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.
** John Cena’s relationship with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was discussed in detail during Cena’s appearance on Josh Horowitz’s ‘Happy Sad Confused’ podcast. Present day, Cena says the relationship is in a good place but there is one blemish when he got selfish and called Johnson out for what he thought could be a marquee match that could better WWE’s business. Along the way, Cena mentioned Dave Bautista as someone who made it okay to be a wrestler in Hollywood.
He went on to detail what he told The Rock’s mother after WrestleMania 28 and shared that she forgave him for the things he said on the lead up to the match. After that, Cena went to Johnson’s dressing room and told him the same thing he told his mother. Going into their rematch at WrestleMania 29, Cena realized how wrong his initial perspective was.
So, I would like to think in my perspective that we (myself & Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) always have been good, except for one little patch, where I really messed up. I got selfish and me living WWE at that point and not having any concept of growth or someone else’s perspective, I took Dwayne’s comments as not genuine and my view was if you love something, be there every day. What a hypocrite I am because I still love WWE and I can’t go all the time and I just didn’t see that. I was so selfish, and I had his number and we could’ve talked about it going, hey man, I’d like to try and do this thing to hook you back in and maybe we can collaborate and really make it big. I was like, F this. I’m just calling this dude out. This is a moment, he gave me an opening, I’m gonna kick the door in and I was diligent and I understand why he got upset, because he’s changing the perception of the industry. Him, Dave Bautista. Dave made it okay to be in WWE. WWE has had that ‘carnival performer’ stereotype and pro wrestlers have had that carny stereotype for so long and these guys are breaking down barriers and shattering ceilings and on top of that, just transcending the art form and I just got selfish and wanted a main event marquee match because it would better what I thought was the business and that’s short-sighted and selfish. It worked. But it worked at the cost of two people who communicated and almost put it in jeopardy and there was a moment when there was a lot of bad vibes between us and rightfully so because Dwayne came back and he wanted to give to the business, openly and as what he could. He has a great perception of WWE and understands that you build equity, you go to something else and you pass the torch. You give away all your electricity as he would say and he was trying to do that on his own terms and I wasn’t having any of it and we made some great TV. So much so as that one dude (in the audience) wants to see it again. But, it was almost at the cost of our friendship, which I would like to say now is in a really good place. Well, I think step one of any conflict is to somehow find your fault. It’s my fault and I knew exactly what I was doing and I also knew I had to punch up to his level. He came in-in a league of his own and to make sure that it’s like Mike Tyson-Muhammad Ali, I gotta be Mike Tyson and Rock was like Ali and I was like some scrub like Glass Joe from Punch-Out!! I had to punch my way up and I had to do it by really, really blurring the lines of collaborative work which is if we’re in the WWE and we have a match, I assume that we’re gonna perform, just like stunts in a movie, and our concern is to safely do the show, that’s the magic and the magic is to be able to do it again and again and again. You trust your performer. Nothing’s different when you verbally have issues with each other. It’s all in good fun and it’s all for the business but you’re supposed to have trust with each other and I violated his trust and as soon as the event in Miami was over and I think then, then I’m thinking for Dwayne but I can only think his perspective began to be like, woah, he — first of all, I lost, I finished second and second of all, I tried to lose with as much humility as possible. There’s an iconic shot of me on one knee, just with the WrestleMania garb around me and me with the worst look on my face like I just lost the biggest moment of my life which I did and then right after that, the first thing I did is I went to Dwayne’s mom and I gave her a big hug and I said, ‘I know you were brought up in this business. I hope you can understand my perspective because I said some bad things to make you feel bad about me and I said some bad things about your son and I hope that what you just saw in our performance, you understand that my goal was simply to sell tickets and do business’ and she forgave me right there and then as soon as that embrace broke, it was right at Rock’s dressing room and I went right into Rock and I said the exact same thing and it’s only when we started the build up for New York that I got to look myself in the mirror deeper and was like, I was wrong. Not only did I hope he’d understand my perspective, but a year later, I knew that my perspective was wrong and yes, it worked and yes, we sold tickets and yes, people loved it and they chose sides and it was a real polarizing event. We could’ve done that with everybody working together and playing nice and that was my fault.
As Cena was speaking about his acting career, he recalled being told in 2009 that he would never work in movies again. He feels he deserved to hear that because he did not want to be filming while in the thick of his career in WWE.
