Originally published at Paul Heyman thinks Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns is a story that writes itself
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 topic of Cody Rhodes versus Roman Reigns came up during Paul Heyman’s appearance on ‘Wrestling Inside the Ropes’. Heyman would like to see the match and thinks the story between the two parties writes itself.
Absolutely . Cody Rhodes is not only someone with an extensive legacy, my God, he’s son of The American Dream Dusty Rhodes but he has carved out his own niche. He’s achieved his own accomplishments and when he couldn’t gain enough traction in WWE to become a legend, to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer, to become a WWE or Universal or Unified Heavyweight Champion, he went out on his own. He ‘blazed his own trail.’ He created something, co-created, helped create something that completely changed the complexion of the industry and now he comes back to claim what he feels is his moment and the only way he’s gonna be able to live that moment is to step into the ring with ‘The Tribal Chief’ Roman Reigns. It’s a story that writes itself and Cody Rhodes is a magnificent talent who whether he is — and he is the son of Dusty Rhodes — but whether he is or isn’t the son of Dusty Rhodes, on his own just as ‘Joe Blow’ — not as big a name as ‘Cody Rhodes’, but still, he could take the name ‘Joe Blow’ and he could become huge box office. He’s that talented.
Heyman touched on the parallels between Cody being a part of the launch of All Elite Wrestling and what he was able to do with ECW. He said they both were dissatisfied with the landscape of the wrestling industry or a specific portion of it and decided to try and change it themselves.
There is . I was dissatisfied with the landscape in the industry and I decided to change it myself and that’s what Cody Rhodes did. He was dissatisfied with the landscape of the sports-entertainment industry and he went out on his own and along with others, he changed it himself and he changed it along with the various people that collaborated to create a new landscape in the industry so yes, there are parallels.
** Monday Night Raw commentator Jimmy Smith took to his ‘Unlocking the Cage’ show and spoke about the situation involving Naomi and Sasha Banks opting to leaving Raw. Jimmy said after the commentary team made the six-pack challenge announcement, they sat down and were informed that-that was scrapped and there was a change in the main event.
We, on air, had no idea that the main event that I called — in the beginning including Naomi and Sasha Banks. I announced it as the main event, we showed the graphics, all this stuff. We sit down at the desk and a few minutes later, it’s, ‘Scratch that. That’s not happening. It’s Asuka versus Becky Lynch.’ Okay, I wanna tell everybody here and I mean this, when you listen to this show which is ‘Unlocking the Cage’, I don’t kayfabe here. You’ve noticed that. If there is an angle that I can’t talk about, right? I just won’t talk about it. I’ll never tell you something is real that is part of an angle or a gimmick or a work. I won’t do that on this show. This show is not about — it’s about the workings of pro wrestling sometimes. We do cover pro wrestling. I don’t kayfabe here. I won’t tell you a WWE angle as if it is real on this show, if it’s a gimmick, I won’t do that to you.
From what Smith was able to gather, what was upsetting to those behind the scenes was that they were not able to deliver the advertised main event.
And what’s upsetting to the people behind the scenes on this one is they advertised the main event. I got up there on a microphone and Corey Graves on my left said, ‘Tonight, six-woman match,’ blah, blah, blah and then we sat down and we didn’t — ‘we’, meaning the WWE, all of us, couldn’t deliver that main event. Not happy about that.
Corey Graves repeatedly referred to Banks and Naomi as ‘unprofessional’ when addressing the situation at hand. Initially, Jimmy thought Graves was playing into the heel aspect of his commentary but later discovered that something was off. He credited the producers for their handling of the fallout because it created issues for the broadcast.
So as we’re dealing with all these changes, it says in this article and I’ll read it, ‘On the broadcast, commentator Corey Graves mentioned them leaving the building multiple times during the show…’ ‘Sasha Banks and Naomi summarily and unprofessionally walked out.’ Graves said that over and over and over. I thought — at the time, remember, I don’t know what’s going until the show’s over. I thought he was just doing heel stuff. You know, they’re two faces, they’re two good girls basically. I thought Corey was just burying them because that’s what he does to babyfaces, bury ‘em, right? No. No. No. I knew something was wrong and it was, once again, getting that story out. Was it why they left? I don’t know, but I’m telling you from a broadcast perspective, we had no idea this was gonna happen. Once it did happen, it created a lot of problems that I thought our producers dealt with extremely well but it created a lot of problems and I didn’t know about this statement the WWE had sent out until I got off-air and was backstage.
