POST NEWS UPDATE: Ninja Mack talks signing with NOAH, wants to become GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion

Ninja Mack on signing with NOAH, Natalya chats her WWE career, Cameron Grimes looks back on NXT run, Sharmell/WWE HOF, Bryan Danielson note

Photo Courtesy: Pro Wrestling NOAH

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.

** After wrapping up his first tour with Pro Wrestling NOAH, Ninja Mack signed a one-year deal with the organization. He discussed signing with NOAH on the latest episode of ‘Rewind Recap Relive’ which Rob Van Dam was also a guest on.

Mack: I signed to NOAH. I really appreciate what they offered and being over there for the first time. Unfortunately, I returned about two weeks right before RVD got there so I didn’t cross paths with him and maybe on his next tour of my go around, we can cross some paths and maybe I can take you out for a drink.

Growing up, I was a big fan of just AAA and NOAH because that was what was accessible for me to watch at the time growing up so I was able to watch a lot of that and then you know, you see [Jushin Thunder] Liger and you see all of them back then. Just being able to watch any Japanese wrestling, that was always intriguing. You got the cool outfits and they look like Power Rangers. Growing up, watching all these shows, I mean very inspiring but, when I came back — because when I started wrestling, I started at Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling — RVD, good friend of Booker so — I did about two years there and then I started doing a lot of lucha just being in the Texas scene so I was able to get to Texas and Mexico a lot and I was able to learn a lot of lucha at the time and then, you know, life happens and I became a father and then I took a little hiatus and then when COVID happened and I came back and I had the time to actually train and commit again, but I had a goal in mind. I didn’t just wanna wrestle. I came back with a business mindset, I had goals and when I came back, I wanted to grow Houston wrestling with one of the promotions I was [locally] wrestling [at] and then as that was growing, getting back into wrestling, I felt like I had the potential and the ability to do some good things so when I wrote down I wanted to work for AAA and I wanted to work for NOAH coming back and I wanted to see how long that was gonna take and it took six months for them to get interest and then within a year, I worked AAA and then NOAH was calling and it was just COVID pushing me back longer and longer but now that I was able to get over to NOAH and then, I have to write three new goals down now because this last year has really — I checked off all my goals, I stayed committed to training and grinding out some work and then I was very fortunate. COVID pushed back my NOAH start because it really pushed it back about a whole year. I was able to grind out that GCW run and GCW was there for me. So thank you GCW on that and that’s just kind of a bonus check I was able to do to help them grow and they helped me grow so much. But I had three goals: Help Houston wrestling, try and get to AAA because I was so close and then eventually get over to NOAH and it just happened very fortunate and fast for me.

As far as goals in NOAH go, Mack wants to capture the GHC Junior Heavyweight Title which is in HAYATA’s possession.

Mack: Well I don’t know exactly where Pro Wrestling NOAH stands in the Japan rankings of wrestling, but my goal would to be able to take NOAH as far as I can go and take them to the top and I’d be making a good push for the Light Heavyweight Championship [GHC Junior Title] and that’s gonna be one of my goals this next year is to take a shot and then take that belt away from whoever’s holding that so that’s one of the goals I’ve already got down.

Transitioning over to the Rob Van Dam portion of the conversation, he shared that several years ago, Sabu was trying to talk him into appearing for Game Changer Wrestling.

RVD: Sabu, quite a while ago — I mean now he’s not taking bookings for matches anymore but this was — seems like it was two years ago now. He told me exactly what you [Ninja Mack] said. He was wrestling for GCW, doing trips for them and he said — he was trying to talk to me about going there and he said exactly what you said. He said, ‘Man, they’re like the new ECW.’

Van Dam further spoke about his time in WWE and recalled John Laurinaitis insisting that he be a heel. Laurinaitis felt that ‘angry RVD’ was money.

RVD: Johnny Ace, he gets me but, he still like — he wanted to see ‘angry RVD’. That was so important to him. He thought that was the money. When I grrr! And that’s always gonna be an interest in the tradition of wrestling, you know what I mean? In IMPACT, I turned heel too… I think it might’ve been Rhino’s idea but something about — something that Johnny had said a long time ago in WWE. ‘I don’t know if you like take your ponytail out or something.’ Compare me to [Jerry] Lawler. Lawler would take his [singlet] strap off and the crowd knew…

** Prior to WWE Money in the Bank, Natalya sat down with Ariel Helwani for an interview. She feels that she’s been given scraps in WWE but despite that, she’s been able to turn those scraps into a body of work that she’s proud of.

