POST NEWS UPDATE: The Mighty were told that they were going to win 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Shane Haste interview, Red Velvet hoping for AEW Women's Tag Titles, WWE tryouts this summer, Maven wants in the Royal Rumble, X-Pac chat

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.

** In December of 2018, Mikey Nicholls f.k.a. Nick Miller opted to leave WWE to go back to Australia. Nicholls made the decision after his first child was born. His tag partner Shane Haste (Thorne/SLAPJACK) remained in NXT and while speaking to the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast, Shane said he thought about leaving the company when Mikey left. WWE asked Shane to stay and told him that there were plans for him.

I was led to believe I had a good singles run coming, because I had said, ‘I think I’m gonna leave too’ and they told me don’t leave. Like, ‘They have something for you. Don’t leave.’ So I stayed [Shane laughed].

At NXT TakeOver: Toronto in 2016, Haste and Nicholls met A.O.P. (Akam & Rezar) in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Up until that day, they were told they would be winning the Dusty Cup. Although higher-ups relayed that information to them, Haste did not buy into it. He also went into the match with a torn ACL.

We [Shane & Mikey Nicholls] were told we were winning that Dusty Classic until that day [at TakeOver: Toronto 2016], which I knew we weren’t. We’d been working with A.O.P. at all the house shows and stuff like that and I knew they were the ones, like they were putting all the effort behind and they’re good dudes. I like working — they’re so… we finally got the second — they finally paid it back to us in the next year’s Dusty Classic or the year after that. I’m not sure if I was still injured for that next one but yeah, they’re good guys. I think… no. I still follow them and I check up on what they’re doing and whatnot but they were always good to us and they’re very appreciative, the work that we all did together but, they had the cool entrance and the music and the manager and all these things and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’re not winning’ and at the start of that TakeOver, they pull us aside and they’re like, ‘All right, so you’re not main event anymore. You’re the opening match, you’ve lost a bit of time and they’re going over’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah. I know.’ I said, ‘Okay. We knew.’ The writing was on the wall, so…

Just the bookers, the office [told us we were winning the Dusty Classic] and I’m like, ‘Mhm, okay, whatever.’ But also, I had another torn ACL at this time too. The match with Roderick Strong, I think it’s the only singles match in the tag tournament that’s ever happened… because I think the night or two beforehand, [Austin] Aries had busted his eye on something so he was out for a few weeks. So we still just needed to film this. So yeah, we just had the singles match and during that, I do the double stomp and one leg just goes straight to the ground and I watch and I show people it and I’m like, you can see I grab my knee and I’m like, ‘Ughhhh.’ All I could think of was, ‘Terry’s not gonna let me hear the end of this.’ Terry Taylor was always just like, ‘You don’t need to be doing dives and high-risk maneuvers. You’re just gonna get hurt’ and blah, blah, blah and we’re like, whatever old man but then it’s like, I’m like, ‘Ugh, he was right.’

Last week, Haste made his return to New Japan Pro-Wrestling at their STRONG taping in California. He aligned with JONAH at the show. He spoke about his return and looking forward to doing more with New Japan.

I definitely wanna keep going with New Japan. I just had — I just came out to help my man JONAH the other day [at the NJPW STRONG taping] and so we got some things lined up there, so I’m hoping to then start working in Japan. I miss Japan so much. I was there for such a long time before and now it’s a thing of getting back there and getting back into it. I kind of feel like I’m almost a rookie again. Like I’m just getting my — I gotta get more steam, I gotta get some back behind my name. So yeah, I’m open to working anywhere. I wanna work, that’s my biggest thing.

Together, The Mighty are two-time GHC Tag Team Champions. They are still in contact on a consistent basis and said the goal is for them to meet up in Japan.

Oh of course [Mikey Nicholls is on my radar]. I speak to Mikey all the time still. We’re just hoping to — he lives out in Australia and he’s got his wife and kid out there. He’s very loyal to his family so, that’s where he’ll be based and if I’m based here… we can meet in Japan. That’s the goal, that’s the dream. We’re going for the dream.

Towards the end of Haste and Nicholls’ deal[s] with Pro Wrestling NOAH, Shane suffered a torn ACL. He would go on to do a three-day WWE tryout with the injury. Shane told Canyon Ceman the news and thought Canyon would be disappointed. Haste was simply told to get the surgery taken care of.