** Captain’s Corner hosted a virtual signing with Kid Kash as the featured guest. Kash looked back on his matches with Juventud Guerrera towards the conclusion of Guerrera’s time in WWE. Kash said Juventud did not want to drop the Cruiserweight Title at Armageddon 2005. He felt that Guerrera wanted to make him look bad and detailed how their match broke down.
Juvie was a basket case. I mean I really respect his talent. I’ve had some good matches with him but I’ve also had some pretty crappy — the night I won the Cruiserweight Title . He just didn’t want to lose the belt and it’s a very egotistical thing to do so when I’m trying to get him up in the finishing move and everything, he starts f*cking bending his legs down. Now anybody that knows, you gotta take ‘em straight up because if they’re bent, it’s gonna make you heavier. So he was trying to make himself heavy, so when I got him up, I held him for just another second or two. I was like, that’s it, boom. Usually, I would lay back on it, but this time I just went straight to my side and I dropped him right on his f*cking head.
The powers that be in WWE wanted Kash and Guerrera to do a rematch because of what their Armageddon match turned out to be. Kash stated that Juventud was happy and cooperative throughout the day until he found out he was losing the rematch. Guerrera was under the assumption that he was winning the title back and there was a break down in their TV match as well. Kash recounted William Regal informing Juventud before the match that he was on the chopping block.
The next day, we taped — no, it was Tuesday. So we were on the road, did a pay-per-view Sunday, Raw was the next night, we had the night off. Tuesdays, we always tape SmackDown. Tuesday taping, they wanted us to run it back one more time because they were so upset with his performance that they wanted to run it back just one more time. Only problem was he’s got his little Mexicool thing. That gimmick was kind of getting over and people dig it because they come out on lawnmowers, and so, he was kind of like one of their — the main guy. So they didn’t really wanna lose him but they were tired of his sh*t, so we went out there the second night and he thought at first that he was winning it back, which I don’t get how he could even — I just don’t get his logic of thinking. But yeah, for half the day, he was happy-go-lucky and all this other sh*t man. He was willing to work with me. I mean, but as soon as he f*cking went into the dressing room and he looked up on the booking sheet and he saw ‘win/lose’, you know, beside the names — well it said ‘up’. That’s what it said, it says ‘up’. My name had ‘up’ on it under ‘Kid Kash’, he knew that he wasn’t winning the belt. So he was confused so he goes and starts talking to our agent and everything and he was like, ‘I don’t know. I’m supposed to win the belt’ and he was like, ‘No, you’re not winning.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, but all day long — what changed?’ He goes, ‘Nothing changed. You were never winning the belt.’ He goes, ‘Why did you think that?’ He goes, ‘Because, we’re doing this again, right? I win on TV’ and he goes, ‘No, you’re gonna lose again and I want your best match because you’re on the chopping block.’ I mean he told him flat out, Steve Regal, told him flat out, ‘You’re on the chopping block’ and he didn’t get it. He still didn’t understand what the f*ck the guy was saying so we went out there, same sh*t. As soon as he found out that he was losing the belt, everything that we had talked about before, right out the window, from the lockup.
He got fired the very same night. I was watching — when we came out of the ring, we didn’t get no further than the Gorilla’s nest. I kept on walking. I knew what was up, because he was already back. He lost, he was already walking up the ramp. I was doing my little f*cking, hey, look at me kind of Kid Kash sh*t, got the belt, I’m getting out of the ring so I was behind him, he walked on in. Man, I came up that f*cking ramp and before I could even make the turn, I’m still on the ramp, I’m still up on the stage… so yeah, I could hear Vince one more time and I can hear Vince yelling at this motherf*cker. I’m not kidding and he still doesn’t get what he did wrong. He still didn’t understand what he did wrong, even when Vince McMahon is just up your sh*t and you’re done buddy, you’re done and he still didn’t get it. He went back to the dressing room, he was mad at me of course like he was the week from Sunday night, you know? So, and I was just like, whatever dude. I’m not even gonna f*cking sweat you man. You’re ridiculous.