For me, I said this the other day to my husband, I said, ‘I get scraps.’ I get scraps in WWE, especially over 15 years. I have the body of work that I have because I’ve been here longer, I’ve lasted longer than every other woman that’s ever been here in WWE ever. But, I turn scraps into a banquet. I literally turn whatever little, tiny thing you give me, I’m gonna make it gold and I feel like every single woman that I work with, I demand that from them.

Natalya went one-on-one with Rousey at Money in the Bank. She assessed Ronda’s career in pro wrestling thus far and feels that Rousey has been able to work with people who make her rise to the occasion. Natalya credited Rousey for her selling and for how giving she was in her matches with Shotzi and Raquel Rodriguez.

I think she’s [Ronda Rousey] done very well for a few reasons. When the machine gets behind you, it’s incredible and I think that when she first came in, there was a huge amount of buzz around her. She had a ton to prove. She had a ton to prove to wrestling fans around the world just like Logan Paul, just like Bad Bunny. They gotta nail it. They gotta nail it, they gotta — that first impression is everything so we saw her with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle. You saw that performance. That match I watched with The Bella Twins, Ronda’s first WrestleMania match and I was blown away by her ability to show emotions, especially from a sport where like in MMA, we didn’t see her show a lot of emotion. She was just a badass. When she sold — we call it ‘selling’ and Bret Hart was a master seller of somebody that showed emotions and was just a magician at it — Ronda, I love the way she sells. I love the way she can connect with an audience as far as showing that emotion when she’s in pain and she’s hurting. She was also positioned with very, very good people in the industry to rise to the occasion. When you get to work with Triple H, I mean Triple H is one of the best to ever do it in WWE so when you’re working with him, he’s gonna make you rise to the occasion. Kurt Angle is gonna make you rise to the occasion, Stephanie is gonna make you rise to the occasion so Ronda was working with great, great people. She got to work with — I mean I got to be her partner. I had a match that we had. It’s one of my proudest matches in WWE. [A] match that I love telling the story of. We had 12 minutes to put the match together. It was Christmas 2018 and long story short, I pretty much had to call the match to Ronda in the ring. She could hang, she could hang. She hung the whole entire time. We got a standing ovation when we came back through the curtain. The match, you know, usually not everything is planned but we like to be able to discuss and talk about certain things with camera angles and different things that we need for show business, for the entertainment aspect. We just talked in the ring, we had no time to plan it. So, she could do that match with me on the fly like nobody I’ve ever worked with. That’s why I know she’s incredible… I can’t drive it home enough about how talented she is but, to be in WWE, you’re only as good as your last performance. I wanna see how you work with everyone and to her credit, she and Raquel [Rodriguez] had a great match. You know, they had a match about a month ago and I was very impressed with how she worked with Raquel, how Ronda worked with Shotzi, how giving she was but every single night is a journey and a battle at WWE. You can’t bank on how good you were three, four years ago at WrestleMania. It’s always based off of your last performance.

** Ahead of NXT Great American Bash, Cameron Grimes spoke to PWInsider. He told the site that during his first year with NXT, he felt complacent and explained that the feeling stemmed from already working with a lot of the roster. Grimes felt he did not have to work hard with those talents but said NXT 2.0 has made him work harder.

Right and you know, I can honestly say that NXT 2.0 has been a huge thing for me. I can tell you that, you know, the first year-and-a-half that I was here, I was kind of complacent because I’ve already kind of been working with these guys for so long, the guys that were leading that brand, I didn’t, for some reason, I just didn’t feel like I had to work hard with those guys and I know that’s weird to say but like, I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like I was as motivated but this NXT 2.0, there’s just so many guys that for one, have never done this before, and then they’re just such great athletes and then when you see them, like for instance The Creed Brothers, these guys have never been sports-entertainers in their lives, but they’re having matches right now that are just up to par with anything that would have been on NXT 1.0. So then I have to sit back and look at myself and go, am I really working the hardest? Did I get complacent? Or do I need to work harder? And I feel like this NXT 2.0 last year has made me work harder. And that’s ultimately all you can ever ask for is something that is going to inspire you, so that it’s going to motivate you and yeah, it may seem like things are changing. But ultimately, it’s all the same goal – be the best that you can be and be the best that you can be for this company. And Cameron Grimes, like I said, whether I’m cutting grass or whether I’m going to be wrestling for a championship, I’m going to be the best that I can be and I’m going to be the best that the company wants to be.

