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.
** During a virtual signing with Golden Ring Collectibles, Josh Alexander shared that it was after the Iron Man match with TJP in mid-2021 that he was informed by the powers that be in IMPACT that he was being considered for the main event slot at Bound For Glory. Alexander headlined the event with Christian Cage but lost the IMPACT World Title to Moose at the conclusion of the show.
Everything just snowballed. There was no plan really when like, ‘They’re giving you the ball’ so to speak. ‘It’s up to you to drop it.’
Prior to Brandi Rhodes’ departure from AEW, she was involved with American Top Team’s Dan Lambert, Ethan Page and TNT Champion Scorpio Sky on-screen. In February, Brandi said to Page that AEW only hired him to get closer to Josh Alexander. Josh did not know that was coming but touched on the idea of him and Ethan Page facing FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) in the future.
No, not me at least for a while because I think that FTR match would be the one. Get me real interested so…
You got The Briscoes who I think are overlooked for their body of work… They’ve done so much but like, they’ve been off the radar a little bit I guess. But like, you go through the Bucks, you go through all this stuff and I’ve worked ‘em all, hopefully, and for me, I’ve never wrestled FTR but for watching as a fan, I think they’re the best tag team probably of all-time. They’re gonna be in the conversation.
At Slammiversary 2021, Alexander successfully defended the X Division Title in an Ultimate X match. He said he’s proud of that match and does not want to attempt to top it. Alexander added that his knee often swells up because of that match.
Dude, I’ve never probably been so excited to wrestle in a match because to me, Ultimate X is like the most revolutionary… there’s been a lot of bad ideas. We’re talking about like, whatever, the Punjabi Prison match and all this stuff. We’re just like, what are we doing? This is a cage. But the Ultimate X was actually innovative and revolutionary and you can do things you’ve never seen before because I’ve seen a million cage matches, TLC matches, this is something different so I was super excited and I had all these crazy ideas. Like I dreamt up that — we did like a human centipede ankle lock-thing. I dreamt that up years ago, and I was just like, ‘I bet I could do it’ and like, physically, it’s probably the most taxing gimmick match I’ve ever done in my life. My knee still swells all the time from that match, just from the way the rope was twisting on my calf, it’s weird, but like, yeah, it was super cool and it went as good as it possibly could and after that, I was just like I never wanna do another one because this one was so good, I don’t think I could do better, you know what I mean?
** In the main event of Pro Wrestling ZERO1’s 4/10 show, Shinjiro Otani suffered a cervical spinal cord injury and underwent surgery on 4/13. Yuji Nagata, who was in action on that 4/10 show, chatted with Tokyo Sports and told the outlet that he spoke with Otani before the match. Here’s Nagata’s recount of their conversation:
I had heard for five or six years that his neck was not in good shape. I asked him in the waiting room that day if he was going to be all right, and he said something like, ‘It’ll turn out the way it’s going to turn out.’ He had a tragic sense . I understand that he was that determined, but his physical condition didn’t keep up with him. I think he is really disappointed.
Nagata brought up the likes of Manabu Nakanishi and Tomoaki Honma who were able to return from similar injuries. Nagata added that he is not looking for Otani to return to in-ring competition anytime soon and wants him to relax.
I’m not going to tell you to return to competition now, so I want you to calm down. Miraculously, there are examples like Manabu Nakanishi, who has been active for nearly 10 years. I believe in you positively. I believe in the man who has been protecting the signboard of Zero One since the death of Shinya Hashimoto. I hope that he will just keep positive and do his best, because it is okay for him to vent his feelings. He is a man who will not be discouraged no matter how many times he is beaten.
** Closing out season three of Taylor Wilde’s ‘Wilde On’ podcast was WWE’s Natalya. During their chat, Natalya shouted out Sasha Banks and Bayley for going out of their way to help Bianca Belair while Belair was on the uptick in WWE. Natalya added that Belair is paying it forward by helping Liv Morgan and Doudrop progress.
Sasha , Bianca pay it forward to Doudrop.