In 2009, I was told I would never work in movies again… And by the way, I earned that. Have you seen some of that stuff? And you’re (podcast host) being nice. ‘You weren’t set up with the right position.’ No, I didn’t like making movies, because I was a young man going from town to town and audiences were berserk and I could go around the world. I’d be to Moscow and Tokyo and Deli, you name it, everywhere and the same thing happens. Music hits, people go nuts, 25 minutes later, I’m like, ‘We’re gonna do it again tomorrow night, right?’ And I would and then I got plucked from that thing that I was gaining fluency in and that I really enjoyed, that energy I really enjoyed and I got put in an environment where it’s like, we’re here for 12 hours and we’re gonna do the same conversation for 12 hours and then we’re gonna do it tomorrow, for 12 hours and all the while I’m thinking like, ah! The guys are in Boise. I wanna be at the show. It found me at the wrong time in my life but you say we learn through failure. Boy oh boy, am I grateful for every single time I can do something like this, every single frame I’m involved in because I was told that I’d never do it again. I was told that I wasted my opportunity and I did, I wasted it and that was a watershed moment for me in WWE too when they almost fired me. I got the job by accident but I kept it through persistence and then I couldn’t connect with you guys. When I started, you guys weren’t buying what I was selling and WWE was gracious enough to be like, ‘We’re going to let you go. We’d like you go on this last tour with us’ and that’s when I was like, I have nothing to lose. The guys are rapping in the back of the bus. I’m going to join. So I just kept to myself, I didn’t wanna rock the boat. But it’s about being vulnerable enough to express a piece of yourself where you can connect and be like, that’s my guy or F that guy. So in both instances, it took me losing the opportunity and in ‘09 when they said, ‘You’re out,’ then you circle the wagons. You’re like, oh, what can I do? I’ll read the news which I did. I’ll host events, which I did. I’ll do live audience participation TV shows, which I did. I’ll do voiceover work, which I did and then somebody saw a special and was like, ‘I’d like him to audition,’ for a small role and I did… I did (do a bunch of bad direct-to-DVD movies) and that’s why I got run out of town. I just told you I did (Cena smiled).
During the Q&A portion of the show, Cena was asked if he plans to make another music album. He said that is not happening but he’s very proud of his sole project and described it as ‘lighting in a bottle’.
So no (I have no plans on making another album). Nope. That was lightning in a bottle and I’m very proud of that project, I really am. But, I think that chapter in my life is closed and I’m grateful for it and I’m kind of moving forward with other stuff… Wait one second. I want you guys to drink this in because this is what a platinum rapper looks like (Cena got up from his seat & the crowd applauded). Thank you.
** On the latest Something to Wrestle with podcast, Bruce Prichard spoke about the shoulder surgery he planned on having this spring. He eventually wants to get it done but does not have the time.
This arm doesn’t go up much. Yeah (I’m going to get it fixed). Eventually. I’m trying to rehab it now. Not going so well but in my mindset, I don’t have time to get surgery.
One of the questions presented to Prichard during the episode was if Paul Wight (Big Show) versus Stone Cold Steve Austin was going to be the original main event for WrestleMania 2000. Prichard thought that was the logical way to go at the time but doesn’t think Vince McMahon envisioned that headlining WrestleMania.
False (that the original main event for WrestleMania 2000 was Steve Austin versus Paul Wight). That’s one that I definitely thought we should have gone with. You know, from Big Show’s debut, I thought that was logical. But I don’t think that Vince (McMahon) ever really saw that… I thought that-that was the logical way to go but that wasn’t in the cards.
** Carlito was the focus of a Q&A session at For the Love of Wrestling (via Monopoly Events). He mentioned that initially, The Undertaker did not like him when they were in WWE together, but Carlito eventually won him over.
Luckily, I’m second generation so I kind of knew from the first day I got there (WWE), how to manage myself in the locker room so I never really had issues like that. I know Undertaker didn’t like me at first, but I think — we’re in Puerto Rico one time and we’re at the casino table and I had him rolling and then after that, he said, ‘Alright, this guy’s a loudmouth but I kind of like him.’
** Guest appearing on The Shining Wizards podcast was Bad Luck Fale. He looked back on his matches against Shinsuke Nakamura in NJPW that resulted in several IWGP Intercontinental Title changes between them. Fale feels Nakamura carried him and made him a star. Fale feels that after their series of matches, he peaked and fell into a space of wondering where he goes after achieving his goal of becoming a top champion. He added that he then began to focus on his wrestling school and behind the scenes work.
Going back to the (IWGP) Intercontinental belt, back then, I was still green, I had no idea what I was doing and thankfully, Shinsuke Nakamura was such a pro. He carried me and basically turned me into a superstar in Japan because of winning that belt. At the time, it was actually higher than the actual IWGP (Heavyweight) belt and that belt was main evented at the Wrestle Kingdom so, for me to win it off him was huge. It catapulted me to a top guy level in Japan so, special moment but at the same time, it kind of took me to that level where I thought I had achieved the highest I could so after that, it was kind of like, what’s next? Which happens to a lot of people who aim high and then once they get there, they get bored and there’s nothing else to do so, I fell into that trap where I got there and I thought, well what the hell do I do now? Because I achieved the highest thing I could and at the same time, it kind of turned me towards doing my school and running promotions and running shows which was a different challenge in itself.
