Originally published at Lee McAteer discusses becoming the co-owner of PROGRESS Wrestling
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.
** PROGRESS Wrestling co-owner Lee McAteer was interviewed by Wrestling Travel. He detailed what led to him becoming co-head of PROGRESS and convincing Martyn Best to get on board with the opportunity.
Obviously a massive fan of professional wrestling ever since I was a kid. I was a massive fan of WWE in terms of how they marketed the product, marketed the business and , by that point, of course I’d sold AmeriCamp and Wrestling Travel, etcetera and the opportunity came about to be a ‘custodian’ as I like to call it of PROGRESS. I thought the opportunity was too good to turn down and you know, I spoke to the guys that I’d sold Wrestling Travel to in terms of interest and we came to arrangements and then managed to get Martyn Best to also be a part of this adventure and before you knew it, the deal had happened and here we are now and I’m currently sat here in New York speaking to you.
** This Sunday at AEW Revolution, Keith Lee is scheduled to compete in the Face of the Revolution Ladder match. He qualified for the bout by winning his AEW debut match against Isiah Kassidy. He explained to Bleacher Report why he decided to join the company.
I think that it was quite a simple decision. Not only for business’ sake, but there’s a lot of people there that I know. And I have a lot of friends and associates that I’m just comfortable with. But more important than any of that was that I had a couple of very laid-back, chill meetings with Tony . We just kind of hung out and shot the breeze. I like him as a person and so to me, a relationship built that way kind of helps me trust a little better. And it helped me in that decision as well.
Elsewhere during the interview, Lee was asked if he’s interested in working with other promotions. He said his deal with AEW is ‘pretty tight’ and it would have to be beneficial to both him and the company to make that happen. If he had his pick of the landscape, he’d like to work in Japan.
It’s hard to say because my deal is very exclusive to AEW, and for good reason. But, you know, if something came up, that was beneficial for both myself and the company, and also for the potential collaborative companies, maybe I will consider it. The only thing that really comes to mind as a place that I would just want to go, and this is where I was originally going to go before I ever went to the other company, and that’s Japan. But even then, it really comes down to what’s beneficial, because the exclusivity of what I signed is pretty tight.
** On March 6th, WWE is hosting a live event from Laval, Quebec, Canada. Laval’s own Sami Zayn guest appeared on Montreal 690 to promote the show. Zayn discussed his on-screen feud with Johnny Knoxville and says that Knoxville is very easygoing and fits with the WWE product.
Well, it depends on how you actually look at it . But, I will say this: In my limited experience with being in WWE and working with celebrities and there’s only been a handful that I’ve really interacted with. But I’ll say this: He’s very, very easy and easygoing and I do think he’s kind of a natural fit. You know, any time he’s come out, he’s gotten amazing responses from the audience, more than I’ve seen from any other celebrity that we’ve had because WWE fans are very, very passionate and they don’t always take kindly to outsiders who are not from WWE. I feel like it’s a protective thing. Like, ‘This is our thing, get out of it. We don’t want you here. We just want wrestling.’ Sometimes it can be like that. You know, I saw them boo Jon Stewart who’s like the nicest, funniest man in the world and he got booed out of the building; Jon Stewart, so for them to respond the way they did to Johnny Knoxville, every single time, I mean, I’ve been in the ring for all of them and they’re just really, really loud, deafening ovations so he’s just — there’s something about him, maybe there’s a certain authenticity and they feel like he’s — it’s just such a natural fit with him and WWE that it makes sense and even if I don’t necessarily like him, it’s still fun to be a part of.
** MuscleManMalcolm has an interview on his YouTube channel with Ariane Andrew. She expressed that she is still hoping to reunite with Naomi in WWE and go after the Women’s Tag Team Titles. As far as further venturing into wrestling outside WWE, she’d be open to doing that after accomplishing the aforementioned goal with Naomi.