Natalya then talked about her mindset when working with Shotzi and current free agent Tegan Nox when they were moved to the main roster in 2021. Natalya said she focused on how to make Nox and Shotzi look good.
Even when Tegan Nox was debuting last summer, I was like, what can I do to help Tegan shine? Even though we only had short — you know, SmackDown’s challenging because it’s the shorter show than Raw so you don’t entirely get as much TV time as Raw but, I remember when Shotzi and Tegan were first debuting against me and Tamina, I was like what can we do to help Tegan and Shotzi shine? I’m already established. I’ve already got hundreds and hundreds of wins. What can I do in this short amount of time to make sure that Tegan looks great or that Shotzi looks like she, you know, she’s a force to be reckoned with? Because I needed that so much when I was first debuting and I love being able to see other women, you know, get those moments. As long as, like you said, as long as they pay it forward.
As the conversation progressed, Natalya circled back around to Sasha Banks and how Banks pushes her to be better. She said Banks is a student of the game and heaped more praise on her for helping her colleagues.
She’s somebody that like, whenever she comes to train with me, she’s somebody that’s so inspiring. I love, love, love, love training with her. She always pushes you to wanna be better and she always wants to come up with innovative ideas and she’s truly a student of the game and I think that’s why she’s so good at what she does is because she’s always trying to be better, she’s trying to help the women that she’s working with be better and it’s really cool to see women that love this.
When Ronda Rousey first ventured into pro wrestling, she often trained with Natalya. Natalya looked back on helping Ronda during that time period. She spoke about Rousey’s growth since then and thinks Rousey has become very good at selling.
She shine, make sure that she shined, make sure that I’d shine so that we could have a good story and one of the things I think she’s so good at, I don’t even know if she realizes how good at it she is; she’s really good at selling and I think in order for babyfaces to be really good, to get connected to the audience, they have to know how to sell and Ronda, I think because she’s been through so much in her life, like her childhood was very hard and losing her dad at a very young age, her mom raising her as a single mom, she had a speech impediment until she was like eight or nine and I think she’s been through some really traumatic things in her life so she understands how to dig deep and make people feel something and I think now, even as a mom, you’re seeing a different layer of her.
** On September 3rd, WWE will be presenting a Premium Live Event from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. NXT UK’s Mark Andrews talked about the announcement during the season two finale of his ‘My Love Letter to Wrestling’ show. Andrews is a Cardiff native and is hoping NXT UK is represented in some form on the show. He admitted that he’d be hurt if that’s not the case.
Andrews: Ah, I hope so, I hope so . You know, it’s like one or the other. It’s no middle ground.
Joining Andrews for the season two finale was Austin Theory and Andrews also aired an interview he and his co-host recorded with Jeff Hardy while Hardy was still with WWE. Theory recapped his WrestleMania 38 experience and finding out he’d be taking a Stunner from Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Theory: I’m walking down the hall and this is the second day of WrestleMania, so we’re probably a few hours away from the show. Stone Cold is like getting ready to go on a golf cart because the arena’s so big so they’re just driving it around and he had somebody driving him around but he stopped and he was talking to someone and I was like, well, I gotta introduce myself. This is my first time meeting Stone Cold and I just introduced myself and everything and he hangs on to my hand and he looks me in the eyes and he’s like, ‘I’ll be seeing you later tonight’ and I was like, ‘What?’ I’m like, ‘What?’ It was pretty cool, and then a little bit later, I got pulled aside and was just told; it was like super private but basically what was gonna happen and I just like, ‘Wait, what? Like what’s going on?’
He was asked about the reaction backstage when talents and staff saw Vince McMahon after his attempt at taking the Stunner. Theory said members of the women’s division were teasing McMahon about it but overall, everyone was pleased with what Theory, McMahon, Steve Austin and Pat McAfee did.
Theory: So it was really cool. When Mr. McMahon walked to the back, everybody was screaming at him. I think it was a lot of the female wrestlers. They were just screaming at him, messing with him and you know, he was all like, ‘Okay, okay.’ Yeah, it was funny. It was like a proud — being proud of your dad. It was cool and then of course, you know, Pat comes through. Everybody was just proud of what we did out there and everybody enjoyed it and you know it went well when everybody in the back enjoys it but yeah, it was just awesome and even days after, I was — even still now, just hearing so much about it. You know you made that WrestleMania moment which is really cool to me.