Grimes is challenging Bron Breakker for the NXT Championship at Great American Bash. He mentioned that he’s one of the last talents from the black and gold NXT that is still on the brand and in a system where 28-years-old may feel too old. Grimes said he is of the mindset that this title match could be his only chance to become a champion in NXT again.

So I think the best part about Cameron Grimes is that it’s always, you’re getting it, you’re saying art imitates reality and that is true and Cameron Grimes is very passionate, has always been very passionate, whether I was cutting grass, or whether I’m challenging for the NXT Championship. So I mean, yeah. Let’s be real, you know, I mean, I’m one of the last black and gold guys in a system where it feels like 28 may be too old but I can’t just go crawling back to the North American Championship. I don’t have a tag partner. I could win the title, the tag team. So if I lose this, I go from being on the highest peak this year to the trenches and I don’t know if I’m in a position where I can just start back from the beginning. I don’t know if I’m in a position where I can just start over and this is truly in my head – this is my only chance I have.

** Episode nine of ‘Comedy Store Wrestling’ features an interview with Fred Rosser. He spoke about being an openly gay pro wrestler in the early 2010s while he was still with WWE. Rosser recalled a representative from the ‘GLAAD’ organization telling him that WWE was not ready for an openly gay champion.

The thing is I was thinking earlier, when I first won the title [NJPW STRONG Openweight belt], the stuff that I had to go through and I remember talking to a representative for GLAAD and they had told me — and they worked with WWE — they said, the GLAAD representative said, ‘We appreciate everything you’ve done in the community but WWE is not ready for a gay champion,’ you know? And like I said, I don’t — I’m not all rainbowed-out and stuff like that. People know my story, they know my backstory and I said earlier, the second of me winning this title, it didn’t matter about being gay or any of that stuff. The people wanted to see me win and at the ECW Arena, the reaction I got was different because it was like a roar from the crowd, like, ‘Yeah! He did it.’ It was a reaction I’ve never experienced and it’s a reaction I’ve never heard with any other talent. You hear people cheer for a win. You hear Sting, Undertaker but for me in that kind of intimate ECW-type setting, you go to my Instagram… and you hear the crowd, they just — that roar because they just wanted me to win so none of that stuff, none of my backstory matters. They just wanted to see me win and they saw it.

This past May, Rosser defeated Tom Lawlor to become NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion and he commented on that title victory:

September 11th, 2022 will be 20 years I’ve been wrestling and time is not on our side man so, this is my first major championship so it’s very near and dear to me. Like STRONG, New Japan is sacred to me and when something is sacred to you, you treat it differently.

Rosser has reached the 20-year mark as a pro wrestler and he said he wants to hit the 30 year mark.

Well [Tom] Lawlor was a great champion. I just hope I can be as good of a champion as he was, you know? So, yeah, I’m open to all competitors. I just wanna do well… open challenge, who knows? But I’m my own worst critic. I just wanna be able to deliver good matches. Good, good matches. I have — I wanna do 30 years so I have maybe another ten years left. But I don’t wanna limit myself but, yeah, I just wanna have good matches. I just wanna be able to hang with guys in New Japan and beyond because I just wasn’t given that chance when I was in WWE to really be a main-event player, you know what I mean? So I just wanna be able to have bangers with everyone.

As the conversation continued, Fred told the story of when Arn Anderson was frustrated with him and EC3 for how a match of theirs turned out. Rosser stated that Arn was not a producer he wanted to upset.

I’d love to have a match with Brock [Anderson]. Man, he moves just like his dad, you know? And Arn Anderson, he’s one producer I would not wanna piss off… I remember I had a match with EC3 for NXT and something happened where it was really his fault in the match where something happened and we came to the back and Arn’s like, ‘What the f*ck was that?’ He’s like, ‘You’re trying to get me fired?’ I said, ‘I’m sorry Arn. I’m sorry’ but yeah, it was EC3’s fault whatever the f*ck we did in the ring. But yeah, you don’t wanna get Arn pissed off. He’s one producer you don’t wanna get mad.

** Sharmell Sullivan-Huffman guest appeared on ‘The Be Someone Podcast’. Huffman dove into her 2022 WWE Hall of Fame induction. She touched on how nervous she was and being able to have her family in attendance for the honor.