Speaking about BULLET CLUB, Fale named Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga and Luke Gallows as underappreciated members of the group. Fale would have liked to see Anderson lead the group and called him selfless. When it comes to Tama, Fale reiterated a sentiment he previously made about it being difficult for people of color to climb the ranks in Japan.
There’s three (underappreciated members of BULLET CLUB that I can think of). I’d say (Luke) Gallows, (Karl) Anderson and Tama (Tonga). Anderson, when he was still there, I would have loved to see him in the front and that guy is one of, to me, the most selfless guys out there because when he comes out with you in a match, he does nothing but tell everybody in the world that you’re the best wrestler in the world and he’s a great worker too, you know? He taught me a lot throughout the years but I would have liked to have seen him go further while he was in New Japan. Also, Tama Tonga. Tama, great athlete. But, like me and people like me and Tama, it’s very hard to get ahead in Japan because of the certain you know what, but it’s easier for other people to get ahead just because of it but, that’s how it goes in Japan.
Currently positioned as the leader of BULLET CLUB is David Finlay. Fale hopes Finlay can move the group forward over the next few years and then they’ll see where it goes from there.
I give him (David Finlay) a lot of props because he’s coming out with something different and straight away, I was like, what is he trying to do? But then I thought, man, because he’s doing something different, why not? Let’s see where he goes with it. I hope he carries it on and takes us or another two, three years and see what happens after that.
** There’s an interview on Stephanie Chase’s YouTube channel with Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable). They both spoke about incorporating Maxxine Dupri into their on-screen presentation and Otis says he’s having fun working with her.
Gable: What do I think (makes the ladies love Otis)? It must be the beard.
Otis: The beard. When I was a clean-shaven man, no girls were talking to me. Soon as I grew this out and hid my double chin, then they come a crawling.
Gable: When I first recruited him, that’s the first thing I did. I made him shave the beard and we never saw ladies come around but then, every once and a while, I slowly saw it creeping back out and now look at him.
Otis: Just something in the water in the US. I just love blondes. I don’t know. They just keep coming after me but yes, Maxxine (Dupri), very interesting how that came about and Maxxine is a very, very talented lady and we have a lot of fun working with her too.
In 2020, Otis won the men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match. He shared that he continuously dropped the briefcase when the final portion of the match was being filmed. Otis added that he thinks they were filming from 9 AM to 4 AM.
Otis: It was not told to me because the building was busy making sure it was good on the roof. It was a very windy night. So, we’re kind of shooting stuff and I couldn’t believe the stuff we were breaking in there. I mean, just fancy tables, desks, we broke Vince’s flexing mirror apparently in the gym… Well, hope not (that I wouldn’t get a bill for it) because my God and then Jamie Noble, one of the producers, he’s like, ‘Alright, you’re gonna do this and this and this’ and I go, ‘Does that mean I’m winning it?’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ I’m like, ‘Okay.’ So, very interesting. We had one take to do it, everyone’s a pro and we talked about it, this and that but it came down to the actual shot to catch it. I didn’t go through. Kept dropping it so I’m like, ‘No!’ A.J. (Styles), poor A.J., (Baron) Corbin’s up there teeter-tottering on this windy night and it was a long day. I think it was a, I mean honestly, 9 AM until 4 AM kind of a day where you’re just in your stuff all day walking around half naked in a very fancy place but that’s what it’s all about and it didn’t hit me until it was actually aired so, it’s kind of cool. We’ve seen that so many times, Money in the Bank opportunity and so, that’s definitely one notch on my belt where I’m like, oh, that’s kind of cool. Finally, Money in the Bank.
** Episode #300 of the Wrestling With Johners Podcast featured an interview with Nina Samuels. The former NXT U.K. talent dove into her road to being hired by WWE. The first NXT UK tapings she did, she was not under contract. After seeing other talents being offered deals, she sent an email to WWE and several weeks later, she was offered a deal. Before being full-time, Nina had a day job and her contract with that job did not allow her to take outside work, so she had to keep her opportunities with WWE private.