Kid Kash has talked about his interactions with John Laurinaitis in past interviews. He told the story of when Laurinaitis approached him and let him know that there were people in WWE who wanted him there and people who did not want him there. Kash asked Laurinaitis where he stood concerning that.
I was told whenever I came there the way you talk to people sometimes.’
Going back to the topic of Kash and Juventud, they ran into each other at WrestleCade and took a photo together. Kash shared that Juventud thought Kash hated him and he admitted to Guerrera that those once-existing feelings were gone.
I saw him a couple of years ago at WrestleCade and I’m sitting in the back and he comes in. He was actually wrestling that night and so, he came in the back and he started getting dressed and stuff and he recognized me. He comes walking, he said, ‘Hey, Kid Kash.’ I was like, ‘How are you buddy?’ I was like, ‘Hey, you wanna grab a picture real quick?’ ‘Yo, you wanna grab a picture with me?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, why not?’ He goes, ‘You hate me’ and I was like, ‘I don’t hate you.’ ‘Yeah, you hate me’ and I was like, ‘Ah, I hated you then.’ I was like, ‘But that was a long time ago. You’re cool now’ so like, nothing matters anymore. So yeah, we got a picture and stuff but he was just shocked to death that I wanted to take a picture with him.
In 1996, Kash joined ECW and was a part of the promotion until it ceased operations. He recapped his ECW contract negotiations with Paul Heyman and impressing Heyman with how he handled their business conversation.
That night was over with. Went to shake his hand . He was like, ‘Will that do?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘I’ll give you merchandise.’ I’m like, ‘No. I kind of know how the merchandise goes around here. So why don’t I just get one lump sum and you can keep the merchandise’ and he knew that I got him, because Taz is the one that got the merchandise. Taz was the one that made the merchandise. I was like, ‘No. That’s okay. I’ll just take the lump sum. Whatever’s left over is yours’ and he goes, ‘You sure?’ I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m sure’ because you know, he would get you on a lower rate on your yearly for the hopes of the merchandise, but your merchandise would be very, very little because Taz would get his cut out of it and his material. But from that moment on, I was there ‘till they closed.
It was through Rob Van Dam that Kid Kash got started in ECW. He spoke about his first time being at an ECW event as talent and meeting Paul Heyman. After a quick conversation with Heyman, Kash learned that he would be competing in just 15 minutes time.
So I called Rob back and I was like, ‘I think I just watched this ECW’ and then told him who I saw. He goes, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ He goes, ‘If you can be in Philly tomorrow, I guarantee you I’ll get you work.’ So I talked to my girlfriend I had at the time, ‘Okay, I just literally got home.’ She was like, ‘Well, it’s on TV and he sounds like a guy that would know if it’s a good company or not,’ you know? So, I was like all right. So I took a shower, unpacked and repacked and I got right in the damn car and I drove straight to Philadelphia about 2:30 in the morning. I got there about 11 o’clock the next morning and Rob met me, took me to his room, I caught a nap and then about that time, went down to the building and I walked right in the door, never met Paul Heyman in my life. Walked in, he said, ‘All right Rob,’ looked right over at me, turned his head, he goes — I was ‘David Jericho’ back then and he goes, ‘David Jericho. How are you?’ I was kind of shocked. I was like, ‘I’m great. How are you?’ And he goes, ‘How’s Ricky Morton?’ And I was like, ‘He’s great. He’s Ricky’ and everybody started laughing like, yeah, that’s true. Ricky’s Ricky, and then, ‘You got your gear?’ And I was like, ‘I do.’ He goes, ‘Good. You’re on in about 15 minutes.’ First match, yeah.
There was a point during Kash’s time in WWE that he was a part of The Pitbulls with Jamie Noble. When that idea was formulated, Kash was still Cruiserweight Champion and he remembers Vince McMahon informing him that he would be losing the belt and put into a tag team. McMahon also requested that Kash cut his hair to match Jamie’s.
