POST NEWS UPDATE: Jake Lee comments on his arrival to NOAH, when he first thought about leaving AJPW

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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.

** At Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘The New Year’, Jake Lee arrived to the promotion and prior to his match on 1/8, NOAH pushed out the written version of their interview with Lee. When asked about his decision to come to NOAH, Lee simply said it looked interesting. He added that he first thought about leaving AJPW several years ago but wondered what role he could play in their 50th anniversary which was in 2022.

It was very simple, it looked interesting (is why I joined NOAH). I didn’t want to leave it up to the imagination… that was the main reason.

Two or three years ago (was when I first thought about leaving AJPW), but at the same time, I was always thinking about what role I could play in the 50th anniversary of All Japan Pro-Wrestling. I thought I would have to wait until then to find out, but on the 50th anniversary, I thought, I want to wrestle a variety of wrestlers.

The topic of factions in NOAH came up. Jake did mention the ‘Kongo’ faction but thinks it would be a mess if he joined because there’s so many people in the group.

Well, if I joined Kongo, it would just be a mess with so many people, but I’m not sure about other units.

** The ‘Alliance Pro Wrestling Network’ spoke to Mickie James ahead of IMPACT Wrestling Hard To Kill. James told the outlet that if the title versus career match with Jordynne Grace is her last as an active in-ring performer, she’d be okay with it because she’s going out on her own terms.

I will say that Jordynne [Grace] has been a remarkable champion. I think she’s the perfect representation of this generation of women’s wrestling. I think that she is, you know, held onto that championship very, very strongly and gracefully if I will (James smiled) and she’s a wonderful representation of the brand and a wonderful representation of that Knockouts World Title and what that division represents. So, I would never take that away from her. I know she’s done it the right way and she’s worked really hard to be the champion and to keep that championship and hold it close and so I know it means a lot to her. But it also means a lot to me, my career means a lot to me and it would mean a lot to me to have one more championship run, but if this is the way it has to end, I’d be okay with that too just because, you know, I could go out my way, and I’m okay with that.

As far as a career behind the scenes goes, James could see herself in that role. She added that she would like to pursue that after she’s done in the ring. She does not want to be in that role while still being active because she wouldn’t want her colleagues to think she has ulterior motives by being a player-coach.

I’ve been studying — and even when I was at WWE, I was working behind the scenes and I was studying commentary, from being a commentator to training to, you know, different things within the industry that I could be more well-rounded in the business of professional wrestling. But I feel like my strengths have always been my creativity and I’m a creative person, that’s why I write. I write songs and I draw and I doodle and I’m an artist, I’ve always been an artist and I always considered wrestling a form of art and artwork but I feel like where my strengths would really be is to help people find that thing about themselves and those — whether it’d be creative-wise or character-wise because that’s what I fell in love with when I fell in love with professional wrestling. I fell in love with the characters, I fell in love with the stories, I fell in love with that over the top, larger than life kind of look at life and if I can help some people tap into that and find that for themselves, that would be pretty amazing. So yeah, I think behind the scenes is a natural fit for me at some point and just creative endeavors but, I don’t know. I don’t know if the company feels that way or other companies. I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable and that’s kind of another thing, I would not feel comfortable stepping into a role like that unless I was done wrestling because you never wanna blur that line of player-coach. I think that’s a very fine line and I’d want the women to respect me, or men, because I could coach men as well. I would want them to respect me and not think that my motive wasn’t genuine, and so that’s kind of my thing is I don’t wanna switch into a coach role until I’m not one of the players anymore.

Either Mickie or Jordynne’s next challenger will be determined at Hard To Kill via a four-way number one contenders match. One of the competitors in that bout is Masha Slamovich. Mickie would not mind facing Masha and brought up that she was the one who suggested the idea of Masha coming into IMPACT Wrestling.

