POST NEWS UPDATE: Jun Akiyama reflects on his career, chats overseas interest level, idea of retiring

Jun Akiyama interview, Anthony Bowens writing a book, William Regal notes, Tanahashi-Shibata relationship, Gargano chats return match & more

Photo Courtesy: All Japan Pro 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.

** 30 years since Jun Akiyama’s debut is being celebrated on 9/18 at Korakuen Hall. He was interviewed by Tokyo Sports and one of the questions posed to him is what keeps him going in his early 50s. Akiyama said it’s his family and friends among other motivators and on the topic of retirement, he said once he loses his energy, then it’s the end for him.

My family, my fans and lots of others. Some of my fans have been supporting me since my debut. A single driving force is not enough to move me anymore. Thanks to all of you, I am here today.

It’s a battle against myself. If I lose my energy, it’s the end [Akiyama said about retirement]. I still have the feeling that I don’t want to lose to the younger fighters.

Unless it is to help DDT Pro-Wrestling, Jun is not interested in heading overseas to wrestle. He did add that he’d reconsider if there is an opponent that moves him enough to want to go overseas.

I have no interest in going overseas. If it would help DDT to go overseas, I would, but not on my own. Well, if I get the chance, and if there is an opponent that moves me.

As the conversation was ongoing, Jun reflected on his 30 years in wrestling. He said it feels shorter than it has been and feels he has done his best in the places he’s been.

Thirty years is quite a long time, but when I think about it now, it seems like a very short time. I’ve moved around a lot, but I think I’ve done my best. From All Japan to NOAH, almost everyone moved together, so I didn’t feel that much had changed. After that, All Japan had the same name as where I was originally from, but Muto (Keiji) was in charge, so the colors were different. Now I am in DDT, which has a different color.

** To promote AEW Dynamite Grand Slam, Anthony Bowens was interviewed by TSC News – The Sports Courier. Bowens is currently penning an autobiography. He said he has reached the 45,000-word mark and is hoping to have the book out in the next few years.

I’m writing a book. It’s the first time I’ve said that openly. I’m about 45,000 words in and I hope to have that out in the next few years or so-so I like to dip my toes into every avenue that I can and I’ve read a lot of wrestling books growing up so now that I’m achieving that success and I think I have a story to tell that would resonate with people, I wanna put that out there eventually so that’s a goal of mine.

There was a stretch of Bowens’ run where he was not active in the ring but was featured regularly alongside Max Caster, Austin, Colten and Billy Gunn. He credited Tony Khan for giving him something to sink his teeth into while he was injured. Bowens went on to add that he is not fond of the ‘injury prone’ label, seeing as how he did not have many troubles with injuries until he got signed.

It feels great [to be back from injury]. We have a boss that trusts us, that allows us to give him ideas and making sure that I stayed on television and having a good storyline to sink our teeth into was one of them and he allowed us to do that with the ‘Ass Boys’ and Billy [Gunn]. As far as the injuries go, I was hurt maybe once or twice on the independents in my eight-year span. I got signed and then bam, the two injuries come so I hate having the label of being injury prone because I’m not. It’s just two, I guess, unfortunate events but, they ended up being both really positive. I’m very big with taking negatives and turning them into positives and if I didn’t get hurt, we wouldn’t have went into the storyline with Billy and this whole explosion either may not have happened or it would have happened way down the road so I think everything happens for a reason.

** The newest episode of William Regal’s ‘Gentleman Villain’ podcast was centered around Regal’s time as a part of The Un-Americans in WWE with Lance Storm, Christian Cage and the late Andrew ‘Test’ Martin. Regal shared that the period of his career when he and Lance broke off into a duo is when he made the most money of his WWE run. He went on to detail how health troubles from 2003-2004 led to his health insurance totaling up to $300,000. Regal paid that health insurance note up until he was an employee at WWE.

