Originally published at Atsushi Onita searching for venues in U.S. to host FMWE shows
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.
** The first FMWE show is scheduled for July 4th in Japan. Atsushi Onita launched the promotion following the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch that occurred at AEW’s Revolution pay-per-view. Onita plans to bring FMWE and explosion matches to the U.S. and has already had a friend of his look into venues and laws in certain states, he revealed Proresu TODAY. Onita added that he was disappointed in the conclusion of the Moxley versus Omega match and felt responsible for the ending in some way.
The biggest challenge is finding a venue. The Fire Service Act is different in each state, and the restrictions are different depending on the venue. I have already asked an American friend to investigate legal matters and select venue candidates, but it is said that it is difficult. I’ve always wanted to show American fans my original on its own and I wasn’t involved at all, but the fans were disappointed. In particular, I was disappointed and felt responsible.
** Matt Cardona and Mark Sterling recorded another episode of MC! True Long Island Story. Sterling is the current manager of Jade Cargill in All Elite Wrestling. Several years ago, he almost started working for WWE as a producer but was denied the job because he was an active wrestler.
We talked about this on The Major Wrestling Figure Podcast but I almost took a job for the WWE two-and-a-half-years ago. It was pretty long ago. All of pandemic plus another year, right? It was like a year before I quit my job which was at the end of 2019. So, I almost took that job with the WWE, I got really far. I interviewed with like six or seven people, I almost took a producer role. I actually just found out that the reason I did not get it was because I’m a professional wrestler. Nobody told me that. Apparently, people were laughing in a room that I was a wrestler and tried to get a job. F off, f off.
Cardona reflected on dropping the Intercontinental Title to The Miz after WrestleMania 32. Cardona said that his father was not originally supposed to be involved in the finish of that match. WWE took it upon themselves to script Cardona’s father into the ending and he had to cancel his flight and come to the arena. Cardona’s father ended up being investigated by his job because they thought he faked an injury to be at Raw.
I don’t wanna mess this up, but something like he was out with an injury which is legitimate, right, and he’s on Raw and this is all spur of the moment. This wasn’t planned like, ‘Hey, come down to WrestleMania, your son’s going to win and the next night you’re gonna get involved.’ None of that was planned. So the next day at Raw, whoever it is, the writer, the agent that’s going over the creative for the match, ‘And then your dad’s sitting there’ and I’m like, ‘What do you mean my dad’s sitting there? My dad’s going home. What are you talking about?’ They just assumed he was gonna be there. So I had to call my parents, they had to cancel their flight. I was never somebody that brought people backstage ever, ever! I hated it, never did it. The only time I ever brought my parents backstage was this, this time, because my dad was a worker, brother. He did get a payday. I don’t know exactly what happened but he got investigated because they thought that he was faking an injury to go do this, you know what I’m saying? But, I think it was either my dad’s left shoulder or his right shoulder was injured. When he pushes The Miz, he does a one-arm push because he’s legit injured. So like, none of this was planned. Obviously it was so last minute.
Chelsea Green was released from WWE in April. Cardona shared that the day Chelsea was released, WWE cancelled her Peacock subscription.
I mean, WWE did give out the WWE Network code, and for so long, even after I got fired, it still worked and then they cut me off finally. But like, ‘Oh, jokes on you. Chelsea’s still there’ and then they get rid of the Network, they do Peacock and the day she gets fired, Peacock’s gone.
** Sean “X-Pac” Waltman was a guest on Cultaholic’s Desert Island Graps show. Waltman gave his thoughts on the “X-Pac heat” phrase. He said he does not get it but there were obviously people who felt that way about him.
I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it at the time. Man, ‘X-Pac sucks.’ When you hear that chant, man it doesn’t sound any different than, ‘Eddie sucks’ or, ‘You suck’ to Kurt . I mean it was like… like ‘go away’ heat is like you don’t even make any noise, you know? When the person’s out there and I was getting the ideal reaction a heel would get. It wasn’t like they were sitting on their hands and birds were chirping. The place was loud, they wanted to see me get my ass beat. So, I always went, ‘Oh that’s bullsh*t,’ you know? There’s no such thing. But there were actually people who felt that way obviously. Like looking back, that’s fine, that’s fine. Certain people felt — I can’t begrudge. I can’t begrudge people for how they feel about something, and maybe I was stale. Maybe I could’ve changed things up a little bit more, things like that so, there’s a lot of different ways to look at things and it’s not just, ‘Hey, you were wrong.’ It’s not like — I also gotta look in the mirror too, you know?
