Originally published at Bill Behrens on being AJ Styles' agent, Styles almost joining WWE in 2008
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.
** Bill Behrens was the most recent guest on the Sitting Ringside with David Penzer podcast. Behrens is the founder of the NWA Wildside promotion and a former employee of TNA Wrestling. He is also the agent/manager of AJ Styles along with assisting the likes of AEW’s Griff Garrison and Christopher Daniels. Styles and Behrens’ relationship dates back to when Styles was a part of NWA Wildside.
Behrens opened up about he and Styles’ business relationship during the interview. Behrens had one official contract with AJ and said it could technically still be in effect and if that was the case, AJ would probably owe him a great deal of money. Behrens added that he does not work like that as he views AJ as family. Other than their first deal, they never had a written agreement, but he still helps AJ and is his agent.
No, no, no. I’m the worst true agent and I like to think I’m one of the few actual agents in wrestling that’s helped people but, I also am not a real agent in that-that I had one contract with AJ Christmas, if that makes any sense.
Other than the first thing, we never had a written agreement. I’m just his agent and I will always help him and he knows that. Right now, I have the same agreement with Griff Garrison who’s in AEW. I’m just helping, and same agreement with Chris Daniels, I’m just helping. I can go on.
Styles joined WWE in 2016 and Behrens stated that in 2008, AJ was leaning heavily towards joining the company after they offered him a nice downside guarantee. TNA countered that by offering Styles a five-year deal. There were three different occasions that Styles and Behrens turned down WWE deals.
AJ Rumble on his debut that the crowd would explode. Nobody knew. Vince assumed not.
Behrens spoke about the late Bob Ryder during the interview. The longtime TNA employee passed away in November of 2020. Behrens said that without Bob, there is a chance that TNA might not have existed because Bob got a group of individuals together on a boat who ended up discussing what eventually became TNA Wrestling.
The Bob as I used to call him, his history is real and it can not be denied him. Without Bob and the moment, Bob had a group of people out on a boat, they ended up discussing what became TNA and that continues to this day in some form, and that’s freaking remarkable. It is nearly two decades, damn close and without Bob, that would not have happened potentially. It’s the truth and then Bob, who is the undeniable survivor, no matter what happened, no matter how much heat he had. He had top positions at one point. He was an Executive, he was sh*t at one point within the system and yet he was there because he was indispensable, and he literally cared about the talent and helped them financially. I won’t mention specific names but I’m sure they all have. But there’s more than a handful of people that he helped finance at various times, that he believed in and who are stars today because of Bob. So, Bob was remarkable.
** Paige hosted another stream on her Twitch channel and while taking questions from the chat, she talked about the idea of being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Paige doesn’t feel the company will put her in anytime soon and believes there are more women who deserve that honor more than her right now.
I feel like they’re not gonna put me in the Hall Of Fame just yet. I’m not even 30 yet. I think there’s other women that are more entitled to go in there than me. I’m okay with waiting. Hopefully one day though, hopefully one day. Again, I’m not entitled to be in there but it would be nice.
Elsewhere during the stream, she said she’s still hoping to be cleared to return to in-ring competition and is waiting to have an appointment set up so she can get her neck checked out.
I do wanna get cleared for sure.
I’m just waiting for them to make an appointment for me so I can go get my neck checked out, see what’s up.
** Mauro Ranallo spoke to Robbie Fox on his ‘My Mom’s Basement’ show. Mauro is known for using pop culture references in his commentary and specifically on the topic of pro wrestling, Mauro explained why he tried to work those references in.
I am here to put over this talent. These people are supposed to earn a living, merchandise, make the company money. I want these guys to headline WrestleMania. That’s all my job — it’s not about me, it’s not about anything else but I’ll tell you something, when I get creative in my descriptions, when I attach a rap lyric to guys like Lio Rush when he realizes his dream and what he had to overcome, I’m not doing that rap lyric to be cool or to be a part of the culture. That speaks about Lio Rush who happens to be an aspiring hip hop artist. When I describe someone using a pop culture reference, I’m trying to hopefully make that person cooler in the eyes of some of the audience. Do I hit a home run every time? No. But so what? I’m going to keep doing it.
** NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion Gable Steveson chatted with Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald. Back in February, it was noted in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Gable’s brother, Bobby Steveson was training at the WWE Performance Center. Gable said he doesn’t know the details of Bobby’s visit to the P.C. but does know he is still in talks with them.
He but I’m not sure everything — all the details that go into it. But I know he has talked to a few of them and would like the shot to go out there and be on the big screen too.
Gable went on to give his take on why amateur wrestlers have found success in pro wrestling and he believes it comes down their athleticism, physique and marketing ability.
