POST NEWS UPDATE: Bianca Belair felt she was capable of being the face of NXT, comments on not winning NXT Women’s Title

Bianca Belair chats NXT run, Yuji Nagata looks back on first IWGP Heavyweight Title reign, Jack Cartwheel's goals, Kurt Angle doc. on Peacock

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.

** For the first four years of her pro wrestling career, Bianca Belair was a part of the NXT brand. She told Andreas Hale and Kel Dansby on The Corner Podcast that she felt she had what it took to be the face of the brand. Belair admitted that she did question herself as the NXT Women’s Title continued to allude her. She closed by saying that when she looks back at that time in her career, everything happens for a reason.

I did [question myself in NXT]. I go out there and talk about being the EST of WWE and that’s where I started in NXT and I feel like that was my home and I felt like there, I was constantly trying to prove that I belonged there and I was made to do this and I was born to do this so, going after the NXT Women’s Title, it was so much — I placed so much validation with that title and it was so many times when I thought, okay, this is my time, this is my time and it never happened and what was even harder for me was my parents were at the shows, they were brand new to it as well and I remember just seeing videos of my daddy cheering and then I would lose and he would just kind of like — I would see it in his face so, I was like man, I wanna prove and show that I’m worthy and that I’m good and I’m capable of being the face of NXT and being a champion and so, it was like a little shot to my self-esteem every time but, now looking back, I see that I was there during the reign — during the time of the reign of Shayna Baszler and she had an amazing title reign and I feel like I was a part of that title reign and we all made that title reign amazing with Shayna so, I had to look at it that way and you know, when I left NXT, still always wanted to be NXT Women’s Champion but then I fast forward, moved on and then I got to win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania, become SmackDown Women’s Champion, now Raw Women’s Champion. Now looking back, I say like, okay, now it all makes sense and everything happens for a reason.

** During part one of THE WORDWAY-KOERU’s chat with Yuji Nagata, he reflected on his first IWGP Heavyweight Title win in 2002 and becoming champion during a tough time for New Japan Pro-Wrestling as a company. Nagata expressed that he did not want to be blamed for low ticket sales so he stayed up many nights doing promotional work and would often speak to the powers that be about what could improve.

Having won the belt at such a time, I felt that I had to be the backbone of the big signboard that is New Japan Pro-Wrestling. That was the first time I began to think about what I had been doing only for myself for the past 10 years — not only for myself but also for the other wrestlers and the company. At that time, there was a tailwind from the 30th anniversary of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, but there were also many headwinds that were trying to destroy that. I am proud that I stood in the face of that and fought through it all the way.

I didn’t want people to say that I was the champion and that there would be no customers, so when I was at the Tokyo Dome or other big venues in Tokyo, I also did sales work. I worked many nights to sell tickets. Also, after practice was over, there were many members of the media in front of the dojo who wanted a story. Five or six companies, including the morning and evening newspapers, would gather there. When I go out, I get caught almost every day, and when I am not at the dojo, I am at the office. So I would go to the office for small things and talk about these things. I was doing it recklessly. But I had that much energy at the time, and now I think it was a good experience.

As I mentioned earlier, I knew I was not big enough. But I tried to do the best I could, 100 percent of what I could do. My mentality was strange for about six months, and I could not sleep at night. However, New Japan Pro-Wrestling was in a pinch due to a large number of departures of wrestlers, and the belt came to me. I didn’t have time to be discouraged, and I put in a tremendous amount of energy for the company, for the other wrestlers, and for myself.

** PWPonderings pushed out their conversation with independent talent Jack Cartwheel. Jack is hoping to one day land in either WWE or AEW and said if neither comes to fruition, it would suck but he’s going to do everything he can to make sure it does happen.

I know a lot of people in indie wrestling don’t have this dream as much anymore but I still wanna be at WWE at some point. I still think that that’s a milestone that I need to have happen if I really want to do this, the right thing. AEW, obviously, like are you kidding me? That’s the place to be right now, just frickin’ on TV, doing it all, trying to change the industry, changing the world, also being like a certain icon to so many kids and even adults as an inspiration. Those are all things that are there and it’s crazy having it come out of my mouth because it feels kind of more tangible than what it has in the past, you know? Like saying it doesn’t mean, oh, I’m just saying it. It’s like, oh, these are things that could really happen, and if they don’t, that would suck [Jack laughed]. But I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure it does.

