POST NEWS UPDATE: PCO was aware of ROH invasion plan 'at least a month' before IMPACT Hard To Kill

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/02/27/post-news-update-pco-was-aware-of-roh-invasion-plan-at-least-a-month-before-impact-hard-to-kill/

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.

** As a part of the ‘Honor No More’ group, PCO made his return to IMPACT Wrestling at their Hard To Kill event in January. He told the Front Row Material podcast that he was aware of the plans for their arrival to Ring of Honor for at least one month.

I think that one great thing about this company was planned but not a word came out until the night that it was revealed so, which is good because I knew at least a month before I started so, that was, yeah. It was excellent.

He commented on his time in IMPACT thus far and touched on the cumulative amount of experience that exists in the locker room and in the company. He mentioned Lance Storm, Gail Kim, D’Lo Brown and listed several talents who spread that knowledge.

Well, there’s a lot of veterans in that locker room. There’s a lot of, also, producers with a lot of experience so, you know, I can bring my two cents but you know, you got so many guys that are veterans there. Lance Storm just came back to the last TV tapings. He’s just one of them but each and every one of them are like super knowledgeable. You know, they know the business. Whether it’s D’Lo Brown, Gail Kim; goes on and on and on. You got so many guys; Tommy Dreamer or, you know, Rhino, Chris Sabin… Eric Young. I mean there’s so many — there’s a lot of veterans, you know?

** Jushin Thunder Liger’s latest blog post for Tokyo Sports is up on the site. He wrote about the current happenings in New Japan Pro-Wrestling such as SANADA defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Title. While commenting on that, Liger expressed his thought that New Japan USA’s young core may be stronger than the company’s young core on the main roster. He wonders if he should be expecting more from the young NJPW talents overseas.

SANADA took the US title from Hiroshi Tanahashi. He’s always had the ability, and I feel like he’s a little late to the game, but it’s his first championship (in New Japan), so I’m sure he has a lot of feelings.

But one thing I would like to say is that after Tanahashi lost, when it came to who was going to be the main team, I couldn’t find anyone. I had to rely on Tanahashi. Do we have to look forward to young players who are going abroad, or will there be a player who says, ‘I’ll do it!’ I wonder if we should expect more from the young guys overseas, or if there will be a ‘me!’ What does it mean that the main team that is supposed to lead New Japan is the weakest? You have to think about it.

** Longtime WWE ring announcer Tony Chimel was interviewed by Chris Van Vliet. Chimel was released from WWE in November 2020 and he shared that when he was furloughed, WWE’s Human Resources department contacted him and alerted him that he’d be getting his salary back. That was an error and miscommunication on their part as Chimel was being released from his contract.

Yeah. I never not wanted to work. I was willing to get on a plane from day one to do anything. But when COVID first hit, I was sitting at home and was like well this will be great if it lasts a couple of weeks and I get a paycheck. Then they started running shows in Orlando and I said I would be willing to go. They said it would be laid back and I didn’t think much to it. A couple of months go by and I ask if I can still come and kept wanting to come in. They were letting the independent contractors work, not the employees. Then I got furloughed, couldn’t do anything. Then I got the call from Kevin Dunn, who said there was good news and bad news. The good news was that I was going to be getting my paycheck back. I’m like cool, because I got an email saying some are coming back in October, November or December, mine said I would be back in December. He was calling me in November and he said, ‘You are going to get your paycheck because we are going to have to let you go.’ I said, ‘Well the email says that I’m coming back in December.’ He asked me who sent it and I said human resources did. He wanted it forwarded, but he called me and said that’s it. I was getting my salary back because it was my severance, I was being let go.

Chimel is of the belief that had the COVID-19 pandemic not happened, he would still be employed by WWE.

Well that’s what I am thinking . I was ready to go when it first hit. I flew back from a show in Washington DC and flew home. The next show, I think it was in Detroit. I was getting on a plane and asking my boss, ‘Are we doing this show or not?’ He was like, ‘Just go like you are going to the show. And if you hear from me then we will let you know if anything changes.’ So I took off and I flew from Florida to Charlotte, and when I got to Charlotte I was told that the show is cancelled, so I turned around and went home. I never worked another show after that so yeah.

