POST NEWS UPDATE: Bianca Belair talks Raw Women’s Title win, how WrestleMania 37 compares, acting career

Bianca Belair reflects on WrestleMania 38, JTG recounts plans for Cryme Tyme tag title win, AEW's Ortiz, Trent Seven-Mark Andrews notes, more

Photo Courtesy: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

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.

** WrestleMania 38 Saturday featured Bianca Belair being crowned Raw Women’s Champion. She joined Complex’s Unsanctioned show and spoke about her match with Becky Lynch.

That was the goal [to have the best match of the night on WrestleMania Saturday]. It was an amazing night. For me, being in Dallas, because it was special to me because the first — when Mania was in Dallas last time, that was the year that I started in WWE, so I actually missed that WrestleMania so, it felt like it was full circle and it was the biggest crowd I had ever performed in front of so, to be in the ring with Becky Lynch who is amazing and to just make history again, you know? It was the only time that the only two women who main evented WrestleMania going head-to-head with each other so, of course we had to bring main event energy to WrestleMania.

At WrestleMania in 2021, Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks headlined night one as the first two Black women to close a WrestleMania. Belair can’t compare the two accolades because both had different stories and she has her own personal feelings about each bout and the build-up to it.

No, I can’t compare them because they’re so different [her back-to-back WrestleMania title wins]. You know, last year going into WrestleMania and main eventing with Sasha Banks, making history, being the first time that two Black women have ever main evented WrestleMania, walking out as SmackDown Women’s Champion, you know, last year was me going in as a rookie. I was going in just trying to just prove myself and you know, I had nothing to lose. I was out there just giving it all I had and I was just excited and grateful to be there and um, those nerves were completely different now to this year where I felt like I had a little bit more experience and I wasn’t walking in as a rookie. Now I was walking in as a former WrestleMania main event winner and former champion and so now I had this reputation that I had to live up to but also, this year, it was more personal. You know, going against Becky Lynch and the fact this year, WrestleMania kind of tied into last year’s WrestleMania because the title that Becky Lynch took from me was the title that I won at last year’s WrestleMania so, this year, the nerves were so different but it was like I was making history again but it was more personal and more of a redemption more so than just trying to prove myself.

When asked if she’d like to venture into acting, Belair said she’d love to try her hand at it. She added that it is a goal she wants to achieve.

Listen, listen [Bianca laughed], I’m in WWE right now. I never imagined myself being a WWE superstar and I can’t imagine myself being anything other than what I am now but, listen, I would love to eventually go to Hollywood and be in movies and act and I just feel so alive when I’m able to perform in front of people and so, um, yeah, that’s definitely the goal, that’s definitely the goal.

Bianca has been a part of WWE since 2016. She got her start in wrestling through NXT and she spoke highly of what Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque has meant to her career. She thinks there would be no ‘Bianca Belair’ if it was not for Levesque.

Oh definitely, there would be no Bianca Belair without Triple H. I mean he was such a huge part of the development of who I am in the ring. You know, he was the first person that believed in me, first person that put me on that stage and introduced me to the WWE universe. He was the first person who pulled me aside after the Mae Young Classic and let me know that this is what I was born to do and gave me that confirmation that you’re walking in your purpose. He is just — he’s special and he’s contributed to so many people’s careers inside the ring and outside the ring but I think what’s amazing about him is — I mean it’s amazing, the accomplishments that he’s done inside the ring and the amazing superstar he was as ‘Triple H’. But I say this and I mean this with every bone in my body, I think the most impactful things that he has done are the things he’s done outside the ring and what he did in NXT. It’s just so impactful and so inspiring; who he is as a person inside the ring, outside of the ring and he’s retired but, I’m just excited to see what he’s gonna do with his next steps in life because I know it’s gonna be something amazing.

The topic of reality shows came up and Belair gave a ‘never say never’ answer when it comes to her and Montez Ford possibly having their own show. She thinks Montez is ready-made for reality television.

Listen, my husband [Montez Ford], I think he’s meant for reality TV. He’s a walking reality TV show. I’m the one that’s trying to keep up all the time but, I’m a person, I never say never and all I can say is um… I will say stay tuned [Belair laughed].

Belair’s WrestleMania 38 entrance included Texas Southern University’s band playing her to the ring. She spoke about how important it was for her to spotlight an HBCU band, adding that it was something she’s always wanted to have for an entrance.