So after the match was over with and Shane Helms won a Gauntlet match.
** While in Florida, Jim Varsallone caught up with former NXT Creative Producer Ryan Katz. Katz has spoken at length about his relationship with the late Dusty Rhodes and shared that after Rhodes passed away, the powers that be in NXT wanted to humble him and put him in his place as he was viewed as one of Dusty’s ‘guys’.
I gotta be honest, it affected me more than when my grandfather died. I was crushed and I think also professionally, when I was in this place where I’m living my dream and one of the greatest performers of all time is one of my biggest cheerleaders and trying to push me into bigger and better roles all the time and then when he passed, things kind of changed for me a little bit and I was like — I think I was seen as Dusty’s guy and they kind of wanted to ‘humble’ me and put me in my place at that point which is cool. Just made me work harder and do better work and grow and evolve as a person.
That relationship with Rhodes was one that started off with some tension between the two. Katz said he kept working hard and eventually, Rhodes took a liking to him and they became friends.
The greatest thing in the world didn’t want me at that point being bossed — he didn’t hire me to be an assistant at that point. He hired me for a different role so, he didn’t want Dusty to start bossing me around from the beginning so there was a little bit of headbutting and I’ve said it to you before but it’s my favorite thing is there was a situation where I had to move something out of Dusty’s office that I was asked to do and Dusty came in the building as I was doing it and so I got caught red-handed and he just flipped for the day and was storming around the building. ‘Who does this kid guy think he is? He’s been here for four minutes. I’ve been here 40 years. This guy walking around like he owns the place’ and all this and then, I worked hard, I did good work and the relationship built and then we built the bond and then after that, it was, ‘Ryan Katz, I’m not your boss. Ryan Katz, I’m not even just your co-worker. I’m your friend’ and it was just something that was so special to me.
Ryan spoke highly of the women he was able to work with in NXT. He highlighted C.J. Perry (Lana) and said she was one of his favorite people to work with. Katz said when he joined WWE, it was his mission to fast-track Perry through the system despite her having no prior wrestling experience.
It was just so impressive that week after week, that group of women , I’m gonna throw Lana into the mix of that as well, who was one of my favorite people to work with that once again, just had this long-term creative relationship and helped her sculpt the Russian and her and Rusev and so, I met her at her tryout. Back in California, she was part of a one-month tryout and I think it was late 2012, it may have been early 2013 and when I met her, I was like, ‘We’re gonna make you Drago’s wife and we’ll find a Drago.’ In less than a year — so it was ‘13 because less than a year later, she had made it up to the main roster. I think it was about six months and that was a mission of mine. When I got signed, when I finally got hired by WWE, it was my mission to take C.J. Perry who had zero wrestling experience and fast track her through that system because for me, it was one of those things that a lot of inside wrestling people don’t necessarily like the outsiders and they put up walls, barriers and blockades to make sure that they want it, they’re hungry and they prove it and I gotta be honest, from day one, C.J. showed that she wanted it, she was hungry and she proved it and she put in the work.
** When Matt and Jeff Hardy had their on-screen feud in WWE, Jeff losing his home in a fire was included in their story. Matt and Jeff talked with Freddie Prinze Jr. about that and Matt felt it was in poor taste. Jeff explained that it was hard for him to get pumped up after seeing their video package which included an image of his dog that passed away in the fire.
Matt: If we would’ve just focused on me being jealous and my envy of him being so popular when he has the title. The thing I think where we went a little too far is because his house legitimately did burn down whatever — I ‘burned down his house’ and ‘killed his dog’. I felt like a lot of people said, ‘Ah! I mean we’re kind of in on him being jealous but that’s a little too much’ and I remember that became part of the story. I felt like fans disconnected there a little bit and that was my feeling from reading the crowd as well.
Jeff: There was one moment before I went out and I think Michael Hayes was up there and Vince and everybody. Man, and they played the video package and Jack, our dog that died in the fire was that last visual of that and I almost broke down. They were like, ‘You gotta be fired up.’
Matt: That was right before our WrestleMania match.
