POST NEWS UPDATE: Dax Harwood chats NJPW WK 17, Sami Zayn coming up with 'Revival', past issues with Bill DeMott

Originally published at Dax Harwood chats NJPW WK 17, Sami Zayn coming up with 'Revival' name, past issues with Bill DeMott

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.

** On episode three of FTR with Dax Harwood, the multi-time Tag Team Champion dove into the beginnings of his pairing with Cash Wheeler. He started off by looking back on the IWGP Tag Title match at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17 and dropping the titles to Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI. Dax detailed the travel woes that Cash had and said he got there 30 minutes before bell time. Harwood added that he broke out in tears when he saw the Tokyo Dome setup.

Dream come true (Dax said about competing at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17). I text Cash [Wheeler] because everyone has heard, I think so far, his travel woes. He had a lot of travel issues with documents and then delayed flights and canceled flights and then driving eight hours to Atlanta to get that flight canceled. It was such a bad day for him. He got in about 30 minutes before bell time. He was very stressed out and tired but I walked into the Tokyo Dome alone and just walked into the arena and I know that it sounds very cliché or whatever but I walked in and immediately broke down in tears man, because I saw the whole setup, I saw the whole deal and realizing that me and my best friend almost three years ago had decided to step away from the biggest wrestling company in the world and now we’re part of, we’re a main part of a huge show at the Tokyo Dome for the IWGP Tag Team Championships. It was an amazing feeling.

While in Japan, Harwood reunited with Mercedes Moné, Bayley, Trinity Fatu (Naomi) and Karl Anderson and they were able to hang out during and after Wrestle Kingdom.

Yeah dude, I guess I did (reunite with some old friends). Japan was such a great homecoming, reunion, whatever you wanna call it. Man, seeing Mercedes [Moné] and seeing Pam [Bayley], Naomi, seeing Karl Anderson, it was such a great time, so fun. Then we all went out for Korean Barbeque and had drinks and I know it wasn’t 2022 but it capped off a great 2022 and it couldn’t have been any better than that. Those two girls are two girls that I’m absolutely in love with. I think they’re incredible human beings. I think that they love wrestling with every bit of their human body they have and the best part is, they will always stand up for what they believe in and Naomi as well but yeah, it was a great time.

He further spoke about Mercedes’ arrival to New Japan Pro-Wrestling. He recalled speaking with her and hearing how nervous and excited she was. Dax stated that from talking to her, he can confidently say she feels that moment trumps everything she did in WWE.

Well I know how she [Mercedes Moné] was feeling (heading into her Wrestle Kingdom 17 appearance) and she was proud, nervous, excited, scared, all of the emotions. I’ve talked about it so many times about professional wrestling and how the moves are only there to convey the emotion that you want them to because everybody knows what that feels like. She hits this finishing move and nobody knows what that was, nobody knows how it felt, but, how proud she was in that moment and how nervous she was walking down that aisle, everybody can relate to that and I know that she was so proud of herself because she did it her way, she stood up for what she believed in, she stood for what she thought was right and she was able to achieve probably the thing she’s dreamt about the longest and I would even say that speaking with her, I would even say that trumps WWE for her. I know she’s very, very proud of what she accomplished in WWE but I think I can confidently say that being in New Japan, being at the Tokyo Dome, being at Wrestle Kingdom probably trumps it all because that was her dream to go to Japan.

Getting into the formation of FTR (The Revival), Dax touched on how former WWE Performance Center coach Bill DeMott was not big on him and Cash. He feels there is a misconception that Bill was just a tough trainer, but Harwood said he’s not a good person. Shortly before DeMott was let go, Dax heard from another coach that DeMott was trying to get him and Cash fired. Dax went on to speak highly of Matt Bloom who he considers to be the best boss and coach he’s ever worked for.

The sad thing is the guy who kind of controlled our future, Bill DeMott, was not a fan of me and Cash [Wheeler] at all and so, Mojo [Rawley] was one of his boys and one of his pet projects, so was Bull [Dempsey], he had an affinity for Bull, he loved Bull. So we were just there to give them a good match and make them look good. Yeah, that’s the wrestling business, you know what I mean? Everybody’s not gonna like you as we’ve talked about and when people are in charge and they don’t like you, doesn’t really matter how good you are, you’re never gonna be able to get to a certain level.