I think a lot of these amateur wrestlers already have the freakish athlete in them and have the physique to perform at that high level and being a pro wrestler. I think what sets a lot of them apart is that their marketing ability and being able to showcase themselves on a high level and they’re already used to having a lot of people see them and big crowds and everything, and me personally, I think the way that I present myself, confidence, charisma and how I talk and bring a major crowd to one spot will be a very big difference maker compared to a lot of other people who try to come in and make an impact on things.
** WWE is scheduled to report their first quarter earnings on April 22nd. The conference call will take place at 5 PM EST with Vincent McMahon, Nick Khan, Stephanie McMahon and Kristina Salen.
** The Baltimore Sun caught up with Logan Paul following his reveal on The Masked Singer show. Paul commented on his forthcoming appearance on SmackDown where he’ll be in a segment with Sami Zayn.
just doing stuff. I like working and I like putting on big shows. Masked Singer blessed me with the opportunity to be on the show and WWE invited me.
** Raw Women’s Champion Asuka documented the lead up to her dental surgery and how she felt after it. Asuka appeared on the latest edition of Raw Talk and shared that she recently had the surgery. Asuka added in her YouTube video that her next appointment is set for June.
** IMPACT color commentator and co-Head of Talent Relations D’Lo Brown was a guest on The Jobber Tears Podcast. D’Lo opened up about the skit that D-Generation X did of the Nation of Domination that included Sean “X-Pac” Waltman doing Blackface. D’Lo said at the time, he had no issue with it but it does not hold up well today. He feels that without the Blackface, the segment would have been perfect. That segment was recently removed from the WWE section on Peacock.
What I felt in ‘98 when it was being done, I was totally on board with it because I thought it was a way of sparking our feud and showing the deeper rivalry between the two of us. Now looking back at it in ‘21 mindset, I wish we could’ve done it without Blackface. I wish we could’ve gone the route without going there, because if you take Blackface away, that skit would have been perfect still. So, that’s the one thing that at the time and obviously we all grow, I didn’t take offense to it, until I got a little more and a little more seasoning to me as a person, as an individual and look, I love the skit. I wish we could’ve done it without Blackface.
D’Lo has wrestled sporadically throughout the years and his latest match occurred in March of this year. As far as IMPACT Wrestling matchups go, D’Lo in his prime would have liked to share the ring with either Moose, Rich Swann or Eddie Edwards.
I’d love to get in there with Moose. His athleticism is off the charts. So like, I’d love to get in there with Moose or like an Eddie Edwards or a Rich Swann. Like those three, I’d love to get in there, in the ring, in my prime D’Lo, yeah. Put me in there with those three all day long. Now if I’m gonna come out of retirement because there would be a lot of bumping too. If I’m in there with Moose, he’s gonna kick my ass. Right now, I don’t know. Maybe it’s tag team.
On IMPACT’s weekly show on AXS, D’Lo is joined at the commentary desk by Matt Striker. The opportunity to be on commentary came from IMPACT Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore and D’Lo detailed how Scott presented him with the opportunity:
When I got the call, Scott D’Amore, he gave me a call, it was about 9 o’clock at night my time, and we start talking. Normally we talk just. We’ve known each other 30 years so we’re just talking about nothing and then he goes, ‘Hey man, before I let you go, I think you’re gonna be the new voice of IMPACT. You’re gonna be the new color commentator’ and I was like, ‘Uh, what? Excuse me? What’d you say there?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I think we’re gonna make a change at the desk and we’d like you to be part of it’ and so, of course, rule number one in wrestling, always say yes and think about it later. I said, ‘Of course! I wanna do it, yes’ and then I hung up the phone and go, ‘Oh God, I hope I’m gonna be good enough. God I hope I can be good at this,’ because you can’t fall on a national stage. I’m like, but then, I said to myself, ‘This is a challenge. This is everything you want. You want that next challenge. You did it in the ring and you did it backstage. Now can you do it in front of everybody, again?’ And I took it as a challenge and I jumped into it both feet full on, ready to go and my job, I’ll tell you what I think. My job is to become the best color analyst in wrestling and in sports, that’s my mentality. That’s what I want to strive to be because I’m not half in anything. Either I’m all in or I’m all out and for me, sitting behind that desk, I want to be the best in the business and if you’re doing this for any other reason to be the best in the business, pick another business.
Droz was brought up during the interview and how D’Lo unintentionally put an end to his in-ring career. D’Lo said he was ready to quit wrestling after the Droz mishap but it was Droz and Jim Ross who encouraged D’Lo to continue forward.