Jeff: I’m not getting f*cking fired up. I’m going out here stone cold, because that sh*t really happened, you know? This sh*t’s fake, what we’re doing now. It’s just an act, you know? So to speak and that was one, I just went out and stone cold. I said, ‘I’m not getting fired up at all.’
Matt: I feel like inserting reality into storylines is important and it needs to be done, especially now in the age of the internet and the age of information because everybody knows everything. I think you do but there’s also some things — and I think we were right on the cusp of this period at this time. That was an event that was so tragic and so sad. Literally, his house burned down. You know, all the old tights, all his old gear. His dog died. I mean it was a really traumatic event on him and just for them to put that in our storyline was almost where it was like bad taste and that’s what I felt. Whenever they had me come out and they had — I’ll never forget them burning a dog collar and then I held the dog collar. Like, the guy who did the props, he was like, ‘Okay, should I burn it more?’ I said, ‘Eh, I think it’s fine’ and it’s like, I remember saying, ‘I mean, I don’t know. I’ll do it. This is what you guys want me to do, I’ll do it but this could be too much’ and I could just feel like the air came out of the crowd. They’re like, ugh. It’s not like we’re not mad at you because you’re playing the bad guy in the story. We’re mad at you because this is in poor taste, so that’s how it felt.
Prinze Jr.: You’re not alone in that. I remember MVP and Jeff had a thing after that and MVP had some of that commentary in his and he was even saying like, ‘Aye, I think we’ve already kind of done this and I’m not one hundred percent good going there’ and they were still real, real aggressive about trying to make that work.
** Ahead of the 5/18 AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan returned to Busted Open Radio to promote the show. He spoke about Jeff Hardy and Darby Allin’s Owen Hart Foundation tournament match from 5/11. Khan joked that he wondered if they would be able to make the 10 PM EST end time because of what they were doing to each other during the match.
It was a crazy, crazy match to watch Are they gonna go to 11? Because they kept doing crazy stuff and just some of the wildest moments you’ll see in a wrestling match, just throwing bombs at each other and not only was it a very memorable match, but I thought it was a great showing for both men, for Darby Allin and for Jeff Hardy who picked up the win and it was like watching two generations, flipsides of the same coin and I think it was a matchup that people were really compelled to see and that’s very organic.
** Quotes from an interview that WWE conducted with Cody Rhodes were sent to media outlets. Steel Chair Magazine published those quotes and Rhodes expressed that his goal is to win the WWE Championship but he would not be against the idea of going after the Intercontinental Title on the road to his main goal.
That’s a great question. The Intercontinental run was a massive, massive deal for me because I felt like it put me in the position to continue up the card. I think if I was to have the IC Title now, I would be less interested in my own selfish climbing up of the card and more putting the Intercontinental Title on a pedestal. That’s a bit of a calling card of mine. There’s a saying in the industry, ‘The belt can make the man, or the man can make the belt.’ I know that’s not the popular nomenclature that WWE uses, title, championship, it’s all the same in terms of what you can do for it. I think I could do wonders for it. My goal is the WWE Championship but there’s a lot of roads to get there. No pun intended. If it runs through the Intercontinental Title, I would be more than proud to carry one of the industry’s most prestigious championships.
Rhodes made his return to WWE at WrestleMania 38 and scored a win over Seth Rollins. He did not intend to watch it back, but he has and says it was fun to look back and see the exact moment where he realized the magnitude of what was taking place.
I have watched it back. I really never intended to watch it back though because of how good — no, how great it felt in the moment. Because WWE revisited it and showed it in packages, and it was all over RAW the day after, and it’s kind of connected to this return in such a large way, I’ve watched it all back in its totality and it is fun knowing where I was mentally coming down the ramp. Knowing the exact moment I decided to be The American Nightmare. That might sound peculiar, but I didn’t really realize what I was about to do and how I was about to do it until that first pyro blast went off behind me. In that moment I knew we were on another level.
** The most recent guest on NBC Sports’ ‘Ten Count’ show was Dark Order’s Evil Uno. One of his goals for this year is to become TNT Champion and he talked about the significance of that potential moment because of Brodie Lee’s history with the title.