So, I did feel at the beginning (of Cash & I teaming up) that this wasn’t gonna happen. I felt that we were gonna lose our jobs, Bill DeMott did not like us at all. There is a story that I will tell one day that goes far beyond wrestling. A lot of people have this misconception that he was disliked because he would always make people blow up or he was hard at training. That was not it at all. He was just not a nice human being, let’s put it like that. We were doing a lot of the house shows and a lot of the house shows, if I’m not mistaken, we were working with Angelo Dawkins and Sawyer Fulton and all those shows, we were putting them over, every single one because those were Bill DeMott’s guys, he loved them, did not like us and so, WrestleMania time comes around and me and Dan were so excited, we were hoping to be able to go and we wanted to go so we could show out at WrestleMania. At the time, it was a big dream for us, big goal for us because we had done nothing in our careers and that would have meant, if we got to go, that would have meant we were doing something right. At the time, I had heard from one of the coaches that Bill was not enamored with us and he was in the process of trying to get us out of the door. Lucky for me, unlucky for him but lucky for me, my family, my career, Bill was released right after that and in comes Matt Bloom. Matt Bloom is the best boss I have ever worked for and I consider him a boss because he was there, the best coach I ever worked for, one of the best human beings I’ve ever worked for too… For so long, the P.C. was run on fear, he knew how to run his camp… comradery to come up with the guys and girls, he knew how to lead by example and knew how to lead out of positivity and that doesn’t mean he never yelled at me because my God man, he yelled at me a lot of times. There were times when we stopped talking because he yelled at me.

After Bill got fired, Matt Bloom took over, some things started changing and we were immediately put on that WrestleMania spot and we got to go to WrestleMania and we were so happy man. I was so happy that he was my leader and he trusted us enough and put us in that spot to go to WrestleMania.

As he was talking about their finisher, ‘The Big Rig’, Dax mentioned that he is hoping to use the ‘Shatter Machine’ name again but there is legal ramifications surrounding that.

Dude, isn’t that the best name for a wrestling move ever? The Shatter Machine? Big Rig is a shout out to Brodie [Lee]. I’m hoping we can get Shatter Machine back for the finish and I’m looking into that legally if we can call it that without selling — whatever, anyway…

Talking about how they came up with ‘The Shatter Machine’, the first inspiration came from Bully Ray and D-Von Dudley’s 3D. They then incorporated the ‘Codebreaker’ that they had been seeing Chris Jericho do.

So, I loved, loved, loved, everybody does, I loved the 3D… I’m speaking now just from off the top of my head, maybe the best tag move of all time, right? You can hit it out of nowhere, it’s so flawless, I love the 3D and then also, I thought, what are moves (to) hit out of nowhere? Obviously, couldn’t do a ‘Stunner’ into it because that looks too much like a 3D and you know, a superkick but me and Cash are not superkick guys and I remember, [Chris] Jericho wasn’t working for WWE at the time and I remember he was hitting Codebreakers out of nowhere and so I asked Dan, I said, ‘Do you think you could hit the Codebreaker out of the flapjack?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I think so’ and so, that is one move we did practice at the P.C. and it went smoothly and it has now taken a life of its own and it added to our characters, added to character development, who we are and I am very blessed and fortunate that we found that.

Back in 2016, there was some back and forth on Twitter between FTR and Chris Jericho because Jericho and Kevin Owens used the Shatter Machine on national television. Dax said they’ve since talked to Jericho about it and they’re grateful Jericho is fine with them doing the move.

