POST NEWS UPDATE: Apollo Crews would love to return to WWE NXT, feels his first run was cut short

Apollo Crews/NXT, Moose wants to give MMA a shot, Killer Kross on if he would return to WWE, Mike Rotunda talks The Usos, Cargill-Danielson

Photo Courtesy: WWE

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.

** Prior to the 2022 Royal Rumble event, Apollo Crews sat down with Vicente Beltran and expressed that he’d be open to returning to the NXT brand. Apollo feels that his first run in NXT was cut short and he would’ve liked to win a few titles during that first go-around.

I think it’s just part of the evolution of wrestling in general [changes to NXT]. You know, it’s just how things go. Things just change consistently and you want it to be like that because look how long, you know, WWE’s been around and I think one of the reasons — what they’re very good at is being able to evolve and keep up with the current times so, that’s important so I think it’s a good thing and you got a lot of new talent coming in which is great because it gives a lot of fresh faces, it gives some of the people who have been here longer new opponents, new people to work with so and fresh matchups for everybody, all the fans will get to see. So I think it’s great. NXT for me was a fantastic time as well. I feel it was cut short. I would’ve loved to stay there, maybe win a title, have a title reign a couple times. But I enjoyed it so much. Working with Triple H hands on, one-on-one was fantastic. He’s such an amazing guy so — I would love to [go back to NXT]. I would love to go there and work with some of the guys that they have down there. It’d be great. I’m always open for anything, you know what I mean? And it’s so much talent down there that I could mix it up with and have a good time with too.

If Crews had the opportunity to wrestle a talent from another company, he’d choose the current IMPACT World Champion Moose.

[If I could wrestle a talent from another company, it’d be] Moose. I don’t know if you’re familiar with him but he’s in IMPACT.

It’d be Moose. That’s actually a good friend so I’d love to — that’d be good and I know he’d love it too so it’d be cool to see that, and he’s killing it right now so, yeah, definitely him.

** Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald conducted an interview with Moose. Moose is interested in having one or two MMA fights. Before getting involved in pro wrestling, Moose felt that he could take on MMA as a career but was talked out of it by Frank Trigg.

Actually, before I started to become a professional wrestler, I had a good — I’m good buddies with a guy called Frank Trigg and I told him that I think I could fight MMA and he talked me out of it quick because I used to roll around with him and I’m one of those guys where I have the mindset where I wanna do something once and I still have that mindset. I would love to have one or two MMA fights just to say that I did it, you know what I’m saying? And I’m one of those guys like, if I have an MMA fight and I actually win, it makes me even more of a badass in professional wrestling, right? So, it’s one of those things that I do wanna do maybe just one time, hopefully I win, just to help my wrestling career. It’s not something I wanna do long-term, just once or twice. Kind of like a CM Punk deal; just do it once, do it twice. If it works out, if I win then — maybe even just do it once and if I win, I would just be like, ‘Hey, I’m a f*cking badass,’ right? And if I lose, then it’s like, ‘Oh, I suck at it. I shouldn’t have did it.’

** After wrapping up a one year-plus run with WWE, Killer Kross is now a free agent. He and Scarlett Bordeaux partook in a virtual signing hosted Signed By Superstars and here was Kross’ response when asked if he would be open to returning to WWE in the future:

Yeah, I mean I would love to — the place I’m in right now, I’d like to do everything and if that’s gonna be observed as, ‘Oh, he doesn’t really want it-it sounds like,’ well then so be it. I love performing for people, I love creating things for people. I’m not a one-trick pony and I mean, I don’t know. It would just really totally depend on how the conversation would go. I don’t wanna go back — I would never wanna go anywhere actually where I’m doing something that’s not fulfilling to me. I understand business is business sometimes but, just after the last experience there [WWE], I fully committed to this idea as you should when you’re a professional, that’s part of the gig. But, to see how it kind of spun out of control and we’re here now, I don’t wanna put myself and my family and people who actually care about me and my fans through that again.

Kross’ WWE in-ring debut was against Leon Ruff on the 5/6/20 episode of NXT TV. Kross spoke highly of Leon and heaped praise onto him for his professionalism. Following the match, Kross hugged Leon and they exchanged information. He felt that Leon made him look great and never complained. Kross offered to vouch for Leon in the wrestling business whenever Leon needs it.