Man so, I’ve wanted to do a band entrance and I wanted it to be an HBCU band. You know, I call myself the EST of WWE and one of the things that I always talk about is just being unapologetically me and bringing my full self to the table and you know, anybody that knows the history of HBCU bands, anyone that’s heard an HBCU band, you know, it’s part of my culture, it’s part of my childhood. Even the high school that I went to, my high school band mimicked an HBCU band so, who am I and so I was like, I just wanna bring my full self to the grandest stage of them all and I wanna represent for my culture and I wanna represent the history behind it and there’s nothing bigger than an HBCU band. Anybody that’s ever seen it, you go to football games and you’re more so watching the band than the football game. But I knew that Texas Southern [University] would help me shine and they would shine bright out there and they would just bring a new type of energy to WrestleMania that’s really never been seen much before, you know? So I just really wanted to give them that platform and I knew that they would just really come out as the best entrance of the weekend so that’s really why I wanted to bring the HBCU band out there with me.  

** On 4/1, Shad Gaspard was inducted into the 2022 WWE Hall of Fame via the Warrior Award honor. JTG was interviewed by The Black Announce Table to reflect on being a part of that moment with Shad’s family. JTG looked back on he and Shad’s tag run in WWE and recalled being told that they were supposed to win the tag titles in Africa. JTG then recalled being informed by the powers that be that Cryme Tyme did not need the titles.

I heard for different reasons [why Cryme Tyme did not win the WWE Tag Team Titles]. You know, ‘timing’ was also one of them. We were slated to win the titles in Africa I heard. We had a tour in Africa coming up and we were working Lance [Cade] and Trevor Murdoch and you know, I was told that we were supposed to win it in Africa and then work them at the pay-per-view. Unfortunately, we got released before we got the titles, and I was so looking forward to going to Africa and then to win the titles in Africa, that would have been dope. But yeah, we got released before that and then also heard a few times that we didn’t need the titles. They usually put the [titles on] individuals or a team if it’s three different scenarios. Let me see if I can remember it, how I was taught. The title is either to make a team or individual, make them, you know, put them on a different level. The title could do that, or if the title, you know, an individual, they’ll make the person make the title, vice versa, you know what I mean? And then there’s a transitional champion where they want to put the title on somebody else but that person’s a babyface so they have to put it on that person so that person who they want to win it can win it from them. So it’s a transitional, make the title or the title makes you. Those are the three scenarios and I was told that we didn’t need to — we were over. We didn’t need the titles. I’m like, that’s a backhanded compliment I guess?

When asked if he’d be interested in writing an extensive book about his wrestling career, JTG said if he gets signed to a major company, he’ll write that book.

You know, if I get signed to a big company, I’m gonna write about all my amazing experiences so we’ll see.

** Ahead of the 4/11 Monday Night Raw in Detroit, Michigan, The Miz spoke with ‘The Detroit News’. Miz described his current role in WWE and feels he’s a top ‘utility player’. He adds that he helps develop newcomers along with being in the mid-card or main event scenes.

I would say my role in the company now is as a person who can develop newcomers but also be in the main event, or help the main event out, or be on the mid-card. I can be anywhere. I’m the person that they’re like, ‘Hey, we’ve got this,’ and if they give it to me, they know it’s going to be gold.

This past January, The Miz teamed with Maryse at the Royal Rumble. Miz feels that prior to Maryse and him being paired up on-screen, he was trying to keep his head above water in the company and could not figure out how to get back to where he once was.

I couldn’t figure out how to get back to where I was, I was just trying to keep my head above water, and I couldn’t. And then Maryse came back, and everything that I was saying kind of looked true, because this beautiful, smart woman isn’t going to be with some loser.

** NJPW’s Great-O-Khan received a letter of appreciation for saving a 10-year-old girl who was being harassed by an older man. The Tokyo Sports reporter who covered the story wrote a follow-up article on the matter. The incident took place on March 30th but was not published until April 1st, which led to some thinking what O-Khan had done was a joke. That article was supposed to be published on 3/31 but due to ‘twists and turns’, it was delayed one day. O-Khan mentioned to the outlet that by them adding in the part when he offered to buy the young girl pancakes only added to the thought that it could be an April Fools’ prank. The reporter swore that there was no intent to add any doubt to O-Khan’s good deed.

