Originally published at Indi Hartwell thought she wasn't good enough to be put with Gargano & LeRae
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.
** Newshub caught up with Indi Hartwell for an exclusive interview. Indi is a part of ‘The Way’ on NXT TV with Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae and Austin Theory. She shared that initially, she didn’t think she was good enough to be paired with Gargano and LeRae.
It was really humbling to me that the company trusted me in that situation at this early stage of my career. Johnny and Candice are exceptional talents and I can’t even quantify how much I am learning from them every day. And that’s not just in-ring stuff. They are both so well-rounded as performers, so my promo work has to be up to scratch to hang with them and that’s been a big focus for me. Honestly, I didn’t think I was good enough to be in a program with Johnny and Candice, but I am so happy with how the storyline is playing out and the best is yet to come for us.
Hartwell spoke about her early influences in wrestling and it was after watching Sasha Banks versus Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn that she was set on becoming a wrestler.
That was it. I always loved pro wrestling growing up. But that moment it turned from a dream into a passion and at age 19, I knew that nothing was going to stop me from doing it, and I signed up for wrestling school the next day. It’s really cool now that five-six years later I have the chance to very soon – hopefully – work with those two. I’m walking in their footsteps now and hopefully, I’ll walk alongside them in the future.
** The Black Wrestling Alliance YouTube channel has an interview with D-Von Dudley. While D-Von was sharing his experiences of navigating racial issues within the wrestling business, he gave his take on how Vince McMahon has handled issues in the company concerning race.
It was never the talent. It was never the talent. It was always somebody behind the scenes that I had the issues with, and listen, I’m gonna say this, Vince is a very fair man in terms of that. I know he gets a lot of flack because of how he perceives Black wrestlers and things like that but I will say any time that I’ve ever known there was an issue with racism within the company, he would definitely put his foot down and say something. Now again, while some people will disagree with me, some people won’t. But every incident that I’ve ever heard of that he’s found out about, he’s definitely reprimanded and taken action against it so…
D-Von discussed how he got into the business and his parents reactions to the news that he wanted to pursue wrestling. D-Von later shared that during the last stretch of ECW run, he made six figures.
But she was furious. She didn’t support it at all and then when I finally made it to WWE, you know — ECW, my last year, I was making great money. I was actually making six figures in ECW. My last six months being there, I think I made $100,000 there, and to me that was big. I mean, I didn’t have any bills, no debt so you give a Black kid that don’t have nothing like that $100,000, man listen, I was on top of the world and I just remember — and she didn’t recognize ECW. It wasn’t WWF.
** The most recent guest on Casual Conversations with The Wrestling Classic was Ken Shamrock. Shamrock looked back on his career with the WWF and claimed to have initially owned the name “The Rock” because he used that name early on in his MMA career. He added that he had a conversation with Dwayne Johnson about it as well.
Anything that had to do with the cage or Lion’s Den, they had to go through my approval, because I owned all that. I have went into that but I was a part of that creativity for sure.
No . You know what man? The Rock came up and started using it. Nobody even knew the issue at all. I didn’t because I was never kind of — I never liked that, right? Just like when they came up with the dolls that had the lion skin on it with the shorts on it, I owned that. They never asked me to do that, they didn’t ask to do that so therefore I own that, so I could’ve gotten all that too but you know what? I was fine with where I was at. It didn’t matter. So, and me and Rocky, we talked about it one time. He didn’t even know. He’s like, ‘Really!?’ I said, ‘Yeah. Don’t worry about it. No big deal.’ It’s like, ‘I’m not gonna do anything for that’ so it’s like, I’m known as The World’s Most Dangerous Man now.
Shamrock has been working with IMPACT Wrestling consistently over the past several years. He said there were talks at one point of presenting a Lion’s Den match in IMPACT.
Oh absolutely . Yeah for sure, and I know there was some talks about doing something like that but it never came to fruition so, but maybe later.
Going back to the topic of his WWF/E career, he spoke about the final stretch of his run in the company. Shamrock admitted that he was thinking of ways to get out of his contract because of how he was being presented on TV.
The only angle I ever really got into and finished was The Rock. But they didn’t — I don’t think they finished the angle out because my understanding was that The Rock was gonna end up dropping the title, I would get the I.C. Title because we had our match, then he would move up and then he would get the WWF Title, the Heavyweight Title and then I would move up and then there would be me, The Rock, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, it’d be a bunch of guys in there that would be literally fighting each other over this title. Unfortunately, I still to this day don’t know what happened but that’s when I really came to the decision that I needed to move on because I was getting beat constantly, for a while there and I thought, ‘Mhm, you know, I spent a lot of time building my name up in the world of fighting and if this keeps up with the way they’re going with me, I’m not gonna have that name anymore’ and so, I guess I was desperately trying to figure out ways to get out of my contract because I felt like my name that I had built up in sweat, blood and tears was being diminished that last couple months that I was there.