Never told this story before publicly, okay? My very first match in WWE was Leon Ruff. It was my introduction to the WWE universe, scary times. It was in front of nobody, you know what I mean? Just real weird. I met Leon, I met him the day of. You know, when you have to do a match like that where you come in and just get killed, it’s not exactly what you’re really interested in doing when you get involved with pro wrestling. Everyone always has great aspirations. You know, everybody wants to be [at] WrestleMania, world champion and all that so, you know, when you come in there, it’s great to be a part of the show but of course you’d like to do more, right? Leon comes in and however they delivered the information to him, he took it like a complete professional. Came to me, he trusted me to hit those suplexes. I know a lot of people, I would never throw them under the bus, very scared to take my suplexes. He embraced it like a f*cking pro and it went off really well and the introduction went really well. After the match, he probably thought I was insane. I snatched him and I gave him a huge hug and I told him — he probably didn’t realize this but this was the most important match of my career. It was literally my introduction to the world on a global stage and I gave him my phone number, I exchanged information with him and I just profusely thanked him for trusting me to throw him around like that. He was so cool the whole day, never dragged his feet about anything and I told him at the time if he ever needed a referral because I didn’t know what his employment situation was or his hiring situation. I said, ‘If you ever need a reference for here or anywhere else, you got it for the rest of your life.’ He did me a huge solid that day and that’s how you’re supposed to take care of people in the business. When they give their body to you like that and they don’t even know you, you better be there for them.

In a recent media appearance, Kross spoke about the segment on NXT involving himself and Adam Cole during which Cole called Kross out for his presentation and claiming that NXT did everything to make him feel special.

The former NXT Champion Killer Kross further elaborated on that and felt like WWE took down what they built in him by having Cole say what he said. Kross added that he wrote a comeback, but that was scrapped by the writers. He brought up Adam Cole’s professionalism and mentioned that Cole even asked Kross if he was okay with him saying the material that was given to them for the segment.

So, I mentioned this [promo segment with Adam Cole in NXT] just recently. So the night before, we had gotten a script. They were basically trying to integrate Cole into a Fatal 5-Way [at TakeOver: In Your House]. They wanted me to have clean kills on everybody going up to main roster and there was literally not enough time to create singles matches for everyone and Cole has always been known to give a very strong fourth wall promo. So they basically wrote this fourth wall promo and I had saw it the night before. I was like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be easy’ because fourth wall promo, I mean, is the easiest promo to get over. All you have to do is just, I mean, you just peel the curtain back a little bit and so, I thought when I got the promo actually, I did think it was unfinished because sometimes you get these scripts and then it’s like it will change until the time you go to TV. So I wrote this murderous response and I remember I gave it to one of the writers and he was like, ‘Eh…’ He was like, ‘Listen, you’re gonna smash these guys and then you’re going on and it’s like, it’s almost unfair to let you say anything back on this. He really needs to look strong on this.’ I was like, ‘Okay, no problem.’ So they scrapped my retort and we went out there and did it and of course everyone bought it because that’s our job. They have to — we’re inclined to make sure they believe it, I tried to make it look a little awkward and yeah, we just went into it and he was a total professional to work with. He even asked me if I was okay with him saying that stuff to me and I was like, ‘Dude, of course. This is a TV show’ but that’s the kind of professional he was. Very easy to work with. When we went to In Your House and we worked a Fatal 5-Way, took everything from me, never complained about anything, super safe in the ring. Total pleasure to work with. Oh, I was gonna say this too: There was like a lot of my fans who got really pissed off about the promo because they thought that it undressed the character so to speak that talked about how like — I don’t remember exactly what he said but he said something about like, ‘NXT made you special. They gave you music, they gave you lights, they gave you a car and a girl.’ Something about like, ‘All you have to do — all you have to do is ring the bell for me. That’s why I’m special’ or something and I just thought to myself like, ‘Yeah, okay. I get why they would be pissed off about that’ but like, it didn’t really — when I read the promo, I was like it’s not really taking anything away from me. It’s kind of taking away from the fans, because they spend all this money and airtime to create this presentation for us and I kind of felt like they shot their own money in the head when they had him say that. But they told him to say it.