A funny story, we’ve talked about it with [Chris] Jericho and gotten over it… Someone said something about it (Jericho & Kevin Owens using Shatter Machine on TV) and at the time, I think maybe I was a little bit upset because we were still on our ascension, we’re trying to make it and that was the one move people were associating with us and that was getting us over and they hit it and I think I tweeted something or maybe Cash [Wheeler] tweeted something, I can’t remember. The tweet went out where I can’t remember if it was me or it was Cash, I’m not really sure. Anyway, we flew somewhere from the U.K. to maybe Ireland or something or maybe vice versa. We landed, we cut our phones on and we just boom, bing, bang, bing. So many texts and so many notifications from Twitter and Jericho said, I’ll never forget this, Jericho said — he said something like, ‘You young kids should respect the originator of the move’ and Cash tweeted back, ‘Okay, no problem. I’ll be sure to tell Marufuji thank you…’ Oh my God, that’s how witty that son of a b*tch is. He may be the wittiest person I know. But, like I said, we’ve talked to Jericho and squashed it and everything. He’s got a career that he can be so proud of and I think we do as well and we do owe it to him that he allowed us to continue to do the move.

He opened up about the issues he and Cash would have with writers as they were working out exactly who their on-screen characters were. Dax said writers would try to script them as if they were ‘southern hicks’. There was one occasion when Dax and Cash were close to fighting a producer.

I always butted heads with a lot of the writers because I felt they didn’t care about us [FTR] and I felt like they were trying to exploit us as these dumb, southern hicks and as I’ve talked about on our first episode, I’m not a fan of that because you know, we’re not. Not all southerners are stupid, not all southerners f*ck their cousins, you know what I mean? And that’s kind of what they were trying to paint us as. They would give us this script and it would say, ‘I reckon I’m gonna go over yonder and holler for Nana and we’re gonna have our roadkill soup’ and I’m like, ‘Man, I am pretty damn intelligent and I don’t speak like this’ and so we would have problems with them, and then again, morphing into friends, there was a time where this producer, the camera producer, he had kind of said something to Cash that got him real mad and Cash came, he was real pissed off and he came to the locker room and he said, ‘Just gonna let you know, I’m about to go fight this guy right now’ and I said, ‘What happened?’ And he told me what happened and I said, ‘Well let’s go. I’m gonna fight with you’ so we walked to this guy, the camera guy was — he wasn’t a cameraman, he was producing the segment, this backstage segment and he was waiting there and Dan was staring a hole through him, so was I and waited off-set for him and as soon as it was over, we were gonna go to him and we were gonna fight him and the guy just kept staring at us, he knew what was gonna happen and then Dan finally calmed down a little bit. He said, ‘You know what? It’s not worth it, I’m not gonna fight him.’ Honestly, we probably stood there for 30 minutes… ‘It’s not worth it. Let’s just go.’

The tag team name ‘Revival’ was initially suggested by Sami Zayn. Zayn thought they could call themselves ‘Tag Team Revival’ but that was altered by Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque who suggested ‘The Revival’.

I remember coming up with it and the person that came up with ‘The Revival’ was actually Sami Zayn. We were in the gym in the P.C. together and he was putting me and Cash [Wheeler] over as this great tag team and one of the best tag teams he’s seen working guys in a very, very long time and I could be wrong, but I think Creedence Clearwater Revival was on the radio at that gym or maybe he had just listened to it. But he said, you know, ‘This Creedence Clearwater Revival, C.C.R., you could could be T.T.R., Tag Team Revival’ and I was like, ‘Oh! That’s a hell of an idea’ and so we thought about it and we pitched it to Hunter and Hunter liked it, except for he just wanted to call us ‘The Revival’.

For sure, for brand purposes (it was important to have a tag name like that). We needed a name to be associated with. We can be Dash and Dawson or Cash and Dax or whatever but need something to be associated with, especially if we wanted to go down as a great tag team and we needed that brand and I think that was, again, the genius of Hunter is he understood The Revival is more marketable than ‘Tag Team Revival’. I think ‘Tag Team Revival’ would have put us in a smaller box, but just The Revival could have been more marketable and again, that’s the genius of him.

Heading back to the year 2016, Dax recalled approaching then-WWE Senior Director of Talent Development, Canyon Ceman, after finding out there was a wrestler who was not working as much as he and Cash were but was making more money. Dax did not say this individual’s name because he’s still wrestling but shared that FTR got the pay raise after expressing their minds.

