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.
** Recently on social media, a great deal of wrestling fans showed support for former two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi by creating the hashtag #NaomiDeservesBetter. This hashtag drew responses from the likes of Keke Palmer and celebrities alike who were made aware of Naomi and her work in WWE. During the Extreme Rules post-show episode of Booker T’s ‘Hall Of Fame’ podcast, he spoke about the recent support on social media for Naomi and explained why he is not a fan of the hashtag that was created in support of her.
“That Naomi deserves a chance… they can go to hell with all these hashtags as far as I’m concerned, but I’m tired of hearing about ‘em. Don’t nobody deserve a chance, alright? First and foremost, you gotta earn your chance, your spot on the roster. This is not some kind of movement just to pull somebody up just because and I hate to sit here and say this, to even talk this way because I like Naomi. But, as far as the business goes, you get it on your merit alone. That’s it. It’s no buddy systems and I know somebody’s gonna hear me and go, ‘Well such and such got a buddy and that’s why they’re doing it.’ Yeah that may be true, but life is not fair. Sometimes, you gotta make your own breaks. Sometimes you gotta go out there and rise to the occasion when no one else thought you could and the thing is, it may not happen overnight. It’s a consistency thing that goes with that. No one expected me, including myself, to become a six-time world champion, but my persistence as far as going out to the middle of that ring and performing better than all those suckers in the locker room and the suckers in the locker room, they knew it, and the fans, they saw something different and the signs were there for Booker T on a nightly basis. That’s why I say the hashtag Naomi Deserves A Chance, whatever deserves better, I just don’t think that will serve her any purpose. People advocating for her in that way. The way that needs to be put out there from a advocating perspective is her advocating for herself when she goes out to the ring and performs on a high level and the world sees it and that right there, when you do that Naomi, you can not be denied. No one will ever say someone gave you anything and if it happened right now, tomorrow, someone blessed Naomi with the world championship, trust me, it would not feel like she did it on her own. It would have to be a movement for something like that to happen. I would’ve never wanted the world title if it was given to me that way. Me personally I wouldn’t have and Naomi, I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. Naomi is perhaps more athletic than every female in that locker room and perhaps 99 percent of females in this business. But psychology and working is two different things, and I just hope and wish that I had my hands on her for one month. Naomi would look at this business a totally different way, and that’s just my thoughts on that.”
** Nikki and Brie Bella were profiled by The New York Times as they are both going to be giving birth to their respective children soon. Within the article, an update was provided on how Total Bellas is/was being filmed during the Coronavirus pandemic:
“A skeleton film crew has been living nearby, in Airbnb rentals. Its members are required to wear masks on set at all times, have their temperatures checked multiple times a day and maintain proper social distance from behind the camera. Though filming largely wrapped at the beginning of July, at least two crew members will remain in Arizona, apart from their own families, as they wait for both Bella babies to be born. (Outside cameras are banned from the delivery room, so any footage will be taken by the twins’ partners.)”
** Steel Chair Magazine conducted an interview with former Women of Honor World Champion Sumie Sakai. After tallying up 23 years in the wrestling business and at the age of 48, in response to how much longer she plans to continue wrestling, Sakai said that she’ll step away on her own terms when she’s ready.
“I would like to give a big shout out, and an even bigger THANK YOU to my parents for passing their great genetics on to me! I’m still humble. I’m still learning. I still wanna get better, and I always want to have a good match with all of my opponents.
I have been friends with Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay for many years and got to know his daughter well. When she was a kid, she dreamed of becoming a pro wrestler like her father. I told her that I would love to wrestle her one day, and after that ‘dream match,’ I would retire. Well, wouldn’t you know it, she decided to take a different career path and here I am, still loving what I’m doing.
About two years ago, it became known in the business that I was considering retirement. I wrestled a match with Tenille in Las Vegas. I didn’t know it at the time, but Jushin Liger, who I have always admired and have had the utmost respect for as a wrestler and a person, watched my match. He took me aside afterward and said that I should reconsider retiring because I can still help so many people and that I can still ‘go.’ I will quit when I DECIDE to quit!”