There’s a lost thing in our job about — and I think I’ve talked about it before and if not, it’s a reminder. As a talent, your business is your business when it comes to whatever your business is with the company you work for. Whatever deal you make, you should be happy with or not, but if you make it, it’s your deal. Don’t go around talking about money with people. We did talk about this on a previous podcast. Don’t talk about money. You’ve made your deal. If somebody makes a better deal, tough. You should have made your own deal because it just causes animosity and problems. You’ve got to accept the deal you accept. Different way of getting paid in those days. You had a guarantee and then you got paid off of houses. I know and this is thanks to Mr. Ross, Jim Ross because he was the person who put the pay out in those days. My time with Lance [Storm] was the most money I made in the WWE. For whatever amount of time we were together, that year was the most money I ever made in the WWE by far, and then it all went [left] the year after when I had — just my 20 percent, just my 20 percent that I had to pay of my health insurance totaled up — for the heart problems I had totaled up to $300,000. So that’s when people wonder why — well they don’t wonder why because I don’t talk money but… I don’t care. Three hundred grand for a normal wrestler like me, I’m not from the time I was earning huge. I’ve earned good money. I’ve always earned good money for a long time but when you’ve got a family and I don’t live large, three hundred grand, and then my health insurance went up so much after that… once I had this heart problem, my health insurance just over tripled so from 2004-on was my health insurance that I had to fine before I walked out the door every month. That was just to get through the door so I could go to wrestle to go to bring a wage into the house. Before they even made it out, my health insurance was $700 more than the mortgage on my house and I paid my house off in 15 years… and so all the way until I become an employee for the WWE, I had this massive note of health insurance just to be able to keep working.

He recounted the meeting when Vince McMahon informed The Un-Americans of the split. McMahon told them that Regal and Lance would be continuing as a duo while Test and Christian would be receiving a new presentation. Regal then listed off some of the partners he’s been able to have in wrestling and expressed how lucky he feels to have had those partners.

One day, shortly after, the four of us [Regal, Lance Storm, Christian Cage & Test] get asked in to see Mr. McMahon and it was a very quick conversation. Mr. McMahon said — pointed at me and Lance, ‘I’m gonna keep you two together as a tag team and you fellas are gonna have a change of character’ and we walked out and that was the end of The Un-Americans, and me and Lance went on to be a tag team and me and Lance, I thought — I’ve been very fortunate to have incredible tag partners, starting with Robbie Brookside and obviously, you know, Triple H and then Bobby Eaton. I’m gonna say these things. It’s like, how has this happened to me? Having Bobby Eaton as a tag partner? How did I luck into that one? Wow. Its choked me up a bit there. How did I end up at 20 — end up with Bobby Eaton as my tag partner? Wow, and then Dave Taylor has always been a constant throughout different places. Mile Zrno in Europe was a fantastic tag partner. We were the CWA [Germany] Tag Champions which was a big thing. To be any kind of champion in the CWA, you had to — unless you were American, they’d slip the odd American in there that wasn’t so good but if you’re European, if you had some kind of championship, you had to be considered somebody who could really do your job… and then I get Lance and me and Lance just — he’s a perfect partner for me because I do all of my shtick and Lance is just incredible at everything. He does a lot of the things that I can’t and I do some of the things that he doesn’t do as well.

Circling back around to Vince McMahon, Regal recounted having a conversation with him and McMahon being straight-forward with Regal about what his role is. Below is Regal’s recount of that conversation:

I was 31 or whatever at the time, Mr. McMahon said to me, ‘Whenever I’ve got a good role for you, you’ll be in it and when that role has run its course, you will be working on live events probably helping people along or just having whatever kind of match I need you to have’ and that was our handshake agreement and if you look back at my career, that’s exactly how it played out. I had some incredibly memorable roles, as far as entertainment goes.

** In edition #99 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series on, Tanahashi spoke in-depth about his up and down relationship with Katsuyori Shibata that changed over the course of the last two decades. Those rough patches first began when Shibata departed NJPW in the early 2000s.

Shibata leaving in the early 2000s really put the company in a bad spot. It took a while for me to understand what he went through himself, that challenging himself and trying MMA was something that important and difficult for him. Definitely when he first came back, I really had no time for him.

I don’t know whether I thought about it with much complexity. To me it felt like here was a guy who hadn’t succeeded like he had wanted to in MMA, and the wrestling business was getting hot again so he hopped on the band wagon. That’s where the negativity lay with me. But in the end, it got our relationship to where it is now, so all’s well that ends well.

After Shibata exited New Japan in 2005, he came back the following year and represented another wrestling organization at a New Japan event. He and Tanahashi shared the ring together and were scheduled for a rematch, but it was called off.

Yeah. You know, I think really it got chilly right when he left in 2005.