And I’ve never faced Masha Slamovich and if we go back in time and rewind… it was I who brought Masha over as my ‘Pick Your Poison’ against Deonna [Purrazzo] for the Knockouts Knockdown pay-per-view. I scoped her for [NWA] EmPowerrr and I was so impressed, I was so impressed with her prior to her even coming to EmPowerrr and then, you know, with her performance there, obviously then I scoped her again and asked her if she would be willing to be in my ‘Pick Your Poison’ match and to see her step into the IMPACT roster and really carve out this niche for herself and really define who Masha Slamovich is in the locker room but also in the world of women’s wrestling, it’s been amazing, it’s been amazing to see and I think she’d be a tough opponent but I’d really like to face her. I think she’d challenge me in different ways that I’ve never been challenged before and I like that.

** On episode #94 of The Kurt Angle Show, Kurt commented on the Bryan Danielson versus MJF 60-minute Iron Man match that is potentially happening at AEW Revolution. Kurt knows Danielson will do well but questioned how MJF will hold up.

Wow, wow, that’s gonna be good (Bryan Danielson vs. MJF in an Iron Man match at AEW Revolution). I don’t know how MJF’s gonna hold up but I know Daniel Bryan will do pretty well.

Elsewhere during the conversation, Angle said he does not see a reason why Chris Jericho should not continue being pushed and winning a lot of matches in AEW. He feels that the young talent can be put over, but Jericho should be put over as well because he’s in his prime.

Chris Jericho’s a huge star. He should always be in the main event and he should be winning a lot of matches. It’s not like he’s past his prime, he’s still going as well as he ever has and as long as he’s doing that, you need to continue to push him. There’s no reason to stop pushing him because he’s getting older and you want the young guys to go over. You can get the younger guys over and Chris, you got to get Chris over too because he’s still in his prime.

Circling back to the topic of Bryan Danielson, Kurt described him as most versatile wrestler he’s ever seen.

Oh yeah, Daniel Bryan is top three (opponents I wanted to share the ring with in a singles match). I have never seen a wrestler as versatile. You talk about Dolph [Ziggler] being versatile, Daniel Bryan is the most versatile wrestler I’ve ever seen.

The topic of the podcast episode was Kurt’s time in Saudi Arabia via WWE. He had an in-ring interaction with Elias and Kurt said he would’ve loved to work a program with Elias.

No (there was not any talk about me working with Elias in WWE) but I would have loved it. I loved his character, his gimmick, he’s a great worker, he’s from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I would have loved working with Elias. He’s really talented.

** The latest episode of Talk Is Jericho featured Jeff Jarrett as the special guest. Chris Jericho shared that AEW President Tony Khan liked Jeff and Jay Lethal as a tandem in Ric Flair’s Last Match and that might have sparked the idea for him to pair them together in AEW.

Jericho: I know for sure because Tony [Khan] saw you [Jeff Jarrett] in the match with [Jay] Lethal against [Ric] Flair and Andrade [El Idolo] in Flair’s Last Match. He really liked the combination of you and Jay and I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re doing this is you had such a good showing in that match.

Jarrett recapped the 2022 that he had. He stated that he did not expect to be performing for AEW in the ring as consistently as he is. Jarrett also mentioned that there were changes to Flair’s Last match as it was supposed to be a singles match, then it was changed to a traditional tag and then a six man tag a traditional two-on-two was settled on.

