POST NEWS UPDATE: Swerve Strickland discusses tagging with Keith Lee, addresses idea that they should be singles stars

Swerve/Keith Lee, Billy Corgan chats AEW and WWE, Matt Sydal talks teaming with Dante Martin, Joey Janela-AEW, Buddy Matthews interview, more

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

** Prior to AEW Double or Nothing, Swerve Strickland sat down with Andreas Hale and Kel Dansby on ‘The Corner Podcast’. Swerve touched on his pairing with Keith Lee and some of the public feeling that they should be singles stars.

And that’s the thing when you talk about culture. Like, there’s so many times where it’s okay for these group of people to do something but when these group of people do the same thing, it’s like, no, it’s an unfathomable idea so it was okay for Kenny Omega and Adam Page to be two singles stars holding Tag Team Championships, right? But when Swerve and Keith [Lee] do it, ‘No, they need to be singles stars.’ I’m like, y’all just had probably two of the best tag champs ever in the company were two singles stars. So why do we move the goal post for certain people? Because are we visualizing us in a different realm or is it just like a different criticism for how we go through things? It’s just certain things I notice and it’s a fine line. We can run with that.

The conversation about Black wrestlers crossing over into the mainstream came up. Strickland expressed his thought that the proverbial goal post moves when a Black talent reaches that level of success and the treatment of those that do find that success is not equal to their counterparts.

That’s why we gotta keep doing it [Black talents crossing over into the mainstream]. We gotta keep doing it because obviously it’s not. The treatment — like I said, the goal post moves. It’s okay for these guys to do it but when we do it, it’s like, ‘Eh, I don’t know. This is still the standard.’ I’m like, I did everything this person did twice over but, ‘Oh, this is the best in the world.’ I don’t understand. These forums talk about the same people every week, the same people. Y’all talk about the same people every day, every week. We get it, we know. I’m not taking nothing away from them, but y’all are missing out on other people that are doing sh*t and killing it and changing the game because y’all are talking about the same people every week and then y’all have this argument, ‘Oh, nobody out there is special.’ You talk about the same people every week, every day. Y’all look in the same glasses every day. The same goggles with the same things and then have the complaints that don’t — they’ll be like, ‘Oh, when is there gonna be a Black person to challenge for the AEW Title?’ Uh, did Dante Martin just not wrestle Adam Page?… Now he don’t count? Now, the goal post moved because he doesn’t count. But, because you talk about the same — MJF, [CM] Punk, great acts, y’all killing it. Literally putting AEW on the map doing some special stuff but, don’t take away the fact that Jade Cargill’s still killing it too. Yeah, she’s doing some really special stuff.

** NWA President Billy Corgan guest appeared on the Pro Wrestling Illustrated podcast. He touched on the production of AEW and WWE’s on-screen products in comparison to what the NWA presents. Corgan stated that AEW is high-end when it comes to their wrestling, but not production. He added that if viewers are looking for the ‘spectacle’ portion of wrestling while tuning into NWA, that may not be part of what he cares about.

I’m just not a fan of B-level production. I’m just not. I don’t like it from my band and I don’t like it from my promotion. So, again, I think the focus has to be on innovation and product and let me put it to you this way and at the grand scale of WWE and WrestleMania, I mean it is incredibly impressive. It’s up there with the Super Bowl as far as ‘spectacle’, right? But does it really, really, really matter on a week-to-week level? No, it doesn’t. There has been tons of dissension over the last decade about the WWE product. This gave rise to not only opportunity for the NWA to come back but also the rise of AEW. Tony Khan is running arguably the hottest wrestling promotion on the planet right now. You don’t look at them and say, ‘That’s a high-quality product’ in terms of production. It’s a high-quality product in terms of wrestling, in terms of talent but production is not high-end or scale. You don’t see Tony running anything even remotely close to what the WWE does on a weekly basis, so that’s what I’m saying. What I’m trying to do is somewhat more your argument to the extent that professional wrestling is fallen in its kind of groove which is like, the way WWE does it is the way everyone should do it. UFC proved that as long as you have an octagon and a couple tough guys and a couple tough women, people are gonna watch. UFC doesn’t run very big production. Compare UFC’s production to PRIDE, which was in many ways the antecedent to modern UFC. PRIDE had incredible production in Japan and it was mind-blowing, the production they had. It didn’t help PRIDE. So what I’m trying to say is I get it, but I’m here to innovate and change the game and at the end of the day, I may choose to just keep dollar for dollar putting my money into talent and quality level and if people need, let’s call it the ‘spectacle’ part of that to watch wrestling, that may not be part of what I care about. So that’s just where we part.