** Jimmy Rave announced in November of 2020 that his left arm had to be amputated. Rave received a great deal of support from the wrestling community following his announcement. He was profiled by Sports Illustrated and Rave, who helps run the CZW dojo shared that Leyla Hirsch is signed to All Elite Wrestling. It is worth nothing that AEW does have tiered-level contracts for talents that are not full-time but compete on AEW Dark and Dynamite.
I still love wrestling; I still watch it every day. I’ve been running the CZW Dojo for the last couple years. One of our students, Leyla Hirsch, just signed with AEW, and Jordan Oliver just did a two-hour match for GCW. We have so many talented kids, and one of them, Griffin McCoy, is going to do really big things this year.
** Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss was interviewed by SoundMojo. Nita has performed at WWE’s Evolution and WrestleMania 34 events. She was asked if she could create a theme for any WWE talent, who would she chose and she selected Becky Lynch. Nita went on to speak about playing Shinsuke Nakamura to the ring at WrestleMania 34.
Becky Lynch . It was an easy answer. Yeah, Shinsuke Nakamura was the artist that I played down to the ring at WrestleMania 34 and that was the beginning of my relationship with WWE and I’ve loved every minute of it since then and my girl Becky Lynch, who is the most charismatic wrestler out there for the last few years, she actually just had a baby. She took a little time off, so congratulations Becky if you’re watching this. But, I feel certain that she’s gonna come back better and stronger than ever and when that happens, I would love to play her music for her.
** Following the 2/17 edition of NXT, several stories emerged concerning Kyle O’Reilly’s health. He tweeted the following today:
Thanks everyone for checking in, your love and support truly means the World. I was placed on a stretcher last night out of concern for my neck after receiving a brainbuster on the steps. Thankfully I can move around somewhat OK today but I may need some time to heal. 1/2
As much as that hurt and sucked last night, the betrayal was worse. Coming back from this stronger and with a thirst for revenge. Best served cold. 2/2
** Ringsiders Wrestling caught up with CEO Gaming’s Alex Jebailey. Alex wrestled for All Elite Wrestling at their Fyter Fest show during the summer of 2019. While he can’t confirm anything, Alex said there is interest from both sides in having an AEW/CEO Gaming collaboration again.
Tony Khan, an amazing human being. We still chat once in a while, catch up with each other and I know we would love to bring Fyter Fest back together in the future. Can’t confirm anything because we don’t know what the future holds with COVID still and there’s no reason to do CEO or a Fyter Fest at CEO without the crowd that made it special and to look back, and be a gracious host of the second-ever pay-per-view for All Elite Wrestling, to what it is today, I’m just glad that I believed in them. Me and Kenny have always trusted each other and just to see what they’re doing now and I’m excited this week. They’re gonna have a few Joshi matches coming out of Japan and Kenny’s excited about them for the world to see them. I’m excited to check them out, becoming friends with all them. So looking forward to what the future holds.
** Edge guest appeared on The Steve Dangle Podcast and told the story of the time he and Christian got into a fist fight over NHL ’94 while they were in college.
Christian and I man, so we lived at 10 Hepworth Drive in Etobicoke Sakic and I knew I had a chance to beat him if I was playing with the Nordiques so, that was actually the only time him and I have gotten in a fist fight was over NHL ‘94 while we were going to college. So we were old enough that we should not be fist fighting over a video game, but we did and I just remember we had this little, tiny billiards table and we got up and we like flipped over it, crushed the table, broke the billiards — I mean just, that’s how serious it got.
** The next IMPACT Plus event will be ‘Sacrifice’ on March 13th. According to Showbuzz Daily, the 2/16 episode of IMPACT Wrestling on AXS drew 197,000 viewers and did an 0.06 in the 18-49 demographic. The show ranked in at #117 in the top 150 shows on cable television that night.
** While streaming on Twitch, Miro spoke about Lana’s win over Nia Jax in a Tables match that led to Nia’s “my hole” meme. Miro feels it was Lana’s best match to date.
It was unbelievable man and I thought it was her best match to date, 100 percent. That was CJ’s best match because the obstacle was so huge, and Nia just dominated. Nia did so good, she did everything she was supposed to do but unfortunately at the end, when you hurt your butthole, you can’t do nothing about it.