Waltman has publicly stated that he’s open to working one or several matches once he recovers from knee surgery. If he had to choose his last opponent, one of the names he’d like to do the honors for is NXT’s Santos Escobar.
I can’t pick one specific person. But any of these guys that are great, that are coming up like Escobar. He’s a star. El Hijo del Fantasma was a star before he came to WWE, right? He made a name for himself. Now he’s standing there and he’s doing it in WWE and if I could be in a match with him and ends up being my last match, that would be great, or you know, someone like that. Not the main event guy that’s — ‘Oh, it’s gonna be with Randy Orton or this guy.’ I’d rather it be with somebody that would help boost them. It’s not gonna help Randy Orton to have my last match with me.
During the podcast, a deep dive was done into Waltman’s career. One of the stories Waltman recalled was Undertaker refusing to lose to Matt Bloom. This occurred while the X-Factor group (Waltman, Matt Bloom & Justin Credible) was intact in WWF.
They actually booked him real quick. It was during the X-Factor stuff. We were still X-Factor.
According to Sean, Paul Heyman once pitched to have Justin Credible and Lance Storm paired with him. Waltman was not a fan of the idea and simply got out of it by telling Shane McMahon he did not want to be a part of it.
And Paul E. pitched this and I appreciate it and he wasn’t wrong. It would’ve been kind of cool but he wanted to be — he wanted me, P.J. and bring in Lance Storm and be The Impact Players, like 2.0 or something and I just really wasn’t wanting to be a part of somebody else’s faction dude. Like nothing against anybody, so I didn’t wanna do it and you know, I thought Paul might have been disappointed in me about that. I’m not sure, but I shot it down. I might’ve been a little bit of a dick about it actually.
Shane McMahon just happened to be coming by at the moment when were getting into it and Shane’s like, ‘What’s going on?’ I was like, ‘They want me to do this. I don’t wanna do it’ and he goes, ‘Then you’re not doing it.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’
Ric Flair appeared on Waltman’s Pro Wrestling 4 Life podcast. Waltman said it was good for him to clear the air with Ric after how Waltman treated him in WCW.
I mean, I didn’t need it but it felt good. It felt good for me because, you know, I was pretty disrespectful to Ric , and he was very gracious about it when he came on the show, years later but there was hard feelings at the time. There really was and you know, I was a dick. I was real hungry man. I felt like I needed to be that way. But I got to — I did all those things to him in public. Like people do sh*t, like they disrespect someone in public and then they apologize in private. I just assumed doing it in front of everyone just like the disrespect I gave it so it was good for me.
** Colt Cabana appeared on ‘Insight with Chris Van Vliet’. Cabana discussed his longevity in wrestling and does see himself wrestling into his 60s. He added that he wants to finish his career out in AEW but if that is not the case, he’s okay with going back to the independents.
Yeah, into my 60s I think. I mean look at — I’m no Billy Gunn. He is a freak of nature but what is he? 58 now? And he looks better than not only half our roster but I would say 80 percent of our roster, including his children. So, you know, it gives me a lot of hope to look at wrestlers like Billy, to look at PCO, even Christopher Daniels, yeah and just say to myself, ‘Oh.’ You know when I was in my early 20s, I was like, ‘I guess my late 30s, I’ll have to hang it up’ and I don’t see it happening anytime soon and if I’m not able to stick with AEW for the rest of my career which I hope I do, you know, I’m happy to be — to play my softball league of the independents. My old timer softball league a couple times a month, go out there and wrestle on the indies and have fun and so that’s kind of how I view it.
There are a multitude of talents who have recently exited WWE that are going to be coming into new companies and/or hitting the independent scene. Cabana gave his take on released WWE talents who have not lived the life of an independent wrestler.
And that’s kind of how it’s always worked for me is that you boost your profile, you try to tour a little bit with that profile and that’s something I’ve done my whole career so, luckily for me, it didn’t get so giant quickly that taking a step back — like a good example would be some of these wrestlers who are making six figures with WWE but necessarily haven’t lived that independent life. That’s fine, but when they get back to the independents and they’re asking for $5,000 a shot because that’s what they got for their check, like here’s a wakeup call: It’s gonna be $75 dollars and let’s be honest, I don’t even know if you’re gonna make that back in ticket sales, you know? So it’s good for me that I never had to take too many steps back and I always just gradually climbed in terms of notoriety, in terms of physicality, in terms of financially and that’s been a great career trajectory for myself.