Near the end of my NOAH contract, during a match, I tore my ACL and finished the match. Afterwards, I’m kind of limping and I ask them, ‘Should I go to a hospital?’ And they ask me, ‘Do you want to go to a hospital?’ And I said, ‘No.’ So we just taped it for — I took a weekend off and then from after that weekend, I just did six man’s and we just taped it like a cast around my knee. I just kept going and then every week, we take a layer off and a layer off and I’ve talked to doctors and whatnot about this and — I think — they said that the muscle around can eventually stabilize as well. So, I never went to the hospital to get it actually checked. My contract was coming up, it expired and then we did — we flew home from Japan, pretty sure — no, maybe went home for a little bit, I got a CT scan there and then the next day, flew off to America to do the two-day, three-day tryout. So I did like a three-day tryout with a torn ACL, got the job, me and Mike, got accepted on the last day with a handful of others. Flew home, I think we’ve gone from Orlando to Dallas. We get into Dallas at midnight and a bunch of us get off that plane to go rush to this other part of the airport to get to the next flight and we get there and there’s nobody there. Like, just around, it’s an empty airport and we’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ Finally, someone kind of comes past and we’re like, ‘Where’s this flight?’ And they’re like, ‘Oh, it got canceled.’ No one got an email, there’s about 20 people who are just like, ‘What the f*ck?’ So anyway, we ended up getting put up in a hotel for that night, catching the next flight out. But that was the one day we had home before we went back to Japan for another little stint before finishing up there for good. But in that time that I got home, I think we maybe had 20 hours if even, not even a full day. My results came back and they’re like, ‘Oh, you have a torn ACL,’ which I’m like, ‘Damn, this sucks.’ So, I messaged Canyon [Ceman] and I’m like, ‘Hey man. I just found out I have a torn ACL. They say it’s six months recovery and that the visa process takes about six-to-nine months. I’m sorry if this is letting you down but I just thought I’d be honest with you and tell you what’s going on’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, no problem. Just get it fixed’ and I was like, ‘Okay.’ So I did another — I think I did two weeks, two or three weeks of that Japan tour then flew home, got the surgery, six months of recovery, did another two weeks in Japan and then that was our final hoorah before flying off to Orlando to move. But yeah, it all kind of just luckily worked out and my surgeon in Australia was a big wrestling fan so he kind of skipped me ahead of the line and got me in there real quick. So yeah, that’s kind of the dumb luck that I have.

As they were brought into the fold of NXT, Haste and Nicholls were set to undergo name changes. Nicholls suggested the name ‘Nick Miller’ as a joke. He got the name ‘Nick Miller’ from the TV sitcom ‘New Girl’. Names that were almost settled on for Haste were ‘Shane Turner’ and ‘Scott Turner’.

We’d given them a list of names, which I put ‘Shane’ for all of my names. I just had a bunch of different last names which they didn’t pick any of those. So, Mikey put ‘Nick Miller’ as a joke, as the last name because back in the NOAH dojo, we used to watch ‘New Girl’ all the time and me, Mike and Zack Sabre Jr., name drop, whatever. We would always joke that Mikey was like Nick Miller because Mikey has a grumpy Nick Miller face and he always — everything goes wrong for Mikey in such a hilarious way. So when we saw that come up on the screen, we thought it was hilarious and we’re like, ‘That’s hilarious. They’re not gonna — surely they’re gonna know that’s a character from a very popular TV show’ and we were like, ‘Hehe, we got one through on them’ and then later on, we’re like, ‘Oh, that kind of backfired on us’ and then the name they had for me was ‘Shane Turner,’ because they wanted a ‘T’ last name which ‘TM’. So, Turner and Miller and this was around the time that Scott Turner, I think he was in the news a lot and he was like a very problematic person so I was like, ‘Can I not have any association with the name Turner?’ And they’re like, ‘If you can think of another name, then yeah’ and another name I thought, maybe Taylor and then I was like, ‘Well, my mother’s maiden name is Thorne,’ so that was an easy one and they ran it through legal and that worked and I was very happy with that.

While he was still a part of the NXT brand, he wanted to form a tag team with JONAH. WWE producer and trainer Steve Corino paired them together for non-televised events and Haste had an idea mapped out for them.

Me and JONAH wanted to team over there and Steve Corino put us in a few tag matches which we loved and I would’ve loved — we had an idea of that where he’s the face and I’m the heel, I’m the dickhead friend, you know, and then he eventually makes me go, ‘Okay’ and we both go be nice guys or both go bad guys.

When Haste returned from his ACL injury that he suffered in 2016, he and Nicholls were brought back on-screen as heels. He feels that they should’ve been heels from the start.

