Originally published at NBCUniversal CEO: "WWE is a kind of a perfect property for us"
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.
** The Wrap has a transcript on their site of a quote from NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell talking about the WWE Network being a part of the Peacock service. During Comcast’s fourth quarter conference call, he explained why he feels WWE is the perfect fit for the platform:
“WWE is a kind of a perfect property for us. (The deal includes) thousands of hours of programming that were behind a paywall that we’ll now put up as a free service on Peacock, which will not only enhance the brand of WWE but we can monetize (through) advertising. We get the events that were behind the paywall that used to be pay-per-view to drive our $4.99 premium version of Peacock.”
** Tommy Dreamer welcomed Jordynne Grace onto his House Of Hardcore podcast. Grace is currently a part of the IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts division and she stated that her contract is coming up in the next few months. The conversation came about when Dreamer asked Grace about her future goals. In February of 2020, Grace tweeted out that her contract is up in May of 2021.
“I’m just riding it out at this point. I don’t know what is going on. I don’t know what’s going on with COVID but I’m nervous. Obviously my contract is up in the next few months so I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I’m just trying to keep a job,” Jordynne laughed.
Elsewhere during the podcast, Dreamer told the story of when he worked at WWE and pets were banned from the backstage area for a period of time.
“In WWE, there became a point where they banned animals from the back, because — and it was funny, it was always the women and there was locker rooms that were left horrible and there was one where they finally complained because there was poop left in the locker room, there was pee and the girls — because at one point it was like a zoo. I think four of the girls had animals and then one of the boys brought in one of his dogs and then WWE banned it. ‘You can’t have fun. You’re at work damn it.’”
** Matt Cardona was the latest guest on David Penzer’s ‘Sitting Ringside’ podcast. Cardona reiterated the story of himself and Brian Myers going to meet with Vince McMahon prior to WrestleMania 35 about their place on the card. Within that story, Cardona mentioned that there’s a rule in WWE that talents have to get their gear for WrestleMania approved before wearing it.
“Hawkins said he couldn’t wear it. So, Brian wanted to politic to get him to allow him to wear it which he did.”
** Lisa Marie Varon, Mickie James and SoCal Val welcomed Chavo Guerrero onto GAW TV. Chavo broke the news that he’ll be a part of the Young Rock series on NBC that’s about the upbringing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Chavo talked about the proverbial door that is the GLOW series being cancelled leading to another door opening.
“They say when one door closes, one door opens and that happens all the time so I wouldn’t have been able to do what I just did which was I was in Australia for the first — for three months and I was filming the new NBC show Young Rock with Dwayne Johnson. That’s a spoiler. That’s a spoiler there. I don’t know if I am either but hey…”
While on the topic of the Netflix series GLOW, Lisa Marie Varon stated that she was going to be a part of season four of the series.
“You were the backbone Chavo,” Lisa Marie Varon said. “You were the backbone. I was so sad to hear that it got cancelled. I was going to be on an upcoming episode, remember? So sad.”
** John Silver chatted with the Wrestling Perspective podcast crew. Silver opened up about the direction of The Dark Order following the passing of Jon Huber (Brodie Lee). Silver stated that the group was already getting in the good graces of the audience prior to Huber’s passing but his passing pushed the group in that direction quicker.
“I mean that’s how a lot of stuff happens here at AEW. There’s always like a plan but stuff always has to get changed and that’s not even just AEW, that’s wrestling in general rather just different things happen that make stuff change so, I mean we were kinda going into a different direction, even before Brodie Lee passed, where obviously people started to recognize, or people started to wanna cheer me and then they wanted to cheer also The Dark Order. So when Brodie was still — before he got sick, it was supposed to be a little Raven and Stevie Richards-type vibe with us two.