Cabana made the decision to depart Ring of Honor and focus on New Japan Pro-Wrestling and that led to him joining AEW. He felt that ROH was set on him being a commentator and he knew he had more years left in the ring. Cabana recalled his conversations with The Young Bucks and Tony Khan and how they were more than happy to bring him in full-time.
Yeah, I think — I was with Ring of Honor and there was some things politically going, happening just in general and it just wasn’t the right time and it got to the point where I kind of said to myself — well I got to the point with Ring of Honor where I was just like, ‘Yeah, I think my time here is done.’ They were really focusing on me as a commentator and I still felt I had good years wrestling left and I felt like I was just going there, not to collect a check because I love working with Ian and Ian Riccaboni is so good. I don’t know if he gets the credit that he deserves. He’s amazing.
But, I felt that I was just going there to go there. I liked commentating but I wanted to wrestle and so I made that decision. I told the powers that be and at that same time, I had gotten a really good spot with New Japan at the point so this is when me and and they all had a meeting and they were like, ‘Yeah, of course. You’re a lot of the reason a lot of this is happening and we want you on board and however we can use you, we want to use you’ and I don’t think — I knew right away. It’s not like I was there to be the Jon Moxley of the promotion but, Matt Jackson says something like, ‘We just want your brain around.’
** Paige formally announced her retirement from in-ring competition in 2018. In the time since, she has stated that she’s hoping to be cleared to wrestle one day. While speaking to Mark Andrews on ‘My Love Letter to Wrestling’, Paige expressed that if she does get cleared, she will be terrified to wrestle again.
And even if I was able to come back, it’s always that mental block now because I thought I was good to come back the first time I had neck surgery and I was like confident, I was still doing the same things I did prior even though I probably shouldn’t have been doing that, you know, like wrestling move-wise and then to come back again, I would be completely terrified. Like in my head, I’m terrified to come back. Even if my heart is saying, ‘Yes! I would love to.’ It’s like getting over that mental block of ever being able to step back in the ring again.
Tegan Nox was also a guest on the show. While recovering from her injury, Tegan got to do workout sessions with Brie Larson, who stars in The Avengers film series. Brie told Tegan that she has an interest in wrestling.
When I did that whole thing with Brie Larson, she was like, ‘Yeah, I’d love to get in the ring.’ Yeah. I was like, ‘Let’s do it!’ And I’m looking at the people filming like, ‘Can we sort this out because that would be really, really cool.’
She said she had some big interests in being there and she came to some shows when they’re in L.A. and you know, she loved all the theatrics and how physical and stuff it was and I was like, ‘Look, we can sort this out. I’m sure we can. We have Bad Bunny and stuff right now.’
** The latest guest on D-Von Dudley’s Table Talk podcast was Shelton Benjamin. During their conversation, Benjamin spoke about his friendship with fellow WWE talent Mia Yim. Benjamin said he cannot wait for WWE to “unleash” Mia and put her talents on full display.
Mia Yim, she’s my little sister. I love her to death. We have the most unique relationship I have of any woman that I know. She’s an awesome person, she’s super talented and I still can’t wait for WWE to just unleash her and really let her go because she’s an amazing talent, she’s a hell of a talent, and you know, congratulations to her and Keith Lee who got engaged not too long ago. Good luck Keith. But, she’s an awesome person, friend and she’s actually one of the people I actually talk to, obviously when we’re backstage together. Now, I do wear a hazmat suit when I talk to her, but, we talk.
D-Von and Shelton discussed the differences between the Raw and SmackDown locker rooms of old and the current locker rooms. Shelton felt that SmackDown has always been the more relaxed environment and deemed the 2017-2018 crew the most unified he’s ever been a part of.
