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.
** To kick off 2023, Shinsuke Nakamura competed at Pro Wrestling NOAH’s ‘The New Year’ and defeated Great Muta (Keiji Muto) in the main event. Violinist, Lee England Jr., played Nakamura to the ring and he reflected on that during his appearance on the Grue Rume Show. England Jr. discussed the differences in wrestling crowds he’s performed in front of and described the experience in Japan as ‘amazing’.
I’m sure we’re gonna get to this, but I have to tell you, it (playing Shinsuke Nakamura to the ring stateside) was a very, very different feel from being in Japan… Because Japan, the crowds, they don’t make any noise at all so they’re like, ‘Oou, ah, oh,’ like collectively, you know what I’m saying? And then, they’re going quiet again. So you hear all the slaps and the stomps and people falling off so you hear every single thing. You could hear somebody in the crowd going like, ‘Shinsuke!’ One person, in their regular voice, you know what I’m saying? (England Jr. laughed) It was amazing. Wow, it was real, real, real like athletic theater, as opposed to at the Barclays Center where it’s just rowdy. Any one of these fans at any moment, it seems like they might jump the barrier. You’re just waiting for it, that one day when it’s just like, wrestling is real! Somebody gets slapped down for real.
It was Nakamura who reached out to England Jr. about coming with him to Japan. A week prior to being contacted, England Jr. had been talking to his significant other about his desire to perform overseas. Lee recalled thinking of different ideas for the NOAH entrance, but Shinsuke told him to just be himself. Lee feels the next step is playing Nakamura to the ring at a WrestleMania.
Yeah, definitely (Shinsuke Nakamura & myself have developed a friendship). So, the Japan (opportunity), once that came up and he actually, you know, the fact that he was able to do it first of all, that’s crazy. So he hit me up personally and was like, ‘Yo, I need you man. Come on… You wanna go to Japan?’ And what’s crazy is I felt like I had manifested Japan because prior to that, I was with my girlfriend and I told her, I said, ‘Man, I wanna perform in Japan or Australia, you know, real soon. That’s on my list of things I wanna do’ and it was like a week later, he hit me like, ‘Yo, let’s go to Japan…’ And what the other thing was, I had an idea to create this over the top — when I do my stuff by myself, I had this idea to pre-record some accompaniment, right? And when I got there, I was just like, you know what? I was like, nah, maybe I should just fall back and see what ideas they have and so when I get there, they’re like — there was another guy there, his name was Shinsuke, that played the taco drums, and he was cool, he was super cool. I look forward to working with him again as well. I’ll definitely try to send some music over, get him on some tracks. But in talking to Nakamura, I told him, I was like, ‘Yeah man, I thought to do this, this and this.’ He was like, ‘Nah man, just be yourself.’ He was like, ‘You’re a professional. I know what you’re gonna do, you know what you’re gonna do. Just go do you’ and I was like, ‘Cool. I can do that.’ If I haven’t learned nothing else, I surely can do that. So yeah, I’m definitely grateful for him as well because when I post things, he definitely reposts these things and he kind of shows me off so what I’m manifesting now… is WrestleMania. I think it’s time… They’ve went through a whole bunch of different iterations of it and if I go on Twitter at any point in time, there’s always, ‘Bring back Lee England Jr.,’ like always. So for the demand to still be there and for people to still desire to see that again, it’s like the only thing you can do is WrestleMania at this point.
** Ahead of challenging for the GHC Heavyweight Championship on 3/19, Jake Lee was interviewed by Pro Wrestling NOAH’s official website. Lee was asked about the differences between his current run in NOAH and his time with All Japan. He feels that in AJPW, he was always thinking about how to make the company better and not letting it fail. Now, he’s focused on what’s best for him.
When I was with All Japan Pro Wrestling, I was always thinking about how I would not let the company fail and how I would make it better. But now, I’m more interested in how far I can go. It’s interesting, that’s why. I’m living the life that Jake Lee is leading now.
