POST NEWS UPDATE: KUSHIDA planning to work more U.S. dates in 2023

KUSHIDA note, Paul London on holding out on ZERO1 & TNA deals, Rocky Romero's scrapped BOSJ win, Molly Holly chat, NJPW wrestlers film

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.

** KUSHIDA was the focus of a talk show that New Japan Pro-Wrestling hosted on 12/18. When asked about his outlook on 2023, KUSHIDA stated that he’ll make the USA his ‘main battlefield’ next year and is looking to wrestle for New Japan in the U.S. and in other promotions. Here’s an excerpt from the event recap:

When asked by a fan about his outlook for 2023, KUSHIDA replied, ‘In 2023, I will make the U.S. my main battlefield.’ He promised to be active not only in New Japan’s U.S. shows, but also in other organizations.

** Prior to Paul London joining WWE in 2003, he was fielding contract offers from both TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and Pro Wrestling ZERO1. He shared that information as he was doing a virtual signing for Captain’s Corner. London said he was ‘holding out’ on engaging with those offers because he was in ‘heavy discussions’ with WWE.

Towards the end of my time there [ROH], through Steve Corino, I had been getting booked over in Japan for ZERO1 USA and they ended up wanting to sign me full-time, right as I had started having heavy discussions with WWE and funny enough, I think I had done a Ring of Honor, a TNA tryout or a TNA show and the WWE, or WWF at the time, Velocity or Jakked/Metal, I had done all three in the same week. I did a taping for all three in the same week which was like unheard of at the time… This was back when TNA was in Nashville. They were trying to get me to sign a contract and I kept saying, ‘No, no, this is too long.’ I was kind of holding out… I was betting on myself. I kind of figured I wanna wait and see if I could maybe get that contract of where I always wanted to go and sure enough, a lot of times that works in your favor where fortunately, you’re in a position and you are kind of desired elsewhere, that sometimes is gonna make people who maybe don’t have a magnifying glass on you to think, oh, they want him? Maybe we should want him. I was very fortunate to come in at that time too, especially being an undersized guy. So, it was cool, it was cool, it was very neat.

He went over the ‘smiling situation’ that was caught on camera as Vince McMahon was walking to his limo that was going to explode. London reiterated that there were some, including Vince, who were not happy with his facial expression in the segment but what got him out of the proverbial doghouse was what occurred with Chris Benoit and his family.

That’s what got me out of the doghouse [Chris Benoit murder/suicide] because it was kind of like, that took precedent over everything… That was crazy.

Since the early 2000s, London has been involved in pro wrestling. He looks back on his career and thinks his time in Lucha Underground is his fondest time in wrestling.

That was not bad [time in Lucha Underground]. That’s my fondest time in wrestling. Yeah, playing that character is a lot of fun and Lucha Underground was just a [place of] creativity. Any ideas were always, at least, very much considered if not just always used so, but yeah, gave me a lot of creative freedom and really enjoyed showing that side of me so…

As the conversation was ongoing, London was asked for his thoughts about CM Punk’s post-AEW All Out press conference remarks. What stood out the most to London was Punk’s comment about running a Target. He said he’d like to see Punk try to manage anything.

That’s what I took away from this more than anything [Punk’s presser at AEW All Out and the ‘Target’ comment standing out the most] was that Phil’s never done a real job before or had real employment and can’t talk about blue-collar workers or just the working-class people because managing a Target is f*cking hard I imagine and I’d like to see this idiot try to manage anything. So that was the only thing I really took from that was like, how dare he put down Target in kind of a backhanded way. But it’s like, I can only imagine all of these people that manage Targets across the country and it’s like, you know…

Paul mentioned that there’s a Lifetime movie he filmed for in 2021. He said that’ll probably be coming out in the new year.

There will be a Lifetime movie coming out in 2023 that I did last year probably.

** The latest guest to join Renée Paquette on The Sessions podcast is Rocky Romero. The late Antonio Inoki came up and Rocky told the story of when Inoki asked him to hang out late at night. Inoki was surprised to learn that Romero was not going to be on NJPW’s string of shows in Italy. The day after their conversation, Romero was booked for the tour. When Romero wrestled on the tour, he dislocated his shoulder which put him on the shelf. He was supposed to win Best of the Super Juniors that year.