Well, we have a lot of history, he and I. It’s like I said about [Hiroshi] Hase, I think opinions and personalities are two different things, and you can’t write off a person just because of their takes about something. The fact is we spent a lot of time together coming up, we both went out of the Dojo together, on those little shopping runs, savoring being able to taste the open air. I didn’t hate him, I didn’t hate him at all. But we had very different worldviews when it came to pro-wrestling, and neither one of us was willing to budge.

** Episode #78 of WWE – Die Woche featured Johnny Gargano. This past Monday on Raw, he made his in-ring return and scored a win over Chad Gable. Gargano reflected on that bout and heaped praise onto Gable, referring to him as one of the most underrated talents in the world.

I’m very sore [after returning to the ring on Raw]. I just spent the whole morning with a massage gun on my left shoulder and back because again and I can’t stress this enough, I went from literally doing nothing. Sure, I was training and I’d been in the ring the last three weeks in the Performance Center but for the first time on TV, you saw me do my spear, you saw me do my DDT, any of the moves… I hadn’t done that in nine months. So, what you saw on Raw was the first time I’ve done any of those moves in nine months. So, I am still in my head and obviously, I’m a perfectionist so there’s still some ring rust I gotta knock off, still some things I gotta get back in shape as far as that goes. I felt great. Obviously, it felt good to be back, to hear the crowd again, to be me again, it felt great. But, it’s a great first step, but the work is far from done and I’m far from a finished product and I do believe things are gonna get better and better every single time.

Chad Gable’s amazing. Chad Gable’s one of the most underrated talents in the world and I will be very on-record of saying that. Chad Gable is such a talent, so underrated and I think the world of him honestly.

Gargano was asked for his thoughts about the possibility of a reunion with Tommaso Ciampa now that they’re on the same brand again. Gargano thinks they’ll forever be linked like how Shawn Michaels and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque are.

You never know [if there could be a D.I.Y.] reunion. Me and Tommaso [Ciampa] obviously have been linked forever. As long as we are both in the same company, even if we’re not in the same company, I think we will always be linked together. I think D.I.Y. will always be linked together the same way you think about — luckily, I’m not comparing us to them but I mean, look at Shawn Michaels and Triple H. You think about Shawn Michaels, you think about Triple H. You think about Triple H, you think about Shawn Michaels. So they kind of go hand-in-hand whether it’s foes or friends and I think the same can be said about me and Tommaso. As foes or friends, we will always be linked together so you never know what can happen.

There are a multitude of names who Gargano would be open to sharing the ring with at a WrestleMania. He started off by talking about the possibility of wrestling Ciampa at the event and then named names like Seth Rollins, AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio.

Oh boy, man. That’s tough [Gargano responded when asked who he’d like to face at WrestleMania]. Obviously, I just listed off a bunch of dream matches for me. I know there’s a lot of people out there that also in the grand scheme of things would love to see me and Tommaso [Ciampa] have a WrestleMania match. Our story throughout the years is obviously very well documented and the fact we never really got to end our story how we wanted to on a big stage. I mean there is no bigger stage than WrestleMania and what a story that could be told there if me and Tommaso actually had a WrestleMania match one year. That would be incredibly cool for both of us and for our story but it’s also, you know, I’ve mentioned a lot of guys already; Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Rey Mysterio, Edge, Randy Orton, the list goes on and on and on. There’s so many great talent out there. I’m not gonna peg myself into one spot and, ‘I want this match at WrestleMania’ because there’s so many different matches there could potentially be.

** In the early portion of Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch’s SummerSlam 2022 bout, Lynch suffered a separated shoulder. Bianca told ‘In The Kliq’ that Lynch is bred different and they were both of the mindset that they had to push through despite the injury.

We are amazing at what we do [Belair laughed]. But no, I think that-that just really shows how tough and how committed Becky Lynch is to what she does as a competitor, as a performer. I mean, when we’re in there, we’re in the thick of it. All we’re thinking about is our main goal and so when you have someone like Becky Lynch who gets injured very early in the match, there’s no point where you’re thinking we’re stopping. No, this something — it’s a year-long feud, we’re closing this chapter, we gotta push through. I mean, WrestleMania, I got a black eye halfway through the match. It was never a moment of I’m stopping because we’re very committed. We’re just committed to what we do and we love what we’re doing and you have to have a passion for WWE and wrestling to be successful at this. You just have to be bred different and Becky Lynch is definitely someone who is bred different.