Nick Aldis became a topic of conversation and Corgan recalled the powers that be in TNA Wrestling siding against Aldis for not wanting to wrestle while concussed. He also spoke about NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Matt Cardona’s positioning in WWE and said if a Vince McMahon, Tony Khan or Scott D’Amore doesn’t see the value in certain talents, he will.

Matt Cardona in the WWE, constantly got himself over and got buried. By the way, Nick [Aldis] was TNA World Champion. You know why they buried him? Because he got concussed I think in his first title defense or he got concussed when he got the title and when he refused to work because he was legit concussed after he won the belt, the office buried him and you know how I know that story is true? Because I heard it from the office. I’ve heard the office’s version of how Nick wasn’t willing to go out and work hurt with the title. That’s why he got buried. Not because he didn’t get over. They put the title on him. Sting himself went to the office and said, ‘Put the title on Nick,’ you see what I’m saying? So my point is hey, if Vince McMahon or Tony Khan or Scott D’Amore or whoever else is in the game doesn’t see the value in these guys, I do and my business is built on not only seeing that value but believing in that value. Like, we’re gonna win together and maybe that comes from my band background…

When the rebuild of the NWA was taking place, Corgan consulted with David Lagana and Lagana suggested that the organization should be built around Aldis.

When we were both at TNA, Nick [Aldis] and I would occasionally have conversations. I think partially because of he wanted a different opportunity and partially because he knew I was friends with Mickie [James] so it was kind of a little bit more of a familiar vibe than I was just some guy, right? So when David Lagana, who at the time was helping me run the NWA said, ‘I think we should try to build this thing around Nick Aldis,’ I had kind of the same reaction which is like, yeah. He can definitely be that guy. The question is-is can he be that guy with me? And then by extension, will people accept him as a legitimate champion? Or will they just see it as a, I don’t know, you pick somebody up just to kind of make a point? Nick has been a revelation and established that he’s a top guy and the reason I started this whole long answer with Dusty [Rhodes] is Nick’s the guy you can see where maybe he wouldn’t fit in other systems but he’s perfect for the NWA system. He’s easily our top-tier star and he’s helped us build up other people and given other people opportunities because, you know, I know the guy who works behind the scenes because he wants the NWA to succeed. Not only now, but past his in-ring career so, yeah, Nick’s a quality individual. That’s the best way I can say it and he’s a prideful man as he should be.

** Joey Janela further dove into his time with AEW as he spoke to Chris Van Vliet. Janela said there was a plan to bring him back to TV and Tony Khan wanted to recreate something like he and Penelope Ford’s pairing on the independent scene. Janela then aligned with Kayla Rossi and claimed that some in the women’s division were not too pleased that someone so new was coming into the fold and immediately spotlighted on television.