He dove into his decade-plus long relationship with Vince McMahon. He told the story of when he was doing timekeeping along with ring announcing and it was established that timekeepers were not going to be paid anymore. Chimel went to talk to Vince about it and soon after, the individual who Chimel had to report to got in contact with him and said they would discuss his pay.

Vince was always good to me. He was just like a regular guy that owned the company. He knew me for so long, if he saw me in the hallway, he was like, ‘Chimel, you still working here?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah I’m still here Vince.’ Either that or I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m here but I’m not working.’ He once came to bat for me big when I was ring announcing. I would get paid a certain amount to ring announce or time keep, and I was getting paid for both. After a couple of years of that, they said that they weren’t going to pay the timekeeper anymore, so I lost money. So I went to my boss and asked for more money for ring announcing so it evens out. He said to me, ‘Chimel, where would you be working if you didn’t work for WWE?’ I said, ‘Well I don’t know, but I am working for WWE.’ My boss always told me, ‘If you have a problem with what I am doing then you can go to Vince.’ So I did. I said, ‘Vince, this is the deal. I’m doing both of these jobs, they took one away, I just want my money back through ring announcing. I will still ring the bell.’ And I told Vince what my boss said about not working here. Vince said, ‘Please tell me he didn’t say that.’ I said he did. So I was tearing down the ring that night, my boss comes up and said we will talk about my pay on Monday. Vince must have pulled him aside and said to take care of him or whatever. I will never forget that Vince did that for me.

Elsewhere during the conversation, Tony recounted the story of when he and Jonathan Coachman raced on a track field in Pennsylvania. Most of the roster was in attendance and the commentary team was Michael Cole, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Kelly. Chimel won the race and Coach had to do 100 push-ups at Chimel’s command, except for asking while Coach was live on TV, but it ended up transitioning to in front of live crowds. Word got back to Vince McMahon that Chimel won the race so he asked Chimel to bring Coach to him so he could do a push-up.

So back in the day, this was before I was doing ring crew and announcing SmackDown Well no, not necessarily. A secret promoter gave me some advice and bought me some new running shoes as well. I don’t know if it was Shane or not, it could have been. But anyway, I am training for this race and getting some advice from somebody, whose last name may have been McMahon. So we have this press conference backstage, this is all while work is going on at TV. I say, ‘I’m training and I’m trying my best, cutting down my time, working out and eating better, this and that. I just hope I have a good race.’ Then Coach gets up and starts blabbing his mouth and saying this and that, he’s like, ‘30 seconds? I’ll beat him by a minute!’ The Rock is at the press conference and he is like, ‘Well why don’t you put your money where your mouth is? Make it a minute.’ So Rock called him out and Coach had to then beat me by a minute.

So the day of the race comes, and most of the company wanted Coach to win. There was only , so he beat me by a second. So I won the bet. So the bet was if I lost, I would have to do a push up every time he said, ‘Give me a push up.’ and I would have to say, ‘I am a fat piece of sh*t.’ But I won, so he had to do a push up whenever I said and say, ‘I am Tony Chimel’s b*tch.’ So every time he did a push up, he had to say, ‘I am Tony Chimel’s b*tch.’ I had 100 push ups I could use at any time. We couldn’t do it like if he was doing an interview or if I was announcing.

We do the show and there is a production meeting the next day. Vince is in the meeting and he says, ‘Hey Chimel, I hear you won the big race yesterday?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah I did.’ He’s like, ‘Any chance you can have Coach come up here and do a push-up on the table in front of me?’ I said, ‘Yeah. Coach, get your ass up there.’ Vince was loving that. Then during the show, this is when they are having it taped, the timekeeper says to me that they want me to call Coach out in the middle of the ring. I’m like I can’t do that because we are at work. They say, ‘They are on headset, they want you to do it.’ The next thing I know, Michael Cole comes down the ramp and he is explaining the race and the whole thing that happened the day before in front of 20,000 people. He calls me in the ring, calls Coach out and I made him do it.