I remember at WrestleMania AXXESS right before [NXT TakeOver] Dallas, we’re [Harwood & Cash Wheeler] the NXT Tag Team Champions, and I find out there’s this guy who is making more money than me and Cash and he is not featured and at the time, they weren’t sending out everybody on the house show loops. They were just sending people that were gonna be used or could potentially be used. This guy would sit home more often than not. I don’t wanna say his name because he’s still wrestling now. But, I found out he was making more money than us. Again, we’re the champions, we’re out every weekend on the Florida loops, we’re out every weekend on the big loops out of state, we’re on the TakeOvers and I was so mad. So I talked to Dan and I said, ‘I’m gonna say something to Canyon Ceman’ who was the Head of Talent Relations or whatever in NXT and I saw him at catering and I said, ‘I need to talk to you’ and in no uncertain terms, I said, ‘We’re busting our ass every single night, doing all these shows and this guy makes more money than we do? That’s bullsh*t’ and Dan stood right by my side and even though we could have lost our jobs right then because I was giving him an earful, he stood right there by my side and we stood up for what we believed in, we got it, we got a raise. The very next week, we got a raise and man, that tells you what a great human being he is and what I’m allowed to do with him. So not only, at the time, are we building this legacy, we’re changing the structure of tag team wrestling, but we’re fighting for what we believe in. Cheers.

** Veer took to Instagram and shared that his father passed away. He was not present at NXT New Year’s Evil for the tag match with Sanga against The Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed). Veer wrote the following message about his father:

Dear Father…

My soul shook with great pain when I heard the news of your passing. Every moment with you filled me with happiness and attachment. No matter where I will find myself in the world your presence, gives me courage and enthusiasm.

Cherished Babu ji, whatever I am today, I am because of your and Mother’s teachings, along with watching you both overcome great adversity. If I can ask one thing as I’ve always have is your blessing and strength, with the memory of You and Mother, I will try to follow your footsteps till the last breath. My respect and honor to You and Mother

Lots of love Babu ji

** A longform piece about Sting was written by Mike Piellucci of D Magazine. Sting spoke about being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016. He remembers first being contacted by Paul Levesque and being told that his acceptance speech is not a retirement speech. He went on to have a conversation with Vince McMahon who said he wanted Sting’s career to end with WWE. Sting said nobody pressured him to say he was retiring but felt like everything was pointing towards he should go that route.

He [Paul Levesque] says, ‘No, no, no, no. Uh-uh. No. This is not a retirement speech.’

Wasn’t forced into it (saying I was retiring in my WWE Hall of Fame speech and) nobody made me do it. (Vince McMahon told me that whenever I decide to end my in-ring career), ‘I’d rather it be here under this umbrella. WWE…’ I just felt like everything was… pointing toward, you just need to retire. Just get it over with… I finally relented and said, all right. Let’s just do it.

Leading up to AEW Dynamite Grand Slam in 2021, Sting tweaked his hip before him and Darby Allin’s match against FTR. Sting said there were multiple times in the match that he felt embarrassed by his performance.

Oh my gosh, I think this is it (Sting recalls his mindset during Dynamite Grand Slam tag match against FTR). We’ll have to figure out a creative way to make me bow out. There were probably three different occasions during the match that I thought, OK, this is embarrassing. I am thoroughly embarrassed. I will be reading online, all these fans saying, yeah, it’s time for him to hang it up. Time caught up to him. He’s done.

** The reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion GUNTHER was interviewed by The Dallas Morning News. He feels he’s found his footing on the main roster. GUNTHER added that previously in NXT, it felt like he “outgrew it a little bit.”

Yeah, I definitely think so. I feel very comfortable in the situation I’m in right now. It’s very demanding and very challenging on the body and life in general, I would say, but in a very positive way. So it’s a very exciting time for me right now. I feel like in NXT before, I kind of proved myself a while ago and outgrew it a little bit, if that makes sense. And being on the main roster, it was a completely new situation for me again and I again had to step up and prove myself and introduce myself to a wider audience. And I think I’m doing well so far. It’s going really good. I’m looking forward to every new challenge that’s in front of me. And I can’t really complain about anything to be honest.