So this is the situation. People are going to take this and say that I am creating false narratives and craziness. So the plan was to bring me back to TV, that’s why Tony was like, ‘Listen, your act with Penelope was stellar. We have to find a way to replicate your act, we need an athletic female that we can pair you with so we can do a similar act and bring you back to TV.’ I said that I would start to look on the indies for gymnasts or former cheerleaders that can do some amazing stuff. We looked at a few girls and were on the fence about it. When the lights are on, you’ve got to be able to hit those big moves. Penelope was able to do that, she was able to while teaming with me on the indies. But I said to her, ‘You have to hit this in one shot!’ And she was like, ‘OK, let’s f*cking go!’ Tony wanted something similar to that, I see the girl Kayla [Rossi] doing Phoenix Splashes and moonsaults, I find out she is a former Olympic gymnast and pro bodybuilder, so I’m like alright! This is different and this is great, she could be Chyna but with crazy aerial moves. We pitched it to Tony, and he is like let’s bring her in. I wanted it to be in the United Center, they debuted her there and was only training for a couple of months in one of the biggest shows in AEW at that point. But she powerbombed Robert Anthony a bit too hard, he leaped right into it, she’s not a wrestler so she tried to make it as good as possible. It all went around the botches so Tony didn’t like it. So I then did this match with Sonny Kiss and we had 12 minutes on Dark. Right before we go out, we are told we have 6 minutes, no 5 minutes, that usually happens on TV. So f*ck, we are supposed to have this big match in our home state, but that match was hot. All action, not a lot of psychology, but a hot crowd. We had them and we had her do the moonsault on Sonny afterwards and the crowd loses it. Tony is like, ‘We have something.’ And Big Show is giving her advice too. Some of the girls were not too happy that someone comes in off the street after 2 months and is on TV. So Tony says the plan is to do another Sonny Kiss [match] and create the whole storyline. So I did and I pitched it to Cody, he liked it and OK, let’s go. I’m told after we do the street fight, which I win and another great match, I’m told I’m going back on TV. But after that, I am just rolling with the punches and I don’t know what happened.

The negative reaction Janela would sometimes receive on social media was a topic he discussed. He said there were several times when someone from TNT would contact AEW about something he had done.

I love it, I love being polarizing. Growing up, I was always drawn to the celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. and Tommy Lee, Marilyn f*cking Manson! When I was a kid, that was who f*cked up my life, ECW and Marilyn Manson. I know he is cancelled at the moment, but back then I was obsessed because he was always in the headlines for doing something controversial. People think I have thin skin, certainly not. I have been dealing with this harassment for years. When I rattle the hornet’s nest, it can rattle so much attention. I can light my foot on fire, say something to someone, and then I am trending. Not only am I doing something stupid, but I am acting like an asshole. I am blurring the lines more because I am not with AEW anymore. Now I am an independent guy, I don’t have to worry about TNT or whatever. They would go to Tony Khan, ‘This is one of your wrestlers?! Why the f*ck did you hire him?’ This happened to me a few times over there.

** ‘Keeping Up With the Indies’ released their interview with Matt Sydal. He spoke to the platform about his on-screen partnership with Dante Martin and said he was ecstatic when Top Flight (Darius & Dante Martin) were signed to AEW. Sydal added that he and Dante are learning from each other.

Dante [Martin’s] definitely been my — I don’t wanna say ‘project’ but he’s been someone who’s been on my radar since the moment he got to AEW. I mean I was ecstatic when AEW offered Top Flight their contract. I had wrestled his brother Air Wolf [Darius Martin] a few years before, probably when Dante was 17 or something. But you know, I wrestled Ricochet when he was 17. We all started young so I know what a prodigy looks like. I have a couple students at my school that are very much on that same level as Dante and the good thing about working with these guys is I learn from them. Sure, I got a lot of tricks up my sleeve, but they really tune me into what’s going on today because, you know, like I said, when I was most passionate about wrestling, we’re talking ‘98 so it’s been a — so much has happened since then. For me to be able to be in touch with it, I gotta be in touch with these guys who are really on top of the ball on what fans today are doing, what connects them to it and so connecting with Dante has been good for him and it’s been great for me too.

One goal that Sydal is eyeing is becoming IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. He has informed AEW President Tony Khan that-that is one belt he wants to actively pursue.

New Japan, I had some good connections there too so I really liked working with New Japan when I was tagging up with Ricochet and so yeah, you know, AEW’s keeping me very busy so if I do anything, it’ll be through AEW but you know, I did let Tony Khan know that the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship is the one accolade that I’m down to fight for to the death, you know? That’s something that’s been hanging above me my whole career and has always — I always felt it was going to be out of touch or a goal that I just wouldn’t have had because I thought it was too far and I feel like because of all the hard work I’ve done that it is within reach and within sight and so, I’m gonna be relentless on that one.