** ESPN MMA’s Marc Raimondi sat down with two-time PFL Women’s Lightweight Champion Kayla Harrison. She touched on her falling out with Ronda Rousey when asked has she seen Ronda in action since she returned to WWE. Kayla spoke about the idea of joining Rousey but added that it will never happen.

I have not .

** The Black Announce Table welcomed NXT 2.0’s Malcolm Bivens onto their podcast. Bivens spoke about the guidance he’s been under throughout his time in WWE and receiving advice from William Regal and Shawn Michaels. He dove into how helpful Samoa Joe was to him and being able to learn from Roderick Strong as well.

Oh absolutely Regal gives you feedback, it’s for a reason and it’s just priceless knowledge so, yeah, it’s been incredibly helpful and great.

Joe has done it all, he’s been everywhere. It’s — oh, Roddy included. Roddy has been fantastic. Obviously, I’m not an in-ring performer, but just being around him and just hearing, just again, the little stuff, right? That can add up and I think I said it before, it can make a good match great and just being around that because as crazy as it sounds, hearing how to structure or how to put together a good match actually correlates with a promo because it’s a part of that overall segment so again, the more that I know, the more that I learn, the better all of us can be as a group, as a unit, as a segment and just as an overall show.

** The Alliance Pro Wrestling Network conducted an interview with Rohit Raju (Hakim Zane). He is going to use the ‘Rohit Raju’ name going forward and said he reached out to IMPACT Wrestling’s Scott D’Amore for clearance to do so.

Nope, Rohit Raju ’ and I felt like I built that up more when I was in IMPACT so especially with the X Division run, so yeah, I just wanted to keep that name. I thought it was fitting in a way.

Raju became a free agent in early January. Although he is no longer with the company, he thinks there’s unfinished business in IMPACT. He also expressed that he’d love to be signed by AEW and shared his aspirations to compete in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, MLW and NWA.

I would still love to go to IMPACT and win the tag titles and be in the heavyweight scene, world championship stuff. I still feel like there’s lots of unfinished business there. I would love to be signed with AEW and just jaw jack on the mic against the MJFs, Chris Jerichos, the CM Punks and just show the world that I am as good as I say I am. I would love to wrestle in New Japan, I would love to stand in front of a podium in NWA and cut those old school WTBS 605 promos. I would love to go and create chaos with Myron Reed in MLW. I just — you know, I just want to expand and grow and become the professional wrestler that I believe that I could be and right now, it’s really hard because the market is oversaturated with so many good men and women out there. But, I don’t — I think I have a lot to give in-ring wise and even when I’m done in-ring, I can be a manager just because I have the gift of gab and the outrageous antics and stuff so, but it’s, uh, God willing, the wrestling Gods are looking down upon me and they’ll throw me a bone sooner or later but you know, I’m gonna keep hustling for everything, so we’ll see.

On the independent scene, Rohit often teams with Karam. While he was with IMPACT, Rohit would often recommend Karam to the powers that be but him coming into the company never came to fruition.

All the time. I recommended him , I recommended people. They knew who he was. They know exactly who he is, but, well, you know what I mean, I wasn’t high enough up on the food chain to get that nod I guess, you know? But they know who Karam is.

** Captain’s Corner hosted a virtual signing with Max Caster of The Acclaimed. He is a graduate of Brian Myers and Pat Buck’s Create A Pro Wrestling Academy and Caster shared that he’s one of the trainers at the school.

We love Create A Pro. So Create A Pro Wrestling, that’s where I was trained, that’s where Bryce was trained by Brian Myers and Pat Buck and this is on Long Island and it’s the best wrestling school so if anyone’s out there looking for a wrestling school to go to, I’m one of the trainers there now. You can come train with me.

The topic of action figures came up and Caster said he and Bowens have yet to be scanned for an AEW figure. While at a pay-per-view, Bowens asked one of the figure-makers if they wanted him and Caster to get scanned and he was told no.