When he got sick and he wasn’t on TV anymore, we slowly started to get — if you listen to the reaction of the crowd, we were getting cheered big time. I know we don’t have a lot of people there but I think we usually have around at least 500 people or so. I think we’re around there and we did that Battle Royal where I got eliminated and the place went super loud boos and everyone’s like, ‘You guys just gotta be the good guys.’ So it wasn’t like we had to change a lot, but it was more so instead of me just being, me and Alex being just the good guys of the group, obviously now we’re all the faces now, you know? So, not a lot had to change but it kinda pushed us that way even further I guess.”
** Alec Lace welcomed AJ Styles onto the First Class Fatherhood podcast. As the conversation rolled on, Styles said he is interested in being a talent scout for WWE.
“Well, I’m not sure what those goals are but if I could have an opportunity, if I have that opening I guess you can say, to work for the WWE, I think I’d like to be a scout. I wanna be able to go to these independent shows that these other guys are doing and girls, and say, ‘You’ve wanted to be a wrestler all your life, here’s how to get there. I’m gonna come back in six months. I’m gonna check on you’ and see if I can get those guys who’ve always wanted to do this their whole life. You know, we have scouts that go to weightlifting competitions and stuff like that but I don’t know if we have guys that go to the small independent shows and we can grab these guys early, get them to the WWE system because there’s a way you need to learn. It’s not just about moves, it’s about camera angles as well and stuff like that and promos and whatnot so, I would like to find these guys and these girls that have wanted to do it their whole life, and help them get into the WWE.”
** Eddie Kingston vs. Lance Archer in a Lumberjack match has been added to AEW Beach Break on 2/3.
** Kurt Angle is launching a podcast with Conrad Thompson that debuts on February 7th.
** Gail Kim joined Andreas Hale and Kel Dansby on the newest edition of Wrestling with Stereotypes on Ad Free Shows. Gail is currently co-Head of Talent Relations in IMPACT Wrestling alongside D’Lo Brown. She dove into having conversations with talents who could possibly depart the company and while she would love to keep them, she also understands that talents want to engage in different experiences such as WWE and AEW.
“Of course I always say the same thing just pretty much how you said it. ‘We would love for you to stay and I think it would be great,’ but when they’ve never experienced being in WWE or an AEW or whatever it is, and they’ve experienced us already, I always say, ‘It’s a natural progression for you to want to go experience that.’ I know I didn’t enjoy my experiences there but what’s to say they’re not going to have — their experience might be different. But so I just always say, ‘Go experience it,’ and more than likely the door is always open to come back so why not? I think it’s a natural progression for that to happen. I don’t wanna see it happen all the time because now I feel like we built them all and then they’re off and yeah, they’re like your little babies or your children. You want the best for them so you don’t want to see them being misused or not being used at all. I guess because I’ve been in the business for a while, it’s almost like a normal thing. Disappointing when someone gets lost in the shuffle or when you know that they’re capable of so much more, or like we’re talking about the stereotypes when you’re not being used — so you’re being used and being impacted at your greatest capabilities, but then you go there and you just become a number. That is frustrating, but normally people feel it, they’ll feel it and then they can move on after that. I just never want their passion to be killed. I’ve seen that happen.”
Elsewhere during the chat, Gail gave her thoughts on the fallout of #SpeakingOut which saw many women and some men in the sport of pro wrestling speak publicly about the abuse they’ve endured.
“Well, you hear rumblings of things and… you know, when I was an active talent, I don’t think people would talk about it. I mean remember, this happened over the COVID pandemic time when everyone’s kind of sitting at home, getting frustrated or emotional or whatever it is and a lot of people felt the need to speak out about something which I’m glad because even if — say these things were happening with specific individuals and maybe they weren’t stopped in any way or whatever it may be, I feel like overall for the business, it was a positive impact. I mean not just in wrestling to be honest. I think overall in every work environment because the #SpeakingOut movement was essentially women saying for the most part, because there were men as well, saying, ‘You can’t do this, it’s not okay’ and there’s enough people now where we feel good enough to be able to speak out so I feel like people are just so much more respectful and careful and I don’t hear or see anything about it these days or anything like that, but mind you I think also, I’m very vocal so maybe if there are issues like that around, it wouldn’t be exposed to me because they’d probably be afraid to be saying something out loud,” Gail laughed. “Yeah I think overall it did help the business though and if someone did come to me, I would do my best just to help them as best as I could based on my experience.”