I wanna win a championship. When I made that goal, I thought the Tag Team Championships were the most likely because myself and Stu Grayson had been teaming for 15 years at that time. But now I don’t know, now I don’t know and there’s a big part of me that would really love to be TNT Champion, because that championship holds a very special meaning for Dark Order. It was Mr. Brodie Lee’s championship and it would also be proof that the work that I’ve put in over the last 20 years would be worth it. It’s a goal that I want for this year but it’s also a goal I want for — not ‘cap off’ because I’m not stopping but, it would definitely add a feather to my cap for the 20 years that I’ve been doing it.
** Noah Kekoa, formerly known as ‘Kona Reeves’ in WWE was interviewed by Jim Varsallone. Kekoa reflected on displaying ‘The Finest’ persona in NXT and said he began to find his footing during that period of his NXT run.
I think once I really started figuring out myself, who I was and actually enjoying it . When I was doing ‘The Finest’ character, it was actually really a version of myself wanting to be the top sh*t if I must say. I wanted to be the man, you know what I mean? I wanted to be like all eyes on me, like 2Pac would say. So I wanted that feeling and I felt like ‘The Finest’ character brought that to me and I could be that and I could be a little swanky… so yeah, I thought that just let me be so me and yeah, I just let it flow.
His time with WWE came to an end in August of 2021. Kekoa is currently taking acting classes and he is working as one of the set actors for the ‘Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular’ at Disney World.
So, what I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been actually doing some acting classes. I started working for Disney World. I got actually hired over at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular show as one of the big men so that’s exciting news. I’m excited for a new journey on that and wrestling has always been a part of me for about 12, 13 years now. So, something I will — it’s hard to, you know, just let go so you never know, I might come back here and there, I might be here more than often.
** GLEAT added two talents to their roster in the form of Takehiro Yamamura (26) and Jun Tonsho (23). Yamamura got his start in wrestling through Dragon Gate. He has been out of action since 2019 with a cervical spine injury. Jun has been wrestling since 2016 and he’s been working GLEAT shows consistently since January 2022. He is now officially a member of the talent roster.
** On 5/21, the GHC Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles will be on the line as members of the ‘STINGER’ faction collide. The champions Yoshinari Ogawa and Chris Ridgeway are defending against Seiki Yoshioka and Yuya Susumu. Ogawa proposed the stipulation that the losing team will have to leave STINGER.
— プロレスリング・ノア ｜PROWRESTLING NOAH (@noah_ghc) May 18, 2022
** NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Results (5/18/22) Sendai, Japan
– Tiger Mask & Yuto Nakajima def. Akio Fujita & Ryohei Oiwa
– Jado, Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Dick Togo, Gedo & El Phantasmo
– Wheeler YUTA, Titán & Robbie Eagles def. TAKA Michinoku, DOUKI & El Desperado
– Best of the Super Juniors A Block: YOH (2) def. Clark Connors (0)
– Best of the Super Juniors A Block: Ace Austin (4) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0)
– Best of the Super Juniors A Block: Alex Zayne (4) def. SHO (0)
– Best of the Super Juniors A Block: Taiji Ishimori (4) def. Ryusuke Taguchi (0)
– Best of the Super Juniors A Block: Hiromu Takahashi (4) def. Francesco Akira (2)
** The following video is from New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s YouTube channel:
** WWE 2K22 MyRISE: A Hall of Fame Handicap Match?!:
** GLEAT Pro Wrestling Results (5/18/22) Korakuen Hall
– Check Shimatani, Quiet Storm & Masato Kamino def. Minoru Tanaka, MUSASHI & Soma Watanabe
– Takanori Ito def. Yu Iizuka
– DASH Chisako def. Michiko Miyagi
– Jack Cartwheel & STRONGHEARTS (Issei Onitsuka & T-Hawk) def. Jun Tonsho, Keiichi Sato & Tetsuya Izuchi
– Hirooki Goto def. Hayato Tamura
– CIMA & Shingo Takagi def. KAZMA SAKAMOTO & Ryuichi Kawakami
– G-REX Championship: El Lindaman (c) def. Shigehiro Irie
** May 18th birthdays: AAA’s La Hiedra.
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.