Jarrett: Absolutely not (Jarrett said when asked if he was expecting to be in the ring for AEW consistently). This entire year Chris [Jericho], 2022, is kind of bizarre. To kind of get a set point, back in 2021, coming out of the pandemic and everything with it, I just kind of, one morning — I’ve always worked out and gone to the gym and all that but I’ve never had a trainer and my buddy who trains [Tennessee] Titans and [Nashville] Preds to music stars, we just started, almost like we do in the business, a running joke. He’s like, ‘I’m gonna start training you and you’re really gonna get in shape.’ Finally, I said, ‘All right, I’m gonna take you up on that offer’ and so I just — no real focus of, hey man, I’m gonna get in the best shape I possibly can and then in the beginning of [2022], Game Changer Wrestling, they had reached out, did the Hammerstein Ballroom and then NWA, ‘Hey, special referee. Crockett Cup is in Nashville’ and then that and then, took a summer internship at your former employer. No, that’s what I call it because it was only about 100 days (Jeff Jarrett’s SVP of Live Events job at WWE), 100 day bid but anyway, did that, live events and then we all know their regime change and all that but I did SummerSlam and then Conrad [Thompson] and Ric Flair’s Last Match… ol’ Double J was kind of option B and C. Going into it, it was gonna be a single and then a tag and then a six-man and all kinds of different scenarios but then it just fell in place and did the Ric Flair Last Match and then yeah, out of the blue, just kind of started having conversations with the place you built, the house that Jericho built… But no, all kidding aside, that was all on, I guess you could say my day job, the Director of Business Developmental. Very familiar with Universal Studios, obviously the live event business, I’m a third-generation promoter, I got some international projects that have been in the works. Some for three or four, five years. Others been going about 12 months so those conversations took place and then like you said, funny thing on the way to the bread store, ‘Hey man, do you wanna put on your boots again?’ And here we are. It’s kind of crazy.

In 2002, Jarrett along with his father created what is now known as IMPACT Wrestling. Jeff expressed how proud he is that the company is still operating. He added that it was not always the smoothest relationship between him and those who were in power over the years.

Jarrett: Sure I do (take pride in IMPACT Wrestling still going). It’s like a kid that you raised and not on the best speaking terms. In 2017, I’ll take all the blame or as much blame as needed but I do have a lot of pride, and from a professional point of view, look, TBS and TNT are top-five networks. We got on Spike in the Viacom family. Spike was probably the fourth network and the MTV, VH1, they were kind of the red-headed step child if you will. I think we are a top 25 cable network. Not b*tching but, we got really successful. It took us a lot longer than three years, but you know, we were making $6, $8 million dollars a year, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09 so really built that thing, kind of got it rocking and rolling and kind of dated you [Chris Jericho] on a Cheesecake Factory one time. But no, we had built that thing up so from a professional point of view, Jill [Jarrett] passed away in ‘07 and that was, from a personal point of view, dark times. Professionally, just the opposite Chris. It was something that still to this day, very proud of. We got that thing rocking and rolling and then it became, ‘Oh, that looks easy…’ And me and Dixie [Carter] got sideways and look, I’ll take my responsibility. I didn’t deal with everything perfectly. There’s a lot of blame to go around but those times are very good and in 2013 when me and Toby [Keith] couldn’t back buy controlling interest, I just knew the writing on the wall that it wasn’t sustainable in the current model and so, that’s when I resigned and left and gave Global Force and we’re gonna tell that story coming up… And then in 2017 but they just had their 20th anniversary, IMPACT, because that’s your question is that yeah, it’s cool. That library from [Ric] Flair, Hogan, Hardys, you name it. Name after name after name.

** Former NXT UK talent Saxon Huxley sat down with SO CATCH by Hal 2 for an interview. As their conversation progressed, the question came up of did WWE ‘kill’ the independent scene via NXT UK. Huxley does not feel that way but understands why some might say that. He feels WWE took a bunch of talents in and trained them in the best way possible and present day, some are able to take what they learned from WWE and bring it back to the independents.

Nah, I don’t see it like that (WWE ‘killed’ the U.K. independent scene). I can understand why some people see it like that but, I think if you look at the bigger picture and zoom out, I think they created something. They created the Performance Center in the United Kingdom. I think they took a bunch of those, myself included, we got trained in just the best possible way by the best people and we were, at the time, we were going out and integrating what we learned with the scene. I think now, there’s a lot of us who can sort of help the scene and work with people again so I think just long-term, I think it actually could help. I don’t see it like they ‘killed’ the scene.

And I think a lot of the same when people say — if people say WWE killed the scene, I don’t see it like that. I think the scene was still loud. It just needed the promoters and the bookers to be able to organize and on the right wavelength.

I think just having WWE putting their stamp and training a lot of people in the U.K. is only gonna make everyone a better wrestler, and professionalism and presentation and performing.

Huxley signed with WWE in 2017. He reflected on how special of a moment in time that was for him to sign his first contract with WWE.