Just to be away from wrestling so suddenly was something that was a transition for me and then to be away from it because, you know, I’m giving my all to my kids, my husband, my family and then to get the call that I’m going into the [WWE] Hall of Fame was like what? What? Wait a minute? You know? So it was just like you said, it was zero to 100 but as soon as I stepped back on — because I was nervous. Right before my speech, I’m telling you, all the way up until I stepped on the stage and got in front of the microphone, then it all came back to me. But even walking down the ramp, I was a nervous wreck. I’m like shaking, jittering. But it was home and it was, it was zero to 100 but it was my comfort zone and then I was so happy to be able to share that with Booker by my side and my kids in the front row and my mom there. Oh my gosh, it just — that was such a magical moment and that’s gonna stay with me forever.

The Reality of Wrestling promotion is ran by Booker T and Sharmell. Current NXT 2.0 talent Roxanne Perez trained at their school and Sharmell spoke highly of Roxanne’s passion for wrestling and that leading her to where she is now.

I’m telling you but you know, that passion [that Roxanne Perez has] and that drive is something else and that’s why she is where she is today. She would come down and then you know, she would come and stay with some of the students and then train and then going back and she did it consistently. Booker [T] saw something in her, I saw something in her and anybody who’s willing to do that, especially at that young age to really know what it is that you want to do, that’s something that — you’re not gonna be held back and you see where she is today. She was our youngest champion. Of course Ring of Honor’s first Women’s Champion and now she is where she is today in WWE. I’m telling you, I’m so proud of her. She’s one of my little girls. I mean she’s a woman now but, she’s one of my little girls and her drive and ambition, I’m telling you, they’re gonna take her all the way to the top. I can’t wait to see it. I’m gonna be the first one cheering her on.

** To promote his A&E/WWE ‘Biography’ episode, Goldberg appeared on The Rich Eisen Show. He has yet to watch the screener in full but said he was entertained by what he saw before he stopped watching. Goldberg said he’s critical of himself and does not like watching anything he’s performed in.

No [I have not watched my A&E/WWE Biography episode]. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really like to watch anything that I’ve quote unquote performed in. But I have seen excerpts and you know, barring myself tearing up a little bit, I was quite entertained before I had to turn it off. So, you know, like I said, I don’t like to watch anything that I’m in actually. I’m always quite critical of myself, whether it’s a documentary or whether it’s a live performance. I’m just that meathead that always likes perfection.

While discussing his days in football, he dove into his friendship and getting to work alongside the late Kevin Greene. Goldberg and Greene teamed up together in WCW and he spoke about how much Greene meant to him.

Yeah [I roomed with Kevin Greene]. One of my short[s] at the Rams. You know, I had been through two training camps and I remember we were roommates for — I think it was the second one and yeah, what an absolutely wonderful human being he was and you know, just horrible what happened. He was a huge influence on me. I mean a huge influence and you know, let’s get into it. I go into the NFL, I was very lucky to even get an opportunity. I get lucky enough to be coached by a Jack Youngblood and then have a roommate like a Kevin Greene and then years later, after I fail at the one thing that I had dreamed that I would succeed at, Kevin Greene becomes my tag team partner while I was on top of the world in the wrestling business at World Championship Wrestling and you know, like the [Hulk] Hogan story, what was the coolest moment of my wrestling career? Well it was the night I beat Hogan at the Georgia Dome but it wasn’t because I beat Hogan. It was because my teammates were there from the [Atlanta] Falcons. So, what it meant to me to have Kevin Greene as a tag team partner in professional wrestling and see the enthusiasm that this man had for it and for life and for football for God’s sake, it was just kind of a full circle moment that the wrestling business has been able to provide me that nothing on the planet would have been able to provide me that I didn’t acquire on the football field.

** The latest edition of Thunder Rosa’s taco vlog included a chat with Leva Bates. She looked back on her time with WWE and portraying the ‘Blue Pants’ character. Bates recalled a period when she was brought to main roster shows because the writer who worked with her in NXT was moved to SmackDown. She later found out that none of the ideas for her on the main roster came to fruition because a producer and the aforementioned writer often clashed.

I broke my ankle and I was out for a long time and then I was told — there’s a couple different things I was told. ‘Oh, the joke’s over now, it’s too long. It’s not –’ you know, I get it [Bates shared what was said to her about the ‘Blue Pants’ character]. But also, they’re bringing me into SmackDown because the writer from NXT that was writing all the ‘Blue Pants’ stuff got moved to SmackDown. So they brought me into SmackDown a couple times, but I never actually [was] used. I was like, oh, I was supposed to be in this spot and then like a couple hours before a taping, I would get removed and so finally one day, I was told by someone, a friend of mine in the office, he was like, ‘Hey, this isn’t a reflection of you. It’s a –’ and I’m not gonna say any names but, ‘A producer and a writer are butting heads a lot and he’s nixing all of his ideas.’ So I was just a byproduct of that from what I was told.