Sydal runs his own wrestling school and has an idea in mind to send some of his students to train at the Dragon Gate dojo in Japan and to bring some of their students to his school.

I think I’m gonna send a couple of my students over there first to start working with Dragon Gate and get a little work exchange program, bring a few of theirs over to my school, just kind of see what we can do with that.

** While both René Duprée and Simon Gotch are in Japan competing for Pro Wrestling NOAH, Duprée brought Gotch onto his Café De René podcast. Gotch said he was initially supposed to tour with NOAH in February 2021. There had been several more attempts to get him to Japan after the first attempt, but the COVID-19 pandemic pushed that back.

I was originally supposed to come over, God, February of 2021. That was for the Budokan show and obviously because of the COVID restrictions, I wound up getting pushed back. I think they tried — there was at least three other attempts to bring me over in 2021. Twice, I had my visa in my hand. One time, I had my visa in my hand. The second time, they had messaged me to inform me that basically the paperwork was on its way but the border had already closed so, I got deferred I think it was three or four times before I finally actually came over here, and yeah, it’s been pretty much everything I was expecting and was hoping for and a lot more than that.

Prior to signing with WWE, Gotch had been in conversations with NOAH about working with the promotion. Later in his career, he met MLW’s Marshall Von Erich who put in a word for Gotch to the powers that be in NOAH. This led to NOAH and Gotch kicking off the conversation that has him there present day.

As far as I was being told, I was being trained for working in Japan at some point in the future and that ultimately led to me continually trying to get to Japan which I failed for 12 years. I literally — my last attempt to get to NOAH was in 2012 about two days before I found out WWE was signing me. So I very literally was still talking to them right up until I got told I was signed, because I was hoping maybe I could squeeze in a tour before I showed up to developmental and that never happened and the way I actually wound up here [in NOAH], while I was at [a] facility, Ross and Marshall Von Erich had actually come in to train a bit before they were going to Japan. I got along really well with them, helped them as much as I could, which at the time was just letting them beat me up because their dad was the one running sort of training for them. I’d always been on really good terms with them. I saw them again when I was in MLW, they were always really friendly, easy to work with and the way I actually got over here was Marshall, a while back had actually reached out to the office and just sort of said, ‘This guy, he has a very deep passion for professional wrestling in Japan. He has a deep knowledge of Pro Wrestling NOAH. You should take a look at him’ and he just did this because he’s a Christian boy and he wanted to do the right thing that in his heart he believed was helping me to get here and that actually led to the conversation that led to NOAH reaching out to me and mind you, this actually started almost two years ago, about a year-and-a-half ago is when I got the first contact from them.

There was a pitch that Gotch made on behalf of himself and Matt Rehwoldt while they were in WWE as ‘The Vaudevillians’. The pitch was that they would have a pet monkey that they lost in the arena and the monkey would ultimately throw feces in the face of Tyler Breeze. That would result in a hair versus hair match between the two parties. Gotch believed Vince McMahon was going to like the idea seeing as how it had the entertainment element mixed into it.

William Regal had always wanted us [Vaudevillians] to have a monkey because he thought — he wanted to have a monkey and he was like, ‘If anyone could get away with having a monkey, it would be you guys.’ So one version of the monkey that we came up — well I came up with it because I thought it was ridiculous. Steve Cutler, he’s Steve Maclin now in IMPACT, I wanted Steve to be our monkey. But the joke was gonna be he was just gonna wear the vest and for some — he was gonna be a human being but I wanted him to talk like an old Catskills comedian, like constantly trying to light up a banana like it’s a cigar, things like that. But me and English [Matt Rehwoldt] react to him like he’s an actual monkey. That was going to be the joke. What I finally came up with was — the idea I had was I wanted it to be economical as far as both function and presentation and I wanted it to be as easy to expand or contract as we could possibly make it. At the time, English was sort of struggling with his hairline, this is not a secret and it was right before he shaved his head and we were talking in the gym and I was like, ‘Hey man, if you want to, we can — okay, let’s just request a hair versus hair match to get your head shaved. I’ll shave my head too, I don’t give a f*ck.’ But this wound up sort of growing into this idea where I wanted to propose, first of all, we were going to have an off-camera monkey. The joke was going to be that we never showed the monkey. It was always going — we were going to build up all night, we were debuting a surprise, it’s a surprise, it’s a surprise and the surprise was going to be our pet monkey. So we were going to wheel the cage out, have a sheet over it, whatever and when we reveal it, we pull the sheet off proudly and there’s nothing in the cage, you’re looking at an empty cage. With the reaction going to be whoever’s interviewing us kind of putting it over like, oh… that’s a… very nice pet monkey you have and us freaking out like, no, you don’t understand. We’re not idiots, this isn’t an invisible monkey. The monkey has escaped. There is a monkey loose in the arena right now. So the joke was gonna be then doing the on-camera segments where we’re rushing around constantly, like screams of horror and always getting there just after the monkey left. You know, they were seeing these very random, you know, the makeup table’s ripped up, someone stole the bananas from catering, things like that, just really silly jokes where it was us arriving just in the nick of time to miss the monkey and the payoff to this was going to be, we’re like asking around about the monkey.