So I haven’t had a chance to be a part of SmackDown in a while and I know a lot of things, a lot of dynamics changed especially with us on FOX and everything. Back in the 2000s, SmackDown was definitely more fun, more laid back. Raw was their flagship, more, I guess high pressure but also I feel like a lot of that had to do with personnel. I just felt like on SmackDown, everybody there was trying to help everybody, from top guys to bottom guys. There was a lot of things, behind the scenes stuff that I really don’t wanna get into that SmackDown just didn’t deal with and back then, that was my take. Today, I don’t know. I haven’t been there in a while. But I will say while I was there on SmackDown, since 2017, I thought it was one of the most unified crews ever. Everyone seemed to be super cool with each other. Everyone was, you know — it was one of the best locker rooms I had ever been in.
With WWE getting back to touring in July, Benjamin reflected on the Performance Center-era of wrestling. He said he hated it.
So, the P.C. era we like to call it. So, that was — it was just weird. I watched a couple episodes. I wasn’t brought to work for a couple weeks and so I saw a few of the shows and it was just strange watching it. It was almost depressing watching it. When I finally had to go and perform, oh man, it was like pulling teeth. There was no energy. You had to create energy. There was no sound, there was no atmosphere. It was just — I mean honestly, it’s like going into an empty room and trying to entertain people. It’s just — I hated it.
** NXT TakeOver: In Your House is taking place on June 13th and returning to be a part of the show is former WWF backstage correspondent, Todd Pettengill. Pettengill appeared on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast and dove into his forthcoming TakeOver appearance and his career in broadcasting. As of the interview, Pettengill does not know what exactly he’ll be doing at TakeOver.
Yeah, I have no idea. I absolutely have no idea what I’m doing . I know there’s a press conference that I’m a part of and I’m hosting the event. What that means? I don’t know. I guess they’ll tell me when I get there. That’s why I’m trying to prepare as much as I can, know as much as I can going in because you know, I think they’re sort of finding a place for me for this so whatever that role is, I’m happy to fill it.
Todd recalled his WWF audition and having to make a sales pitch to Vince McMahon with a bottle of water. McMahon would regularly give people either a water bottle or a broom to sell him on.
When you interview for Vince , you’re either given a broom or a bottle of water to sell. So I was given the bottle of water and it was just like, ‘Alright, sell me this. Talk for two minutes, go’ and a lot of people get the broom, lot of people get the water bottle. That’s how it went.
Continuing on the topic of TakeOver, Pettengill is excited to be around the new crew in NXT and also being around familiar faces from his days in WWE.
It’s fun. I mean I stayed in touch with a lot of people, obviously. But last year we did it virtually so I just recorded stuff from my studio here in Texas and they used it but to be back live is gonna be fun. There’s nothing like that live energy and seeing everybody again so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s — you know, you wanna say the same but different. A lot of the people behind the scenes are still folks that I remember from my time there but, there’s a bunch of new people as well. That’s always exciting to work with new people and I’m really looking forward to it.
** IMPACT Wrestling’s Rosemary did an in-character interview with WrestleSlam’s Jerry Coughlan. She weaved in and out of character while speaking about the possibility of Ruby Riott, Jessica McKay (Billie Kay) and Cassie Lee (Peyton Royce) coming to IMPACT.
definitely somebody we’d be very, very interested in meeting, but you mention The IIconics which gets very exciting because we do have a newly returned Knockouts tag team division in IMPACT don’t we? And a seasoned tag team like The IIconics would bring something that we really don’t have right now in IMPACT Wrestling to the table. That is a very juicy prospect.
** Doc Gallows was the focus of a Q&A hosted by Wrestling Daily. Gallows looked back on the interaction between himself, Karl Anderson, AJ Styles and Finn Balor at the 2016 SummerSlam event. Gallows said they wanted to do a Survivor Series match together against another four-person team.
What we wanted was to do a big Survivor Series match with the four of us and Adam Cole — The Undisputed ERA. You know what I mean, we could have done something there or however it would’ve came about but to see all four of us together in one of those dream match scenarios I think would have been really cool for wrestling fans and I think they flirted with that idea but it’s maybe one of those WWE things where if it’s not fully their creation, sometimes they don’t fully wanna pull the trigger and hey, that’s how it works. It’s your company, do what you want. We can do it at Talk’n Shop A Mania though.
On the topic of Talk’n Shop A Mania, Gallows said the third installment is in the works. The reason things have not gotten underway is because those who put the show together are too busy.