Miro went on to discuss Lana’s longevity and versatility in the business. He reiterated that the Tables match was her best to date and didn’t have any criticism to offer when Lana asked for it. He added that he doesn’t know if there’s anybody else who could execute all the different storylines and situations that Lana has had to take on over the years.
And I’m so proud of her do anything, she wouldn’t let anybody stop her, because that’s what she does. You ask her for something and she will give you 110,000 percent, and that’s why I love her so much.
** Big E shared a preview of his forthcoming WWE 24 special:
— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) February 18, 2021
** NWA World Television Champion ‘Da Pope’ Elijah Burke appeared on The Wrestling’s Cool podcast. Pope shared his thoughts on WWE’s commentary teams and feels that everyone sounds the same. He feels that Samoa Joe stands out but added that he thinks Vince McMahon is in Joe’s ear telling him to turn it up.
Especially the guys is in my ear! What is he gonna do!?’ And you know Vince is in his ear I guess because first, Samoa Joe was just Samoa Joe. ‘Oh good move there,’ blah, blah, blah but now if you listen to Samoa Joe on Raw, he’s amped up a lot now and that’s because Vince is in his ear saying, ‘Come on Joe! Give me some more! Give me some more!’
Pope was in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling at the same time with Sting. He recalled having conversations with Sting about taking up the opportunity to head to WWE sooner than he did.
Elijah Burke was on WrestleMania and there are legends who have made this business what it is and they never had that moment. That’s why I was so happy for Steve , a.k.a. Sting. That’s why I was so happy for Sting. I remember us talking in TNA and every year when he was re-signing that contract I was there, he was saying, ‘Ah, they want me to come up there to WWE.’ I’m like, ‘Bro look, Steve, you got to do this. Like you have to –’ and he would just, he was so reluctant but I’m like, ‘You gotta do this bro.’
In October of 2020, Pope defeated Zicky Dice to become NWA Television Champion. He spoke about what that meant to him and seeing the great deal of support he had on social media coming out of it.
Well ole’ Zicky . Well, I’ll tell you what, it was a very good moment, a good feeling to walk away with the NWA Television Title, especially because of what that title means to me and the history of professional wrestling. But that good — you might be over there going, ‘Wait, just a good moment?’ Yeah, it was a very good moment but that good moment became great. It became great when I got back to the hotel room and I saw the adulation and the joy and just the overall support that I was receiving from around the world and it was just so much that it became overwhelming. It was so much that it just blew me away and I have a great following that I’ve amassed over 17 years but when that championship happened, the change happened, when Pope walked out the victor, oh man, there were so many people hitting Pope up. I’ll just talk about Twitter specifically right now. It was so many people flooding the inbox that Twitter contacted me and asked me do I want them to control it and start filtering the messages because it was just that many. So that’s when the moment became really great. That’s when it sat in, that’s when I realized, ‘Okay, this is something here’ and I’m just so happy for all of my supporters, all of my followers, the congregation as I call them, Da Pope’s Point of Viewers. I’m more happy for them, all of those people who have supported me over the years and they’ve known I was supposed to be a champion in ECW, I was supposed to be a champion in TNA, so they don’t have to worry about saying ‘if’ or what should’ve happened because all of that just made this moment that more sweeter.
** Scheduled for the 2/25 edition of NXT UK on the WWE Network is Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) defending their NXT UK Tag Titles against Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker). In two weeks, Kay Lee Ray is defending the NXT UK Women’s Championship against Meiko Satomura.
** Bianca Belair, Naomi, Kayla Braxton and Stephanie McMahon took part in The Female Quotient’s ‘Women in the Business of Sports’ panel.
** Gabbi Tuft, the former Tyler Reks made a successful gender transition and has been making the media rounds. One of the outlets she spoke to was SLAM Wrestling. Gabbi shared that the likes of Brian Myers, Fandango, Natalya and TJ Wilson reached out to her when the news was made public.
Absolutely! It’s not on a daily basis by any means, but the occasional text here and there, the Christmas text, the birthday text. Just checking in, ‘I saw your video’ sort of thing. Amazingly, when the news broke about my transition, I was elated to Hawkins… first person to text me from the business. I think, if I remember right, it was just three blue hearts was all he sent, and it was just enough for me to know that he cared.
