POST NEWS UPDATE: Lio Rush chats NJPW WK 17, past managerial roles, wanting to face Amazing Red

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2023/02/12/post-news-update-lio-rush-chats-njpw-wk-17-past-managerial-roles-wanting-to-face-amazing-red/

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 NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, Lio Rush & YOH challenged Francesco Akira and TJP for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles. Rush looked back on that night and being cut open in the early portion of the match. He joked during a K & S WrestleFest virtual signing that he thought he would bleed out.

This black t-shirt right here is from when I got hurt during Wrestle Kingdom. Got split open pretty bad, huge moment for me, continued on with the match, thought that I was gonna bleed out (Rush laughed). But, I did not. But yeah, Wrestle Kingdom debut, such a huge moment and now it’s on a t-shirt so…

In his career, Rush has been slotted into a managerial role or utilized as a wrestler/manager. He thinks companies continue to put him in that position because he’s good at talking along with being talented in the ring and that’s a unique combination for someone his age. He added that while the managerial role may not be ideal at times, he’ll never purposely be bad at it.

I mean, I think I’m good at… Whatever job is presented to me, I feel like I put my all into it, that’s just who I am. Because I’m representing myself in a sense. So, I’m not gonna go out there and purposely be bad at it, being a manager or purposely be bad at another role. I’m gonna try my hardest to get better at that and then I think it just came down to me getting good at speaking, people noticing that I’m good at speaking which isn’t a bad thing and yeah, because there’s a lot of guys out there and not everybody but there are a lot of guys out there that are so good in the ring but they do struggle with talking on the microphone and I feel like in my case, with having my in-ring experience and also having my microphone experience and being so young, I feel like it’s a rare combination to have as being a young wrestler… I’m like a jack of all trades… So, I don’t fault myself like, man, sh*t, I wish I didn’t talk or anything, you know? But, it can all be done as a wrestler. Just having those microphone moments that any other wrestler that is good at speaking. I think it’s kind of a little frustrating to just go in one area when you can do so many but it depends. It’s so many different factors instead of settling for one thing. It could be what that storyline is, it could be how much you’re being paid, how much you’re willing to stay in that — it varies.

While listing talents he’d like to share the ring with, Rush mentioned Amazing Red. A match between the two talents happened early in Rush’s career, but he feels an updated version would be better.

I’ll tell you what, I wrestled Amazing Red my first year in. Literally my first year in wrestling and it was good but I feel like it’ll definitely be a lot better with me being a lot more experienced… Red is Red (no matter how many miles he’s got on his body) … So, yeah, I’d definitely love to wrestle Amazing Red again.

** On March 18th, AEW will kick off their house show tour. Company President Tony Khan guest appeared on Sports Guys Talking Wrestling to chat about it and mentioned having help from Rafael Morffi and Jeff Jarrett. Khan added that he’s still waiting to release the footage from the house show AEW recorded in 2021. The main event of that show saw Darby Allin versus The Butcher and Khan touched on the injury The Butcher suffered in the match.

Well it’s great (Khan said about the forthcoming AEW house show on 3/18). We have these great opportunities, we have a great team working on it. We’ve had great AEW live events. I’ve worked closely with Rafael Morffi and the team for a long time. Now, we’ve had on top of that, we’ve brought on ‘Double J’, Jeff Jarrett who is one of the greatest minds in pro wrestling on the promotional side but also in the ring, what a strategist and truly still one of the best and it’s great to have Jeff Jarrett wrestling in big matches and you see Jeff Jarrett out there almost every Wednesday night on TBS… He’s come in and been such a great wrestler for us. I have so much respect for his mind in and out of the ring and the wrestling side and also on the promotional side, he’s had great impact on our live event business and Jeff is a great person to have in my locker room and I love working with him but also, the live event business, I think he’ll add a lot and the ‘House Rules’ is the next step. I started this movement and that’s why I enjoyed working with him on it. Raf and I put on an event with our team in Jacksonville that was actually our first quote-unquote house show. ‘The House Always Wins’ and now it’s become almost mythical because I’ve never released the tape. I’m waiting for the right time but you know, people still talk about, for example, the main event was a TNT Championship match with Darby Allin versus The Butcher. The Butcher, he was dominating the action, he ended up getting injured and he had a hand injury that not only put him out of the music business where he’s a big name, The Butcher, but also out of the tag team and wrestling business. It’s great having him back but Darby Allin during his first TNT Championship reign and his second one just recently ended by the legend Samoa Joe, the ‘King of Television’.