** Peyton Royce made the media rounds and one of the outlets she spoke with was Comicbook.com. Royce stated that she did not ask to team with Lacey Evans and that was an idea from Lacey as she is always searching for an opportunity.
“Oh, no, absolutely not. That’s not something I would ever ask of someone. I would not want anyone other than Billie in my corner. And Lacey just had other ideas. She’s always searching for opportunities, which I respect. We all are searching for those opportunities. Just me personally, I wouldn’t have picked anyone else from Billie. But I’m going along with this, going along with the ride to see what these opportunities bring.”
** Disney Channel has given a series order to ‘Ultra Violet & Blue Demon’, which is a show about a young superhero luchador that stars former AAA Latin American Champion Blue Demon Jr. Playing the role of ‘Ultra Violet’ is Scarlett Estevez. The show will have a predominantly Latinx main cast and production team. More on the series can be found on Deadline.com.
** NXT’s Aliyah joined Taylor Wilde’s ‘Wilde On’ podcast to discuss her career in wrestling. Aliyah has been a part of the NXT system since 2015 and she shared that the talents of NXT have a mental health coach.
“Oh, and we also have another good one. We have this guy, he comes in, he’s a mental health coach. So anytime if we have any problems or anything, we just go to him and we have so many resources. I feel like I’m missing a million but…”
During a mid-June episode of NXT, Robert Stone “threw up” in the ring to help assist Aliyah in getting a win over Xia Li. Aliyah stated that Stone’s fake vomit actually made her vomit when they got to the back.
“Oh my God, this happened recently. This happened over the summer actually. So, my manager Robert Stone threw up in the ring and it smelt so bad. Like I cannot tell you — I can’t describe what the smell was. But anyways, the match was over, I run to the back and I’m just vomiting because the visual of him puking and the smell just got me so hard. I had to. It was like . It was a distraction and I got the victory. We make a great team don’t we? His vomit made me vomit for real.”
As far as her experience in WWE thus far goes, Aliyah is grateful for what she’s been able to accomplish and constantly reminds herself that it’s a marathon and not a race.
“It’s a marathon, for sure. It’s what I tell people. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon and I am so beyond grateful for everything that has happened and I’m so grateful for being in the position that I’m in.”
** ‘Metro’ conducted an interview with Natalya and she praised the match on SmackDown between Sasha Banks and Reginald. Natalya feels that WWE showed that there are no gender gaps in the company.
“Sasha and Reginald, their match was fun! It was fun, it was outside the box. I know we can’t do that every week! But it showed that WWE – there’s no gender gap. The girls can hang with the guys, and the guys better be prepared to hang with the girls because we will whip their ass!”
** WWE is going to be the presenting partner for powerlifting at the Special Olympics USA Games in 2022.
** While speaking with Alicia Atout, Brian Pillman Jr. stated that he’ll be challenging Lio Rush for the MLW World Middleweight Championship. The match has not been announced by MLW yet but both Pillman Jr. and Rush were a part of the organization’s most recent tapings.
** Paramount and WWE Studios’ ‘Rumble’ film has been pushed back February 2022. The film was scheduled to release in May of this year.
** Vicente Beltran was a part of an international media call with Charlotte Flair. Flair was asked if WWE needs Ronda Rousey and she feels that Ronda is not needed but she does add a great deal to the women’s division.
“Oh, ‘need’ is a very strong word. Do I think Ronda adds to the division? 100 percent. But ‘need’? No. We have an incredible list of already established stars and ones that are on the rise so, ‘need’ is a strong word but do I think she brings a lot to the table? 100 percent.”
** Bobby Lashley appeared on Busted Open Radio with David LaGreca and Bully Ray. Lashley was asked about Shelton Benjamin coming out on RAW with his mask on and pulling it off when he realized it was still on.