** The ‘Dropkick Podcast’ caught up with Bret Hart at WrestleCon in Dallas, Texas. Bret reacted to the tributes and respect that Dax Harwood and CM Punk have shown him on AEW programming. Bret wishes he could see them more but wants them to know he’ll always be in their corner and rooting for them.

Just that I appreciate them [Dax Harwood & CM Punk paying tribute to him in AEW], I appreciate… it means a lot to me for them to be big fans of mine and I try to cheer them on as much as possible. I wish I could see them more often and be more of an input to helping them with their careers but, I just want them to know that I’ll always be in their corner cheering them on.

** The duo of Ortiz and Santana are coming up on their three-year anniversary since joining AEW. Ortiz was the focus of a Captain’s Corner virtual signing and said it’s ‘mind boggling’ that he and Santana have not wrestled The Lucha Bros (Penta Oscuro & Rey Fenix) in AEW yet.

That we [Ortiz & Santana] wanna face in AEW? Lucha Bros man. We haven’t wrestled them in AEW yet and we have the same chemistry with them. Honestly, for the fans that know, they know our chemistry with Lucha Bros, but the fact that we haven’t wrestled them in AEW is a little mind boggling to me. I get it, but Lucha Bros. Just put us on — like, I’m not a greedy person. We can open up Rampage baby [Ortiz laughed]. Not announced, I don’t wanna be announced. I just want it to just be like bam, opening up Rampage, Lucha Bros music plays or our music plays first, whatever, Lucha Bros music plays and then we just shake hands and have a fire match. That’s it. No set up, no nothing.

Ortiz, Santana and Eddie Kingston are currently feuding with the Jericho Appreciation Society on-screen. Ortiz reflected on the now-defunct Inner Circle and being a part of that group since AEW’s start on national television.

Oh sh*t man, Stadium Stampede was [one of my favorite Inner Circle moments]. The first one was wild. It was like filming a movie. The second one was wild and I almost lost my finger repelling down — I never thought like — I thought, do we get a stuntman for this? When we’re repelling down from the top of a stadium? Which was wild. Double cage, the fact that I was in a WarGames match or Blood and Guts, excuse me. Yeah, [my bad, Ortiz laughed]. But yeah, it was just wild. So many moments man and take away how currently I feel about Chris Jericho but really, one our bonding moments, me and Santana, we read ‘A Lion’s Tale’, Chris Jericho’s first book and just reading how he came up in wrestling as far as how he was a journeyman, how he went from Canada to the States to Mexico to Japan. He did all that before he joined WCW and WWF. He did a little bit of ECW then he went to — I think afterwards, he went to WCW and then he went to WWF eventually. But that, to me and Santana, that was the way you do it. You wrestle everywhere, you wrestle everyone, you wrestle every style, you become the guy that can wrestle any style which, you know, a testament to Chris, you saw it recently with Eddie [Kingston]. That match at the pay-per-view [Revolution] was wild and I hadn’t seen Chris wrestle that like in ages and up until that point, we were still cool, so I was able to enjoy the match and yeah man, just the fact that we were in a stable with Chris Jericho was super cool but, all those moments man. The whole ride with The Inner Circle was wild but you know, he decided to spit on that and now, yeah, I feel bad for him.

** Captain’s Corner hosted a virtual signing with Preston ’10’ Vance and Alan ‘5’ Angels of Dark Order. Both talents gave their respective thoughts about Cody Rhodes’ decision to depart AEW and join WWE.

Vance: I mean he [Cody Rhodes] did, you know, essentially what makes him happy, what’s best for his family so I’m not knocking him. If it was up to me, I would love to work with him forever. I love Cody, he’s one of my closest friends. However, you know what? He did what’s best for him and at the end of the day, you kind of know what’s best for you. So he made the decision that he thinks is right, so I mean you can’t knock him for it at all.

Angels: As long as he’s doing what makes him happy, you know?

Vance: And he seems like he’s happy so, in turn, it makes me happy for him. Yeah, so that’s about my thoughts on it. I mean I’m still friends with him.

Yeah [Cody spoke highly of me on ‘Rhodes to the Top’]. Yeah, he’s a good dude.

Along with his work in AEW, Alan Angels is hoping to work with New Japan Pro-Wrestling via their STRONG show.