Oh, we should’ve been heels from the start [in NXT]. They asked us, ‘Are you heels or faces?’ And we’re like, ‘We’re cheered in Japan so I guess we’re faces.’ But then I watch my stuff back and I’m like, we’re heels. We’re just clearly heels. We’re like dicks. Just dickheads. I’m like damn, we should’ve been doing this from the start. So yeah, that was — it was very freeing to be heels.

** AEW’s Red Velvet was the focus of a virtual signing hosted by Captain’s Corner. Velvet stated that one of her goals and hopes related to AEW is that Women’s Tag Team Titles are brought into the fold.

My goal and hope is that T.K. [Tony Khan] puts [together] a women’s tag division. Absolutely [there’s enough women on the roster] so that’s something I’m gonna manifest so, I’m manifesting it now. I would love to be a part of that. Everyone wants to be a singles champion winner but being a tag winner… a tag champion with someone just also means more women get to be showcased every night, you know, in these matches. So, and I have fun doing tag matches or even three-on-three matches and stuff like that so I’m hoping that’s what we lean into so, or more tournaments, I’m down for the tournaments. I love competition so, let’s keep it coming.

Elsewhere during the signing, Velvet spoke about the current TBS Champion Jade Cargill and their rivalry. Velvet respects Jade and added that when they’re in the ring together, Cargill brings out the best in her.

Jade [Cargill] as an opponent; we’d square off in the ring. To me, I am a very respectful person and I respect her. I respect her hard work, I respect her grind. I am not a person who’s jealous. If it’s her time to hold the title, she earned it. She’s not gonna hold it forever [Velvet smirked], but I do respect her. She is very dedicated, she wants to prove people wrong. I think a lot of people have a lot to say because she did come up and just started but she busted her ass so I have to give credit where it’s due and she brings out the best in me. She gets me really, really angry. She brings out a side of me that I haven’t brought out in a long time so I have to thank her for that. We will always share the first — her first match was against me and I hope we’re rivals forever because yeah, she always… she’s tough competition so she always makes me have to level up my game. So, defeat means nothing to me. It’s a lesson learned so, it’s only a matter of time before [I] keep getting knocked down and gonna keep getting up and I’m always gonna keep getting up so hold that belt tight honey because I’m coming for it.

When asked who she believes is one of the more underrated talents in AEW, Velvet named Jade Cargill and feels that she has been underestimated. She shared that Jade has attended every women’s practice session since those were started, adding that Jade is one of the hardest workers in the room.

I think fanwise, I think Jade [Cargill] is very underrated. I think, yes, she was brought up quickly and she started really quickly but I have to say people underestimate her drive and her passion and her love for the business and she might be new but it’s growing and she’s one of the hardest workers in the room. Jade is at every practice, every practice. I don’t think she’s missed one since we started. So I’ll go with that for right now [underrated talents in AEW], unless I think of something else. But, I gotta give credit where it’s due, I’m not a hater.

The match that led to Velvet being signed was when she teamed with Cody Rhodes to take on Jade and Shaquille O’Neal. She shared the advice Shaq gave to her about how to deal with Jade in the ring:

He [Shaquille O’Neal] told me if Jade [Cargill] ever picked me up, just fart in her face and I would win so, [Velvet laughed] that did not happen but, maybe I should’ve done it. Maybe I would’ve won.

** Co-hosting episode 107 of the Table Talk podcast was Maven. The last time Maven wrestled for WWE was in 2005. He said if they contacted him to participate in a Royal Rumble, he’d do it in a heartbeat.

You know what? As funny as it is, that’s the one thing obviously people always remember is my Undertaker-Rumble appearance. All they’d have to do is call me. Before they would get it out of their mouth, ‘Hey, we got the Rumble coming up. Would you like to –’ ‘Yes!’ I would literally jump on it that fast and if they gave me enough time, I would start working, you know, trying to get in good shape again. I would do it in a heartbeat. I would absolutely do it in a heartbeat.

Brian Myers was a guest on the show and the two parties reflected on occasions when they were excited to meet a wrestler while a part of the business. Maven said Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was that person for him. He recalled Johnson pranking him by continuously asking Maven what his name was. Maven kept reintroducing himself until Johnson finally told Maven that he’s aware of who he is.