** The topic of Kofi Kingston’s WWE Championship win came up during MVP’s appearance on the Superstar Crossover podcast. MVP dove into how important that was and said the decision makers would not have chosen Kofi but the fans demanded it. He then added that he was initially upset with the late Shad Gaspard for sharing the video of them two becoming emotional after Kingston’s win but was no longer upset after seeing the impact it had.

It was extremely important (MVP said about Kofi Kingston’s WWE Title win), and it’s funny because at first, I was really pissed off at Shad (Gaspard) for releasing that video because I thought it was a very candid moment and I thought it was something that was very personal (video of Gaspard & MVP shedding tears at Kofi’s title win). But when I saw the reaction to the video and how other people expressed what my reaction and Shad’s reaction were and how people responded to that, it changed my position and I wasn’t upset about it anymore because representation matters, it’s a very important thing and Kofi Kingston is the first African and I dare say the first African-American WWE Champion and people say The Rock. The Rock is half-Samoan and his father was Black from I think Nova Scotia or something, you know, Canadian. If I’m not mistaken, Kofi was born in Ghana and moved here when he was a small child and he’s a dark-complected Black man with dreadlocks and no one that looks like him has ever held the WWE Championship. So across the country and across the world, there were dark complected young people from Africa and from neighborhoods across America that said, hey, that guy looks like me. He’s holding up that championship and if he can do it, I can do it and in addition to that, Kofi, I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a wonderful human being. He’s a great husband, a great father, magnificent performer, a good friend. I could go on for hours talking about how great a person Kofi is so nobody deserved it more and it was organic. The WWE decision makers would never organically or have chosen Kofi to carry the title. But the desire from the WWE universe was so powerful that Kofi was allowed to capture that moment in time and it’s historic.

MVP went on to state that he’s under the learning tree of Paul Heyman and compared Heyman to Bobby Heenan. MVP added that he is a Paul Heyman guy.

Currently, I have the great fortune of sitting up under the great Paul Heyman’s learning tree. So, well, I think Paul Heyman is today, everything that Bobby Heenan was, minus the bumps. So, I hold Bobby Heenan up in the absolute highest regard. But currently, I’m very fortunate to — and I talk to Heyman all the time. Famously, someone who once said I’m a Paul Heyman guy and that’s a fact.

As MVP was discussing being a veteran in the WWE locker room, he recalled Austin Theory coming up to him in a gym in Georgia before Theory got his start in the wrestling business. MVP encouraged Theory to go after his dream. Theory was a guest on MVP’s V.I.P. Lounge on Raw and was excited to do it. MVP shared that he often teases Theory and calls him ‘John Cena 2.0’.

It’s flattering when young guys come to me and ask me for my opinion or ask me for advice or ask me for feedback. Austin Theory and I just had a V.I.P. Lounge segment and he was stoked because he said, ‘Dude, I used to watch The V.I.P. Lounge all the time. It was one of my favorite things and now I get to be in The V.I.P. Lounge. This is great’ and I met Austin Theory when he was a kid at the Gold’s Gym in McDonough (Georgia) and he reminded me because I had totally forgotten but he told me, ‘Hey man, I met you at McDonough gym when I was a teenager’ and I remembered this good looking, fit kid came up and said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be in the WWE like you one day. I’m going to be a pro wrestler.’ I’m like, ‘Hey, you look good man. Keep working out, get trained and stay at it’ and he reminded me of that conversation and here we are, all these years later, he’s a stud with a brilliant future. I tease him, I call him John Cena 2.0 and it’s cool when guys like that come to me and ask me for my opinion or for information and it’s experience that I’ve gained from the 20-plus years in the business and things that I’ve learned from people like Undertaker and Booker T and all of the legendary greats whose learning tree I got to sit up underneath.

** There’s a sit-down interview on the WWE on FOX YouTube channel with Liv Morgan. She recalled there being times in NXT when she felt she was going to be fired. At one point, Morgan prepped herself to be informed about being let go when she arrived to work.