No, actually, I wasn’t signed (to WWE) until — my contract started at the end of September that year (2018) so, I did the first two tapings not under contract. A very frustrating time for me because some people were on contract and I was not (she laughed). So, whilst everyone else was finally getting to live the life that I set on living, you know, dedicating my life to being a professional athlete, I was still juggling my very, very demanding day job with those tapings and with my job that I had at the time, my contract said I wasn’t allowed to have another job. So, working for WWE was kept very secret so it was almost like I was leading a kind of double life at the time trying to hide it from work. But, I remember after the second taping, some other girls had been offered contracts at that taping and (I) still hadn’t been. So I remember being very frustrated and sort of wondering and I think in my frustration, I just sent an email. I was like, ‘Look, what do I need to do?’ I was like, ‘I really wanna be part of this company. I’ve been putting in the work but right now,’ I said, ‘I can’t dedicate as much time as I want to-to this because I’m juggling a full-time job’ so I said, ‘What is it that I need to do?’ And they said, ‘We understand your position. Let us speak to Triple H’ and then it was a couple of weeks later that they decided they were going to offer me a contract so, had I (not) sent that email, I don’t know. Maybe it would’ve, maybe it wouldn’t have come. But, that’s why I always say to people that I coach, I’m like, ‘Shy kids get no sweets.’ It was a saying that a friend of mine used to say to me and yeah, I guess it’s another version of don’t ask, don’t get but, yeah, whether I sent the email or not, I don’t know. I like to say the contract would have come at some point but, yeah, I just wanted to stress to them that I wanna be putting in more work than I’m putting into but under our current agreement, I have to have another job and I can’t put in that work so, yeah, it was about September and yeah, I got the email while I was at work. Luckily, I was staying late and no one else was in the office, so no one could hear me squealing with excitement. But yeah, that was a really good moment for me and I think after that, I really felt like things were changing for me. I could really start working on my physique, start spending time on doing extra training overtime and so I felt like I’d really stepped up professionally from that point and really stuck with my craft.
After NXT U.K. went on hiatus and talents were released, Nina was contacted by Meiko Satomura. The two formed a friendship during their time together in WWE and Meiko offered to bring Nina to Japan to tour with Sendai Girls’.
So, I got quite close with Meiko Satomura during my time in NXT UK and I think about a week after the releases, I got a message saying, ‘I’d like to bring you to Japan’ so of course I leaped at the opportunity because there’s various different ways of going to Japan so (Pro Wrestling) EVE’s got their relationship with Tokyo Joshi Pro, there’s STARDOM as well so I knew — it was pretty much immediately after the releases. I was like, well now I can go to Japan. This is gonna make it worth it. So I was sort of thinking about what move I was gonna make and then Meiko messaged me and I was like, well this is perfect because I’ve got a great relationship with her already. The wrestlers in Sendai (Girls’) are incredible and I knew I’d be looked after by Meiko as well and you know, it helped that Millie (McKenzie) was gonna be going out at the same time so I was like, right, I’ve got a friend out there. So yeah, everything just seemed to align really and it was as much of, if not more of a dream than I thought it was gonna be. Honestly, one of the best times of my life.
** There’s an interview with Britt Baker on Jim Varsallone’s YouTube channel. She expressed that after her in-ring career is over, she’d like to contribute behind the scenes or try her hand at commentary.
I can’t imagine my life without having some sort of aspect of professional wrestling in it for a long, long time so even after my time in the ring is up, I always wanna be able to help behind the scenes so whether that’s hosting or producing or yeah, commentary. Commentary is no joke. That’s a tough job. Tony Schiavone would be mad at me if I act like commentary is just a breeze, a walk in the park. It’s very, very hard and it takes a long time to get good at. But I’d be up for anything because professional wrestling, there’s so many things that go on behind the curtain that people don’t understand how important it is to the success of the coach or our… even more producers. Even the crew, the stage, the lighting. It’s all so important and a lot of that goes unseen but it needs to be appreciated.
Yeah, well, I mean it was cool (to have the match on Dynamite with Julia Hart). I definitely didn’t expect to have that kind of match with Julia ever. But yeah, I mean, it’s fun. It’s one of those things where, to me personally, those kind of matches are the most fun and the most intense and kind of just a different beast in itself so to have that with Julia was kind of cool. I mean obviously, we’re not best friends now but, overall I’m happy with it and I think that it went okay besides me losing.
** It is official that The Pat McAfee Show is moving to ESPN.
Hello beautiful people…
We appreciate and love you all.. together we've truly changed the game.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 16, 2023
** After undergoing surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, Atsushi Onita has been discharged from the hospital.
** Kenny Omega was interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso.
** ESPN Gainesville WRUF welcomed Byron Saxton onto the show.
** There’s an interview with Zach Gowen on the MLive site.
** Taylor Wilde welcomed Janai Kai onto her Wilde On podcast.
** Former FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) President Steve Keirn was interviewed by Developmentally Speaking.
** May 16th birthdays: David Finlay & Omos.
** All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Yuma Aoyagi and Atsuki Aoyagi are competing in a tournament to crown the first UN Tag Team Champions in the Tenryu Project promotion.
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.