Jack made his AAA debut in March of this year. He shared that before getting into lucha libre, he was warned about watching out for himself and because he is young and by himself, he might be picked on. Cartwheel said the complete opposite occurred while he was in AAA.

I’ve enjoyed it so, so much [working with AAA]. Just the way that they treat their wrestlers and the atmosphere every time in the locker room. I know — I mean through rumors, I’ve never seen anything like it but that in the years past, there was some troubles in the locker room but as far as I’m concerned, everyone has been really cool, really nice and that was actually a big thing I was warned about coming into the lucha libre world is just like, oh, you’re an American white kid who’s just young and kind of by yourself. They’re gonna wanna pick on you, they’re gonna wanna do this, they’re gonna wanna do that. But, everything’s been really cool, really smooth. They’ve been giving me really amazing opportunities. You know, as I said, going one-on-one with Dragon Lee and then being able to wrestle alongside Bandido and Heavy Metal has been really special and to be able to kind of hear those guys’ input essentially. Penta [Oscuro] and [Rey] Fenix are sometimes in the ring, I’m like, ‘Oh! You guys watch my stuff? What did you think about it? Please let me know what I can do to change or stand out a little bit more’ and I need to work on my Spanish a little bit more but we’re getting there. We’re slowly building on the blocks. You know, I took it in high school for a little bit so I thought that-that would help and it has but, you know, not fully fluent yet.

This past May, he made his in-ring debut for GLEAT in Japan. He was able to wrestle at Korakuen Hall and said he’s hoping to return very soon.

It was amazing, you know? [debuting for GLEAT at Korakuen Hall] It was beautiful, they treated me so well throughout the whole time that I was able to be there and just the match went insanely good and I didn’t — they told me a lot of really interesting stuff that I don’t know if I’d wanna spill here but, just in terms of I was nervous because it was my first time and it was my first match in Japan and all these things and there was a lot that I saw to be kind of against me, but the way that Kaz Hayashi and CIMA and a lot of the other dudes in the GLEAT locker room were able to talk to me and give me a lot more confidence than I had coming into it. Just that why would I go somewhere and do something if it wasn’t for a real meaning, you know? If they brought me all the way out there to get two licks in and to lose a match and to totally just not do many things in the wrestling, it wouldn’t make much sense so I was really, really, really stoked with how everything happened and how it went down and yeah, it was just beautiful and to be able to be in that building, you know, you can feel the energy that runs through the halls and you can feel the passion in the locker room and there was some things I haven’t done in a [while] with building and tearing down the ring which was a pretty nice, fresh feel because it had been a couple months since then. I was like, ‘Oh! Okay. We do that here too? Let’s go, let’s do it…’ I hope so [to return] and I plan to be back very soon I hope.

** A&E and WWE’s Kurt Angle ‘Biography’ episode is airing on July 31st. Angle shared on his podcast that WWE purchased the full version of that show from him as it was originally going to be released as a documentary about his life. WWE pieced together the pro wrestling-oriented parts of the documentary to air on A&E, but the documentary in full is going to air on Peacock in 2023.

Yes sir, that’s my documentary, my life story [airing on A&E on July 31st]. It’s gonna be awesome.

Pretty much [it’s going to walk through my life]. The thing is, you know, the WWE bought the show from us, the documentary and they changed it up a little bit and made it a little more pro wrestling oriented. But we made a deal with them that this will air on Peacock next year, my previous documentary before they actually added more WWE stuff to it so, the one next year on Peacock will be more about my personal life and growing up and before the WWE so it’s a really well-rounded documentary but the one that WWE is showing will be pro-WWE stuff.

** Killer Kelly was the featured guest on episode #147 of Cultaholic’s Desert Island Graps show. Kelly previously shared that visa issues are what prevented her from returning to IMPACT sooner. She expanded on those issues and said that it got to a point where she traveled to Mexico and planned to enter the U.S.A. from there. By doing that, she and IMPACT had to start the entire visa process over. She was approved this past May.