You know, it’s kind of hard because you know, when you — AEW, its almost become — it’s like the competition now with WWE and you know, it’s so hard to say because at first, people are like, ‘Well if you do the AEW, do you think the WWE is ever gonna ask you to come back?’ But it’s like times have changed. I mean, look at Mickie James. She came out as the Knockouts Champion in the Rumble, you know what I mean? So I think nowadays, but also like, I don’t try to live in that headspace. I’m just kind of like, let me do what’s happening now in this moment and whatever’s meant to be will. I’m open to see what happens and to be open to other things but, at the moment I would say I don’t even know if that is a thing because right now, my focus is to make history and then whatever happens after that, let’s see what happens but I’m really determined about that because I feel like people would love to see for Naomi and I to have another run together, be together as The Funkadactyls, make history and then after that I’m like, you know, everything’s free game.
When Ariane was on Tough Enough, she was asked by Stone Cold Steve Austin what her favorite match was. She named Melina versus Alicia Fox as that match. Austin was taken back by her response, but Ariane said she gave that answer because at the time, representation was what drew her in and seeing a Black woman in Alicia Fox was inspiring. Ariane went on to add that Austin was very supportive of her as time went on and they later formed a great relationship.
You know, at the time, I mean I’m very honest. I wasn’t a huge, avid wrestling fan growing up. My brother was, oh my gosh. He was obsessed and at the time, that’s kind of when I had got into wrestling and I’ll be honest, it was seeing someone who looked like me, you know what I mean? And someone — and at the time, there wasn’t any representation of women who — of Black women and I do think Alicia is super athletic and just that moment, that happened to be — and I get it. You have some of the greatest matches of all-time but at that time, I can still say those are, you know, amazing matches but at that moment, that’s what resonated with me because I was just like damn, I’m trying to get there and this is the person who’s representing at the time. So at that time, that’s just what I felt. Not to discredit — we know there’s f*cking great, historic matches out there, come on now but just that was just what I felt at that moment.
That was just at the time — I was actually looking at all her stuff because I’m like there hadn’t been someone and you know, who — she was the first woman to have the Divas Championship belt so it’s just kind of like, things like that, I’m like that’s so dope so when you — especially when there is no representation at the time, it’s kind of what you relate to. I’m a Black woman and you know, that’s what I felt, so…
No . I mean I, you know, I think that — I know he really was a little taken back, like, ‘Wait,’ you know? And it’s so crazy, he’s still — he was such a big supporter of me because even after everything happened, he was just like, ‘There’s something about you.’ You know, ‘You have star quality. I will end up seeing you’ and it’s crazy because he’s the first person I started my career with and when everything came to an end, I actually went on his podcast and we had a great chat too and you know, he used to always be like — when I would see him backstage when he would have his appearances, he’d always be like, ‘I’m so proud of you kid.’ So, yeah, even though we had that moment, we’ve always had a great relationship behind the scenes and he, you know, he was able to see. Like, ‘Damn, I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for your girl.’
** Dave LaGreca and Tommy Dreamer welcomed Jay White and WWE’s Otis onto Busted Open Radio. During Jay White’s portion of the show, he reflected on his AEW on-screen debut and shared that he was a bit surprised by the reaction he received from the crowd.
White: It did a little bit, you know? . You can argue about that all day but what you can’t argue is that where I am now, you know, I was right about that and so in terms of that reaction, yeah, it was a little surprising, you know? But in a good way, because like I said, I just had nothing to go off in terms of gauging what an audience of that size, whether they would even know me or how they would feel about me.
This Saturday at IMPACT Wrestling’s Sacrifice event, White is taking on Alex Shelley. He discussed he and Shelley’s history together and how Shelley was a mentor to him early in his career.
White: So he was actually my debut match in New Japan Pro-Wrestling when I was — when I got there as young boy, 2015, I wanna say it was January 28th was my first match there and it ended up being — it wasn’t meant to be there. It was meant to be with another Young Lion I believe. But it was flight issues and it ended up being me, one-on-one with Alex Shelley and I think since that first match, we kind of bonded since then. He helped me a lot in Japan and when New Japan sent me over to the States to Ring of Honor on excursion, I ended up living with Alex Shelley for the better part of, probably about a year or so-so, yeah, he taught me a lot. Being on the road with him was great. We’d go and train together, things like that. He’s got a wealth of knowledge there as everybody knows and it’s really interesting to see, since getting close to him in the years since, how many people he’s inspired wrestling-wise as well. Kind of how many people’s careers that he’s inadvertently touched. I don’t think he would realize that himself. I’m sure he’d be humbled to know that so it almost makes me a little bit sad this Saturday that I’ve kind of gotta take out another one of everybody’s hero, an old mentor of mine but, hey, it’s always business in that ring for me so, won’t be any difficulties on my part.