Sumie shared some of her fondest memories in wrestling and one of those memories included the late Hana Kimura who Sumie wrestled in her first match in the United States.
“My fondest memory was wrestling Hana in February 2018, in Las Vegas. I had known her since she was little, and it meant so much to me to wrestle her in her first match in the United States. Another was wrestling Aliya’ in her final match, held at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan, on April 7, 2017.”
** AEW World Champion Jon Moxley joined The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Moxley promised that hardcore wrestling fans will be very pleased with a surprise that’ll be unveiled on the 7/22 episode of AEW Dynamite.
“So, this Wednesday night is gonna be an awesome show. I’m not gonna spoil it, but I will tell you, I will give you this information. Tomorrow night on Dynamite, there will be a big surprise and one that made me exceedingly happy, especially for kind of the more hardcore fans that kinda follow the scene around the world. You’re gonna get a big surprise and even for the more casual fans, it’ll be an absolute treat to watch. There will be an absolute kick ass match tomorrow night.”
** Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis were the most recent guests on the ROHStrong podcast. In the months following he and Maria’s release from WWE, Mike Bennett shared that there was a period of time when he considered stepping away from pro wrestling as a whole but he has recently gained that fire back because there is so much left he wants to do in the sport.
“So, I will be brutally honest and I honestly, I hadn’t discussed this with anyone but my wife. But, there has been a period of time over the last three months where I have contemplated not wrestling anymore and just doing something different, and I don’t know if that’s a mix of emotions of the pandemic and mixed with WWE sucking the ever-living life out of me and making me absolutely hate professional wrestling. But, there was a good two-month stretch where I had made up my mind pretty much to not wanna wrestle anymore. Fortunately, I don’t feel that way anymore, and I genuinely, I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t. I am more motivated and driven right now than I’ve ever been before. I wanna go and have the matches that I know I’m capable of. I wanna go and tear it down. I just wanna be a professional wrestler. I spent the last three years as a sports-entertainer and I thought I would like it and I absolutely hated it and now I’ve realized that my love is just being a pro wrestler. Like a straight up professional wrestler. Ring of Honor allowed me to be a professional wrestler. New Japan allowed me to be a professional wrestler. I miss that. I miss that feeling. I miss that feeling of being in the ring and the crowd chanting, ‘This is awesome.’ I miss the feeling of walking to the back and having people clap for you. I miss the feeling of killing it in the ring and then going back to the hotel and just feeling like you did something, like you accomplished something, like you entertained an entire group of people and they’re still talking about you. I haven’t felt that in a long, long time and I want that feeling back.”
During the podcast, Maria was candid about her release from WWE. She opened up about the shock and disappointment of being let go during the COVID-19 pandemic. She felt that Mike would be let go from WWE but not her because she did not request her release while Mike did. Maria added that after giving birth to their son Carver, she was getting back in shape and she would’ve been ready to go at WrestleMania if needed.
“I knew that WWE had ended the angle at the doctor when I got the call from Mark Carrano, and I was fine on the phone but at the same time, I realized that we were gonna be in a world of hurt, and they knew that and it’s just really hard for me to talk about because that was just such an emotional day of like, ‘Okay, we just had this two month appointment with Carver and he’s healthy and he’s big for his age’ but, the doctor was really impressed by how strong he was and how advanced he was but at the same time I’m receiving a phone call from the company that… I had-had all these conversations with about my family and I had put this on national television that I was having a child and I put on national television that we were having a boy and I was told over and over again that-that storyline was gonna mean something. To be fired in a pandemic was just… it was just sad to me. From this company that prides itself on being this family-based company, to be fired… now I didn’t receive a phone call after I had Carver to ask if I was OK, if the labor went OK. I didn’t receive a phone call seeing how my recovery was going with either of my children. But I received a phone call to be fired in a pandemic. That… I had given a lot of years to WWE and a lot of years to wrestling and that’s not how I thought my relationship with WWE was gonna end. I didn’t think it was gonna end in that. In that very cold way. Especially after the five-and-a-half years I had spent in WWE the first time.”