Let’s address that. We and we were at a pay-per-view, I forgot which one but it was in Jacksonville. The toy people were there scanning folks and we weren’t on the schedule and Anthony went down and asked, said, ‘Hey, do you need us to get scanned?’ And they just said no. So we’re like, ‘Welp, guess we’re never gonna get figures.’ So maybe one day, everyone loves The Acclaimed so we know that one day, we should get figures and it would be a tragedy if we never did but I’ll be honest, I’m not a figure guy but to have one of myself would actually be pretty big so…

Although he was at Create A Pro for a short period of time, Caster enjoyed training NXT 2.0’s Odyssey Jones. Caster feels that Jones is going to be a great wrestler and is impressed by how agile he is for his size.

No, I can’t fully count that , because he was only at camp for two, three, four weeks while… but I do love him, I do chat with him from time to time and he’s gonna be a great wrestler for sure, great athlete, like craziest athlete that I’ve ever trained with is that dude. For 350 pounds, can move like he can, very, very scary. Very, very scary.

Caster went on to speak highly of Brian Myers and how supportive Myers has been. He also showed appreciation to Pat Buck and Dark Order’s Alex Reynolds who played a role in training him.

Honestly, he’s .

We don’t love VSK . Okay, we don’t love him. I do love VSK, I don’t want him to see that… But yeah, and you see how many people Brian has trained or helped train that are in AEW right now and then doing big things on the indies as well.

** Comicbook.com sat down with AEW’s Ricky Starks and Powerhouse Hobbs for an interview. When they were asked about not being mentioned as one of AEW’s ‘four pillars’, Ricky said he finds the label comical because it was not bestowed upon anyone and was created by the talent itself.

Hobbs: We like to, Ricky and I, we rewrite things. So I personally feel, when he and I came into AEW, it was during the pandemic era. We got signed about a month apart from each other. I feel that there’s doubters out there and I feel every time he steps in the ring and I step in the ring, we change things up, we open everyone’s eyes. Things will change.

Starks: To me, the whole pillar talk is hilarious in a sense, because it’s so self-indulgent. It’s nothing that was bestowed upon them. That was just something that came from them. So I usually don’t think about it in that regard. Like, ‘I’m not included in this.’ Who cares? Because to me, I’m gonna be much bigger than whatever the pillar is. I’m gonna be much bigger than wrestling, in a sense. And so I find it so funny. The conversation is so hilarious because nine times out of ten, ‘Well, don’t forget this and this and this.’ And yeah, don’t forget, y’all. Don’t forget. So I don’t mind it too much. I don’t really try to keep it as a chip on my shoulder, but it is hilarious. I see Jungle Boy’s jumping up on the couch in interviews or Sammy just stepping up on the ledge of something and just his tongue out.

The Team Taz members discussed HOOK and him being the same person off-screen that he is on-screen. Starks recalled telling HOOK that if he wanted to wear a hood on TV, then he should do it. Taz was of the mindset that HOOK should be showing his face and Starks suggested that HOOK should at least try the hooded look.

Hobbs: the same guy as you see on TV.

Starks: The same guy, there’s no difference. I remember when he first started with us back in Jacksonville. A lot of people didn’t get him. A lot of people did not understand him or like couldn’t figure out what , ‘No just let him do it. Let’s see what happens.’ So it’s cool to see that it took off the way it has. And obviously we are very proud to see how far he’s come. Especially from when he first started to where it is now. The Team Taz group has been through a lot, quite a bit. And where we’re at right now is not where we want to be, but it’s way better than where we were. So I’m glad and I’m proud to see where he’s at. And he’s awesome.

Hobbs: I think everyone thinks there’s some dysfunction in our group. We all have our own path, but when things get cracking, we all merge back together.

** The most recent guest on the Dynamite Download podcast was Austin Gunn. He looked back on his journey to signing with AEW and recounted being offered his contract after the Anniversary show in 2020. Also, Austin was not aware that Colten had been training to become a wrestler at the time.