Lee weighed in on the Kazuchika Okada versus Kaito Kiyomiya match from Keiji Muto’s final match event. He does not think Kiyomiya’s loss makes the GHC Heavyweight belt look less than the IWGP World Heavyweight belt.
I thought that many people who saw that match (Kazuchika Okada vs. Kaito Kiyomiya) saw IWGP as the top and GHC as the bottom, but I didn’t think so. I look back on the history of the IWGP and it is the same. I don’t think that NOAH is under New Japan, just that Kiyomiya, who has the championship belt, lost to Okada, and that is all. I think it’s great that he challenges himself, and I think it’s great that he knows his own weakness and still stands up to it. I think it’s great. But the belt is a burden for him now. So I told him to put the belt down and take a break. Then he can challenge again. I think you are the future of the sport. That’s what I meant. Then, nobody wants to see you like that, so you should give me the belt, and in a sense, I challenged (for the belt) with good intentions. Of course, there are people who would find that sarcastic, and from the champion’s point of view, there are probably many people other than the champion who would think, what the hell are you talking about when you just arrived? But if I hadn’t said that, what would have happened? Nothing would have come of it.
** After John Cena returned to WWE to set up his United States Championship match against Austin Theory at WrestleMania 39, he tweeted that it was the first time he entered an arena and thought that “it might be the last time”. Cena elaborated on what he meant during a Q&A with The Associated Press. He meant it was the first time he appeared in front of the crowd and knew that he cannot do this forever.
I tried to put it in words in Twitter (the tweet after his return to WWE). I guess I didn’t explain myself correctly. It was the first time I came out into the arena knowing that this has a definitive end. Normally, you come out, you get all excited, OK, this is the next one and I’m waiting for the next one. I’m not done, of course. I made that statement accepting a match at WrestleMania so I know I have at least one more in front of me. But what I was trying to convey was, that was the first time I looked at all that excitement and energy and realized this is the twilight of that journey.
** While on the Jericho Cruise edition of the Swerve City Podcast, Ricky Starks shared that originally, he was not a fan of his AEW theme song. The first time he ever heard it was when he debuted on Dynamite.
Then I came to AEW and what no one knows is that I didn’t know what my theme song was until I actually went out and heard it for the first time. So, the time that y’all heard it was the time that I heard it as well and I think (Mikey) Rukus did a great job with it. At the time, I hated it. I actually hated the song but I grew into liking it a lot and now it’s pretty much a signature for me with the horns and ‘the revolution will be televised’ so, I think it still adds to me as a person, as an on-screen, off-screen, it all ties in so, yeah.
** The latest guest to join the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast is Rickey Shane Page. He reflected on his feud with Nick Gage in Game Changer Wrestling. R.S.P. described it as ‘lighting in a bottle’ and is proud of what was accomplished.
For sure, I definitely think it was a big moment (feud with Nick Gage in GCW). I wouldn’t say the biggest. Definitely, going to Japan, for me is the top thing I’ve done next to signing with MLW but the run with Nick Gage was one of my best things I’ve ever done and still gets talked about to this day and I’m very proud of that whole process. Yeah, it was just like lighting in a bottle and you’d probably never be able to recreate it again and just happened at the right time with the pandemic and injuries and it couldn’t have played out better. I really enjoyed doing that feud. It was very fun… I don’t know if GCW was booking it (he laughed). We’ll leave it at that.
In late 2022 and earlier this year, Shane Page toured with DDT Pro-Wrestling in Japan. He said there are plans for him to do another tour with the promotion. He detailed how he got started with them and said he was contacted out of nowhere. Shane Page said his friendship with Butch (Pete Dunne) is how he first began working in Japan more often.