That’s what they wanted. But it’s not like he went into business for himself. All he did was read what was on paper. There was never any issue but I just didn’t think — I was like, ‘Well it’s their show. If they wanna do that, that’s okay’ but I was thinking, I was like, ‘Oh my God –’ of course not [I would never let anyone actually say that to me], of course not. I’d tear his f*cking head off [Kross joked]. But like, I just, from a functional standpoint of a television show, I was like, ‘They spent six months making this thing really cool.’ We don’t need it. We were hired without that. It’s just, the entrance was never for us. It was for the people in the building and watching from home and I thought that they — I don’t know if they realized it when they wrote it, whoever wrote it. I think I know who wrote it. I don’t wanna say his name though because people will go after him, they’re nuts. But like, I thought like, ‘Well, this is what they want so that’s fine, but they are ruining this for a lot of people telling him to say that.’ But, we’re all cool and we all had a beer on our last night before we went our separate ways. I think it was when I worked [Samoa] Joe and he worked Kyle [O’Reilly] and yeah, sorry not sorry. There’s no issues here.

From the summer of 2021 until his release from WWE, Kross was a part of the Monday Night Raw roster. He said it was fine collaborating with Bruce Prichard. Kross felt that Prichard was always available and gave feedback.

[It was] fine [working with Bruce Prichard]. He was always very cool with me, always very polite, always available. Any sort of feedback that he ever felt like I needed, he always gave it to me. Super cool.

At NXT New Year’s Evil in 2021, Kross went one-on-one with Damian Priest. He feels that Priest is going to be a WWE Hall of Famer and as far as their last match goes, he thinks they moved a little fast because they were excited to work with one another. Kross added that if they would’ve had more time in a larger venue with a bigger crowd in attendance, the match would’ve turned out better.

Really good [working with Damian Priest]. I got to know him personally. We hung out quite a bit outside of work. He’s going to be a WWE Hall of Famer. He’s a consummate professional, he’s a good human being. Also not a well-known fact, Priest and I came from the same county in New York. So I lived all over New York when I was a kid, but I spent the most time in a place called Rockland County and Rockland County’s a nice place but it’s not nice everywhere and I’m gonna tell you, to see another guy come from where I came from, which wasn’t much, make it to the stage he’s on, also being Hispanic as well, I take a private pride in that. I think it’s cool that somebody from my neck of the woods also made it too and I’m just so over the moon happy for him and getting to work with him was great. I feel like that night [New Year’s Evil 2021], we went a little too fast because we were excited to work with each other. I know that if we were in a building with a bigger attendance and we had 25 to 30 more minutes, we could give something really, really special, especially because we have similar styles and in the ways that we don’t complement each other, it would make for a really interesting chemistry.

In WWE, Kross worked with Keith Lee in NXT and on the main roster. He shared that he enjoyed their matches on the main roster more because of the number of fans that were in attendance for those matches.

I enjoyed — big surprise — I enjoyed our matches [Kross vs. Keith Lee] far more on main roster than I did in NXT just because we had you guys, we had an audience. It was extremely difficult during the pandemic to be able to find an appropriate rhythm in the ring with someone, without completely killing all the magic of what we do. The energy is simpatico with the person you’re performing with and you guys in the crowd. Without having you guys in the crowd, finding a speed and a specific gear where both people are on the same page, plus Gorilla, sometimes they want you to change speeds. It was very difficult. I felt like our chemistry was exactly where it needed to be when we went up to main roster and did the matches. I wish we could’ve done more.

** Ahead of the 2/9 episode of AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan spoke to Sports Illustrated and discussed TBS Champion Jade Cargill training with Bryan Danielson. He asked them to work together and thinks Bryan has been a great mentor to her so far.

Off-screen, Bryan is such a valuable resource. I recently asked him and Jade Cargill, who is already starting an amazing run as our TBS champion, to work together. I think Bryan is the world’s greatest pro wrestler, and he has such valuable insight. Jade is incredibly driven, and Bryan’s been a great mentor to her so far.

** The latest guest on Ryan Satin’s Out of Character podcast is AJ Styles. After splitting from Omos, Styles transitioned back into the babyface role and said he’s glad to be in that position again after being in the heel spot for the past few years.

Absolutely [I’m enjoying being a babyface again]. It had been a while since I feel like I’ve been a heel and I thought, ‘Ah, it’s time for a change. I’m ready to move on’ and in my heart, as Allen Jones, I love kids, I love to make them smile, being able to do that as AJ Styles is a blessing.