Maria recalled being a part of the angle with Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch and Mike Bennett. Maria shared that she was “terrified” while partaking part in that storyline because she was in the early stages of her second pregnancy and feared the possibility of a miscarriage.
“When they called us about the angle, I had to tell Paul know this, you don’t usually tell people until 12 weeks. So, there I was telling my friend Heyman, like, ‘Hey, I’m pregnant so I can’t have this tag match with Becky and with Seth. We’re gonna have to fudge it. There’s no way I can do this,’ and Paul was really cool about it. He was like, ‘Hey, can I call you back? Let me tell the boss.’ So that’s what happened. He let us go and he called the boss and he came back and he’s like, ‘Alright, we’re still gonna do this, but we’re gonna have you announce’ and I was terrified because most miscarriages happen before ten weeks and I was scared to death coming out with the information that I was pregnant at nine weeks and that I didn’t know if I was still gonna be pregnant to full-term or if I would’ve lost the baby. Thank God I didn’t. We have a beautiful son but like, going to RAW was great, but at the same for me, it was terrifying.”
** Charles Wright (The Godfather) chatted with Steel Chair Magazine and told the publication that wrestling fans have not seen the last of the Nation of Domination. He said he does not have “inside information” but wouldn’t be surprised if WWE put the Nation in their Hall Of Fame.
“You haven’t heard the last of the Nation. I don’t have no insider information, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they put some form of the Nation of Domination in the Hall of Fame. I know that this year before they cancelled WrestleMania, they were doing a whole thing on the Nation, and it was cancelled. But I’m sure we’ll get back to it. So I wouldn’t be surprised. Like I said, I don’t have any inside information, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t think they would include The Rock in that part of the Nation, I don’t know, I don’t know how you would do that. I think their biggest problem will be figuring out how to do it without The Rock, but I think it would be probably me, Ron, D’Lo, Mark Henry, and The Rock, of course. I think that’s what a lot of people think when they think of the Nation.”
While discussing the Papa Shango character, Wright talked about how much he enjoyed playing the character for a certain period of time because of the reactions he got from kids and parents who were not pleased with him scaring their children.
“People were scared shitless, man. I mean, to this day, the kids at that time are now 35, 36, 37 years old; those were the kids that were 8/9 years old at that time. To this day, they go, ‘Dude, you have no idea how Papa Shango affected me and how scared I was, and you putting the curse on the Ultimate Warrior and making the Ultimate Warrior throw up.’ You know, a lot of grownups now that are like 38 or 40 years old, they tell me all the time how I have no idea how afraid they were. I put the paint on and stuff sometimes, and they’ll go to shake my hand, and they’ll actually be shaking. Dude, I was kids’ ‘Boogeyman’. I was the real ‘Boogeyman’.
I had told Vince, ‘Let me do something different, let me go after kids,’ and I was scaring kids on TV. I was telling kids, ‘You know, when you go to sleep tonight, you won’t dream of the ocean, you’ll dream of death! You’ll dream of Papa Shango!’ I scared the hell out of kids. Mothers used to protest and kick at me in the arenas that I was in because their kids were so afraid of me.”
** During his appearance on RAW Talk, Mustafa Ali spoke in-depth about police reform and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last night, a lot went down. I went into #RawTalk with the intention of talking about my return and all the work I put in to make that happen. But anytime I have the opportunity to talk about #BlackLivesMatter and police reform, I will. pic.twitter.com/LYJ1kK5LUT
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) July 21, 2020
** Conrad Thompson and Eric Bischoff broke down Bischoff’s return to WWE in 2019 on the latest installment of 83 Weeks. Towards the end of their three-hour discussion, Bischoff was asked if he thinks WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is “out of touch” and Bischoff says it’s easy to say McMahon has lost touch if one does not understand the complexity of his job title.