** Episode #163 of Cultaholic’s Desert Island Graps podcast featured a conversation with IMPACT Wrestling’s Eddie Edwards. He revealed there have been ‘numerous conversations’ held over the last several years about him coming back to Pro Wrestling NOAH. Eddie stated that schedules have not lined up.

I’m open to it at any point (returning to NOAH) and there’s been numerous conversations over the past couple of years to try to get it done. Schedules haven’t lined up and at this point, there’s nothing set in stone but, I know it’s always a conversation that is going on to try to get not just myself but like you said, some wrestlers from IMPACT to go over to NOAH and vice versa because yeah, we welcome anybody to come over here from NOAH. We had [Naomichi] Marufuji which I’d love him to come back again and also bring somebody else, [Katsuhiko] Nakajima, Kenoh, anybody. Hopefully, we just get that forbidden door open sooner or later.

Looking back on Eddie’s first TNA World Heavyweight Title win in 2016, he recalled finding out he was becoming champion hours before.

Earlier that day, I found out (I was winning my first TNA World Title). So, imagine how you’re feeling and then times a million at that point… I was like, ‘What? Huh?’ Basically, that’s how it was, yeah.

** There’s an interview on The San Antonio Express-News site with GUNTHER. He would like to think that even if Paul Levesque was not overseeing creative, he would be doing well for himself in WWE but went on to add that he does have a good connection with Levesque.

I think I would want to say about myself, that it doesn’t matter who’s in charge, my performance speaks for itself. But obviously, I have a good connection to Triple H, because he was the one who brought me in. And I think he understood what I am in the ring and understands who I can be in the ring. He has given me the opportunities to showcase that. So obviously, yeah, I would say it benefited me, but if there will be anybody else, I think I will be fine too. 

When it comes to future on-screen programs, GUNTHER said he’d be game for Imperium to take on The Bloodline. He feels they have one of the best group stories he can recall in a long time.

Yeah, let’s go there (Imperium versus The Bloodline). I think what they have going for themselves now with the group is really entertaining. It’s one of the best group stories I can recall in a very long time.

** While Mandy Rose (Amanda Saccomanno) was in New York City for her Tamron Hall Show appearance, Adam’s Apple briefly spoke to her and she shared that she has not been contacted by either Stephanie McMahon or Paul Levesque. 

** On night one of PWG’s 2023 Battle of Los Angeles tournament, Michael Oku clashed with Konosuke Takeshita. Stephanie Chase conducted an interview with Oku and he shared several highlights from the match. He mentioned a spot when he chopped Takeshita when it looked like there was going to be a clean break. He wanted to let the audience know it was not the ‘Takeshita show’. Oku added that he countered a Blue Thunder Bomb into a reverse hurricanrana while spinning.

At the start of the match (between myself & Konosuke Takeshita at PWG BOLA night one), one of my favorite parts of the match is he backs me up into the ropes and he wants a clean break. I back him up into the ropes and I chop him. But that was more just a statement to be like, okay everybody, this isn’t the Takeshita show. I’m here too and there’s just such a reaction to that. There was a, ‘You f*cked up’ chant as well and I was like, ‘Yeah, okay, I expected that, I hear you’ but we’re gonna see something special and I’d say not to spoil it but… he goes for a Blue Thunder Bomb. That’s one of his big, signature moves, big fan of El Generico and he just shows in how he wrestles and as well as the moves and I am too and I do a reversal from his Blue Thunder Bomb into a reverse rana. If you’re trying to figure out how that looks or how that’d actually work with us spinning, I guess you’ll have to buy the Blu-ray DVD to find out but, that was the moment where I think where the crowd are like, all right, we’re seeing something here. We’re seeing something different so, that’s something I was really proud of because of the noise.

** On IMPACT Wrestling programming, Taylor Wilde underwent a presentation shift and has taken on the ‘Wilde Witch’ persona. She told The Canadian Press that what she is on-screen now is 100 percent who she is as a person.