Oh God, imagine me seeing my friends moving to America so effortlessly. Like so quickly. Imagine, because I was talking to WALTER [Gunther] right before he moved and he was just like, ‘Oh yeah, I got my visa, now I’m going.’ Like how in the hell did you get your visa so quick? Like what the hell? So it literally varies from country to country. My country made everything humanly possible to be the worst experience ever. It was horrible. It didn’t even move. The embassy was closed for so long and when they opened, they had like back-file years — not years, like a year because that was the first year of the pandemic but, back logs of so many people with so many, let’s say, ‘real jobs’, so those are in front and wrestling, what is wrestling? What is it? Is it a sport? Is it like the movies? They didn’t know so they were like, we don’t know what this is, whatever and up to the point where me and IMPACT were just… we were so fed up with that-that I just said, okay, I’m gonna do the whole Mexico thing again. I’m gonna go two weeks in Mexico and enter the country because or else, I’m gonna be stuck here forever so I did that and we had to start a new whole process, which took — so we started in August. September ‘till May? Yeah, May. Everything was approved [in] May.

From 2018-2020, Kelly worked with WWE via their NXT UK brand. She believes former PROGRESS Wrestling co-founder Jim Smallman threw her name out there to the powers that be in WWE which led to her being brought onto the brand.

No, which I thought it was [thinking wXw was how she got her start with NXT UK]. But it wasn’t. It was basically… I’m not 100 percent sure but, just so you know, my brain sucks remembering details so I mix a bunch of stuff up a lot of times. But, what I do remember and help me God that my brain isn’t f*cking it up is that the whole thing started or my name was in the mix was because I went to the U.K. and I went to PROGRESS. But I didn’t debut on PROGRESS because I had — my eyebrow got split open so I was just there to watch and I got booked on PROGRESS because of Jim Smallman and he liked my vibe, he liked my name, he liked the way I wrestled because he watched wXw and I am pretty sure it was Jim Smallman that put my name in the mix. Like, ‘She would be good for it’ so, thanks Jim [Kelly laughed]. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was like that. If it wasn’t, oh well but I’m pretty sure it was that.

When she first got started in pro wrestling and was figuring out her style and presentation, she wanted to take after Low Ki. Kelly recalled being told that she needed to “be like a girl” and not like Low Ki. Nonetheless, she adapted that presentation from him and also touched on how she was influenced by Ronda Rousey.

I started watching — so WWE and it was like all, you know, the fire and whatever of Kane but then a friend of mine from Wrestling Portugal lent me some DVDs from TNA and guess who was there? Low Ki, and Low Ki, I was like, ‘Oh f*ck! That was cool. I love all the kicks and look at his face. He looks so mean. I wanna be like that. I wanna be a freakin’ badass’ and that’s where it started [Killer Kelly persona] and at Wrestling Portugal, I remember just talking to a bunch of people and being like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be like Low Ki. My in-ring style, I wanna be Low Ki. That is f*cking amazing. That’s crazy’ and in the beginning when I had my first matches, everyone was like, ‘No, you’re not gonna be like Low Ki. You’re gonna be like a girl.’ I was like, ‘Ah, God dammit.’ So I was very bubbly and I was just Kelly, my name was just ‘Kelly’ and I was a super babyface because as you can see, I’m always smiling. This is just me naturally, even though I have a very psychotic mind and I love everything murder-ish, I’m always smiling. I’m not a sociopath.

So yeah, I got sick and tired of being the good ‘ole babyface, super friendly and blah, blah and I said no, f*ck this. Let me be Low Ki. So I started being like Low Ki and then the whole Ronda Rousey thing… I watched UFC of course and then I saw Ronda, I was like, ‘Oh man, this is exactly how I’m trying to be. Now I have –’ I don’t wanna say a ‘scapegoat’, but now I have… an inspiration. I can show them that it works. I went to Wrestling Portugal being like, ‘See, this works. She’s a f*cking badass. She is a babyface and she kills everyone. Like, let me be like this’ and they were like, ‘Yeah, of course.’

** Mike & Tyler of the ‘Counted Out’ podcast welcomed Brian Pillman Jr. onto their show. It was in September 2021 that AEW hosted their slate of programming from Cincinnati, Ohio. Pillman Jr. says performing in his hometown on that stage is one of the three greatest moments of his life. He feels that after his segment with MJF, AEW began to trust him more on the microphone.