Styles enjoys being in the mentor role in WWE and passing on knowledge. He knows he won’t be around forever so wants to help share information with talents who are going to be in the business for the foreseeable future.

Sure, I enjoy being able to share information that I have so someone can be better. I mean that’s something I think we should do all the time. I mean, we gotta create stars. I’m not gonna be here forever and so while I can still bump around and do these things, let me work with some guys who I can help.

He recounted WWE approaching him about working with Omos and he was excited about the idea. Styles wants to help elevate Omos to the next level.

I remember them [WWE] asking me about it [working with Omos] and I was excited about the opportunity. I thought it’d be fun, and it was. It was fun. I enjoy helping him get to the next level and being able to help him learn as quick as he can.

** Alex Gracia took to social media to announce that she is no longer working with WOW (Women of Wrestling). She noted that they amicably parted ways and she’ll continue to support the talents who work for the organization.

Starting today, WOW and I have amicably parted ways as I did not see them as a good fit for my current goals and brand. I wish them nothing but the best and I still plan to support the current girls who are there working hard to show you that Superheroes are real.

** Pro Wrestling NOAH sent out a memo and are asking fans who attend their events to not record video or audio of the matches, but still photos are allowed. Below is the statement:

Video and audio recording is not allowed during [NOAH matches]. If a staff member discovers this, we may ask you to delete the data and temporarily keep your camera. You are welcome to take still photos. Please spread the word on social media. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

** Last week, Larry D made it public that he requested and was granted his release from IMPACT Wrestling. Larry sat down with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp to discuss his decision to depart IMPACT.

The thing is, IMPACT! Wrestling has grown so much. There’s so much talent that comes through there and you see the NXT crew, and you see AEW and NWA and everything. It’s easy to get lost in the mix. Where we were at creatively, I feel, from the tag team party to fitting where I’m at and in the process, I’m just told to get in the best shape I can and be prepared. That’s what I do and I’m just waiting and I’m watching the growth of IMPACT! Wrestling and the competitor in me is like, ‘Man, I absolutely love everything about IMPACT! Wrestling.’ I can’t say, ‘Aw, man. Those son-of-a-guns ruined my wrestling career.’

Because I think for the first time ever, like, we hear on the indies a lot, ‘Oh, it’s just business.’ I think finally for the first time in twenty years, [I understand it.] It’s just business. Which also, in turn, is the same way with me. It’s just business. I want to see myself do better. I feel that for twenty years that I’ve busted and given everything that I have to get where I’m at. The competitor in me has to step up and say, ‘Hey, I know I can play on the field.’ I know by asking my release that puts the ball in my court to do what I need to do to go where I want to go.

** Captain’s Corner hosted a virtual signing with Mike Rotunda. Rotunda a.k.a. I.R.S. talked about the period of his career when he worked for both WCW and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He said that was probably the best money he’s made in wrestling.

For about three years, I did about 20 weeks a year there [NJPW] while I worked for WCW and they were doing the n.W.o. in New Japan. So that’s basically what I did. I was under contract to WCW but, New Japan would pay WCW so much a week when they used you and I ended up — me and Jeff Farmer, the N.W.O. Sting and they signed other guys like, Fit Finlay would do a tour. You know, so we just kind of went back and forth and that’s basically how it worked about 20 weeks a year and I didn’t do anything at WCW so it was probably the best money I ever made in the business for time and money-wise, you know?

For 14 years, Rotunda worked as a road agent and producer for WWE. He was released from the company in April 2020. When he looks back at the talent he got to work with, he enjoyed working with all of them and specifically mentioned The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso).

Oh, there was a lot of them [talents he enjoyed working with as a producer]. I mean there was The Usos, [they] were great to work with. They had a lot of good talent. Just, you know… pretty much everybody I got along with so, it was nice to see ‘em grow as talent, you know? And get better and better and that’s repetition with anybody, with anything. The more you do something, the better you’re gonna get at it.

Before returning to the WWF/E in 1991, Rotunda was offered a contract extension from WCW. He opted to decline and then he dove into his ’91-’95 run in WWF.