There was one point that I was literally ready to leave the business over the accident with Droz, and talking to him and talking to Jim Ross, they talked me back into it and from that point forward, I lived my life and my business not just for me, but for the both of us, because one career ended. It’d be a damn shame if two careers end, so now, I live my career doubly because I’m working for myself and I’m working for Darren .
** IMPACT Wrestling’s Havok chatted with Lucha Libre Online for an exclusive interview. As the conversation rolled on, she discussed the idea of a crossover between IMPACT and AEW’s women’s divisions. Havok feels that while both companies have talented divisions, IMPACT’s is better.
I can’t tell you if it’s gonna happen . I haven’t heard of anything but I feel like it would honestly catch the attention of a lot of fans if that could happen. I feel that, like I said before, we do have the strongest women’s division and I do know that there are women on AEW that I know fans would like for me to go up against. Fans constantly talk about how they would love to see Havok versus Nyla Rose, Havok versus Abadon. There are a lot of girls there that are good, but I just feel we are better. But, and it’s nothing against them and a lot of the girls, they’re new so they’re learning and it is very difficult to learn while you are on television. Like you’re developing on TV and that can be a very tough spot to be in. But I feel like the fans would really like if there was a women’s crossover of some sort and I know that there’s quite a few matchups that people would like to see.
** WWE referee Jessika Carr took to her podcast titled ‘The Brinklife’ to talk about her fondest WrestleMania memories. She recalled working the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royal in 2018 and according to Carr, initially, NXT talents/referees were told to not bring their gear to the venue because they were not going to be on the show but that quickly changed.
I was also able to be part of the Women’s Battle Royal event I believe on the pre-show that year entrance that year which was really cool with the violins and whatnot and I got a phone call from one our bosses who said, ‘Hey, come back to Talent Relations’ and then they told me there I was gonna be participating in the Battle Royal which was really cool and Triple H made it a point to tell me to have fun out there that night.
** While speaking with Ariel Helwani, Roman Reigns shared that he did not watch much of the WWE product after his hiatus from the company in 2020. Roman talked about the schedule he took on in the years prior to his 2020 break and wanting to focus on his family.
I didn’t . I didn’t watch that much of the product at all. I wanted to just — before I took that break, outside of things that I just couldn’t control whether it was injury or my Leukemia diagnosis, relapse. I’ve been full-time the whole time. Like I was on the road, I didn’t miss shows, I wrestled hurt, I was on every single event and for a long time, it was Friday all the way to Wednesday morning so I’d only get a day-and-a-half at home, you know what I mean? So for a long time I was running a crazy schedule so, for me it was just time to be able to put that all back into my family, put that back into my wife, give them the time, the quality time and just kind of learn and really establish all the different languages of love that I needed to be able to put into my family, the most important part of my life.
** There will be a special screening of Booker T’s A&E/WWE documentary in Houston, Texas on April 6th.
** During a Q&A on his YouTube channel, John Bradshaw Layfield shared that he almost got into a fight with former WWF Hardcore Champion Steve Blackman but Ken Shamrock separated the two.
Blackman was one of those shooter guys that was really good. Ken Shamrock always said that Steve Blackman could’ve made it in the UFC, and from everything Ken said, he probably could’ve. Steve, I always got along well with Steve. Steve was a good guy, got along well. Got in a fight one time with Steve, as we’ve talked about Kansas City and thank goodness Ken Shamrock broke it up because that guy could go. A good guy. I haven’t seen him in a long time.
** NewsNation Now conducted an interview with Drew McIntyre to promote WrestleMania 37. McIntyre credited Bad Bunny for putting in the work leading up to his match at WrestleMania against The Miz.
I’m excited for Bad Bunny’s match. I’ll say that first of all. He’s put in the work, he really loves this, he’s been there week in, week out. He doesn’t have to be. He’s gonna shock a lot of people at WrestleMania with his match with The Miz.
** Stephanie Chase uploaded an interview with Britt Baker to her YouTube channel. Britt spoke highly of Dark Order’s Anna Jay during the chat and says Anna is far too good of a wrestler for how inexperienced she is.
I can’t wait to one day get my shot at Shida again for the Women’s Championship title, and as far as people, the whole women’s division as a whole is just doing so well right now. It is heartbreaking that Anna Jay has the injury when she does because she’s gonna be an absolute star. She’s way too good. She shouldn’t be this good for how inexperienced she is but she’s gonna be absolutely a rockstar in professional wrestling.
Britt discussed the additions to AEW’s women’s division during the pandemic, specifically mentioning Serena Deeb, Thunder Rosa and Leyla Hirsch.