I mean, The Rock obviously [a wrestler that Maven wanted to get a picture with in the wrestling business]. When I was a school teacher before I got into wrestling, I had an entire wall on my — behind my desk and it said, ‘The Rock says’ and it had all of his different pictures and moves and you know, my kids, my students used to bring just different stuff and I would put it on this wall and his book ‘The Rock Says’ came out while I was teaching, before Tough Enough and you know, one of my students gave that to me so, I think the first time I met him was, you know, ‘Hey, you mind if I take a picture?’ Hold on, let me get my disposable camera. Oh yeah [Rock was still on the roster at the time]. He ribbed me. The very first time I met him, he ribbed me. I show up at Raw and I go backstage and it was — you’ll love this Brian [Myers]. I didn’t have a roller bag, I had a duffle bag. They cut the strap off to it so I had to carry it through the airport like this [holding the bag from underneath]. It is though [a good prank] and Taz is like, ‘Get yourself a f*cking roller.’ But, I arrive at the show at Raw and immediately, you know, Rock comes up to me and this is right after Tough Enough. I’m talking weeks after it ended and I’m like, ‘Hey. Maven. Nice to meet you.’ He’s like, ‘Hey! What’s up man? Dwayne. Nice to meet you kid’ and I was like, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ He comes up to me 30 seconds later, ‘What’d you say your name was?’ ‘I’m Maven. It’s Maven.’ ‘What was your name again?’ ‘It’s Maven.’ He did that seven times throughout the day and every time, I reintroduced myself and then at the end of the night, he was like, ‘Hey dipsh*t, I watched the show. I know who you are.’ It was just a — I don’t wanna say ‘surreal’ because at the end of the day, he’s a human being too. But it was just — I think meeting him was probably the coolest thing.

** At GCW’s ‘Welcome To Heartbreak’ show on 2/25, Sean ‘X-Pac’ Waltman is returning to the ring and he’ll be teaming with Joey Janela to take on Matt Cardona and Brian Myers. Waltman spoke to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp and explained that once he had his surgery taken care of, he got in contact with Brett Lauderdale. Waltman did not want to end his career on the matches he had prior to stepping away from the ring.

Anyway. So once I got — once I had the surgery, and everything was going good, I just got connected with Brett Lauderdale and GCW because I knew them from back east, I worked for them — they just became Game Changer Wrestling, maybe the last time I worked it up, but man that was several years back I was having those matches where I was still able to get in there, and do my four or five greatest hits as far as moves go. That’s kind of what people want to see. But that wasn’t good enough for me. I don’t even feel great about those matches. I don’t want to — I didn’t want to end it on that.

I just really dig GCW, man. I mean, they don’t look at like — they try a lot of different things, man and some of it doesn’t work, and that’s okay. I just love their spirit. I love how I feel when I’m around all their talent, their roster, and they’ve all been great to me, man.

As far as beyond 2/25, he’s going to get in the ring and see how he feels. After getting the feel of being in the ring again, Waltman will have a more precise idea of what his in-ring future looks like.

First of all, this Friday it’ll be my first time back in the ring. I’m just gonna see how I feel in this match before I start making any big plans moving forward. But I have tentative plans. Some good sh*t, man. It’s not like I’m gonna go out there and do this until the end of the year and then I’m done. As long as I feel good, I’ll still do matches. I don’t want to go out there and just be all over the place. I want them to be special matches, you know?

** Doudrop was a part of the women’s Elimination Chamber match in Saudi Arabia. She went live on Instagram with Quetzalli Bulnes for a new edition of El Brunch de WWE. She shared her thoughts about the match and the nerves leading up to it.

It was — it was such a funny day [Elimination Chamber 2022] because there were so many mixed emotions. Like, all the girls, we were all excited, it was gonna be this historic moment having the women’s Elimination Chamber in Saudi Arabia but also, you know, a little scared because one, the expectation that comes with having such a big match but also, a little scary because the structure of the Elimination Chamber itself is frightening. The way that it’s built, I feel that it is — if you fall, if there’s any accidents, it can be a real serious injury so it was — although it was — I created an experience and it was fun and exciting, it was also quite scary at the same time.

Last month, Doudrop challenged Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Title at the Royal Rumble. Doudrop discussed the hurdles they had to work around such as the WrestleMania sign being on fire during their match along with having a heel versus heel dynamic.

I did not expect it all [match with Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble]. I was really surprised that we were having this match but very grateful and it was a crazy match because you know, it was heel-heel match so it was kind of like a little — not misplaced but you know, it makes it a little more difficult and then while we’re having the match, the WrestleMania sign went on fire and I was like, ‘Uh, I don’t know what to do.’ So it was a really — I really loved the match and I loved working with Becky, but it wasn’t without its challenges. But, I think we, again, even despite all the challenges, performed really well and I hope that I get to have another match with Becky perhaps for the title.