‘Have you seen this monkey? Have you seen this monkey?’ Holding up a picture that’s literally the word ‘monkey’ written on a sheet of paper. It’s a monkey. What do you expect it to look like? Not like it’s two monkeys running around here. But we were going to hear a very loud feminine shriek and then we rush to it and it was going to be Tyler Breeze and Fandango with Tyler Breeze having chocolate smeared all over one side of his face, the implication being the monkey threw sh*t at him and this was going to lead inevitably to us wrestling Breezango and then we go into the hair versus hair match that we inevitably lose. But, I just thought, okay, it’s got a bunch of silly comedy, it’s got a monkey throwing sh*t and it’s got a hair versus hair match. These are all things I figure Vince [McMahon] would like and again, he seemed to. He really seemed to be into it and he absolutely apparently was not because it went from, ‘This is great,’ the writers being like, ‘Hey, this is a great time to pitch it. We’re gonna be restarting TV obviously right after Mania’ and the thing that they seemed to like was that I said, ‘We could do this in three weeks or we could do this in 33 weeks. It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to dedicate any more time than you want to-to this,’ because it was such a bare bones idea. Again, we could have us and Breezango. Breezango demanding we find the monkey, they wanna put the monkey on trial. There’s all sorts of stupid things we could have done that would have been very entertaining and we did none of them. It went nowhere, it didn’t get off the — it didn’t get past the stage of me pitching it, which again, as I said, I’m a sort of person, I want to be either fully invested in what I’m doing or I don’t wanna be doing it. So that was me fully investing and I was like, okay, if you guys see us as a comedy act and that’s what you want us to be, here is the most extreme version of that. Here is a full bore comedy act and here is a — what I believed at least to be a genuinely entertaining way to present us where you could give us three minutes of TV time each week. We don’t even need matches and that was part of the selling point was like, we don’t need matches for this to work. We can do one match at the end and we can do ten weeks of TV where we never wrestle, where we never have to throw a punch, where nothing has to happen other than this little three minutes of us trying to find the monkey. Which again, seemed very much up their alley and as a good way to get on TV in an era when, as I mentioned, tag teams were getting more or less underutilized or unused at all, and it went nowhere.

** There is a feature story on the FOX Sports Australia site which includes quotes from Buddy Matthews. He talked about joining All Elite Wrestling and said he puts in the same effort no matter where he works. Matthews added that in AEW, opposed to being handed scripts, he can add his own spin to things.

It’s the same but different. Does that make sense? To me, I’m going there to do my best regardless of whether I was doing an independent, for another company, whether I’m in AEW – my job stays the same and that is to produce something entertaining. The thing that changes the most is probably the restrictions. And I can be more creative, which is great. Rather than just being handed scripts and just saying ‘say this’ – it’s more work now because I have to think more in depth and I can add my own spin to it.

Matthews reflected on moving to the U.S. from Australia in his early 20s and discussed having to adjust to life in a different country. Matthews went on to share that as the pandemic went on, he enrolled himself in business training and took psychology classes.