That was like top three best days of my life, you know what I mean [Pillman Jr. said about being featured on AEW programming in Cincinnati, Ohio] That was a full circle moment for me. Finally getting to show all my friends and family that I’m operating on this larger stage and that we have such a cool fan base and such a cool sport with AEW to come check it out and see what’s going on and then people loved it. A lot of my friends came out, a lot of my family and it was a whole show. I got a whole match earlier on in the show, a nice win on Rampage. He comes out and we do that — oh no, sorry. Not earlier on the show. I had the promo segment on Dynamite with MJF to kind of set me up with a nice little match and then I did the match with MJF in Arthur Ashe so, a really good little series of content for me and to get my feet wet out there on TV, get a microphone in my hand. It’s even ever since that night, they’ve always trusted me with a microphone. They like to put me in those situations where I can talk so, I think I’ve proven myself as far as promos go and the matches are even coming along too and [Jon] Moxley, just so much credit to him for carrying the city on his back for so many years and he just moved back to Cincinnati from Vegas so, he’s back home and stuff so for him to come out there and share that moment with me when he’s like the most over guy from our town ever, that was very special to me so I have a lot to thank for him for that.

Further commenting on his program with MJF, Pillman Jr. wanted it to last longer, although he was told from the beginning that it was going to be short-term.

That angle was good [working with MJF]. I wish we could have gotten more out of it. They told me straight up from the beginning that it was just gonna be a short thing and I thought, you know what? We have something more here… again, I’m young and I just want it all, so it’s not really anybody’s fault but, I just thought, oh man, I want to do this for not just three weeks, let’s do this for 12 weeks, you know? Let’s just get a good program out of it. But again, maybe I wasn’t, in their mind, the person to do that with at the time and everything happens for a reason so, we’re in a really good spot right now with what we’re gonna be doing soon…

** Coming off of winning the GHC Heavyweight Championship at Pro Wrestling NOAH’s ‘Destination’ event, Kenoh was present at the post-event press conference and commented on his title win. He addressed the remarks and thoughts about NOAH relying on veterans for their main event scene.

I am really deeply moved to win the GHC Heavyweight belt in the main event at Nippon Budokan, which I had always dreamed of. I am truly deeply moved. I felt that the strength he [Satoshi Kojima] had built up over the past 30 years was very heavy. But my desire to become the GHC Heavyweight Champion was stronger than that. That’s why I got this result… I have to break out of this situation [NOAH relying on veterans]. I will lead NOAH to show a bright future. It seems that young wrestlers don’t have a place to speak up in NOAH now. So, I’m going to inspire young wrestlers, not veterans, and make NOAH a place where they can speak out… I’m just going to keep pushing forward.

** Episode 73 of WWE Die Woche featured The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins). Ford stated that he’d be open to Bobby Lashley working more with he and Dawkins and forming ‘The Hurt Profits’.

Me and Dawks share this long time, like years of bonding. We share so many of these similarities so it’s always good to work with people that have similar similarities. Bobby Lashley has a background in the military as well so I would love to see if we did work in the future; me, Dawks and him, you know, be The Hurt Profits or something like that [Ford laughed].

** As a part of the Ric Flair ‘Last Match’ card, Jacob Fatu is challenging Josh Alexander for the IMPACT World Championship. Fatu spoke about the upcoming bout with Koffin Radio and how excited he is for it.

Well you know what man? What really starts it off is I’ve seen how Ric Flair actually interacts with my family, you know? So that was a plus but, I’m thankful that they reached out. I didn’t know who Conrad [Thompson] was. Shout out to you now Conrad. Nah, nah, but I’m very thankful they reached out because I know there’s a lot of… it’s independents man. There’s a lot of people that put in hard work day in and day out. But I feel like being a part of Ric Flair’s thing at the end of the month, it’s not only just me and the dynasty… I’ma walk in there with my head high representing Northern Cali, because I’m from the block at the end of the day [Fatu laughed] so I gotta represent for North Cal, but for real though, but it’s great though. I’m juiced, I’m excited.

Present day in MLW, Fatu is the head of the new Samoan Swat Team with Juicy Finau and Lance Anoa’i. Fatu was formerly the head of CONTRA Unit. He said he loved the group and it was something he was interested in from the start.

Man, the CONTRA Unit was crazy. I mean, Simon Gotch, me, Josef Samael, Ikuro Kwon, you had Mads [Krügger]. But, it was different though because I don’t think nobody was doing the factions, big factions like that at that time… When it came apart again, the CONTRA Unit sh*t was off the rip. I loved it. It was off the hook.

** While speaking to Generation of Wrestling, Eric Young explained his reasoning for using the piledriver as a finisher and mentioned that he decided to make it his finish after discovering that WWE banned their talents from doing the move.