“You know what? When he came out — it’s culture right now. You know half the time you don’t know if you got the mask on, mask off. But when he went out there, he actually cleared it up a little and he put a tweet out about it. He said he keeps it on for the most part because he wants to protect the people around him. So that’s what he did. When he walked out, I didn’t even know he had it, because it’s so common that if you see somebody without a mask, it’s almost like, ‘Uh, you don’t have a mask on.’ So, it’s so common that people have the mask on. I may have been talking to him right before walking out, I don’t remember because we’re always just running around doing something, just jaw jacking, joking around and stuff and then when the music hit, we all went out. Nobody thought about it. Luckily he thought about it in enough time to pull it off before he went all the way down to the ring.”
** ESPN’s Rob Brown welcomed Tony Atlas onto his radio show. Tony gave his take on what current WWE talent reminds him of himself from his prime and he selected Bobby Lashley.
“Probably Bobby Lashley, f I had to guess off the top of my head. Is that his name? Bobby Lashley? Yeah, he would be the one.”
Tony Atlas worked with Mark Henry for a period of Mark’s career. Tony feels that WWE did not do a good enough job promoting the strength of Henry.
“Strongest man. He does not know his own strength. Mark Henry, they never promoted Mark Henry’s strength, except for a couple of times when they had him bending the frying pan and stuff like that, but he was incredibly strong. Mark Henry, he wrestled you, he tried very hard not to hurt you, that’s why he was so gentle-looking in the ring. He was always afraid of hurting people. Even The Big Show told me that. Big Show told me that. He said, ‘When I wrestled Mark Henry, he moves me around like I’m a midget.’ He was incredibly, incredibly strong. I don’t think that they promoted him properly. I would’ve did more strength stuff with him, you know, instead of trying to make him look so much like a wrestler and focus more on his strength. When you watch the tape of the Olympics, Mark is the only man I know that lost the Olympics for being too strong.”
** Big E guest appeared on Renee Paquette’s Oral Sessions podcast and was asked what his perfect scenario would be for the upcoming WrestleMania event. Big E feels that a match between himself and Roman Reigns for the world title would be ideal but he wants it to feel earned.
“Roman is clearly — when you look at the WWE pecking order, he’s at the very top and having that match is the biggest moment and I hope we’re at a point in another month or two where I feel like I’m established enough and I’m hot enough where it makes sense. In the same vein, I have no idea what the plan is and I also want this to feel earned. I think sometimes you can get too much too soon and that’s also weird to say for someone who’s been around for eight years. I don’t feel like I came up and they just handed me this world title opportunity, but obviously, gun to my head, it’s a match with Roman for the world title.”
E continued to speak highly of Kofi Kingston and how unselfish Kofi was during his WWE Championship reign in 2019.
“I think one of the things I really respected was that Kofi , there was so many times he could’ve just made it about himself and he was still always trying to include the three of us and that I really appreciated because it was his moment honestly, and we were fortunate enough to be along for the ride and I’m glad we got to do the storyline with the gauntlet match, tag team gauntlet match where we got to kind of get Kofi into — and the reaction for that was really cool too because in wrestling it’s always about which faction member is going to screw the other and it was cool because we never do real moments of like brotherhood and sacrificing for the other so that was cool, and just to see how hard he worked, in and out of the ring. He was on all the time. He was on everything, just always doing media and seeing him always doing it with a smile on his face and never complain was something I remember. Like man, you could complain about the fact that you — I think the night he won the title, I don’t think he slept at all and not because he was out partying, but because he was up and by the time he got done with everything, he had to — he went back to the room and then I think they had him do the TODAY Show or some morning show and do the whole morning media and we’re on SmackDown, I wanna say — yeah, SmackDown was supposed to be later in that week and they called him in to do RAW, so instead of like, ‘Alright, I have Monday to decompress after doing all this media,’ it’s, ‘Nope! We need you on RAW. You got this promo seg and this match.’ He was just constantly going. You never see him shaken or upset.”