Bianca has been asked on several occasions about the idea of a return to NXT. She feels that right now as Raw Women’s Champion might not be the time, but she did mention current NXT Women’s Champion Mandy Rose as someone she’d be open to feuding with.

I mean, of course. NXT, I’m a homegrown talent so NXT is where it all started so it would really feel full circle to go back in some point in time… Maybe not right now because I’m Raw Women’s Champion but I never got to win the NXT Women’s Title so, I mean I would love to go back and you know, Mandy Rose is doing amazing things right now. I’ve never gotten to have a feud with Mandy on NXT, Raw or SmackDown so, maybe Mandy Rose.

** On the newest AEW Unrestricted podcast, Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards chatted with Madison Rayne. She discussed coming into AEW and getting to challenge for the TBS Championship in her second match. Rayne said getting to scratch that in-ring itch early was good for her but thinks going forward, she’ll primarily be focusing on her coaching duties.

Again, you walk in and every day, you don’t really know what’s going to happen. When I had my initial conversations about coming to the company, it was primarily as a coach and then obviously, there were those, ‘And then, you know, you can wrestle. You’ve wrestled for way too long. So, there may be times where we have you as an in-ring competitor.’ I’m like, ‘Great.’ As the wrestler in me that still has a tiny little shed of ego that needs to be filled a little bit, walking into an arena that’s that full with the reaction of the AEW fans is truly — and I’m not just saying that because I’m new and happy and butterflies but it’s truly unlike anything that I’ve felt so getting to kind of scratch that itch a little bit was perfect but I do think going forward, my duty will primarily be as a coach and I think that’s great too because I came in, I did a couple matches for AEW fans or anybody who wasn’t super familiar with who Madison Rayne was. Now I’ve gotten in the ring, I’ve shown you I kind of know how to do this thing so hopefully I will have earned the trust of people who didn’t know me before I came in so glad that I got to do that. Always happy to accept a challenge and will continue to accept them if they’re ever put in front of me. But, I think for now, as far as I know, today, as we sit here, coaching is going to be kind of my primary role.

** Former two-time WWE United States Champion The Miz spoke to the New York Post and expressed that he is enjoying how the U.S. Title is being presented under the new regime.

The people that have fought their way for years upon years upon years, the Harley Races, the Dusty Rhodeses that have held the United States title, you want to ensure you uphold the prestige and history it holds. I just love the way [we’ve] been able to showcase it.

This past August at SummerSlam, The Miz fell in defeat to Logan Paul. Going into the match, he did not think Paul would get cheered over him. Miz said he soon realized that no matter who he’s going against, he will be booed.

Even going against Logan Paul, where I was like, there’s no way they’re gonna cheer him. There’s no way. It’s WWE, it’s our loyal audience. If we were in an arena full of Logan Paul fans and I came in, I guarantee they’d boo the hell out of me.

But for Logan to be turned into a good guy and cheered at the end of that match, I was like damn. I don’t think there is anything I can do for them to love me and cheer me. Like there’s nothing. I put a show on, a comedy that shows my family, that I’m a dad. You look at it and you go, this is a nice guy and no matter what I do, who I go up against, I’m gonna be booed.

** Alan Angels joined Chris Jericho on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. He shared that he started working on NJPW STRONG by simply asking Rocky Romero while they were at an AEW event together.

I literally just was like, ‘Hey, Rocky, you think maybe I could come in for STRONG one time?’ And he was like, ‘Sure man,’ and that was it. It was at AEW so I was like, okay, cool. Might as well just ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Never hurts to ask.

** One of Kiera Hogan’s favorite matches that she’s had in AEW thus far was against Athena in early June. Hogan shared during a virtual signing with Captain’s Corner that she had an opportunity to wrestle Athena at their WWE tryout, but Kiera was nervous and the exhibition did not happen.

I really enjoyed my match with Athena, even though she’s number 37 [referencing Jade Cargill’s winning streak]. I really enjoyed that match, one, because it was her first match in AEW so it was very special and I, honestly, here’s a story, I had a WWE tryout back in 2016, 2015, something like that and she was at my tryout and she obviously got signed. But during that tryout, I was actually supposed to wrestle her and I got nervous because you know, little me-Kiera back in the day was scared of everything so I did not get a chance to wrestle her and I was like, oh, I really wanna wrestle Athena so lo and behold, years later, here we are in AEW. We meet and we finally got a match so that match was very special. I really enjoyed wrestling her. She’s an amazing talent, even though she‘s number 37.