I’ve gone through things in my life that, you know, would probably discourage some people, with whatever it happens to be. So just becoming a stronger person like, you know, they hid from, you know, whatever it happens to be so, just become a stronger person, living life and trying to be happy. Coming over (to the U.S.) at 22, 23 (years old), having to move over and learn how to pay bills and rent an apartment in a foreign country makes you grow up very quickly. And then obviously, as time goes on, buying houses, cars, being able to run a business that is Buddy Matthews; my business is myself, the brand is myself. You have to be open to learn about it. Like I’m very open to learning and doing research and to online classes – during the pandemic I did business training, I did psychology classes just to realize what triggers people, so that I can use it in the wrestling and how I can draw emotions out of people. And hundreds of hours in an airport watching people, you know what I mean? So, you kind of learn, I take those little things and I tried to learn from them in different ways. It’s my craft, it’s my life.

** IMPACT Wrestling’s Gisele Shaw was welcomed onto The Ringer’s MackMania podcast. When she signed to IMPACT, Gisele inquired if the company would be willing to allow her to stay in the U.K. and bring her back over for tapings. They told her no and they need to have access to her. Gisele is fine with their decision, but felt it was worth asking.

Now that I’m back in North America which I’m always dreading first of all. When I actually signed [to IMPACT Wrestling], I was like, ‘Is it okay if you guys just, you know, maybe let me stay here in the U.K. and then during tapings, you can just bring me over?’ And they go, ‘No. We need access to you’ so, I go, ‘Okay. All good.’ I’ll be there [Gisele laughed]. There’s no harm in asking so, yeah, that was one of the things I was like, ‘Hey, is it okay if I –’ I get it from a business point that they do — they need you to be there in case they need you. So yeah, I was dreading to come back but they’ve been really — they’ve been good, they’ve been really supportive. You know, no complaints yet. So, yay America.

** The latest edition of Phil Strum’s ‘Under the Ring’ podcast featured Sonya Deville. She commented on Mandy Rose’s current run in NXT and feels that Rose is entering her prime.

She’s [Mandy Rose] absolutely killing it. I love just seeing someone come into their prime and come into their own and you can just see them getting more and more confident every week and that’s exactly what Mandy’s been doing for like the past year. She went down there, she took an opportunity and made the absolute most out of it. She’s a star, she looks like a star, she’s getting the reps down there and she’s just killing it and I think she’s kind of a good role model for a lot of the women down there that are newer, showing them what a superstar can look like, what a woman’s champion can look like and we all are so different. We bring such different things to the table and Mandy’s just very talented in a lot of ways and admirable as a person as well; her work ethic and what she puts into this. So it’s super cool to see her kind of flourishing. I forget your original question but Mandy’s killing it [Deville laughed].

** During part two of The Angle Podcast’s chat with Tehuti Miles, he reflected on Hit Row (Swerve Strickland, AJ Francis, Briana Brandy & Tehuti) being drafted to SmackDown and being asked to produce promos addressing The New Day, The Street Profits, The Usos and Viking Raiders.

We got drafted to SmackDown, they called us and was like, ‘Yeah, we want you guys to write up five promos’ because we literally did — nobody wrote our promos, ever, none of ‘em. Not on NXT or SmackDown. That’s literally the truth. Nobody ever wrote our promos, ever, we all wrote them ourselves. So they were like, ‘Yeah –’ we got drafted to SmackDown, like, ‘Yeah, we want you to do promos against The Usos, The New Day, Street Profits, War Raiders’ and some other team I can’t remember. But it was like five different tag teams they wanted us to do promos on. So, we literally got to AJ [Francis’] house, like, I don’t know, 11 PM and we did all — we wrote and recorded all five promos in two hours and sent it to them. We prepared, you know what I’m saying? I just don’t think they were ready for that.

The HitMakerZ consist of Francis, Miles and Brandy and they were a trio at the WWE Performance Center prior to being paired with Swerve. Initially, Miles was hesitant to align with Francis and Brandy but soon realized they had potential to create something unique.