** Sheamus chatted with talkSPORT and told the publication about his in-ring performances over the past year that have garnered a good deal of praise. He believes this stretch of matches can be accredited to him being more mellowed out mentally.
“I do think it’s to do with mentality. I’ve definitely mellowed out a lot. I’m definitely not over-thinking stuff like I used to, I go out there and feel more. I’m not saying this wasn’t my motivation before, but my motivation now is to go out there and have a great match. It’s not about winning or losing the match, it’s about elevating the match and get people talking about them. You see quick wins and that gets forgotten about, but creating a hard-hitting war that ultimately gets both people over is the goal. I’ve enjoyed that with Riddle, Keith Lee, Kofi and Big E.”
** Goldberg did an interview with Soundsphere Magazine to promote the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Sunday. Goldberg shared that he genuinely got upset when people in airports would call him Stone Cold Steve Austin or when Austin would be called Goldberg.
“Well firstly he should be flattered because I’m a hell of lot better looking than he is. It used to really p*ss both of us off. We’ve talked about this exponentially because I like to say we’re pretty good friends. I always took it personally and it made me mad because Steve Austin is, like, 250lbs and I was like 285lbs / 290lbs. So I thought that if they thought I was Steve, then they thought I was small… I took that as a slight. Not because they thought I was Steve Austin the awesome wrestler, but because I was small. So there’s another layer to it. Throughout the years we used to both get really p*ssed off, now I think it’s hilarious. We actually try to bring it up to each other when it happens. It’s pretty fun.”
** Paige VanZant and Austin Vanderford both contracted Coronavirus back in the fall of 2020 after their move to Florida. Paige was a guest on the Endless Hustle podcast and spoke about the symptoms she had.
“Yeah, I had — we of course got very fortunate. We’re both really healthy so that helped. I just had, I would say a really bad migraine or a really bad headache for about three or four days and a fever and that was it for my symptoms and then my husband had a fever and then he just had really bad joint pain, which was crazy. One of the symptoms was like the joint pain and he felt like he got hit by a car. Like his joints hurt that bad.”
VanZant is no longer a member of the UFC roster and is gearing up for her Bare Knuckle Boxing fight in February. During the interview, she opened up about her relationship with UFC President Dana White:
“You know, we did have a good relationship. I felt like if I needed something, I would just text him and reach out. I feel like he does make himself available to you when you need him something, but there’s a reason the UFC is so successful and he’s a big part of that, and unfortunately, I don’t know what the right saying is but you know, if you wanna get something done in business, you have to stand firm to what you believe in and he has some very strong beliefs and it has made him extremely successful.”
** Drew McIntyre and The Miz are two of many athletes from various genres of sports that will be a part of the SHAQ Bowl three hour special on Super Bowl Sunday on February 7th. More information can be found at this link. Shaquille O’Neal is currently involved in a AEW storyline with Cody Rhodes and Jade Cargill.
** Erick Redbeard vs. Homicide was announced for VIOLENCE X SUFFERING’s show on January 30th.
** New York Post caught up with Bianca Belair ahead of the Royal Rumble and Bianca said she is hoping to do something creative in the Rumble with her braid.
“I was (using it) to pull Sasha Banks so I could tag her in a tag match, eliminate some people in the Royal Rumble match. I really want to see if I can do some creative stuff in the Royal Rumble match this year. I want to try to do some videos with some cool things with my braid and really see creative I can get.”
** CBS 7 profiled NXT’s Curt Stallion. Stallion is challenging Santos Escobar for the NXT Cruiserweight Championship on the 2/3 episode of NXT.
** Rickey Shane Page did an interview with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp. Page discussed the reactions he receives from fans. He stated that wrestlers do not take what he says or does personally but there are fans who legitimately have an issue with him.
“I mean, wrestlers not so much unless they haven’t said anything. ‘Cause sometimes I get a little wild on these promos and Atticus as well. We’ll just say stuff. But, I think, they all know, ‘Hey, man. I’m working here,’ you know? But, fans it’s hit or miss. Since we’ve started doing this 44OH! thing, fans have tried to fight us. Which is pretty crazy to say in 2021, you know what I mean? To get people to believe that much.”