The moves are a tool, a tool to tell the story and if you’re doing — like right now, I’m Eric Young and my finish is the piledriver. 16 years ago, the WWF at the time, banned the piledriver and said no one’s allowed to do it because it’s too dangerous… there’s no better finisher in the world. The biggest company in the world just said their top of the line, number one athletes in the sport aren’t allowed to do it because it’s dangerous and I switched to it from that day and still use it to this day and for me, Eric Young, he doesn’t wanna beat you, he wants to hurt you. He wants to injure you and in everything I do and every move I make in a ring and everything I do, I’m telling that story or trying to tell that story so I don’t seem like everybody else. I can’t be screaming and yelling, ‘I’m gonna do this’ and, ‘I’m violent and I’m gonna break your neck’ and I get in the ring and start doing flying head scissors. That doesn’t make any sense. That’s a disconnect.

** The reigning IMPACT World Champion Josh Alexander appeared on the Two Man Power of Wrestling Podcast and looked back on his journey to becoming a two-time World Champion in IMPACT.

I mean, to me, it was like nothing I ever thought possible, to wrestle Christian Cage. Regardless of being in the main event of the biggest show in IMPACT Wrestling, you know, on pay-per-view. Just being able to wrestle Christian Cage was an honor. It’s something I never thought possible like I said. To have the title ripped away and all that other stuff, you know, it made it that much sweeter when I finally did win the championship at Rebellion because when I won that championship initially from Christian Cage at Bound For Glory, fans recognized me as somebody that was very good in the ring. My whole thing for fanfare up until that point was I always deliver no matter who I’m in the ring with and that’s something I like to take a great amount of pride in, but that whole seven-month run from Bound For Glory to Rebellion was where fans really got to know me, where I really got to talk and show my personality a little bit more so it added another layer to me so now that I’ve won the championship, I just have that much more familiarity with me with the fans and stuff like that so there’s more of a connection so it’s better.

** Titus O’Neil’s ‘Back to School Bash’ is taking place on August 6th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. More than 30,000 backpacks with school supplies included are going to handed out.

** Following the first match of Keiji Muto’s retirement tour against Kaito Kiyomiya, he said Kiyomiya can use his Dragon Screw, Figure 4 Leg Lock and Shining Wizard maneuvers.

** Independent talent Jazmin Allure was present at the W.O.W. (Women of Wrestling) tapings. She took a photo with Executive Producer A.J. Mendez (AJ Lee).

** Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling ‘Princess Cup’ Results (7/17/22) Tokyo, Japan
– Hikari Noa, Raku & Suzume def. Miyu Yamashita, Moka Miyamoto & Yuki Arai
Three Way Match: Pom Harajuku def. Haruna Neko and Maki Itoh
– Hyper Misao & Shoko Nakajima def. Mahiro Kiryu & Mizuki
Tokyo Princess Cup First Round Match: Miu Watanabe def. Arisu Endo
Tokyo Princess Cup First Round Match: Yuka Sakazaki def. Kaya Toribami
Tokyo Princess Cup First Round Match: Nao Kakuta def. Yuki Aino
Tokyo Princess Cup First Round Match: Rika Tatsumi def. Yuki Kamifuku

** Thunder Rosa’s latest vlog during which she covers her return to Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling and forming a team with Toni Storm.

** Prior to the start of the 2022 NJPW G1, Great-O-Khan was interviewed by Tokyo Sports.

** This coming September, NJPW is presenting their ‘Burning Spirit’ tour in Japan and their 9/16 and 9/20 shows in Fukuoka have been combined into one show and moved to 9/19 at the Fukuoka Island-City Forum.

** Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and ‘Action’ Mike Jackson guest appeared on Busted Open Radio.

** JAM Project once again created the theme for New Japan’s G1 tournament. The theme for this year’s tournament is titled ‘Over the Max’.

** Titus O’Neil joined ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill & Max Show.

** There is a feature story on ‘Sports Graphic Number’ about former GHC Heavyweight Champion Satoshi Kojima.

** Shota is set to go on excursion in America in August. He’ll be away from Ganbare Pro Wrestling and there is no concrete date for his return to Japan.

** Captain’s Corner hosted a virtual signing with Jessica Elaban f.k.a. Jessi Kamea.

** To promote WWE SummerSlam, ‘Tennessean’ spoke to Bobby Lashley.

** July 17th birthdays: Kaito Kiyomiya, Shannon ‘Daffney’ Spruill.

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 8606 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.