When Raw Tag Team Champion Otis joined the show, he recounted advice he received from Samoa Joe and spoke about finding himself in this heel role he’s been in.
Otis: I just remember hearing from my poppa, call him poppa Joe, Samoa Joe, ‘Move when it’s important and move when it’s necessary’ and right now in my career, it’s like learning those factors as a bad man, as a heel is to — because when I was — when you’re being the babyface, a good side, you gotta keep that energy up and keep everything going but right now I’m learning the flow and just the swag of being the big, nasty son of a b*tch you can portray out there like I was in the amateur days. So yeah, it’s been — working with these guys, they’re making me look like a million bucks and it’s just right now, everything’s coming together so, I’m really happy that things are going the way they’re going and hopefully we can see this keep on going.
** K & S WrestleFest brought AJ Francis (Top Dolla) in for a virtual signing. While speaking about the freedom that Hit Row (Francis, Briana Brandy, SW3RVE The Realest & Tehuti Miles) had in NXT, he questioned how he was supposed to go from that to being told exactly what to say while on WWE’s main roster.
The first time we wrote a promo, Triple H literally told the writers, ‘Don’t write nothing for them. We can’t tell them how to talk.’ That’s what Triple H said. So, how am I supposed to go from that to, ‘Shut up and do what we say’?
Hit Row is reuniting on March 19th for Maryland Championship Wrestling. Francis broke down what each member of the group represented in relation to Black culture and how he wanted to present an authentic representation of Black culture on TV.
What is the point of being a professional wrestler? To make money, okay. I was a millionaire before I was a wrestler. So clearly I know what the hell I’m doing, right? I created all of Hit Row. I went out of my way to try to get an authentic representation of Black culture on television that had never been done before because even people think about Hit Row, you don’t even recognize the differences within each character. I am the hood rapper, because that’s who I really am. You got Ashante and I had a point to say over and over again that none of us were leaders. All four of us were four equals. So, to have people think that I was difficult when I literally just presented the idea that I came up with that nobody helped me come up with.
** The most recent episode of Cultaholic’s ‘Straight To Hell’ show featured IMPACT Wrestling’s Chris Bey. He was asked if there’s a possibility of him showing up in AEW and Bey thinks it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
It’s only right . I think this is the greatest time for professional wrestling and to be a pro wrestling fan because all these doors that have kept talents separate for so long are finally being able to be open and you’re able to plant these dream match scenarios and see things that you’d never thought you see before and so many people have been asking me since the inception of AEW, when am I gonna gonna be in AEW? When am I gonna wrestle in AEW? Am I gonna show up? As soon as when Jay White showed up in AEW, I think I was in the gym and my phone was just blowing up and everyone was like, ‘Yo, are you at AEW!? Are you at AEW!?’ And I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And I see, I’m like, ‘Oh nice. Jay just showed up over there’ so, I always know that we have unlimited reach with the Bullet Club and with everything that we do so, for me to show up in AEW, I think it’s a matter of time. It’s just a matter of time and I think the only way to find out is by watching AEW and watching Bullet Club very closely and following the signs because I like to leave little crumbs every now and then so you if can peep the crumbs, you’ll follow the trail and you’ll see where we lead.
** Women’s Wrestling Talk hosted their ‘Black & Female’ roundtable featuring Renee Michelle, M.J. Jenkins, Kiera Hogan and Vanity. Kiera looked back on her early days with IMPACT Wrestling and expressed that she felt she was not able to be herself on-screen. Kiera did not feel a shift until the backend of her run with the company.