You know, we were thinking we were gonna be doing rounds and rounds of media right about now, letting you guys know when Talk’n Shop A Mania 3 was going to be and just to be deadpan honest, it’s in the works, it’s being planned. Nobody has any time. Rocky Romero wrestling for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, booking guys and talent for the New Japan Strong show and putting all that together. Machine Gun and myself, between AEW every week, between IMPACT Wrestling, running my own Lariato Pro shows, the world has opened back up, we’ve been doing autograph signings around the country. We launched our booze line that I keep plugging on tnsmania.com, you can order it. But there’s just so much going on. There will be another Talk’n Shop A Mania. We’re looking now into the Fall. Honestly, we just need some down time where we can get a crew to make this magic that’s floating around in our weird ass heads and bring them down here to Georgia, bring ‘em out to L.A. and shoot this thing the right way because honestly, Talk’n Shop A Mania is our baby. It’s one of the most fun things that we do and we’re having a hell of a lot of fun right now in professional wrestling and entertainment in general so, I can’t wait to get it done. I just don’t have the time to do it right now sadly.
** Tommy Dreamer brought Steve Maclin onto the House Of Hardcore podcast. Dreamer and Maclin discussed Maclin’s presentation in WWE. Dreamer recalled when he worked in the Talent Relations department for the sports-entertainment company and higher-ups in WWE thinking that Fred Rosser was too similar to John Cena, along with Corey Graves being too similar to Randy Orton and CM Punk. Those thoughts within WWE caused Graves and Rosser to switch up their respective looks.
For Fred Rosser, Darren Young, I tried — he was my go-to guy every time when I had that job in WWE like, ‘Well no, in the face and the body.’ I go, ‘So he’s gotten himself in such good shape’ and it was — seriously, these are the things you’re lucky you didn’t go through.
Corey Graves looked too much like CM Punk and then they said, ‘Just change your hair,’ whatever and then he shaved his head and he looked too much like Randy Orton. Like these are the things they would think about. I was like, ‘I can’t win with these guys’ but happily, they all got signed.
Steve Maclin further spoke about his partnership with Wesley Blake. Originally, he and Blake wanted to be called “Prisoners of the System”, but they were told it would be an indirect shot at the NXT brand if they used that name.
We originally pitched the idea of us being called P.O.S., Prisoners of the System and they said, ‘Ah, well we can’t do that because it sh*ts kind of on NXT.’ But it’s just like yeah, people will connect with it because they’ll get it because people know that — I think people know now too, there’s so much talent in NXT that’s just sitting there waiting and that’s what we were trying to get that story out to.
** Ricochet spoke to WWE host Quetzalli Bulnes on El Brunch de WWE. He commented on the possibility of a move to SmackDown and thinks the brand would be a good fit for him.
I mean, I’ve only done maybe a handful of SmackDown shows when me and Aleister . I think SmackDown has a lot of good competitors and I really — I think SmackDown would be a really cool place for me to explore because I just really haven’t had the chance to be there yet so I think there’s so many opportunities that we could have over there for sure.
** Clubhouse Media signed Tay Conti to be a social media influencer.
** IMPACT Wrestling’s Eddie Edwards chatted with Lucha Libre Online for an exclusive interview. Edwards made it clear that he wants to finish the rest of his wrestling career in IMPACT.
That’s exactly what I want and I — so there’s no other option. This is what I wanna do. As obviously you can tell through this interview, it’s something that I really believe in, it’s something that’s in my heart and I take pride — I take a lot of pride in what not only I do but what IMPACT does because I feel that we can do so much more and we can continue to ride this momentum and just keep getting better and I wanna be the guy at the forefront of it. I wanna help be one of the faces of IMPACT Wrestling because I know how good it is, I know how good it can be and I wanna be the guy that does the interviews. I enjoy doing the interviews because I get to talk about IMPACT. I wanna be the one wearing the IMPACT shirt, I wanna be the one waving the IMPACT flag until I can’t do it anymore. This is what I wanna do. I wanna retire an IMPACT player basically. That’s what I wanna do.
** Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports welcomed Bret Hart onto his ‘My Mom’s Basement’ podcast. Bret recalled he and Owen Hart’s feud in the WWF and how serious it was to them both. Bret and Owen agreed to never speak in public and even at family dinners when guests were invited, one would leave the room if the other walked in.