Transitioning over to the Jeff Hardy portion of the show, he recalled the Ladder match for the Intercontinental Title that took place at Clash of Champions 2020. Jeff said the spot when a ladder was handcuffed to his earlobe was his idea. There was also a Swanton Bomb idea that Jeff had which was shut down.
Hardy: There was this one , that match, an extreme moment when the ladder got attached to my earlobe because I got the gauges and that was terrifying but it was my idea and the original idea was if I was going over, It’d be a heroic climb and somehow, they take each other out and I got it and I climb up there and get the belt with that thing in my ear or it could work either way. If I go under, I’ll just be stuck to the ladder with the ear connected but yeah, that was my idea and that came off but also in that match too, there was this crazy Swanton spot I wanted to do off the big post. You know, they are a lot bigger, the ones they normally use when they don’t have a Cage match but yeah, the ladder was set up super weird on the guardrail, diagonal and it was barely on there but in my mind I’m going, ‘It can work, it can work. I mean it’s gonna be rough for AJ but it can work, and I might break my back but it can work.’ But yeah, and it’s a pretty far distance I was going so yeah, they shut that down I think. I said, ‘Yeah, that was a good call.’
** Former WWE producer and coach Sarah Stock is returning to in-ring competition on April 29th. She’ll be competing in Mexico and ahead of her return, she joined D-Von Dudley’s Table Talk podcast and shared that she is training and living at Bandido’s gym.
I’m in Mexico City, in a dojo, Bandido’s gym. I’m living here with about 15 other dudes and I’ve got a ring and a gym right outside the door pretty much so yeah, it’s pretty much my ideal situation.
Stock looked back on her producer role with WWE. She coached in NXT for one year and spent the next five years on the main roster. She feels that her time in NXT was ‘super valuable’ and she carried those lessons over to Raw and SmackDown.
I don’t necessarily think it classes or sit in with Terry Taylor as he’s, you know, watching some videos with people and it’s like a huge learning experience for me too so, my time in NXT was super valuable, and I think I just took a lot of those lessons to Raw and SmackDown with me.
** In a recent media interview, John Cena heaped praise onto AEW’s Max Caster and Caster responded to Cena’s comments during a virtual signing with Golden Ring Collectibles. Caster said Cena is a big influence on him and the person who got him back into wrestling. He adds that it’s not about being better than Cena at rhyming, but it’s about paying homage.
That’s a great question . John has been very, very nice to me and when he didn’t need to. He reached out and he made that public so I’m allowed to say it now so he reached out and then he said things publicly about me in Forbes and that means a lot to me. So, it’s never been about beating him in a rap battle. It’s about trying to get past the point of people saying I’m a Thuganomics rip-off. Am I to an extent? Maybe. He’s a huge influence on me, one of my favorite wrestlers. The guy, I will say in 2004 that got me back into watching wrestling. So, I take that energy and propel it forward and say, maybe there’s people now in 2022, even last year who fell out of wrestling that they hear there’s this rapping guy on wrestling now and he does these disses and they are hilarious and you watch it and you say, ‘Oh, this is my guy.’ You listen to the mixtapes, songs or diss tracks that I put out, the music videos, you say, ‘Wow, this guy actually has some skill.’ So, to me it’s not about beating John at anything. It’s about paying homage, paying respect and elevating what he did and I think, by his own admission, that I’m there, I’m doing it and I hope to continue doing that.
** ROH Pure Champion and Blackpool Combat Club member Wheeler YUTA guest appeared on the latest episode of AEW Unrestricted. YUTA spoke about the slap across the face that William Regal gave him which led to him aligning with Regal, Bryan Danielson and Jon Moxley.