“They’ve spent 20 years developing the product and the platform they have that appeals to advertisers. It’s taken them 20 years to get there, or more, and now that they have it, they have to treat it with respect and they have to treat it very carefully and there are things I’m sure the WWE would love to do creatively that they just can’t because they know the blow back they’ll get from advertisers. It’s a little bit like producing an action movie for Disney. You gotta be really careful how you do that. That’s probably the best analogy I can give, and does that mean that he’s out of touch or does that mean he’s catering his business to his customer? The real customer, being the advertiser, because without the advertiser, there are no viewers folks. I know the viewers like to think they’re the most important thing in the world and in some respects they are, because it’s a direct connection to the advertising opportunity, but if the advertising community says, ‘Aht, Aht. I know there’s a lot of people watching your show, but we just can’t have our product associated with it,’ you’re dead. You’re done, and guess what? All those viewers who were so important, aren’t gonna be watching the product because they can’t live without advertising. So it’s easy to say so and so is out of touch, if you don’t understand the complexity of the business as a whole and just how significant those broadcast rights are and those broadcast rights will not exist without a really, really solid relationship and a confidence level amongst advertisers.”
** Ohio Valley Wrestling will be resuming television tapings on July 28th in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Social distancing guidelines will be instituted and masks are required to enter the venue.
** Taz and FTW Champion Brian Cage are scheduled to appear on the 7/22 edition of AEW Dynamite. AEW World Champion Jon Moxley is also set for the show.
** Melissa Santos is currently 8th place in the Ms. Health & Fitness contest.
** IMPACT Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo joined Bully Ray and David LaGreca on Busted Open Radio. Purrazzo discussed her transition from NXT to IMPACT Wrestling and why she feels that the current version of her on-screen persona was never spotlighted in NXT.
“I think the Deonna that you saw and the world saw at Ring of Honor and NXT is truly who I am…
The person that I’ve been able to put on-screen is the person I believe in, is the truest form of me, elevated, and at NXT, it was very much a runaround of like, ‘You need a character.’ ‘Okay, well that’s too much character. You have to be the real you, but the real you isn’t believable’ and I had just gotten to a point of there’s nothing I can do right and now I feel defeated in me, and coming here and just being like, ‘Screw what everyone else has said. Screw the connotations that came with me, screw the opinions and screw the negativity that I’ve been through. I’m going to bring out the person that loved professional wrestling, that wanted to be a professional wrestler since I was nine-years old and I’m gonna make that girl proud.’ I don’t care that WWE fired me or didn’t want me or didn’t think I was good enough. I think I’m good enough, and if IMPACT believes I’m good enough, if Ring of Honor believes I’m good enough, if Japan thought I was good enough, I’m good enough, and I just needed to get back to believing in me and believing in the little girl that’s wanted to be a champion her entire life.”
** Dragon Gate announced that they’ll have a number of shows in the month of September and those dates are listed below:
* September 5th (Saturday) 6:00PM – Okinawa, Namura Hall “DRAGONGATE in Okinawa 2020”
* September 6th (Sunday) 1:00PM – Okinawa, Namura Hall “DRAGONGATE in Okinawa 2020”
* September 9th (Wednesday) 6:30PM – Tokyo, Korakuen Hall
* September 12th (Saturday) 6:00PM – Osaka, Edion Arena Osaka #2
* September 13th (Sunday) 3:00PM – Osaka, Edion Arena Osaka #2
* September 14th (Monday) 6:30PM – Aichi, Okazaki Tatsumigaoka Hall
* September 19th (Saturday) 6:00PM – Osaka, Higashiosaka Municipal East Gym “Masato Yoshino 20th Anniversary Homecoming”
* September 21st (Monday) 4:00PM – Tokyo, Ota City General Gymnasium “Dangerous Gate 2020”
* September 26th (Saturday) 6:00PM – Hyogo, Kobe Sambo Hall
* September 29th (Tuesday) 6:30PM – Tottori, Tottori Sangyo Gym
* September 30th (Wednesday) 6:30PM – Aichi, Loisir Hotel Toyohashi
** WWE is collaborating with the ‘World of Tanks’ game to further promote their SummerSlam event on August 23rd. The game can be downloaded now on PlayStation 4 and XBOX. The partnership with WWE will run through September.
** Former AEW Women’s World Champion Nyla Rose was a guest on the Sitting Ringside with David Penzer podcast.
** Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated has an interview up with The Big Show. When asked who does he believe has potential to become consistent main event players in WWE right now, Big Show name-dropped Angel Garza and Andrade.