Angels: Yeah, I wanna do New Japan STRONG soon too. I think that would be dope and that would lead into more stuff so…

Elsewhere during the signing, Angels reflected on being signed by All Elite Wrestling several years ago. He was officially brought into the company after having matches with the likes of Kenny Omega, Rey Fenix and Sammy Guevara.

Angels: I got signed [to AEW] maybe two, three weeks later [following Preston ‘10’ Vance being signed] after I — so I had the match with Kenny [Omega] and that kind of blew up and then I had a match with Fenix and a match with Sammy [Guevara] and all those matches were pretty good and like after that, they just signed me on the spot. It was pretty cool. Me and Lee Johnson got signed at the same time.

** The latest ‘My Love Letter to Wrestling’ podcast featured Trent Seven joining Mark Andrews on the show. Seven dove into how much pride and investment he has in the NXT UK brand. He’d be more than happy to go to WWE’s main roster and do whatever is asked of him but discussed the importance of what he’s a part of with NXT UK.

Seven: If I’m here to die on that hill of bugging people and you know, being so annoying to the office at some point then you know, I’m willing to die on that hill because that’s what I want my career to be. I’m more than happy to go to the main roster, I’m more than happy to do whatever. Of course I wanna do it and I would do it with absolute 100 percent gusto and I would do whatever they say and that’s fine. But at this point here, because we have such an in-built ownership over it [NXT UK], we have such pride, we made this. We are the stories, we are the basis of every single key story and key moment where it’ll have to revolve around the Scottish boys, the Welsh boys, the girls that started this thing with the first girls signed to NXT UK. They’re always gonna come full circle and be the story so, I think that’s why I kind of take so much kind of pride and so much respect. I don’t wanna — I’m so defensive of it. You can’t just say this. There’s a reason for everything here and I just want it to be the biggest it possibly can be and for me, that is being the biggest wrestling brand in all of Europe.

Earlier in their conversation, Mark Andrews recounted being at WrestleMania 33 in a press box with NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live talents. Andrews said he began to scream and react passionately when Matt and Jeff Hardy returned and across the room, Andrews noticed William Regal with a stern look on his face.

Andrews: Have I told you the funny story about that moment [The Hardys returning to WWE at WrestleMania 33]? About how we were all — so we were — it was NXT UK-a lot and 205 Live and all that kind of like NXT guys up in this box wasn’t it? And we were like oh my God, we’re at Mania.

It was so hot, yeah… and like obviously, we’re all trying to make a good impression on the company. We only got signed like two or three months before, right? Our first big trip out there and then The New Day are out there going, ‘Oh, there’s one more team in this match.’ Hardy Boyz music hits and at this point, I forget that I’m currently employed by the WWE and I’m just going, ‘Yeah!!! Yeah!!!’ Screaming, doing the Jeff Hardy hand [dance] and I look to my left and the closest I’ve ever been to him, William Regal is just stern. He’s looking at me like what have I — why have I gotten these boys a job? Literally, I’m going like, ‘Jeff Hardy!!’ [Andrews laughed]. So stupid and I’m still employed so hey!

** Monday Night Raw commentator Jimmy Smith appeared on Renee Paquette’s SiriusXM show and reflected on calling his first WrestleMania.

When it first kind of sunk in [that I would be calling a WrestleMania] is we got a police escort to the stadium, through Dealey Plaza. You know, all these motorcycles, cops stopping traffic so that the buses of people, you know, myself and all the superstars behind us in this bus and they — and I’m going, ‘Is this real?’ I’ve never seen a scale like this ever in my life where the hotel is packed and everybody is head to toe and my room key is an ad for WrestleMania. When I came back from the event, the hotel had the WWE’s logo [on] the side of the hotel and it switched and it said ‘WrestleMania’.

** Tehuti Miles, formerly known as ‘Ashante Thee Adonis’ in WWE was a guest on the MCW Cast. He told the story of how Dean Muhtadi (Mojo Rawley) helped him get his first tryout with WWE in June of 2017.