What happened is I started doing Michael Wallstreet at WCW and they offered to extend my contract for a short period of time and I said ‘no’. So I went back to WWE and they said, ‘Well this is the character we wanna do for you’ and that was kind of a feed off of the ‘Wallstreet’ with the money and stuff so I didn’t know if it was gonna work, but I found out real quickly that people don’t like the I.R.S. or pay taxes so, the more I talked about it, the more heat you got and then they put me and Ted DiBiase together and that clicked because he was the rich, crooked guy and I was the crooked I.R.S. guy and so it really took off from there and you know, had a life of its own so yeah, it worked out. Sometimes stuff just clicks and I think Ted was like that, you know — Ted, with him, the same as Barry [Windham], some guys have a good connection and kind of feed off each other without having to talk about a lot or you know, it’s just kind of we fed off each other and made it work so…

** Clint Stephens, AEW’s wardrobe designer appeared on episode 30 of The Turnbuckle Sessions. He talked about putting together the gear CM Punk wore for the six-man tag on Dynamite when he teamed with Darby Allin and Sting to take on MJF and FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler).

As far as my favorite [gear I put together], [it] was a recent one. I did the CM Punk-Sting tights. That’s one of my favorite outfits I’ve ever done. Oh absolutely [Punk, Sting & Darby Allin six-man attire should be action figures].

And that was a collaboration with me and Punk. He had asked, ‘Hey, I want Sting tights but maybe Chicago flag colors’ and then we went back and forth with different ideas then we ended up actually just printing the Chicago flag inside the scorpion, rather than just using the colors. So it turned out really cool and then I put the little gold trim around it because it was a nod to Clash of the Champions 1. That’s why he wore the red kick pads like Sting wore the red boots.

** Episode 305 of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard focused on the WWE run of Chris Adonis (Chris Masters). Prichard discussed Adonis’ return to the company after going to rehab and touched on the segment involving Adonis, Shawn Michaels and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque during which Levesque made light of Adonis slimming down weight-wise.

Yeah, I don’t think it was the best thing to do in hindsight being 20/20. Wouldn’t do it again [Triple H making light of Chris Adonis’ weight loss when he returned to WWE TV].

Yeah, my opinion, I think that’s exactly what it was [nobody tightening up that segment as far as what was said]. I just think it was, again, it’s — you get caught up in the moment sometimes and do things that are — you think cute or funny in the moment and not always the best choice.

Adonis was paired with Carlito for a portion of his run in WWE. Prichard said they were put together because of their natural chemistry and so that Adonis could learn from Carlito.

Well first of all, they were friends [Chris Adonis & Carlito] and they did have chemistry so being a tag team, I think was a natural for them and it was being able to put Chris in the ring with somebody who did have some experience like Carlito that could lead him and help him out.

** While speaking to Brandon F. Walker of Barstool’s ‘Rasslin show, Liv Morgan listed names like T.J. Wilson, Bayley, Natalya, Carmella and John Laurinaitis as people who have been supportive of her through this recent stretch of her career.

I feel like there’s a lot of people I could credit to that; Natalya, T.J. [Wilson], Bayley. You know, Carmella in a weird way just because she was like my feud before this [Becky Lynch program] and I really enjoyed working with her and I learned a lot working with her. Everyone backstage has been so supportive between producers, between the guys that are doing production and pyro. You know, even Johnny Laurinaitis. Everyone has just been so happy for me and I feel that it has just helped me so much because they’re just happy that I’ve worked to this moment, you know? And your peers being happy for you and genuinely happy for you, I don’t know. It makes everything better, even though maybe that doesn’t matter in real life. Who cares if people are happy for me? But everyone’s been so great. Everyone’s been really great.

** Ron Simmons is going to be the next guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions on Peacock.

** To promote the 2/11 edition of Friday Night SmackDown in New Orleans, Louisiana, NOLA.com spoke to Paul Heyman.

** The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie Bella) posted their Royal Rumble recap video onto YouTube.

** Steve Maclin was a guest on Ringside Rant.

** Candace Cordelia of Pro Wrestling Illustrated spoke to AEW’s John Silver for an interview.

** WBRC FOX6 caught up with Cesaro to discuss Friday Night SmackDown taking place in Alabama on March 11th.

** Maryland Championship Wrestling uploaded a video to their YouTube channel of Adam Cole’s entrance on night one of their ‘Winter Blast’ tour.

** Vicente Beltran spoke to Reggie at the 2022 WWE Royal Rumble media junket.

** World Elite Podcast welcomed Shane Taylor onto the show and he said he’d like to share the ring with Jon Moxley, Roman Reigns and Moose.

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 3690 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.