Romero: I think the greatest Antonio Inoki story I have, it all started, I was on tour with New Japan. There was like a week between the tours so there was the beginning of the tour, it was Super Junior and then there was a week off because New Japan was going to Italy for a week and then the rest of the tour was gonna resume. I wasn’t supposed to be on this Italy tour at all so I was just gonna take the week off, stay at the dojo, train, you know? I get a phone call like two nights before they leave to Italy and it’s just basically me in the dojo. I don’t know who it was but some Young Lion, rookie, picks up the phone, it’s like midnight and I could hear the phone ring downstairs and all of a sudden, I hear the guy walking up the stairs and then banging on my door, and I’m like, ‘Yeah?’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, Mr. Inoki wants you to come to Roppongi right now for drinks’ and I said, ‘Oh, okay.’ So the boss says you’re gonna have drinks at midnight, you put on your clothes, you get in a cab, go, right? So I get there and it’s just another place I didn’t belong, right?… I was just there. I was a young man with adults, have no idea. So I walk into this smokey bar and I sit down and then Antonio Inoki’s like, ‘Do you drink whiskey?’ I’m like, ‘Of course… I do tonight.’ Never drank whiskey like this before. So they give me the whiskey and then he goes, ‘You smoke cigars, right?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes,’ and at this stage, he goes, ‘You’re Cuban, right? So you definitely smoke cigars.’ I’m like, ‘Well that’s a gimmick. I’m actually Puerto Rican but,’ and I’ve never been to Cuba. I was born in Los Angeles so I just said yes of course. So he hands me a cigar, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever smoked a cigar so I had no idea so I just got this whiskey and the cigar in my hand. Definitely just don’t belong there. I’m with all these elite people from all over in the Japanese business world and politics or whatever. So I’m sitting there and he’s like, ‘Oh, are you going to Italy? This is pretty cool that New Japan is doing this tour in Italy’ and I was like, ‘No. I’m actually off the tour. I’m staying here.’ He’s like, ‘What? How can one of our greatest wrestlers in the company not go to Italy?’ I was like, wow, this is incredible. I don’t know what’s going on in my life right now so then he goes — so whatever, we finish out the night. I go to bed, it’s late and I wake up the next day and the same guy comes up, the same Young Lion knocks on the door, he goes, ‘I need your passport. I have to drop it off at the office. They need to make some kind of visa for you to go to Italy.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, okay.’ So, hand him my passport, he leaves, now I’m booked for this Italy tour so the first five days, I have nothing to do because they didn’t plan on me being there so there wasn’t really a spot for me on the cards. So I kind of just hung out for five days which was awesome. I ate Italian food, drank wine, it was amazing. Then finally, I think the last day, they said, ‘Oh, we have a spot for you on the card. It’s gonna be you and Último Dragón against Liger and Tiger Mask.’ So it was this really cool tag match with these four masked wrestlers. So I went to go do a double stomp to Tiger Mask and I slip off his back and try to post and then dislocated my shoulder during the match. So I get to the back and trainer’s looking at it, he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, this is bad. This is definitely dislocated.’ So then he put it back in place and he’s like, ‘Okay,’ put the sling on me and this is the last night of the tour so he’s like, ‘You’re definitely smoked for the rest of the tour so when you get back to Japan, the Super Juniors is done for you.’ Now mind you, I was supposed to win the Super Junior that year. It was a big deal, I was gonna get this huge push. That’s out the door.

In addition to Rocky’s duties as a talent, he acts as a liaison for the heads of the New Japan office in addition to running NJPW STRONG stateside. He was asked if it can be difficult being in those roles as an active talent and he said he had to learn how to remove his ego from the situation.

Romero: It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow in the beginning I found [Romero said about taking the office role while still being an active performer] because I was obviously still young, in my 30s and still felt like there was still a lot I wanted to accomplish and do but then you’re like, I can’t do both. You can’t really do both — well you can but it’s very difficult. You really gotta take the ego out of it. So, I kind of had to learn that I think the first year and just be like, okay, just focus on everybody else and then in time when the company needs you or there’s an opportunity, raise your hand and say, hey, I’d do it if you guys want me to.

Paquette and Romero began to chat about how to incorporate lessons from acting courses into wrestling. Paquette recalled WWE having an acting coach on the road with them and some of the people hating that.

Romero: Yeah, yeah [I recommend that wrestlers tap into the acting side of things]… So now when I do seminars and stuff, I’m totally taking stuff that I learned from acting and applying to professional wrestling because there’s a lot of good little nuggets that the style of acting that I study. It’s perfect for me because I’m so bad at this so it’s like not preparing is your preparation and just kind of going off the feel. I feel like Jon [Moxley] would like this I feel like. But, just kind of going in there and feeling so, I try to tell the younger generation that even though I didn’t do this when I was young, I just learned it later in life but to leave a little space to just find out what happens and just figure it out. So that’s the best tool that I think I have because I found all the greatest points of my character or points of my wrestling have always been in discovery mode and not sitting back and thinking about it for hours and hours and hours, driving yourself crazy.

Paquette: I know at WWE, we did have an acting coach following us around on the road for a while and some people really hated it. They hated that there was an acting coach around. I think it’s a really smart idea. Why not? People are very resistant towards that.

As the interview continued, Romero was asked if he feels he gets his flowers as a wrestler. He believes he receives that credit from his peers but maybe not from the fans. He believes him not being on the biggest of platforms for most of his career may have something to do with that.