“There are a couple guys where I see unlimited potential, and I saw it firsthand when I had a tag match against them a couple weeks ago. Andrade and Angel Garza, there is so much potential there. Garza’s got a lot of fire, and you could see that a couple weeks ago when Randy jacked him up against the headboards. Then he got back in the ring and looked great. Garza’s got size, he’s athletic, he’s good looking, those things all translate to becoming a top guy. I watched Becky Lynch put in years that no one else on the roster had. I remember watching her live event matches, and she took every one of those matches to another level. Without saying a word, you could see her struggle and fight to win a match. That’s what helps you become a top talent. Andrade and Garza have those intangibles. They have a lot going for them, so we’ll see what happens.”
** Here’s the latest edition of Ring of Honor television which was a tribute episode to Hana Kimura:
** Ahead of his Unsanctioned match against Randy Orton on WWE RAW, The Big Show did an interview with TheWrap to promote the match. At this stage of his career, Big Show views himself as an “attraction” and explained why he seems himself in that light.
“That bodyguard role is better to put a younger talent into that can observe matches ringside and slowly be introduced over time until the talent gets more comfortable to start breaking off and working on his own. If you saw me every week on TV as a bodyguard it would water down the experience. Part of me and now what I’m doing is– I’m more of an attraction now, so seeing me here and there. If Big Foot cuts through your backyard once in a while, that’s me.”
** While speaking with SunSport, WWE Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles shared his Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling.
“Man, this is tough. I mean, we’re talking about the guys who made the biggest difference, the reason why we are where we are in this business, right? The reason why so many guys and girls get the opportunity to make a living, right? So who are those people? Ric Flair is gonna be up there. He has to be. I mean, but Lou Thesz is also another guy that you know. Do we throw Hogan in there because everybody remembers? I didn’t watch WWF at the time when I was a kid, but I watched the cartoon on Saturday mornings. So that’s how I knew who Hulk Hogan was. But then again, in Rocky III as well, Thunderlips, so I knew him from that but I didn’t watch the wrestling. So he surpassed that, bigger than wrestling, he was a movie star as well.
Is that three? Who is the fourth that belongs there. That’s tough. I know if I say this guy, it’ll be, ‘Oh wait, you forgot about this one’ like, yeah, shoot. Because there’s Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, The Macho Man, Andre the Giant, like he also broke that barrier of larger than life. In fact, he was probably the first one to do it. So if I had to, and I know I’ll go back and I’ll change this a million times, Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Lou Thesz. I’m trying to reach not just WWE, you know, but outside of that as well. The reason why I saw Lou Thesz and not some other guys who have definitely shaped this business is because I didn’t watch it. I didn’t have that cable where I could watch WWF. So I think my three for sure gotta be Hogan, Andre, and Ric Flair. That fourth is open to debate.”
** Alicia Atout did an interview with Simone Johnson.
** NXT GM William Regal will make a “huge announcement” on the 7/22 episode of NXT.
** Ivelisse and Jack Evans had a back and forth on social media on 7/20 and the root of their back and forth is Lucha Underground. Ivelisse mentioned that during a disagreement of sorts, Evans yelled in her face while she was speaking calmly, which Evans denied. Ivelisse added that Evans tried to “legit fight her” and the two continued their conversation through a series of messages which can be read at this link.
** The Miz appeared on the ‘Digital Trends’ live stream to promote the USA Network series ‘Cannonball’.
** Chris Van Vliet interviewed Stu Bennett and while discussing Bennett’s run as King of the Ring in WWE, Bennett feels like the way WWE wanted the King of the Ring presented at the time, it would’ve been better suited for Heath Slater.
“If I’m supposed to be a heel and a bad guy, I’m wearing this outfit that nobody’s taking seriously. If you wanted someone to do that, give it to Heath Slater. He would’ve loved that. It would’ve worked really well for him. That’s just not my personality. I’m a 6’6, broken nose, big tattooed heel who’s supposed to be nasty and wearing that outfit, from the second I walk out, people are just not interested because it just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit me, it doesn’t fit my persona. Heath would’ve killed it and why they wouldn’t have given it to a guy like Heath, I don’t know or Santino or something like that.”