Oh, it definitely fired me up . That was a real reaction, yeah. Regal’s obviously someone that I’ve looked up to for a very long time and someone that I really appreciate and respect so just to have that moment, the magnitude of it all, he hits me, I look at him and then for a second, I just have like a, oh wow, that’s William Regal, that’s Bryan Danielson, that’s Jon Moxley. It was pretty cool. It’s an unreal experience. It lit a fire under me. I gotta go prove myself so that’s all I’m focused on now.
During the summer of 2021, YUTA made his AEW debut on Dark in a singles match against Karl Anderson. He received a call from Orange Cassidy about the opportunity. He said a match between him and MJF and another match against Rocky Romero was shown to those in AEW.
Funny you bring them up, so yeah, I had been doing my thing on the indies, doing my thing on New Japan STRONG, Ring of Honor at the time, yeah, but so, I was actually at a 76ers game with Chuck actually from New Japan. Yeah, that’s how it came about. It was really fast but it was awesome.
As YUTA continues to compete in more TV matches, he keeps Excalibur’s advice in mind. Excalibur told him that to slow things down, imagine the commentary team trying to talk about what he just did in the ring.
One of the best kind of little pieces of advice anyone’s given me was actually Excalibur. He said, ‘When you think about wrestling on TV, you kind of have to know that the announcers are explaining everything you do’ and he’s like, ‘One good way to kind of slow things down is imagining the commentary, imagine them talking about what you just did.’ For me, that just helps slow everything down because I wanna move a million miles a minute and go fast, fast, fast, fast, fast. It’s like hey, take a breath, pace yourself, calm down and that was a really helpful thing that he told me.
** Pro Wrestling NOAH held a press conference on 4/13 and current ZERO1 World Heavyweight and GHC Tag Team Champion Takashi Sugiura was in attendance. Sugiura was involved in the match during which Shinjiro Otani suffered the cervical spinal cord injury. All questions at the press conference that had to do with Otani were forwarded over to Director Narihiro Takeda. Takeda has been in contact with the President of ZERO1 and told him that NOAH will do what they can to help.
Right now, the most important thing is that we really pray for Otani’s recovery. I have been in contact with , the president of Zero One, about various matters. We have told him that we will do what we can to help.
Takeda went on to add that Sugiura has received a great deal of backlash on social media. He asked those who are heckling Sugiura to stop.
I don’t think . I’ve seen posts that may be slanderous, not from people who saw the match on the day of the event, but from people who saw the news reports. I can only ask them earnestly to quit.
** Ahead of AEW’s return to Texas for Rampage and Battle of the Belts II, The Dallas Morning News caught up with Keith Lee. He provided an update on how he’s doing health-wise since getting back in the ring on a consistent basis and Lee said he’s doing fine and does not foresee any stoppage anytime soon.
As you can tell, I’m active and working – and there’s a certain protocol you have to follow to even be clear to do those things. Obviously, I’m in a different state in relation to that, but moreover my training is at a level it hasn’t been in quite some time. I’m quite happy with the progress thus far. And at this point, the goal is to just keep going and kind of push and see how far we can go, and see if we can get even better from where we were. So, I’m happy with things, and I don’t foresee any stoppage any time soon. So, I say the update is fantastic.
On the 4/13 Dynamite, Lee teamed with Swerve Strickland to take on Powerhouse Hobbs and Ricky Starks. Keith said he’s comfortable working with them and then touched on his pairing with Swerve.
I think that the fact that there are people here that I have previously worked with – and it’s not just NXT, this is people from before I ever went to the other place. It’s people from the indies, it’s people from across the waters. It’s people that I’ve seen and/or worked with and know quite well, and I’m comfortable with. It’s something that made this decision that much easier for me.
When it comes to Swerve, that’s kind of a very natural teamwork. He and I even don’t really need to talk that much because we have an idea of what each other are thinking because of how awesome we’ve worked with or on an event together. So, it’s quite magical.
** One of the more recent guests on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast was AJ Francis, formerly known as ‘Top Dolla’. Francis is synonymous with the group ‘Hit Row’ that was established in WWE. He feels that any member of the group besides Briana Brandy (B-FAB) could be swapped out and things would still flow smoothly. He dove into how important Briana was to Hit Row and is to The HitMakerZ.