Not too far recently, but I remember there being points in NXT where I was like, ‘I’m getting fired. I am gonna lose my job tomorrow’ and really believing that and crying myself to sleep because I thought when I showed up to work the next day, I was gonna be fired and so I feel like in that moment in time — this was so long ago. This is like six years ago — I had so many regrets, even though nothing had happened yet but I was like, I wish I’d worked harder, I wish I utilized this more, I wish I wasn’t scared. So many I wishes, I wishes, I wishes and then I walked into work the next day where I swore on my life I was being fired. I prepared myself, like I was emotionally numb. Just do it and then I just had to film a backstage, and I was like, ‘Yay!’ But I feel like it just gave me so much perspective that’s never lost on me since that day. So I always try to make sure, like, even if I’m nervous or scared, I’m like, you don’t wanna look back and wish that you had just went for it so I always try to just use that motivation and just to go for it, go for whatever it is and not be scared. Even if I’m scared, I’ll fake it. I’ll fake it, I’m not scared but I’m terrified, about to pee myself.

** The Forgotten Sons (Jaxson Ryker, Steve Maclin & Westin Blake) were the focus point of the newest ‘Wrestling for the Faith’ podcast. Ryker opened up about his relationship with Maclin and Blake around the time he sent out his tweet in support of Donald Trump in the midst of the protests about George Floyd’s murder. He said they had a great relationship at the time. Ryker reached out to Blake after Sara Lee, Blake’s wife, passed away. Ryker and Maclin have not spoken in over a year.

Dude, we’re tight (Ryker said about his relationship with Steve Maclin & Wesley Blake around the time he sent his tweet out in support of Donald Trump). We were talking to each other every day through phone call, FaceTime, text, coming up with ideas. ‘This is what I think we should do. This is some tag team moves I think we should do.’ We were really, really tight. I mean we traveled together for the two years that The Forgotten Sons were together ‘till I moved back to North Carolina. We were on the road together, we’d go out to eat together, our families would get together, kids would get together. So man, relationship was wonderful.

We haven’t talked. I keep in touch with Blake here and there. When his wife (Sara Lee) passed away, I mentioned that I reached out to him. Steve and I haven’t talked in, man, it’s been a year-and-a-half, probably longer.

Looking back at the Performance Center period of WWE’s Raw and SmackDown programs, Ryker recounted Vince McMahon constantly stopping matches. He said there was one occasion when it took one match a half-an-hour to finish because it kept getting stopped. The format for the tapings were matches first and then promos filmed afterwards. He said there was one day when himself, Steve Maclin and Westin Blake were at the P.C. until 4 AM.

We were literally acting for the TV screen (during the Performance Center period of Raw & SmackDown) at that time because that was way before the TV screens were around the arena. Dude, they had cut off the live TV so we were doing one, two, three days of tapings for like four weeks’ worth of tapings but here’s the thing… eventually they went back to live, but Vince (McMahon) at that time would be sitting in the truck of Gorilla (Position) and if something would go wrong or a move would botch or something like that, ‘Stop the match. You guys set back up.’ That’s how we did it and I hate to drop the bomb on certain people… It was so wild man because it took you out of the zone and it was sometimes, bro, it was a match I remember, I can’t remember who it was. But, it took them about an hour-and-a-half to get this match down. It was only about a ten minute match and it wasn’t because they were just completely destroying and terrible wrestlers. It was like, ‘Nope. Alright, I don’t like that. Let’s try it again.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness bro.’ So, and then, real quick, obviously, you know, you got live promos on TV. You got wrestling and promos and segments. Well all the wrestling got done first then all the promos they would do so all of the Raw, all the SmackDown promos. They do Raw first and then SmackDown. The Forgotten Sons were there one morning until 4 AM doing promos. Not because we kept messing ‘em up, but because that’s how long of a day it was. I was like, ‘This is… man.’ But, anyway.

Before The Forgotten Sons were formed, Ryker expressed interest in wanting to pursue a Brian Pillman-esque character in NXT. He stated that former WWE writer Joe Belcastro was intrigued by the concept, but nothing came of it.

I was really, one time, leaning towards trying to pursue this Brian Pillman-style character that he (did) and in the Attitude Era where he was just laughing and crazy and all this and he (former WWE writer Joe Belcastro) liked that a lot but, nothing ever really came out of it. Out of nowhere, it was like, oh, let’s put these three together (Ryker, Maclin & Blake), you know what I mean? So yeah, we’re just pitching ideas back and forth.

** On the official NJPW website, a recap of a talk show session centered around Shota Umino was published. Shota mentioned that his father, Red Shoes Unno, went against the idea of Shota wrestling for five years. As for Umino’s immediate goal in New Japan, he wants to face Tetsuya Naito in the final of the 2023 New Japan Cup.