Romero: That’s a loaded question [if I get my flowers as a wrestler]. Yes and no. Yes and no. I think definitely by my peers, yes, which is obviously a huge part of it. By fans, maybe not so much, you know? I haven’t been on the biggest platforms and I think that that’s definitely part of it. I’ve never been in WWE. Now spending some time in AEW, I’m definitely getting more accolades I guess. There’s also a lot of people always talking sh*t online. I see it, hey. But, no, I definitely feel like having accolades from my peers is more important.

** Joining K & S WrestleFest for a virtual signing was WWE Hall of Famer and producer Molly Holly. One of the questions presented to her was which belt meant the most to her between the WWE Women’s Title and the Hardcore Title and here’s what Molly said:

I was really honored to be a part of the [WWF/E] Hardcore Championship club because at that time, it wasn’t super common for women. I think maybe Bobcat and — I don’t know. It was just like a couple that had-had it at the time. So, I don’t know, I think that was probably special for me.

** Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Red Shoes Unno and Ryusuke Taguchi filmed for a drama titled ‘Outsider: Metropolitan Police Department’ which airs on TV Asahi. They spoke highly of actor Hidetoshi Nishijima who stars in the series. Nishijima learned how to perform the ‘Slingblade’ and ‘The Rainmaker’. Okada and Tanahashi commented on filming the show and seeing Nishijima pick up the moves he was being taught.

Okada: Before filming, I practiced the Sling Blade and the Rainmaker. I am not sure if I was able to teach him the Sling Blade because I am usually on the receiving end, but for the Rainmaker, I told him to, ‘Bend your arms a little more’ and, ‘Make sure you hit the opponent from the chest.’ I think I was able to teach him well, for example, ‘Bend your arms a little more’ and, ‘Bash them firmly from the chest.’ Nishijima-san has amazing athleticism! He jumped over the ropes with ease, and when I gave him advice, he immediately got the hang of it and put it into practice. I thought that becoming a pro wrestler might be an option even now. Also, during practice, they laid out mats to prevent injuries, but during the actual matches, they did not use mats and decided their moves in the regular ring.

Tanahashi: The start of the TV drama (January 5) is one day different from our Tokyo Dome event (January 4). I went into the shoot feeling as if I had received a shout out, let’s do our best together. We were all fired up. Before the shoot, I taught Nishijima-san how to do the sling blade. The sling blade is a technique in which the fighter spins around and slams the opponent, and I told him that he should raise his legs a little higher so that they form a horizontal line in the air. I told him that he should raise his feet a little higher so that they would line up horizontally in the air, and he immediately adopted that idea. Nishijima-san trains hard, and his body is very strong, physical and athletic. I would like to be his personal trainer and develop his muscles a little more to my liking.

** For episode #279 of Straight Talk Wrestling, WARHORSE was the featured guest and he commented on an unreleased match he had with Hiromu Takahashi in August for Brain Slam Wrestling. WARHORSE feels it might be his best work and dove into a quick discussion about feeling like he’s sometimes looked at as a comedy act.

I had a match, it’s not been released yet. There’s a couple things around this match that hopefully it’ll see the light of day soon. They’re working on it, it’s through the editing process, it’s getting shopped around for a couple things. I don’t wanna speak too much on it. But, I had a match earlier this year with Hiromu Takahashi. Maybe my finest work all year, maybe. Maybe my finest work all year. But personally, I was at a low point going into that match and I knew I wanted to prove myself that I could hang with people like that because for a long time — I mean, I get how I look, I know how I talk, I know what kind of promos I do. But I get lumped in with comedy gimmicks. I don’t do comedy. I’ve never done comedy ever, ever. I might be the funniest guy in wrestling… Yeah, God forbid I have a personality. But, doesn’t mean I’m a comedy wrestler so soon as that bell rings, I’m here to kick ass and take names. So, it’s nice to step in the ring with a professional like Hiromu and be able to tear it up with him.

** On February 20th, WWE is releasing a DVD titled ‘American Nightmare: The Best of Cody Rhodes’. It’ll feature Rhodes’ best matches in the company dating back to his main roster debut in 2007 to his 2022 return run. 

** Big E was present at an Atlanta Hawks game. He was interviewed by media members at the event as well. Rolling Out’s Rashad Milligan has a write-up about the session with E. 

** A weekly column that Hiroshi Tanahashi has been writing was turned into a book. Tanahashi is scheduled to do a signing on December 27th to promote the book.

** ROH Pure Champion Wheeler Yuta is scheduled for The Wrestling REVOLER’s February 2nd event.

** WWE artist Rob Schamberger’s latest piece is centered around Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: 

** KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji are going to be challenging for the GHC Tag Team Titles at Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘The New Year’ on January 1st. KENTA sent comments to NOAH about the bout.

** At Steel City Con, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler was the focus of Q&A session.

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 8199 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.