** During Glenn ‘Kane’ Jacobs’ appearance on The Bam Show, he expressed that he would like for him and The Undertaker to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame together as The Brothers of Destruction.

Man, I hope so [Brothers of Destruction get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a duo]. That would be, for me, again, that would be the ultimate honor and to be there in the Hall of Fame with him even though we’re both in the Hall of Fame separately and I think too that of course, we’re inextricably tied together, the characters of Kane and The Undertaker and so I think it makes sense too and I think it would just be — well I think it’d also be something that the fans would really enjoy because you know, they never get to see us behind the scenes, right? So I think it’d be something different, something that they would enjoy.

Prior to Jacobs signing a deal with the WWF/E, he had a tryout with the company and said it did not go well.

I actually had a tryout in WWE as one of Jerry Lawler’s knights when he did… I can’t even remember the match. You remember the one I’m talking about. I think it was a Survivor Series match. It was like Lawler and his court and I think it was Owen [Hart]? I can’t remember who was on the opposing team.

My tryout didn’t go very well. I was extremely raw, and just wasn’t very good [Jacobs laughed]. So, I just ended up going home for a while, back to traveling around or whatever in the Midwest.

** At NWA Alwayz Ready, Dr. Tom Prichard was at the event and on The Tyrus and Timpf Podcast, NWA’s Tyrus and Trevor Murdoch commented on Prichard’s presence at the show and talents consistently going up to him for advice.

Tyrus: See, I got lucky because I was under coach [Bill] DeMott and then I went from coach DeMott to Dr. Tom Prichard and then that’s when all the psychology — and still is. He was at our pay-per-view [NWA Alwayz Ready] and it was a better pay-per-view because Dr. Tom was there, and because he had a lot — I don’t think that the brass of the NWA understand or understood how many guys on the roster have had some influence by Dr. Tom.

Murdoch: We were all running to him.

Tyrus: Come back through the thing, ‘See anything? See anything? You see anything?’  

** Ryan Satin welcomed Alexa Bliss onto his ‘Out of Character’ podcast and she spoke about diving into her ‘dark’ persona while she was still paired with Windham Rotunda (Bray Wyatt). Bliss said she watched multiple cult documentaries, took inspiration from films such as ‘The Orphan’ and channeled what she felt when navigating through her eating disorders to bring the character to life.

I jumped fully in [with matching what Windham Rotunda did with The Fiend character]. The amount of cult documentaries and the amount of just different scary movies and things I would watch and even — so for me, I wanted to kind of have my character to kind of have a bit of an identity crisis and so with that, that’s why I kind of reverted to a child’s mentality because I know for me personally, at least — to get real, real about it, so when I had my eating disorders, it was a traumatic thing for me and my brain went back to a childlike defense mechanism and so I kind of took part of that into my character. So I remember thinking like, okay, what did I like watching when I was a child? I liked watching The Big Comfy Couch and then so I got the concept of having Lilly from the girl from The Comfy Couch’s doll Molly and so I took a lot of my childhood things that I loved and brought that into the character and then also took a part of the movie ‘The Orphan’, where the girl’s like 30 posing as a child and kind of took that into the character as well so there was a lot of things of my real interests and real things as a child that I actually brought into the dark Alexa character.

** On August 21st, Bryan Danielson will be doing a meet-and-greet and talk show at the Rio Theater in Vancouver, British Columbia. ‘Get Pop? Concerts’ and ‘Mega Match Memories’ are hosting the event.

** There have been nearly 20 applications sent in for Suwama’s all-women’s wrestling group ‘Evolution’. They are still in the interviewing process, per Tokyo Sports. The plan is to hold a tryout this month to determine to the final two to four talents.

** A clip from AJ Styles and Seth Rollins playing WWE 2K22:

** Montez Ford and Cody Rhodes chat on ‘WWE Grit & Glory’.

** NJPW’s Tomoaki Honma is scheduled for Pro Wrestling ZERO1’s 7/18 show. He’ll be teaming with Yasu Kubota and Astroman to take on Yoshikazu Yokoyama, YASSHI and All Japan’s Black Menso-re.

** Koji Ishinriki is planning to retire from in-ring competition this October. His son, Ishin Iihashi is going to be in a tag match on the card and his partner is currently being promoted as a mystery.

** The AJ Awesome Show with Jake Something as a guest:

** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated pushed out his chat with Cameron Grimes.

** A bonus episode of Café De René was released featuring Matt Morgan.

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 8722 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.