I have been biting (to get at) Naito-san since last year, including at the Young Lion event, but I felt again that the wall and the gap between the top wrestlers have opened up. But it doesn’t end there. I am thinking about what I should do to close the gap… The New Japan Cup is next. If I can get up again and beat Naito-san in the final, I can pay him back. There were many things I felt and gained through that match (on February 4th).

I want to fight Naito in the final of the New Japan Cup, pay back my debt to him, and then challenge the (IWGP World Heavyweight Champion) in Ryogoku in April.

** The latest episode of WWE After The Bell included an interview with Bronson Reed. He looked back on his recent run in Japan before returning to WWE and feels it grounded him. Reed added that he has a chip on his shoulder.

I think now, more than ever, I have a big chip on my shoulder. I did spend that little time away and if anything, it’s just hardened me as a competitor more than ever. I got to spend a lot of time in Japan and really test not only my wrestling skills but my will and how much I wanna still pursue and chase this and it kept me grounded in that I love professional wrestling and I always wanna be that and I wound up back here with the WWE so I’m not gonna let any opportunity pass me by.

** While on Excuse Me: The Vickie Guerrero Show, AEW personality Alex Abrahantes expressed how special it was for him to work with Eddie Guerrero in WWE. Abrahantes was a member of the company’s creative team at the time.

I was there (in WWE when Eddie Guerrero was there). Actually, I was there with Eddie and I remember I was so excited to meet him (to) just tell him… Como estas, mi hermano? You know? And it was so great and right away, we hit it off because he’s just so genuine as you know and it was just so amazing to be there with one my favorites and a person who’s done so much for Latinos everywhere and really representing us in such an amazing way so it was just so cool. It was such an honor for me to be able to be there with him and then to be able to have an opportunity to work with him for the period of time that I did.

** Episode #18 of Josh Martinez’s Superstar Crossover show featured Karrion Kross. Kross expanded on why he feels Ricochet is the most underrated talent.

Man, I hope people don’t take this the wrong way but Ricochet, I think Ricochet is the most underrated and the reason being is because that is a guy you can put in the ring completely on a cold match with no story and he will be able to get reactions out of any audience he is working in front of. There are certain people who lean more towards storytelling and there are certain people that lean more towards high spots and it just depends on what audience you’re working in front of. Some audiences prefer more storytelling and then there are other audiences showing up for the high spots. They wanna see hybrid lucha libre which is wonderful. We have a very diverse audience and stuff like that and each city is different. But I’m telling you man, if you put Ricochet in the ring with anybody, they’re gonna get their money’s worth and with all due respect to everybody on the roster, everybody gives 110 percent. I just think that he hits different.

** Pro Wrestling NOAH ‘Great Voyage in Osaka’ Results (2/12/23) Edion Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan
– Mohammed Yone & Akitoshi Saito def. Kinya Okada & Daishi Ozawa
– Chris Ridgeway & Daga def. Tadasuke & Hajime Ohara
– Kazuyuki Fujita, Timothy Thatcher & Hideki Suzuki def. Masato Tanaka, Masaaki Mochizuki & Yoshiki Inamura
– Kongo (Hi69, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Shuji Kondo & Masakatsu Funaki) def. Ninja Mack, AMAKUSA, Naomichi Marufuji & El Hijo de Dr. Wagner Jr.
– El Desperado & NOSAWA Rongai def. YO-HEY & Yasutaka Yano
– Kenoh & Manabu Soya def. Jake Lee & Anthony Greene
– Dralístico def. Atsushi Kotoge
GHC Tag Team Championships: Masa Kitamiya & Daiki Inaba def. Takashi Sugiura & Satoshi Kojima (c)
GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: Yoshinari Ogawa & Eita (c) def. Junta Miyawaki & Alejandro
GHC Heavyweight Championship: Kaito Kiyomiya (c) def. Jack Morris

Both Tetsuya Naito and Kazuchika Okada appeared at the show: 

** Hiroshi Tanahashi’s latest column for Japan’s ‘Tarzan Magazine’.

** Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling added Billie Starkz to their TJPW LIVE in Los Angeles show.

** Ella Jay of ‘A Wrestling Gal’ spoke to Lady Frost.

** Season five, episode two of Taylor Wilde’s ‘Wilde On’ podcast is an interview with Zicky Dice.

** Aron Stevens returned to the Straight Talk Wrestling podcast.

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.