I’ve been to Japan seven times. I did five tours with BJW, Big Japan, in 2018 and then… the pandemic happened and I was like, ‘Man, I’m never gonna get to go back probably,’ you know? And then someone from DDT (Pro-Wrestling) hit me up out of nowhere and literally, that’s how it happened and I think just because I had been to Japan so many times before and someone knew me and suggested me to DDT and it worked out and I have a really great relationship with them. I absolutely love DDT, they really took care of me and there’s plans for me to go back. Nothing is set in stone yet but, plans for me to go back and do another tour. I love Japan, it’s one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. I just really got lucky honestly. A British company that I worked for ran a show at Korakuen Hall and they put me on show and that just led to me working in Japan more and that was all because of my friendship with Pete Dunne. I went to England the first time, I wrestled that place, then they kept bringing me back, then they did a show in Spain, they did a show in Mexico, they did a show in Japan and I just ended up in all of ‘em so… I’ve gotten really lucky a lot of times in my career.
** Comedy Store Wrestling pushed out their latest podcast episode which was a chat with Royce Isaacs. He said New Japan Pro-Wrestling has always been his main goal but he has a ‘never say never’ mindset when it comes to WWE. Isaacs added that if he is on WWE’s radar, they should contact him.
Yeah. Of course. I would definitely consider it (going to WWE). The possibility is always open. To me, I always — my end goal, my Mania, whatever you wanna call it was always New Japan. That was always the style that appealed to me and what I like but also, I would like to own a property one day and California is very expensive and wrestling’s wrestling at the end of the day. I love, love wrestling for New Japan. But I love, love wrestling and I just wanna wrestle and so if doing something like that would help extend my career and build my value, absolutely, of course I would consider that. I don’t think I’m necessarily on their radar. Like if I was, I feel like I’d be getting texts, calls or emails or something like, hey, we’re interested or we wanna bring you in for a tryout… I did a tryout in like 2016 but I was really new at wrestling, I was really green. I don’t think I was ready for it. I think that would go a lot differently now. But also, it seems like they’re doing totally fine. I know they’re starting to look at indie guys again, sort of, kind of. It doesn’t seem like something they’re out there super scouting for 34-year-old Royce Isaacs. But, I have a hell of a lot left in the tank. I plan on actively wrestling till at least 50 and they say your prime earning years are your early 40s so, all I’m saying is never say never. WWE, if you’re interested, holla at your boy. Let’s make some money.
Isaacs is intrigued about the idea of competing for AEW as well. He feels that Tony Khan should be aware of his tag team with Jorel Nelson, West Coast Wrecking Crew. When it comes to unsigned tag teams, Isaacs feels they are at the top of the pile.
I think that obviously, we (West Coast Wrecking Crew) should be in that mix. I don’t really know how Tony (Khan) feels about — or if we’re really on his radar, and if we’re not, that’s fine. It just means we have to work even harder and get on the radar but if so, he is asleep if he doesn’t know who we are. If he doesn’t know the West Coast Wrecking Crew, at least be aware of our presence. He is also writing a bunch of TV and he has hundreds of people on his payroll to worry about and all that stuff… But Tony Khan should definitely know who the f*ck the West Coast Wrecking Crew are… In terms of unsigned tag teams, who the f*ck else is there really? That’s even on our level? I’m not counting someone like, obviously, Aussie Open is now going over to AEW and doing a lot of stuff over there but in terms of the rest of the wasteland that’s left, I think we clearly stand head and shoulders above everyone else and so, I wanna keep doing the stuff with New Japan but also, especially AEW, they work together so the door is open. I’d like to go through that ‘forbidden door’. Why not?
Later this month, Isaacs is taking on Johnny Bloodsport (John Hennigan) at Josh Barnett’s Bloodsport 9. Isaacs believes NXT’s Creed Brothers (Julius & Brutus Creed) would do well in that setting. He then went on to extend an invitation to Dolph Ziggler for a match at Bloodsport.
The Creed Brothers? Yeah, they got a really good background. I think they would be obvious fits (for Bloodsport) but, you know, by all means, make their money at WWE and do their thing but, hey, if that doesn’t work out, I think Bloodsport would be a really obvious, good fit for them.