To be honest with you, if you have Hit Row and yeah, it’s my brainchild but everybody added things to it so like if you took me from Hit Row but you still had Bri , it would still work. If you took Tehuti from Hit Row and it was just me, Swerve, Briana, it would still work. If you took Swerve from Hit Row and it was just me, Tehuti and Briana, it’s what we’re doing as The HitMakerZ. That still works, right? But when you take Briana out, we’re just every three man group ever, you know what I’m saying? We’re just wrestler guys. She is the separating factor that makes us so different because.. I told this to her when we were at WrestleCon, ‘From 30 feet away, people are gonna see me and be like, look, I wanna talk to him about WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures,’ right? ‘That’s Top Dolla. I wanna talk to him. But from 100 feet away, they see that beautiful woman that’s standing in front of the table, and when they get closer, they realize who it is and now it’s like oh damn. I really need to go over there,’ you know what I’m saying? Briana is — Briana brings the eyes. When she is on-camera, there is nobody that looks, there is nobody that acts like her, there is nobody that can talk like her. She is special. That’s why I tell her all the time, she’ll be mad at me, I’m like, ‘Look, when we do The HitMakerZ, when we do these matches, you don’t gotta bump. You don’t gotta do nothing. You just come there looking as fly as you do, talk on the mic, being fly. Me and Tehuti will do all the bumping, you know what I’m saying? That’s not what we need you for.’ She’ll be like, ‘Man shut up. I’m finna get these bumps in. I need to win a title.’ I’m like all right, respect. It’s something, you know what I’m saying?
Hit Row (AJ Francis, Shane ‘Swerve’ Strickland, Tehuti Miles & Briana Brandy) were drafted to SmackDown from NXT as a part of the 2021 WWE Draft. Francis recalled being told that they were going to be mixed in with The New Day on-screen but that quickly changed. He said Xavier Woods had already been coming up with ideas for their collaboration.
This next week, we him. I loved what we did with him.
The group had several segments with Sami Zayn on SmackDown. During one of Francis’ verbal exchanges with Zayn, he did not want to end things by getting the crowd to say ‘Sami sucks’ so he scrapped that line. Zayn later suggested that Francis should end it with ‘Sami sucks.’
You know, when you come into the main roster, you’re not trying to rub people the wrong way on the roster, you know what I’m saying? I don’t give a damn about some suits but the boys in the locker room, I’m not — I’m trying to make it cool with them. So like, we had a promo segment with Sami Zayn and my idea is to end it with ‘Sami sucks’, right? To get the crowd to chant ‘Sami sucks’ but I’m like, hmm, I don’t want my first promo with Sami Zayn to end in saying Sami sucks. I don’t want him to take that the wrong way. So I take it out, and Sami being the consummate professional when we put it all together, Sami’s like, ‘I like the way you ended it but what if you ended it with Sami sucks?’ And I was like, ‘You know what? That’s a great idea Sami. They start chanting it, that’s a great idea Sami. You are a genius. I appreciate you.’
When AJ looks back at Hit Row’s run in WWE, he believes they are in the conversation for being one of the most unique factions of all-time if not being recognized as the most unique faction of all-time.
I feel like Hit Row was one of the most unique, if not the most unique faction of all-time. I think that we did some amazing things that nobody else can do like the Championship Cypher that we did. No other faction in the history of WWE or any other program could do what we did there, you know what I’m saying? That was one of one.
** Dominic DeAngelo of WrestleZone published the written version of his chat with Los Lotharios (Angel & Humberto). They were asked about their current position on WWE television. Both talents expressed that they are living in the moment and there’s no need to rush or to be frustrated.