Fandango reached out to me, ummm … gosh! Tons of guys from the business. T.J. (Tyson Kidd), Nattie (Natalya) were all commenting and just showing their support. There was a flood of amazing support. Fandango reached out. He and I used to tag back in FCW and he’s like a brother to me, so he reached out and he was like, ‘Congratulations. I fully support you.’
In 2012, Gabbi was granted her release from WWE. She said it was a positive exchange as she simply asked and it was given to her.
There really wasn’t a hard part for me. It was all positive. Here’s a great little anecdote: I went to RAW the next day after SummerSlam, and I asked for my release there, and they were super polite about it, they said ‘Absolutely.’ I drove home that night, it was about a three-hour drive, went to sleep, saw my family in my home. It was amazing. The next day, my daughter took her first steps. So, there’s no negative. I mean … I missed … I will say this. I missed being in the ring. Being in the ring is like a drug, it’s very addicting. There’s 10,000 people in every arena, millions on TV and it’s a really amazing feeling. There is a lot of adrenaline, and I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie (laughs), and I miss that. But the joy of being with my family and being with my daughter and my wife on a daily basis was overwhelmingly greater than being in the ring.
** NXT talent Rinku Singh chatted with Times Of India and briefly reflected on his experience in WWE thus far:
I want the youths of our country to learn from my example, when a son of a truck driver can bring laurels to the country, why can’t they? I signed the contract with WWE in 2018. On May 31, 2018, I made my first debut at a NXT live event in Tampa but lost. I trained rigorously and won a championship in the WWE Superstar Spectacle show in January this year.
** Ring of Honor uploaded Jay Lethal’s first ROH World Championship win to their YouTube channel.
Below is the lineup for STARDOM’s 10th Anniversary Show on March 3rd:
– High Speed Championship: AZM (c) vs. Natuspoi
– Goddesses of STARDOM Championship: Maika & Himeka (c) vs. Natsuko Tora & Saki Kashima
– All Star Rumble
– Momo Watanabe vs. Nanae Takahashi
– SWA World Championship: Syuri (c) vs. Konami
– Mayu Iwatani vs. Yoshiko
– World of STARDOM Championship: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs. Saya Kamitami
– Wonder of STARDOM Championship — Hair vs. Hair Match: Giulia (c) vs. Tam Nakano
** Cody and Brandi Rhodes did an interview with US Weekly about their baby gender reveal.
** Tom Lawlor was a guest on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast. He stated that he’s hoping his ‘Filthy Island’ edition of MLW FUSION performed well so that it can become a regular part of MLW programming.
** Joey G of Wrestling Headlines conducted an interview with ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey. Mike was asked about the next steps in his in-ring career and the possibility of working with any of the major companies. He said there’s no definitive answer right now but he does have friends that he wants to work with in those respective places.
That is something that I have been asked many times and I ask myself as well…I think there is no answer. I have friends right now and people I want to work with in all the major promotions. Of course there’s a lot of pros to AEW and there’s a lot of pros to NXT.. there’s also a lot of pros to Ring of Honor. Same with IMPACT, who I think have been putting out a phenomenal product for the past several years, and everyone I know that works there seems happy. Everyone who is wrestling at a major company seems happy right now. I’ve never been one to shut my doors or limit my options. Over the last five years I’ve had to redirect my career and I’ve been traveling internationally…I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan, in Europe, doing indies in Canada. I’ve been teaching wrestling as well and that is something I love to do. So I consider all those perfectly, perfectly cromulent options going forward. I could teach full-time or I could keep traveling, or I can go to Japan full-time, or I can sign with any major company. Whatever makes the most sense at the time is what I will do.
** Shotzi Blackheart was the most recent guest on the Wilde On podcast.
** Renee Paquette joined Sam Roberts on his podcast and jokingly stated that she hoped to get pregnant while doing commentary for WWE just so that she could be taken off commentary.
I always figured I would be pregnant on commentary. I actually — there’s an inside scoop for you Sam Backstage and yeah, just get to be pregnant on TV. I’m glad I got to get a little — and I’m only halfway there, so if I get to do something else between now and June, everybody look out.
** Homicide vs. Satoshi Kojima from ROH Final Battle 2003.
** WWE’s Mojo Rawley chatted with JJ Montoya, a teacher based in Phoenix, Arizona.
** Snickers is going to be the presenting sponsor for WrestleMania 37.
** Wrestling Inc. ran their interview with Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez.
** The latest episode of Battle of the Brands with Xavier Woods and Tyler Breeze.
** Ring of Honor posted Kellyanne’s latest blog onto their site.
** The Undertaker talked to TMZ about WWE’s partnership with Make-A-Wish.
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.