Going into IMPACT, I mean, when I first started, I don’t feel like I was completely myself. I felt like they were making me just this babyface but I honestly, I assume — I feel like people would assume because of the music that I had, they were gonna get a white girl, because literally, it wasn’t me at all. I felt like I was just kind of put in this kind of mold and I wasn’t truly being myself, until recently honestly.
** To open the 3/2 AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan broke the news that he signed a deal to become the new owner of Ring of Honor. AEW’s Wardlow was interviewed by Wrestling Inc. and gave his thoughts about the move:
Man, I would just like to see another quality wrestling product. Another, not just another option, but a real option. Like, a good option, and an enjoyable, entertaining option. An alternative for wrestling. Just something a little different, man. There’s so much talent in the business of wrestling, and there’s so many free agents, I feel like Ring Of Honor is going to be a great place for all of these people to go, and shine, like they deserve.
** AEW President Tony Khan returned to the AEW Unrestricted podcast and while discussing the Face of the Revolution Ladder match this coming Sunday, he said Scorpio Sky is in line for a TNT Title shot along with the winner of the upcoming Ladder match.
He in the three-way TNT Title match have a very tough test in the Tornado Trios match.
** Muscle & Fitness profiled TBS Champion Jade Cargill. She feels that had women’s basketball been more financially stable at the time that she was playing, she would likely still be in that profession.
Sadly, there wasn’t enough money for me to stay interested. I got my degree in child psychology, I have a background in sports psychology and sports physics. I think if women made way more money , I’d still be on the court to this day, but wrestling found me and that’s where I’m at right now.
** During Paul Heyman’s appearance on the Battleground Podcast, he listed off ECW alumni that he’d like to see be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Two names he specifically mentioned were Sabu and Joey Styles.
I would say Sabu definitely belongs in the WWE Hall of Fame because I think the concepts that Sabu was introducing were 20 years ahead of its time and I don’t just mean the breaking of the tables. I mean just the manner in which he performed in the ring was so far ahead of its time that he never got the credit that he deserved. I would say Joey Styles was a very progressive announcer that no one understood just how valuable he was to the ECW brand because here, you had these criminals and these ‘Gangstas’ and these barroom brawlers and these misfits and yet, you also had these supreme, elite, exquisite technicians; Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, etcetera, etcetera; Rey Mysterio, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera that came over from Japan or Mexico. I mean we scoured the world for the greatest talent and no American announcer had ever called the moves for what they were. Joey Styles did. Joey Styles ushered out the era of, ‘Oh wow! That looked great! Here’s the replay’ and started calling the moves by the names that were associated with the moves and he was completely different than any other announcer because he did his job solo for so many years. So I would say Joey Styles absolutely. There are a number of the characters and the personas that came alive in ECW that belong in any legitimate Hall of Fame. I think ECW itself belongs in the Hall of Fame.
** Madison Rayne was a featured guest on Highspots Wrestling Network’s ‘Sign It Live’. She shared that one of her best memories from her time with IMPACT Wrestling is winning the Knockouts Title five months after giving birth.
One that stands out is winning my — it would have been my fifth Knockouts Title because my daughter was five months old. So in the span of five months, I became a mother, got myself back into the gym, got myself back into the ring, the company embraced me and brought me back and I put this caveat on every time I say this. I’m sure if I’m wrong about this, someone on internet world will let me know that I’m wrong about it but I don’t know of there being a time where a female professional wrestler had a career on television, was a consistent face on weekly television, stepped away to become a mother and then came back before I did it and now, it’s almost commonplace. You see it a lot, you see it again in every different promotion so, for that to have been like a big moment for me and another big moment for women’s wrestling, I’ll take that little… I’ll take that little whatever it was. But yeah, coming back and five months later, winning the Knockouts Title was pretty good.
** 75-year-old Bushwhacker Luke has agreed to a one-event deal with Triple Crown Wrestling in Kentucky. He’ll be in action for the promotion and Tatanka is scheduled to compete for the promotion as well.
** Robbie Fox’s interview with Sean ‘X-Pac’ Waltman:
** NWA World Women’s Championship – Kamille (c) vs. Taryn Terrell from NWA PowerrrTrip:
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.