When I was in the military, one of the guys I was deployed with, he was in my platoon, his ex-wife messaged me on Facebook and she was like, ‘Yeah, there’s this WWE wrestler that comes to my bar all the time. He’s wild’ and everything like that and, ‘I know you’re into the wrestling stuff’ and she was like friends with him and stuff so she was like, ‘Yeah, would you like me to link you up with him?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ So that guy was Mojo [Rawley], and another Maryland, University of Maryland football player guy too. So yeah, I ended up linking up with him and talking to him for months and stuff like that and then he got me a — the opportunity, he got me a tryout opportunity with WWE and so, I did my first tryout in 2017, June 2017 and this is before I even went to MCW [Maryland Championship Wrestling]. I had no wrestling training at all, but I’ve done martial arts my whole life and you know, I’m athletic with football and stuff like that so, I never did any wrestling at all and did the tryout and they said I did really, really well but they wanted me to get training and experience…

** IMPACT World Champion Moose joined Rocky Romero, Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson on the Talk’n Shop podcast. Moose feels that his ascension in the IMPACT ranks came when he stopped focusing solely on the in-ring performances and started focusing on appealing to the audience outside of the ring and looking like a star.

I stopped being a f*cking mark. There was a point in wrestling where I just wanted the wrestling. Like for instance, I haven’t wrestled on TV since motherf*cking October and two years ago, I would be mad about that. Like, why the f*ck am I not wrestling? But I never looked at the bigger picture as my mind like — I’m getting more over not f*cking wrestling and that’s the thing people don’t realize, the f*cking wrestling doesn’t f*cking matter. It’s great if you can do it but, what matters is f*cking talking and being cool and looking like a star and that’s what f*cking matters and I think — make the people want to see you. That’s what f*cking matters and when I had to stop being a mark and being like, ‘Oh f*ck it, I wanna be — I wanna hit this move and this cool sh*t.’ When I had to get out of that mindset, I saw my…

When I get that f*cking call sheet on f*cking Thursday the night before a flight, it was like yeah, you got a match. I’m like, ‘God dammit.’ That sh*t breaks my heart when I have to f*cking wrestle [Moose laughed]. I like not wrestling.

** Scott Fishman of TV Insider pushed out his interview with Rhea Ripley. She discussed seeing Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque in person for the first time since his health issues were made public. Rhea described how emotional that was for her.

I wasn’t expecting him to be here. When he got introduced to the room [WrestleMania weekend], I genuinely started crying. It was so lovely to see him. It has been such a long time. I’m happy he is back on the path to being healthy again. It got really scary for a while. I’m glad he has gotten better. I owe my career to him. I owe my love of wrestling to him. Without a Triple H, there won’t be a Rhea Ripley.

** Shane ‘Swerve’ Strickland shared that he’s filming a horror movie.

** MuscleManMalcolm’s chat with Marina Shafir is at this link.

** Shinya Aoki is returning to the ring for DDT Pro Wrestling on May 1st. Aoki has not wrestled for the promotion since February. He partook in a martial arts tournament in late March.

** Part two of Will Ospreay’s interview with the All Real Wrestling Podcast is up on the podcast’s YouTube channel.

** IMPACT Wrestling commentator Tom Hannifan was a guest on The Cut Pro Wrestling Podcast.

** New Japan’s Taichi was the focus of a virtual meet-and-greet/signing on the NJPW YouTube channel.

** SHO did an in-character interview with NJPW1972.com.

** DDT Pro Wrestling’s ‘April Fool’ Results (4/10/22) Korakuen Hall
Pre-Show: Ilusion & Yuya Koroku def. El Unicorn & Toi Kojima
Pre-Show: DISASTER BOX (Kazuki Hirata, Naomi Yoshimura & Toru Owashi) def. Akito, Gota Ihashi & Soma Takao
– KANON def. Yuki Ishida
KO-D Tag Team Championships: Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi (c) def. Yuji Hino & Yukio Naya
KO-D Six Man Tag Team Championships: DAMNATION T.A (Daisuke Sasaki, Minoru Fujita & MJ Paul) def. Danshoku Dino, Yuki Ino & Yumehito Imanari (c)
– Maya Yukihi & Saki Akai def. Cherry & Miyako Matsumoto
– Yusuke Okada def. Shunma Katsumata
– MAO & Yuki Ueno def. Hideki Okatani & Kazusada Higuchi
– Jun Akiyama, Tetsuya Endo & Yukio Sakaguchi def. Antonio Honda, HARASHIMA & Konosuke Takeshita

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 3683 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.