I remember when they said we’re gonna work against each other and I can remember telling Owen, I said, ‘We have to do this the old school way. No more riding together, no more traveling together, no more rooming together’ and he had roomed with me and we were together a lot and we got along really well. So it wasn’t like we didn’t like each other. It was like, we can’t insult fans’ intelligence by pretending we hate each other and then sitting in the bar together at the end of the night. So I said, ‘We do this the old school way. We don’t talk to each other, we don’t — anywhere. We have to make people believe that we really have an issue with each other’ and we did do that and it was funny how we would have the Sunday dinners at my mom and dad’s house sometimes where we’d both show up with our kids and our wives and our families and everything and you know, they’re very structured things, very nice, where you don’t see a lot of family for quite a period of time and then all of a sudden we’re both there for Sunday dinner and it’s my mom who’s got a big roast beef on, that’s going to be a big family affair. There’s some invited guests that have been invited to the house to dine with us kind of thing and we don’t talk to each other. We walk past each other, we walk in one room, he walks into the next. Like we just don’t talk. I can remember a lot of people going, ‘They really don’t talk to each other. There’s a tension in the air,’ which there never was. Sometimes we’d go upstairs after and talk in private. There was a lot of people that really believed there was bad blood between us and it was part of the job.
** ‘Ultimate-Guitar’ has a Q&A with guitarist Nita Strauss, who performed at WWE’s Evolution and WrestleMania 35 events. Nita is interested in getting in the ring and thinks with her athletic background, she’d be good at it.
I mean – at this point, how could you not think about it? I’m such a big fan, I’ve got such a great relationship with the company, I would definitely not say no to jumping in the ring and doing a move or two.
I don’t think I would ever call it a career, per se, or have it replace . But it would be so much fun – I’m sure I’d have a great time doing it. I have an athletic background; I know so much of the stuff… I think I’d be good at it.
Strauss was asked who she would like to get in the ring with and she named Charlotte Flair, Asuka and Rhea Ripley.
Oh gosh… I haven’t even thought that far into this hypothetical wrestling fantasy. I guess if you’re going to go out there, you’d have to make a big deal about it. I wouldn’t want to go out there and wrestle somebody who doesn’t have a good record.
I’d want to go out there up against the best, so give me like an Asuka or a Charlotte Flair or Rhea Ripley, even though I’m legitimately scared of all of them in real life. If I going to go do it, I’d want to do it big.
** Inside The Ropes caught up with NXT UK’s Mark Andrews for an exclusive interview. Andrews shared that he would be more than open to moving into a backstage role for WWE and even becoming a member of the NXT UK video editing team.
I’d absolutely love to go into a backstage role with WWE. A lot of the wrestlers who end up making it on the NXT UK roster, we’ve all had different journeys to get there, but a few of us have actually had experience in running our own shows. Me and Pete Dunne ran Attack! Pro Wrestling, Trent Seven ran Fight Club Pro for years. Obviously, you’ve got loads of different wrestlers who have actually had a hand in booking and writing, and writing promos, and I would love to do that within the WWE. On top of that, I’m a big fan of video editing myself. That’s my kind of side passion after… My side-side passion, let’s say, and I’ve started kind of trying to get my foot in the door a little bit.
Like, I filmed and edited the Subculture entrance video, for example, because there’s a saying of, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself’ and no-one will ever be more passionate about, at least in the music scene, no-one’s going to be more passionate about your band than you – and no-one’s going to be as passionate about Subculture than me, Dani Luna and Flash Morgan Webster. So we try and produce our own content, we try and produce our own entrance video and stuff like that. If I could do that on a larger scale, I’d absolutely love to. I’d LOVE to be on the video editing team at NXT UK because, first of all, the guys there absolutely smash it, so I’d have to up my game, but I’ve had a handful of wrestlers come up to me and say, ‘Hey, can you edit my my entrance video?’ Ever since they’ve seen the Subculture one. And so I’m like, ‘Hey, I’ll do it. Speak to the higher-ups! Speak to Vince and I’ll get that job! Speak to Triple H, let me in the video in the editing team!’
** NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez was interviewed by Denise Salcedo. Raquel feels that without Dakota Kai by her side, she would not be a champion in NXT.