One day — I was doing my singles stuff. You know, I had always pictured me doing a singles thing but I was also doing stuff with — if anybody remembers Aleksandar [Jaksic]. So I was mostly doing my singles stuff though and then one day, I think it was A.J. [Francis], he was just like, ‘So yo, what do you think about doing this group? You know, you, me and Briana, call it The HitMakerZ and stuff?’ And he explained it to me. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, at first I was like — I mean, I’m an open person so at first I was like, ‘Um, I don’t know’ because everybody always wants to do their singles thing, you know? But then, once I realized like, oh, this is gonna be good. Nobody’s doing this. So we ended up just doing a bunch of stuff together and then we ended up forming The HitMakerZ like February, March 2020, right before COVID or something like that and they were still doing stuff at Full Sail with crowds and everything and so we had already made like five vignettes and a music video that we all did ourselves and one day after TV, we waited for Triple H because he’s a very busy dude. So we waited for him before he left and stuff and we’re like, ‘Hey. We would like for you to check this out. We got this group and stuff like that’ so we showed him everything and he was like, ‘Oh, this is really good.’ So we just ended up doing The HitMakerZ for like a year unfortunately. I mean I wish things would’ve been quicker, I wish people would have seen our worth a lot quicker but we didn’t end up debuting ‘till like May of 2021, you know?

When Miles thinks about what could have been for him as a singles talent, he feels he already knew who he was on-screen before coming into WWE and wishes it had been recognized sooner.

I knew who I was as a character going into the WWE. I kind of wished that they saw that a little quicker but, I knew what I was doing when I came in and I only had been wrestling for two years at the time and you know, a lot of people say like, oh — I’ve been around a lot of people [that are] like, ‘I’ve been wrestling 15 years’ and stuff like that but it doesn’t if it’s — you can have 15 years wrestling but if it’s all not good, you know what I’m saying? That’s 15 years of not-good wrestling. I’ve only been wrestling for two years but I’ve been wrestling two years of quality wrestling. It’s quality over quantity.

** At GCW ‘You Wouldn’t Understand’ on 6/18, Jack Evans is taking on Ninja Mack. Evans told the PWPonderings Podcast that Mack reminds him of a young Jack Evans. He added that he thinks Mack may have surpassed what he’s done on the athleticism front. Jack would not be surprised to see Mack in AEW one day.

And this is one of the ones I’m most excited for [GCW match against Ninja Mack] because I actually — people were sending me Ninja Mack videos and stuff for years now, or at least a year or whatever and so, he’s super talented and he also reminds me of a young me back then. Just… his whole style and everything. So, I’m absolutely — probably the most actually excited for that match. So that one will be — it’ll be a barnburner, a slobber knocker as good ‘ole J.R. would say. But yeah, that one’s gonna be good. I’m super, super excited for that one.

I almost feel like he surpasses it in some way [my athleticism]. He does some cool stuff. So, I’m super excited for that one because I really think that — I hope he’s coming up. I think he’ll be the next big high-flier if he isn’t already, you know what I mean? But, and he had that match on ROH with Brian Cage even though it wasn’t — he’s kind of got — I wouldn’t doubt if you see him in AEW at some point so, I’d love to wrestle him before he goes because he’s super talented and I really expect a lot out of him.

** Monday Night Raw commentator Byron Saxton joined Ryan Satin on ‘Out of Character’. He recounted being told via voicemail that he would be making his debut as an announcer for WWE but there was some miscommunication. Saxton phoned the travel department and the representative did not know anything about Saxton being scheduled to be at the forthcoming pay-per-view. Byron is positive it was not a prank call.