** A feature story about WWE’s ‘Next in Line’ prospect Joe Spivak is up on WGN-TV’s website. Spivak was present at the 2022 Royal Rumble event and stated that being backstage and meeting the staff helped familiarize him with the process in WWE ahead of tryouts this summer.

Meeting the writers and creative teams, strength and wrestling coaches [at the Royal Rumble], so when you get down there for the tryout [this summer], you are more familiar with the process. You’re building relationships which I just love.

** Shakiel Mahjouri of CBS Sports conducted an interview with Renee Paquette. She looked back on her lengthy non-compete clause in her WWE contract after departing the company. Renee explained that it did not affect her too much because she was not looking to jump from one company to the next and was thinking of moving in a different direction.

It didn’t really affect it because, truly, when I was leaving WWE, I wasn’t looking to go from one place to another. At the time, everything I was able to do with WWE, I did so much there. You know, I literally wore every hat I could possibly wear there and it was awesome, but I wanted to take that and turn it into something different. I didn’t want to take that and — I don’t want to say it’s a parallel move. It’s not that because I don’t know what the opportunity would be within AEW. Maybe there would be something really great there, but I really wanted to take what I had done with WWE and move it into just a different path. I really just wanted to kind of use that as my way to kind of create something for myself.

** Jaychele Nicole pushed out her interview with Ricky Starks. He discussed his role as a member of the AEW Rampage commentary team. Starks mentioned that he loves having that outlet in his back pocket and focuses on not being a detriment to the match or the wrestlers competing in those matches.

It’s cool because there’s really no one in my position right now doing it. I really tried to think about who else is an active wrestler doing commentary and I really haven’t thought of anyone, unless I’m wrong then let me know. I think it’s cool to be that type of benchmark, that bar for people moving forward. I know looking back, maybe ten years from now, this will probably be a really cool thing that I’ve done. There’s been moments where I couldn’t really see it for what it is, in terms of, ‘I want to be in the ring,’ and stuff like that. At the end of the day, I appreciate being on commentary. I appreciate working with these people who have helped me out; JR, Taz, Excalibur, Jericho, Tony Schiavone, people who really care to see me try to succeed. I’ve been holding my head above water a lot, especially with some of these memorable matches that we have, and that I’m not a detriment to the wrestling match or the wrestlers themselves. It’s awesome to do. I love it. I love having it in my back pocket. Sometimes you gotta see things for what they are and honestly it’s a great opportunity to have.

** Keith Lee, Nyla Rose and Mark Henry were interviewed for a piece that was published on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution website. The article spotlights the Black experience in pro wrestling from the wrestler’s perspective.

** Former GHC Heavyweight Champion Katsuhiko Nakajima is going to miss NOAH’s 2/25 show due to an eardrum injury.

** One year ago on 2/24, Joseph Hudson a.k.a. The Question Mark passed away. The National Wrestling Alliance uploaded the following video to their YouTube channel:

** POST Wrestling would like to send our condolences to All Japan’s Shotaro Ashino, who lost his father several days ago due to stage four cancer.

** Major League Wrestling is bringing in Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat for their SuperFight show on February 26th. Steamboat spoke to The Herald about the upcoming appearance.

** Endeavor’s ‘On Location’ is partnering with WWE to offer ‘premium hospitality packages’ to those attending events like WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, Money In The Bank and Survivor Series. The packages include ‘premiere seating’, meet and greets and other offers.

** To promote Friday Night SmackDown in Alabama on 3/11, Sonya Deville appeared on WBRC FOX6. Deville continued to make the media rounds via a guest spot on WKBN-TV.

** WrestleTalk published the written version of their interview with Bianca Belair.

** Prior to Pro Wrestling NOAH’s ‘Gain Control’ show on 2/23, Katsuhiko Nakajima was interviewed by Sports Illustrated.

** Sports Illustrated’s ‘This Week in Wrestling’ column includes interviews with Bianca Belair and Invictus Khash.

** Shelton Benjamin appeared on Busted Open Radio with Dave LaGreca and Tommy Dreamer.

** Coming out of Elimination Chamber, ‘Metro’ spoke to Lita.

** Darren Paltrowitz has an interview on his YouTube channel with Nick Aldis.

** Nicole of Maryland Championship Wrestling hosted an in-character interview with Nyla Rose.

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 5507 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.