Dakota was actually the person who constantly supported me through everything, when I was supposed to have my original debut when NXT had its first live show on the USA Network and I was told, ‘You’re not ready yet,’ she was there for me and she saw pretty much how it impacted me. She constantly supported me through all of that so when we decided to go with our pairing and go with my new debut at NXT Portland it was very exciting for both of us. I think we’re both very happy about it because we’ve become very close. She started the PC around the same time that I did and watching her and learning from her helped my confidence a lot. She comes with so much experience, she’s had stories with Shayna Baszler, she was Nia Jax’s first match, she’s had stories with Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai and she’s wrestled these women all over the world. That helps me so much because I knew that I had a partner and I had someone to look up to and learn from and that’s exactly what Dakota has been for me since day one…. We’ve grown as teammates and as partners and I don’t see myself as champion without her and I hope something we look forward to together is being champions together again.
Raquel admitted that when she first arrived to the Performance Center, she was intimidated by the talents who were currently a part of the women’s division in NXT. She had to teach herself that she was still growing and learning.
100%. I came in pretty fresh. I had just graduated college and all I’d really known was basketball. Yes my father wrestled when I was younger, but he didn’t really push me into that world even though I wanted to be a wrestler when I was younger. He didn’t want me to yet, because he wanted me to go to college first, get an education, play a sport, get a degree and I did all of that. So when I came into WWE and yes I had this passion from being a young child and seeing my father wrestle and wanting to do it as well but I came in so inexperienced that it was intimidating to see these women who knew a lot… It was something where I knew I had to put in the work and I had to be patient with myself and that’s the hardest thing I think with a lot of us especially me because I get so hungry and I want these things and I want them now. But I have to be patient with myself and I have to tell myself to take a step back because, ‘You know what? You’re still learning girl and you’re still growing’ …. I am still learning, still growing and I am still going to be your NXT Women’s Champion no matter what.
** Wrestling Inc. has an interview with E.J. Nduka, who was released from WWE this past May. Nduka was asked if All Elite Wrestling was ever publicly discussed at the Performance Center in Orlando and he said he never heard anyone speak of the NXT/AEW head-to-head publicly at the PC.
No, nobody really talked about that stuff. One of the things that I know for myself is you can’t stay in your lane when you’re looking at somebody else’s lane. You start to veer into their lane. I know as a group, we were just focused on putting on the best product possible, and everybody just showed up every day and gave it their best. I honestly never heard of any comparisons or anything. I’ve always watched AEW. I like AEW. I like all wrestling.
Wrestling is for everybody, and it’s a different product than WWE, but that’s good. I’ve said it maybe five times already, competition breeds greatness. I know they watch us. We watch them, and why not? It’s all wrestling. Everybody’s doing what they love, and it’s fun. And we got to remember this is for the fans, the audience. We are performing for them, and so when you get caught up in, ‘This is this, blah blah blah,’ it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, you just got to deliver the best product and come with it.
** Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) were inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame as a duo in 2019. Lucha Libre Online caught up with Stevie and he explained how much that honor and the fans’ support mean to him.
Oh man, unbelievable, unreal. Caught me off guard, but very appreciative and it’s good to know and it’s nice to know that the fans and your peers actually recognize that you actually left a residual… in the business that you love so much. So, I think that’s what I appreciated about it because, you know, the fans never forget man. It’s like, to this day, I still get people hitting me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, still tell me, ‘Man, I was a kid watching those matches and I just wanted to say how much joy you brought to my life.’ Man that’s crazy. It’s just crazy so, then like you said, the ultimate recognition for what you did, WWE Hall Of Fame. I guess that cements my career bro.
** Yahoo! Entertainment hosted a panel about Pride month and Gabbi Tuft, the former “Tyler Reks” in WWE was a part of that panel.
** WWE shoe designer Mache joined The Sneaker Box podcast.
** Shingo Takagi vs. Roderick Strong from a 2006 Ring of Honor show:
** Big Kon and Vik, formerly known as “The Ascension” in NXT, chatted with Ringsiders Wrestling.
** To promote WWE stopping through Gainesville, Florida in August, Titus O’Neil appeared on Sportscene with Steve Russell.
** Chris Dickinson was a guest on Keepin’ It Strong Style.
** ‘Metro’ chatted with NXT UK’s Kay Lee Ray.
** FOX 16 caught up with Big E to chat about WWE’s forthcoming show in Little Rock, Arkansas.
** The music video for Ariane Andrew’s song ‘Born With It’:
** FOX 2 Detroit interviewed Drew McIntyre.
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.