And even before [WWE’s] ECW, not a lot of people know this and I still to this day don’t understand what exactly happened but, probably, even less than a year before that, I got a call saying that I was gonna make my debut as an announcer, and I remember — I think I was at the gym or something so I missed the call, but I heard the voicemail. It’s like, ‘Hey Byron. Yeah, congratulations. You’re gonna make your debut at Clash of Champions as an announcer.’ I’m like, all right, here we go so I call back travel, I’m like, ‘Hey, I just got your voicemail. I just wanted to confirm details’ and I get in response, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I’m like, ‘No, no, no! I got a voicemail. You guys called me and said I’m coming on the road.’ She’s like, ‘We didn’t call you’ and I’m like, hold up and the person who was on the phone with me, I knew it was her voice. I knew I was talking to the right person and so I called Dr. Tom, Dr. Tom Prichard who was one of the head trainers at FCW at the time. I’m like, ‘Tom, doc, I just got a call that I’m going on the road but I called the travel department, they’re telling me they don’t know nothing about it’ and he’s like, ‘Well, Byron, just have your bag packed just in case’ just as calm as can be while I’m freaking out going, am I getting called up or not? So nothing ever happened after that. So to this day, I don’t know why I got that call, I don’t know why I was told that I was, you know, gonna make my debut on the road and it just — I felt like maybe I’m the crazy one here. Maybe it was just one lucid dream or something that…

No [I don’t think someone pranked called me], because I know who it was. I spoke to that person on the phone. That’s the crazy thing. It was their number.

And I tried to piece it together. Not at the exact time but I thought — I thought maybe that was the case, like they accidentally called me and accidentally said my name when it was supposed to be somebody else. I was like, man, I mean way to just dangle the carrot.

** Over the past several years, Madi Wrenkowski has made a handful of appearances for All Elite Wrestling. She told Ringsiders Wrestling during an interview that she thinks she’d be more in line with AEW’s ROH opposed to being a part of AEW’s main product.

I mean, I feel like that’s gonna open a couple of doors [Tony Khan owning Ring of Honor]. Hopefully I can step my foot into that one. I mean, even if it — it kind of like — I don’t think that I can always keep up sometimes with the pace of AEW. Like you see all the men’s matches and they’re all pew, pew, pew pew, pew and I’m like, woah, what just happened guys? What just happened? So maybe, I feel like Ring of Honor, sometimes they slow the pace down. It’s kind of more — some of the matches — it’s more technical. So, maybe I can keep up with that.

** Jumbo Tsuruta 23rd Anniversary Memorial Show (5/31/22) Korakuen Hall
– Minoru Tanaka def. Ryo Inoue
Street Fight: Atsushi Onita, Great Kojika, Raijin Yaguchi, Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto def. Akira Raijin, Hikaru Sato, Kuma Arashi, Mitsuya Nagai & Yoshitatsu
– Kim Duk, Tatsumi Fujinami & Yoshiaki Yatsu def. Masanobu Fuchi, Masao Inoue & Shiro Koshinaka
– Shingo Takagi & T-Hawk def. NEXTREAM (Atsuki Aoyagi & Yuma Aoyagi)
– Suwama & Yuji Nagata def. Taichi & TAKA Michinoku
– Jake Lee, Joe Doering & Takao Omori vs. Jun Akiyama, Kento Miyahara & Minoru Suzuki – Time Limit Draw (30:00)

** Will Ospreay is defending the Warrior Wrestling Title on June 23rd in a ‘War of Attrition’ match against Lance Archer, Brian Pillman Jr., Matt Cardona, Jeff Cobb, Davey Richards, Swerve Strickland and Jake Something.

** At Pro Wrestling NOAH’s 5/30 show, Kaito Kiyomiya went one-on-one with Junta Miyawaki. It was Junta’s last match before his excursion. He’ll be competing in Mexico going forward.

** Both Jeff Hardy and Frankie Kazarian will be performing at ‘Whisky a Go Go’ in West Hollywood, California on June 2nd. Hardy is doing an acoustic set and Kazarian is performing with his band ‘Gutter Candy’.

** As a part of WWE’s collaboration with Cricket Wireless, Liv Morgan hosted an episode of ‘Small Business Superstars’.

** KTLA welcomed Chris Jericho onto the show to promote AEW and talk about the video of his niece being bullied.

** Wrestle Radio Australia has interviews with Toni Storm and Buddy Matthews.

** Corey Graves was interviewed by Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh.

** May 31st birthdays: Montez Ford.

** The Usos, Kofi Kingston, Ricochet & Austin Creed’s Tekken 7 battle!

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 3890 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.