I think over the pandemic as a whole has really had a lot of good changes for the women’s division. Bringing in Serena . Just having more women that we can showcase because there’s so many talented women’s wrestlers today, it’s crazy. So just as a whole, having — expanding our roster during the pandemic has been awesome and it’s sad that we can’t do it in front of fans yet, but we’re all just chomping at the bit to have those full arenas.
** The latest episode of the Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard podcast was a Q&A special. One of the questions presented to Bruce was has a WWE talent getting a tattoo ever affected their position or presentation in the company. Prichard says there have been minor instances that have come up but added that the stigma around tattoos have changed greatly.
Yeah, Undertaker. I told him from day one. When he got that first big tattoo, ‘Oh God damn it Mark was probably going, ‘What the hell? What the hell did you do? Why’d you do that?’ But, especially now in the 2000s where tattoos don’t have the same stigma that they had in the 70s and 80s, it’s a little different.
Prichard gave his take on why WWE hasn’t brought one of their major pay-per-views back over to the United Kingdom. He talked about the expenses, equipment and live pay-per-view selling point that factors into the decision.
Expense. You gotta get everybody over there, it’s quite expensive. You’ve got travel, you have equipment, you have technology differences and that expense, when you look at time change and everything else, if live is a big selling point for pay-per-view and if you’re doing something at noon on Sunday that you’re used to getting at 6 or 7 in the evening, there’s gonna be less buy, just in general and the cost is definitely just a lot higher.
** Forbes caught up with Kurt Angle for an exclusive interview. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega’s name was brought up during the discussion and Angle said Omega is one of his dream matches.
Oh, gosh, that’s one of my dream matches! Kenny is extremely talented. I saw a match with him in Japan and I thought, ‘Wow this guy’s incredible.’ He reminds me a lot of AJ Styles. They both have the same style where they can fly and do groundwork equally well.
Angle has stated on several occasions that his favorite match was with Chris Benoit at the 2003 Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Angle shared that after the match, he was approached by Paul “Triple H” Levesque who said that they “raised the bar” with that match.
My favorite match is versus Chris Benoit at the 2003 Royal Rumble for the World Heavyweight Championship, or WWE Championship. Chris was a mirror image of me with his intensity, his technique, and his persona. He stepped it up every time in the ring. We matched each other’s intensity, and it just worked extremely well. We had a lot of submission tradeoffs, and a lot of false finishes, and the match is really intriguing. After I won, Team Angle came out, we celebrated and I walked out of the ring. The fans stood and gave Chris a standing ovation for 15 minutes, and it was a PPV, Vince McMahon let it go, and the fans appreciating Chris showed us how good that match was. Even Triple H came up to me afterwards, I was only in the business three years at the time, and he said, ‘You just raised the bar.’ I didn’t know how good the match was. I thought it was okay. Now when I watch it I’m like oh my gosh, this thing’s a masterpiece. To have someone like Triple H telling you that you raise the bar, that’s a huge compliment.
** IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion El Desperado was interviewed by NJPW1972.com. He discussed the idea of the Best of the Super Juniors possibly taking place in June but feels that there should be foreign talent involved. Desperado is not a fan of last year’s format which he described as “use what we have”.
I don’t want to bad mouth what we did last year, but that kind of ‘using what we have’, I think that kind of thing we can do once a decade, if that. This should be the biggest festival for junior heavyweight wrestling possible.
Desperado won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title by defeating El Phantasmo and BUSHI in a three-way match. He stated that he doesn’t feel like a champion because of the way he won it, referring to Hiromu Takahashi relinquishing the title.
Not really. To be honest, I don’t really feel as if my position has changed any. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t feel quite real yet, or maybe that’s just the perspective I was talking about. I have the belt. So I have to come here and say that I am the champion. But I don’t quite feel like the champion. Maybe it’s the circumstances I won it in, and when it comes to the three way, what I left with was the feeling I didn’t beat Phantasmo.
** TMZ Sports caught up with Roman Reigns to discuss WrestleMania 37. Reigns was asked if he’s concerned about fans being back in attendance during the pandemic and he shared that he’s not and broke down WWE’s COVID-19 protocols that will be in place.
Nah , I think with all the safety protocols that we’ve established since I came back, you know? With all the precautions that we take to make sure I’m isolated, to where I’m not heavily interacting with anyone outside of the people I’m actually in the ring with, all the way to the weekly testing. I don’t think WrestleMania’s gonna be any different. Our safety precautions are second to none. We’ll have the pods to create social distancing. Masks will be required, we will be giving out masks for those who are forgetful. We’ll have, I believe, cashless concessions so I mean we’re gonna create an opportunity where everybody is gonna be as safe as they could be all the way from going to the grocery store to sitting on their couch at home. We’re trying to create that level of safety for everybody. But also trying to create an atmosphere and an experience that they’ll never forget.