When asked who she would choose to compete in a mixed tag match with The Baddies in AEW, she named Sonny Kiss.

Sonny Kiss, hands down, hands down, hands down [is who I would choose to team with The Baddies in a mixed tag]. If it was up to me, it would be Sonny Kiss hands down. Sonny is a baddie regardless of title, I see Sonny as a baddie. Sonny is the baddest baddie if I’ma put it like that. If I’m the hottest baddie, Sonny’s the baddest baddie, okay? So… the baddest baddie is Sonny Kiss.

** It was reported by PWInsider that IMPACT Wrestling is bringing in Lou D’Angeli (Sign Guy Dudley) to head up their marketing department among other duties. D’Angeli is the former Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, Nevada.

** 11/27, 11/30, 12/9 and 12/10 will be NJPW dates that crowds are going to be able to show vocal support.

** There is going to be AEW, TJPW and DDT Pro-Wrestling representation at THQ Nordic Japan’s booth at the 2022 Tokyo Game Show. Chris Brookes is taking on Christopher Daniels and the winner will face Konosuke Takeshita. In addition to that, Ryo Mizunami is facing Hikari Noa.

** AEW’s Riho is returning to Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling on October 9th.

** Former NXT UK talent Nina Samuels has been added to PROGRESS Wrestling’s ‘The Deadly Viper’ tour.

** Mandy Rose and Tino Sabbatelli launched their own workout program.

** Atsushi Onita and Drew Parker are scheduled to compete at Fire Blast Wrestling’s events on the 23rd and 24th of this month. F.B.W. declares itself to be the most extreme pro wrestling organization.

** Episode 17 of Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze’s Battle of the Brands series is up on the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel.

** D’Lo Brown guest appeared on ‘Somethin’ Else’.

** New video on Asuka’s YouTube channel:

** Taylor Wilde welcomed Steph De Lander onto her ‘Wilde On’ podcast.

** NJPW ‘Burning Spirit’ Results (9/15/22) Shunan City General Sports Center in Shuhan, Japan
– Yuto Nakashima def. Ryohei Oiwa
– Hirooki Goto, YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & Togi Makabe def. HOUSE OF TORTURE (Dick Togo, EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi)
– Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & The DKC def. Francesco Akira, Gideon Gray & TJP
– United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) def. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Gedo)
– BULLET CLUB (Hikuleo, KENTA & Taiji Ishimori) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jado & KUSHIDA
– Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) def. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.)
– Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Tomoaki Honma def. TMDK (Bad Dude Tito, JONAH & Shane Haste)

** Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘Star Navigation’ Results (9/15/22) Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
– Yoshiki Inamura def. Taishi Ozawa
– Super Crazy def. Kai Fujimura
– Masato Tanaka & Shuhei Taniguchi def. Mohammed Yone & Naomichi Marufuji
– Dragon Bane, Alpha Wolf, Xtreme Tiger & Alejandro def. Shuji Kondo, Tadasuke, Hajime Ohara & Hi69
– Satoshi Kojima, Takashi Sugiura & Masaaki Mochizuki def. Hideki Suzuki, Timothy Thatcher & El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr.
– HAYATA, Yoshinari Ogawa & Chris Ridgeway def. Atsushi Kotoge, Seiki Yoshioka & YO-HEY
– Kaito Kiyomiya, Jack Morris, Masa Kitamiya & Daiki Inaba def. Kenoh, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masakatsu Funaki & Manabu Soya

** September 15th birthdays: Teddy Long.

** All Japan Pro Wrestling Results (9/15/22) Hodogaya Public Hall in Yokohama, Japan
Three Way Match: Rising HAYATO def. Black Menso-re and Izanagi
– Cyrus def. Yoshitatsu
– Atsuki Aoyagi, Hokuto Omori, Jake Lee & Yuma Aoyagi def. Ryuki Honda, Seigo Tachibana, Shotaro Ashino & Yusuke Kodama
– Dan Tamura, Hikaru Sato & Yuji Nagata def. Ryo Inoue, Shuji Ishikawa & Takao Omori
– Minoru Suzuki def. TAJIRI
– Black Tiger & Suwama def. Kento Miyahara & Tiger Mask

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 4623 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.