** Here’s the newest upload to the UpUpDownDown YouTube channel:
** Big Show chatted with Newsweek ahead of his main event bout against Randy Orton on RAW. The idea of being a backstage producer in WWE does not interest Big Show due to the current schedule that he’s on and he further elaborated on why he does not feel that position would be a good fit for him.
“No. Being a backstage producer, I may as well put my head under a car and back over it. I wouldn’t want the headache that our backstage producers go through.
I’m in a unique position that I don’t have to work five nights a week like when I was full time. If you have a talent that is on their way as a big guy or medium-sized guy and I get the chance to get in the ring and work again and ride with this guy for a few days and help them that way, that’s where I get to do my best work—being in the ring with them and work out their timing and what’s going on in their head, and take them where they need to be.
The toughest part is getting the younger talent to let loose and relax, and let the flow of the match be fluid, and not force stuff or plan a bunch of spots in the back and hope they work out. It’s different now because they don’t have an audience to have a connection with, so they have to create a connection with hard work in the ring.
As far as me: I’m around as long as I’m still able to compete and produce. I know that those times are not as much as they used to be back in the day. Father Time is undefeated, but I’ll always respect and love this business and I’m always around to help anyone, whether it’s a talent from the Cruiserweights on up, I’m willing to help anybody. If the experiences that I’ve been through can help and make things easier, I’m always willing to give it.”
** Mirror Sport chatted with Stu Bennett about the ‘I Am Vengeance: Retaliation’ film.
** Yahoo! Japan has a feature story up about Jungle Kyona.
** Cultaholic published their interview with Muhammad Hassan. Hassan is making the media rounds to promote the ‘Assassin and Son’ book that he created with the late Shad Gaspard.
** WWN has “last chance” deals up for EVOLVE DVDs and merchandise.
** Part two of William Colosimo’s interview with Minoru Suzuki is live on The MMA Community forum. The questions were translated by Taiki Yamamoto. Suzuki shared his thoughts about working with Ken Shamrock early on in their respective pro wrestling careers in Japan. In the questions following the forthcoming quote, Suzuki explained that Karl Gotch was not a fan of Shamrock because he had a great body and is an American and Gotch felt that most Americans could not stick to his approach to training.
“He had a great physique with excellent flexibility and athletic ability. But I could not feel any talent from him at all as far as regular pro-wrestling goes. I realized, however, that something was different about him. Although I could not speak English, we started to communicate using simple words during training. We got along. We both shared the same passion to get to the top. Soranaka brought him to Japan again in Fujiwara-Gumi. Shamrock asked Funaki and me how we became so good. We told him that we train like this every day and he decided to live in Japan to train with us. And so we trained together.”
** Part one of DOUKI and El Desperado’s joint-interview with NJPW1972.com is live on the site.
** The Big Show joined GameSpot’s ‘Wrestle Buddies’ podcast.
** All Elite Wrestling ring announcer/backstage interviewer Dasha Kuret qualified for the regional finals of NBC’s ‘The Titan Games’.
** KNOTFEST has an interview up on their YouTube channel with Rhea Ripley.
** IMPACT Tag Team Champions The North (Josh Alexander & Ethan Page) did an interview with WrestleTalk prior to Slammiversary. Alexander and Page were asked about the possibility of working with FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and having a match with that duo. Alexander is all for the idea and feels that it could be one of the best matches The North could have.
“I mean, I’ll start off with their style. I like their style, I like what they do. They emphasize tag team wrestling, they use the rules to their advantage, much like we do. I would welcome the match because I’m a fan of tag team wrestling and so are they. I think it would be probably the best match we could ever have, if I was going to fantasy book anything right now.”
** Sasha Banks and Mikaze were guests on Superstar Savepoint on UpUpDownDown.
** NXT Tag Team Champion Fabian Aichner turned 30-years old on 7/21. NXT U.K.’s Dave Mastiff turned 36-years old today.
** Denise Salcedo of Instinct Culture spoke with MLW’s Salina de la Renta for an exclusive interview.
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.