** TimesLIVE chatted with Paul Heyman.
** The Independent profiled Brendan Higgins (Knuckles Nelson).
** While speaking to TV Insider, NXT UK Champion WALTER reiterated that he does not plan on moving to the U.S. and he and his family are settled in Germany.
Most of the guys move here at some point but moving is nothing I plan to do. I’m a little older, so we’re settled at home in Germany. For me, it’s really important to have my base there with family and friends.
** Nyla Rose spoke to Hollywood Life about how people can stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.
** Natalya wrote about Nikki and Brie Bella’s WWE Hall Of Fame induction for her latest Calgary Sun piece. Here’s an excerpt from Natalya’s article:
The Bella Twins and I started in WWE the same week. I remember first meeting Brie and Nikki and thinking to myself, “these girls are pretty, smart and have really bright personalities, but let’s see what they can do. Will they be able to get the in-ring part down?” Having grown up around WWE my entire life, I was always a little skeptical of newcomers into the industry. Right out of the gate, they both proved to me and everyone else that they wanted to work hard and never stopped doing so. True to form, they were fearless, as they’d show up early, stay late and threw themselves into learning everything they could possibly learn about competing in the ring and being WWE Superstars. Their drive was inspiring to me and Brie and Nikki both had an incredible business sense about them. Very early on in their WWE careers, they both had a vision to create more visibility for women in the ring.
** CaZXL (Big Cass) did an interview with Hannibal TV. Hannibal took several verbal jabs at Caz during the interview as they are both working together in the SWE Fury promotion.
** Adam Ray, who plays the role of Vince McMahon in the NBC series Young Rock is doing comedy shows this weekend in Colorado.
** Homicide vs. Samoa Joe for the ROH World Championship from ROH Battle of the Icons 2007:
** PROGRESS Unified World Champion Cara Noir chatted with Ringsiders Wrestling and he dove into his role as a mentor backstage at the PROGRESS Wrestling shows.
Well yeah, it’s not necessarily pride, I just kind of want everyone to get better. I think the more I can kind of help, I feel the better everyone around me will be, and I think they — it’s kind of instinctual, you know? I come from great martial arts names, mentors and then from that, they’ve kind of instilled in me that kind of mentorship and it’s just want to pass on as much knowledge. I’m not always right and I’ll try to give as much feedback as I can, but maybe there’s something in what I’m saying that maybe might help someone to get to that next level. So yeah, I’ve really been trying to help as much as I can. There have been a few shows where I’ve not actually been on at all and I just sat backstage with a clipboard as I said at the beginning. Just saying, ‘I’m here if you wanna ask me your opinion,’ because yeah, there’s been more senior wrestlers than I am that come up to me and ask me, ‘Oh, have you got any feedback?’ And that’s always blowing me away. The fact that, you know, they are up here and they still want to ask, and I think that’s the only way you can get better is by perpetually learning.
** Hollywood Life conducted an interview with Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast also has an interview with Austin.
** There is a piece up on the Tampa Bay Times website which includes quotes from Gerald Brisco and Drew McIntyre talking about the history of wrestling in Tampa, Florida and WrestleMania 37.
** Sting was a guest on The AJ Awesome Show.
** Daily DDT spoke with NXT UK Champion WALTER and he stated that he would like to share the ring with Daniel Bryan and Cesaro.
** NXT UK’s Mark Andrews talked to GIVEMESPORT and listed his top ten WWE theme songs.
** Randy Orton turned 41-years old today.
** NJPW Road to Sakura Genesis Results (4/1/21) Korakuen Hall
– Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) def. Gabriel Kidd, Tiger Mask, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura
– Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & SHO def. DOUKI, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
– BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, EVIL, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi) (w/ Dick Togo) def. Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI
– Gedo, Jado & Jay White def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Kota Ibushi def. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay)
** Ice Ribbon ‘P’s Party’ Results (3/31/21) Ice Ribbon Dojo
– P’s League 2021 Tournament B Block: Banny Oikawa – Time Limit Draw (10:00)
– Suzu Suzuki def. Momo Kohgo
– P’s League 2021 Tournament A Block: Itsuki Aoki – Time Limit Draw (10:00)
– Madeline & Tsukushi Haruka def. Satsuki Totoro & Yappy
** Lucha Libre Online spoke to Taylor Wilde for an exclusive interview.
** Rhino guest appeared on D-Von Dudley’s Table Talk podcast.
** The latest Battle of the Brands episode with Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze.
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.