Anyone that follows my social media, that knows me as a person, knows that this is who I am. This is not a gimmick. This is me turned up to 1,000. My 14-year-old self is so proud of me for watching ‘The Craft’ one too many times and being the cool goth girl I always wanted to be.

** The most recent guest on Insight with Chris Van Vliet is Chris Adonis (Masters). He weighed in on Tyrus becoming NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion and the reaction on social media to the title change. Adonis hinted that he could end up challenging Tyrus and being the NWA’s ‘savior’.

I mean, it was controversial, and it got people talking (Tyrus becoming NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion). And it’s like, it just is what it is. But it’s also an opportunity. I mean, like for all those people on the internet, you know, complaining about it, who would have thought that you know, Chris Masters could be your beacon of light. You would have never imagined that 15 years ago, and were like, ‘Who’s that body guy?’ So like, hey, I might be your savior. You know Matt Cardona says he’s gonna save NWA. But I say Chris Adonis.

** While on the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Tony Nese dove into his friendship with fellow AEW talent Ari Daivari. Nese hopes that they’ll be able to reunite as a tag team. 

I think it’s just a matter of we [Nese & Ari Daivari] were kind of — we always made a joke, we called ourselves the gatekeepers of 205 [Live] because any time — my thing was literally as soon as I walked in, I’d say, ‘Hey, Tony Nese, nice to meet you. Can’t wait to put you over’ (Nese laughed). So yeah, it’s just we were the guys that came in and we would kind of test those guys out and the cool thing is the company trusted us to the point where they would be like, ‘Hey, what do you think? Is he good?’ So that was a really cool thing so we kind of just came up with this whole thing of we were the gatekeepers. A lot of times, it just happens organically in wrestling when you’re always with someone, when you’re always pal’ing around with someone, the company, either they see it or it just happens but you always kind of end up working together all the time. We were always heels together so (it) just worked out. We were always kind of tagging because we were in the ‘Zo Train’ together, we were always doing matches with [Drew] Gulak where it was six-mans, we had trios matches. We were just never an official tag team until later on in 205 and we just kind of made it more official and stuff and we were just having fun. We considered ourselves the veterans of 205 and everything and we were the ones that would take the show and carry it on our backs, even though we would lose in the end but that was always our mentality going into everything and honestly, Ariya Daivari, he’s my absolute best friend in this business. He’s my best friend now. He’s the one guy that I talk to literally every day of the week and stuff like that and we’re always pal’ing around. But it’s a tag team I hope to revisit one day in the future.

** On the 1/13 Friday Night SmackDown, Braun Strowman is challenging GUNTHER for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Strowman will wear special boots in honor of a victim of the Waukesha Christmas parade attack in 2021. 

Braun Strowman teamed up with the #Packers to create custom boots to honor a young fan who was a victim in the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy.

He'll wear the boots this Friday on @WWE #SmackDown in Green Bay & auction them off to benefit those affected.@Adamscherr99

— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 12, 2023

** WWE’s fourth quarter earnings call and full year report is scheduled for February 2nd.

** The theme song for Mercedes Monè: 

** Promotional video for Keiji Muto’s last match as ‘The Great Muta’ on 1/22

** KAIRI, Kenta Kobashi, Satoshi Kojima, Toshiaki Kawada, Tatsumi Fujinami and Yoshiaki Fujiwara are going to be doing talk shows on January 28th in Osaka, Japan.

** Dragongate’s ‘HIGH-END’ stable disbanded. The group consisted of YAMATO, Dragon Kid, Kagetora, Ben-K and Keisuke Okuda. HIGH-END was first established in 2021.

** 2023 PWG Battle of Los Angeles tournament winner ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey spoke to Sports Illustrated.

** Both Dean Malenko and Jeff Jarrett were guests on the latest Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast.

** Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Kenoh spoke to Yahoo! Japan.

** Konosuke Takeshita versus Zachary Wentz is scheduled for Warrior Wrestling 27 on January 21st.

** A story about the ‘National Wrestling Federation’ based out of Krugersdorp, South Africa.

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.