I will throw one out there selfishly. I would love to wrestle (Dolph) Ziggler. In any format, but especially because he was a badass shooter, so I would love to wrestle him at Bloodsport. He’s too busy making millions of dollars and enjoying himself and I’m sure he has way bigger fish to fry than Royce Isaacs but hey, Dolph, if you’re sick of making all that money and you’re really sick of money, you’ve made enough, your boy Royce Isaacs would love to have a Bloodsport match with you.
** Episode #159 of the Insiders Edge Podcast featured an interviewed with Bull Buchanan. He looked back on his 2011 appearance for WWE as a part of John Cena’s ‘This is Your Life’ segment. Buchanan is formally known as ‘B²’ from his days of working with Cena.
It was, it was (fun to be part of John Cena’s ‘This is Your Life’ segment) and there again, it usually happens just out of the blue. I got a call from (John) Laurinaitis and he asked me if I would be available maybe for the next week and I said, ‘Sure,’ you know? And I immediately went and asked my son, being who’s now Brooks Jensen in NXT where Raw was at the next week and he said Boston and I said, ‘I got it.’ I had a feeling what it might be and John called me back a day or two later and confirmed it and yeah, they flew me up and kind of laid the whole thing out and it was really cool because I got to see a lot of guys I hadn’t seen in a while and I got to meet a lot of guys I hadn’t got to meet… I tried to meet everybody but, Sheamus and some of those guys, I had been watching and really looked forward to meeting. Got to hang out with them and actually got to hang out with Rocky (Dwayne Johnson) for a little while too. He flew back in and out. At that time, they were maybe getting ready to build up to WrestleMania, build up (something) with him and John so he flew in so I got to see him for a little while and I hadn’t seen him since I’d left or actually a little before because he left to go to Hollywood a little before I did, before I left, and yeah, Foley, I worked with Mick a lot so, yeah, it was really cool.
While Buchanan was with WWE, there was an idea for him to be the on-screen cousin of Jamie Noble. The idea was benched by Paul Heyman, who did not want Buchanan to get lost in the shuffle of Noble and Nidia’s chemistry. It was after that-that Bull was paired with John Cena.
So I think maybe it was Hunter or somebody that had come up with the idea of being Jamie Noble’s cousin, which I thought was a great idea. It kind of fit right into who I was. Jamie was from West Virginia but you know, it’s still kind of the same part of the country for us, you know? We’re all from the south, we all kind of talk the same, we all use the same funny, little phrases so, but, Paul E. (Heyman) was the head writer at SmackDown and Paul and I had developed a relationship over the years from me working at ECW that one time and I’d always stayed in touch with him. So he was concerned I might get lost in the mix with Jamie and Nidia who had great chemistry at the time. He was afraid I might be the odd man out so, I literally was at TV one day, but one of the writers came by and told me, ‘Hey, we’re putting you with Cena.’
** Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair became the longest reigning Black champion of any singles title in WWE. Belair spoke about the accolade on ‘The Whole Story Podcast’.
— Bianca Belair (@BiancaBelairWWE) March 14, 2023
** Before Jungle Kyona undergoes surgery for her meniscus injury, she’ll be competing at NOMADS’ Freelance Summit Vol. 3 event. She is tagging with Hiroyo Matsumoto and YUU to take on Rina Yamashita, Nanae Takahashi and Ryo Mizunami.
** Ahead of the 3/15 AEW Dynamite in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Winnipeg Free Press conducted an interview with Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho.
** UpUpDownDown has a video on their YouTube channel which features behind-the-scenes footage from the WWE 2K23 commercial shoot.
** The latest interview from Sid Pullar III of Tru Heel Heat:
** Joining Busted Open Radio on 3/13 was Johnny Gargano.
** Rhea Ripley guest appeared on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch.
** David Finlay’s new entrance theme:
** There’s a chat with E.J. Nduka on Jim Varsallone’s YouTube channel.
** Episode #123 of Brian Hebner’s Refin’ It Up podcast included a conversation with Brian Kendrick.
** March 14th birthdays: Shotzi.
** Lo of Wrestling Winedown spoke to Jake Something.
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.