It meant everything to me (signing with WWE). NXT UK obviously was a part of WWE so as a kid watching wrestling, when I started wrestling, I always aspired to get to that company and sometimes, timing is everything in wrestling and it just so happened that I was around when they were forming the first U.K. Championship tournament and that was the foot in the door and it meant everything, it was fantastic to be signed there.

** While speaking to TMZ Sports, Paul Wight expressed that Mercedes Moné would be a tremendous asset to any company that could secure her contract-wise. He said he did not have anything to add about the rumor of her coming to All Elite Wrestling.

I think she’d [Mercedes Moné] be a tremendous asset to any company to have her. I mean, she’s definitely a star and has an incredible fan following and I think any company would be glad to have her.

Dude, you’re talking to me (about the rumor of her coming to AEW)? What do I know? I’m a commentator on Dark: Elevation. My name’s Paul and that’s between y’all.

She’d be a great asset for any company that could secure her for a contract.

** Bushiroad will be hosting a 2023 presentation. NJPW’s Hiroshi Tanahashi is going to be in attendance.

** Hiroshi Tanahashi is helping promote the ‘MEGA BIG’ lottery in Japan. There is up to 700 million yen up for grabs.

** A talk show was held in Tokyo, Japan to further promote KENTA’s autobiography.

** Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘Reboot’ Results (1/8/23) Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
– Shuhei Taniguchi def. Taishi Ozawa
Scramble Shuffle Tag Tournament Semifinal: Katsuhiko Nakajima & Seiki Yoshioka def. Atsushi Kotoge & Manabu Soya
Scramble Shuffle Tag Tournament Semifinal: Satoshi Kojima & Shuji Kondo def. Masakatsu Funaki & YO-HEY
– Dante Leon def. Yasutaka Yano
– Daiki Inaba & Masa Kitamiya def. Sugiura-gun (Takashi Sugiura & Timothy Thatcher)
– AMAKUSA & Ninja Mack def. Kongo (Hi69 & Tadasuke)
– Kongo (Hajime Ohara & Kenoh) def. Masato Tanaka & Shoki Kitamura
– Alejandro, Junta Miyawaki & Naomichi Marufuji def. Eita, El Hijo del Dr. Wagner Jr. & Yoshinari Ogawa
– Jack Morris & Jake Lee def. Kaito Kiyomiya & Yoshiki Inamura
Scramble Shuffle Tag Tournament Final: Katsuhiko Nakajima & Seiki Yoshioka def. Satoshi Kojima & Shuji Kondo

** Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling ‘City Circuit Winter’ Results (1/8/23) Okayama Convention Center in Okayama, Japan
– Moka Miyamoto def. HIMAWARI
– Mizuki def. Kaya Toribami
– Hikari Noa & Nao Kakuta def. Pom Harajuku & Raku
– Trish Adora def. Hyper Misa
– Miu Watanabe & Suzume def. Mahiro Kiryu & Maki Ito
– Wasteland War Party (Heidi Howitzer & Max The Impaler) def. Arisu Endo & Yuka Sakazaki
– Shoko Nakajima & Yuki Aino def. Rika Tatsumi & Yuki Kamifuku

** Busted Open Radio welcomed NXT’s Grayson Waller onto the show.

** Alicia Atout has an interview with Alan Angels on her YouTube channel.

** Jurn Simmons has been added to the wXw 16 Carat Gold tournament field.

** January 8th birthdays: Bad Luck Fale.

** Sendai Girls’ ‘Step & Go’ Results (1/8/23) Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan
– Yurika Oka def. Ai Houzan
– Miyuki Takase def. Sakura Hirota
– Hiroyo Matsumoto & Mio Momono def. Manami & Nanami
– Mika Iwata vs. Ryo Mizunami – Time Limit Draw (15:00)
– Chihiro Hashimoto & Yuu def. ASUKA & Saori Anou by count out

** The ‘Generation Of Wrestling’ podcast has an interview with Mickie James on their podcast feed.

** IMPACT World Champion Josh Alexander was interviewed by Lucha Libre Online.

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.