So I called Cody was there and they were like, ‘We’re gonna sign you to a deal’ and I was like wow. I was like — I didn’t expect it. I really didn’t expect it. I just expected like coming back a few more times and doing that and right on the spot was just a really — it was a shock to me but little did I know I had a torn PCL but, you see how I’ve just… just roll with the punches and it’s like what are you gonna do? You just got to find your situation, make the best of it and just, your time will come. Be patient and that’s what dad has always taught me is just be patient, your time will come and just have fun while you’re doing it and that’s why I’m doing it. It’s just I’m having fun with my dad in the ring and then little did I know, my brother was in California studying film, doing tapes, going to Rikishi’s school without us knowing and he was like — I was like, ‘You’re going to school? What are you doing?’ He was like, ‘I think I wanna try this.’ He came, we had a dark match and just — it’s been just — just took our ball and ran with it and it’s cool to see how he’s developing and how I’m also developing and kind of filling my dad’s role as the leader of the group but I’m the younger brother so it’s like yes, I’ve been in the business longer, but it’s cool, it’s a weird dynamic that it fits, it fits and there’s no collision within the group. It’s just we all get along and obviously you got to listen to dad at the end of the day. But I think eventually when he retires, we’ll be ready to go. We’ll be established as they say. We’ll be crisp, we’ll be ready to go.

Prior to joining AEW, Austin worked with Ring of Honor. He credited Bully Ray for playing a big role in getting him into the company.

Where do I start? had a great deal to do about that and I learned in their developmental system and it just — we parted ways and I was coming back and I was like, ‘You know what?’ I was like, ‘My dad might be about to retire’ a.k.a. he’s never gonna retire and I was like you know what? I’m not taking advantage of the opportunity of sharing the ring with him. I was like I’ve always thought about it. Why not take this leap?

Austin shared that he’s hoping to one day share the ring with Kenny Omega. He was not allowed to watch wrestling growing up, so he was not aware of the history of the business and who was coming up but when he got into the business, Omega caught his attention.

The one got into it, I thought I had to take my career into a singles, was Kenny Omega. I didn’t grow up watching wrestling. I wasn’t allowed to. It was too triple X at the time; Attitude Era, I wasn’t allowed to watch it so I’m not really keen to the history of wrestling and who’s come up and stuff like that. But, the first person that when I really started to get into this business, I was like, who’s the number one right now? And that’s Kenny Omega.

** In Kevin Eck’s write-up on ROHWrestling.com, he gave a shoutout to Kelly Kincaid, the former ‘Quinn McKay’ who is now working on-screen for WWE NXT: Level Up.

In closing, I want to congratulate Quinn McKay on her new job with WWE as a ring announcer in NXT, where she will be known as Kelly Kincaid.

The multi-talented McKay made her on-air debut with ROH as a backstage interviewer in 2019 and quickly became a fan favorite due to her bubbly personality and wit.

McKay went on to become the host of ROH TV and ROH Week By Week on YouTube. She was the first woman to be the sole host of a weekly pro wrestling show.

Before transitioning into a broadcasting role, McKay wrestled briefly on the independent scene and trained at the ROH Dojo.

She made her ROH in-ring debut last year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the ROH Women’s World Title Tournament, where she lost to eventual tournament winner Rok-C. McKay was voted the 2021 ROH Breakout Star of the Year.

Quinn was an absolute delight to work with and I’m proud to call her a friend. She will be missed in ROH.

** In early late January, Masashi Takeda took to social media to share that his wife Yuka passed away. Takeda is on hiatus from pro wrestling to focus on his daughter. He returned to social media to send out a thank you to all who have shown support to him. He wrote the following:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your condolences and support. I’m going to move forward with my daughter little by little so that my wife in heaven won’t laugh at me. I will put my daughter first and think about my future activities when I have more time in my life. I would appreciate it if you would continue to watch over me warmly.

** Coming out of DDT Pro Wrestling’s 2/27 show, Chris Brookes took part in a virtual signing on the DDT YouTube channel.

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.