** A story that involves Big E breaking positive news to a worker that was affected by the Baltimore, Maryland dining shutdown.
** WWE announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Cricket Wireless.
** Peyton Royce spoke to Sportskeeda and talked about she and Billie Kay’s split. Peyton said she is still trying to find her footing without Billie and attempting to digest that they’re not a team anymore.
“I mean, it was right there in that moment we found out what the stipulation was that day, maybe the day before, I don’t know. I don’t have a very good memory. But, it really was, Billie and I, we, more than just who we are as WWE Superstars; we have grown up together. So, for us to like, you know, our whole dreams, our whole journeys have been together. So for that to be just torn apart and like you said, so abruptly, I feel like I’m still digesting it, and I’m still trying my footing without her.”
** To promote the ‘Young Rock’ series that is premiering on NBC, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson chatted with reporters via a virtual news conference and WRCB TV has transcriptions of the conference.
** Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles from Ring of Honor War of the Wire 2003:
** Coming out of the 1/28 episode of NXT UK, Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker) earned a shot at Gallus’ (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang’s) NXT UK Tag Team Titles. Jordan Devlin will host another open challenge next week for the Cruiserweight Title. A singles match between Xia Brookside and Nina Samuels is also scheduled for the 2/4 edition of NXT UK.
** NXT Cruiserweight Champion Santos Escobar chatted with Mike Johnson of PWInsider and spoke about his decision to come into NXT wearing a mask after he had already lost his mask at Triplemania in 2018.
“Well I had already lost my mask in Mexico in a high-profile match a couple of years ago. When I first came to WWE, to NXT, I was presented with the opportunity to participate in the cruiserweight tournament and I thought to myself, ‘A good move would be to introduce me as a luchador, because I am a luchador above anything’ and wearing the mask was certainly a good way to do it. Of course, down the line I took the mask off because I wanted to evolve and I wanted to present a new character and something different, so that’s how Santos Escobar came about. But to me it was always important to put lucha libre before anything I do.”
** Tyler Breeze and Xavier Woods recorded another episode of Battle of the Brands.
** Scheduled for the 2/3 episode of MLW FUSION is Los Parks defending their MLW World Tag Team Championships against TJP and Bu Ku Dao. The National Openweight Title will be on the line as the champion Hammerstone takes on Mads Krugger.
** Journalist and TV host Jennie Bond is the official WWE UK correspondent for the Royal Rumble.
** The next portion of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s interview series is up on NJPW1972.com.
** A story about wrestlers that are being trained by The Great Khali.
** Mickie James appeared on the Sports Guys Talking Wrestling podcast.
** Jorge Barbosa and Fight Network’s documentary about RJ City:
** Laredo Kid told Sports Illustrated that he wants to challenge Kenny Omega for the AAA Mega Championship again.
** Inside The Ropes ran their interview with TNT Champion Darby Allin.
** NJPW Road to New Beginning Results (1/28/21) Nagano Athletic Park Gymnasium
– Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata def. Togi Makabe & Yuya Uemura
– Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, Gedo, Jado & Taiji Ishimori)
– Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima def. Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay by DQ
– Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI def. BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi)
– Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Master Wato, SHO & Tomoaki Honma
** Brie Larson worked out with WWE’s Tegan Nox.
** Daily Star ran their interview with NXT UK’s Isla Dawn.
** The following video is from Shayna Baszler’s YouTube channel:
** Lio Rush was a guest on the Mike Lewis Podcast.
** SANADA turned 33-years old on 1/28.
** Darren Paltrowitz was a part of a media call with Shaquille O’Neal to promote SHAQ Bowl.
** Nikki and Brie Bella appeared on E! News’ Nightly Pop show.
** IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champion Tasha Steelz spoke to Pro Wrestling Sheet.
** Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, Shotzi Blackheart and more talents watched back the 2020 women’s Royal Rumble match.
** Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre from a 2016 episode of IMPACT 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.