-ring history between Tetsuya Naito and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. They are scheduled to go one-on-one for the world title on February 20th.
** Randy Orton continued to make the media rounds to promote the Royal Rumble in his home-state of Missouri. Orton spoke to 5 On Your Side’s Monica Adams for an interview.
** CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri published the written version of his chat with Kofi Kingston.
** Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘Higher Ground’ Results (1/27/22) Korakuen Hall
– Junta Miyawaki def. Yasutaka Yano
– Atsushi Kotoge, Daiki Inaba, Masa Kitamiya & Mohammed Yone def. Hajime Ohara, King Tany, Kinya Okada & Yoshiki Inamura
– Kongo (Aleja & Tadasuke) def. Daisuke Harada & Hao
– Kaito Kiyomiya def. Kotaro Suzuki
– Eita, NOSAWA Rongai, Super Crazy & YO-HEY def. Stinger (HAYATA, Seiki Yoshioka, Yoshinari Ogawa & Yuya Susumu)
– M’s Alliance (Masaaki Mochizuki, Masato Tanaka & Naomichi Marufuji) def. Kongo (Kenou, Manabu Soya & Masakatsu Funaki)
– Takashi Sugiura def. Go Shiozaki
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.