Angel: Keep doing what we’re doing. We’re doing great by this point. We are on every single week on SmackDown. We are on TV, and I think we are on a good path. We don’t need to rush anything. We just got to feel the moment. Live it, be on the same path, keep walking, never try to run, always be walking and I think that’s the goal is to stay focused on what we’re doing and keep on the track. If you try to run, you’re gonna fall, right? And then we’re not where we wanna be at. If you try to rush it, you won’t do anything. One thing at a time, one step at a time. And then, by a certain point, you’re going to look back, and okay, I really did all of that? Nice. And if you rush it, probably you’re gonna get to the top of the mountain, but how much did you enjoy it? Oh, now I’m on the top. What’s going on? What’s gonna happen? I made it? What’s next?
Humberto: Yeah, same mentality. Just being in the moment, enjoying and being patient because I don’t know. I think the key is being patient. You have to wait. You have to work hard, obviously, for what you want. It’s not going to just arrive to your door. If you don’t work hard, you just do nothing. So you have to work hard, be patient and just put all the love and make what you like. Control what you can control, and if you can’t control that, just don’t be worried. Don’t be frustrated. Don’t be anything; just let it go. And at a certain point, it’s gonna come.
** In the April edition of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series, he shared that he would like to see Toru Yano get back to his amateur wrestling roots and possibly enter in the world title scene.
Sometimes I would kind of like to see Yano a little more hungry in that regard. He’s had his own thing with KOPW, but we’re all in this business with an eye on that hierarchy when it comes to the top belt. He’s still very capable indeed, and if he shows that fire, he could really impress people.
** Josh Alexander was a guest on The AJ Awesome Show and said ‘never say never’ to he and Ethan Page reuniting. Alexander said hopefully they’ll reform ‘The North’ one day, adding that he thinks the team was special.
I can’t say ‘never’ because in wrestling, you never say never but, right now, we play in different sandboxes so, you know, hopefully we can come back together and reunite because I think The North was something special.
Yeah, he broke my heart, he dumped me and now he’s dating somebody else, you know?
** Masato Tanaka, who came down to the ring to help Shinjiro Otani after his cervical spinal cord injury, talked to Tokyo Sports about the incident and the online backlash that Takashi Sugiura is receiving for giving the German suplex to Otani.
** On May 19th, WWE will host their 2022 Annual meeting of Stockholders.
** At the Jumbo Tsuruta memorial show on May 31st, Taichi and TAKA Michinoku are scheduled to team up against Yuji Nagata and All Japan’s Suwama. Stan Hansen will be present at the show as well.
** WWE’s Ivar posted the following:
Yesterday marked 1 year since my return to the ring after herniation of 2 discs into my spinal column in spetember of 2020. Here are a couple never before seen clips helping to remember how far I have come, how lucky I am & no limits to my future #VikingRaiders @WWE #JoinTheRaid pic.twitter.com/QF68cDTjUs
— Ivar (@Ivar_WWE) April 13, 2022
** Ultimo Dragon and Pro Wrestling NOAH announced that NOAH’s younger talents will be able to train at Ultimo’s wrestling school.
** Former two-time GHC National Champion Kenoh is launching his own YouTube channel. At NOAH’s press conference on 4/13, he said he wants to obtain a bigger following than Logan Paul.
** Westin Blake versus Psycho Boy Fodder from a Control Your Narrative event:
** April 14th birthdays: Marina Shafir, Lita.
** Big Japan Pro Wrestling Results (4/14/22) Korakuen Hall
– Kazuki Hashimoto & Kosuke Sato def. Kota Sekifuda & Tatsuhiko Yoshino
– Ryota Hama & Yasufumi Nakanoue def. Kazumasa Yoshida & Takuho Kato
– Daichi Hashimoto def. Kazumi Kikuta
– Fuminori Abe, Takuya Nomura & Daisuke Sekimoto def. Kohei Sato, Satsuki Nagao & Yuji Okabayashi
– Barbed Wire Board Death Match: Jaki Numazawa & Ryuji Ito def. Michio Kageyama & Minoru Fujita
– G-Shock Tag Team Death Match: Masaya Takahashi & Takumi Tsukamoto def. GSHOCK1010 (Akira Hyodo & Kankuro Hoshino)
– Fluorescent Light Tubes Death Match: Drew Parker & Hideyoshi Kamitani def. Abdullah Kobayashi & Yuko Miyamoto
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.