Originally published at Satnam Singh discusses his decision to join AEW, opting to step away from basketball
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.
** This past Wednesday on AEW Dynamite, Satnam Singh made his AEW debut and aligned with Jay Lethal and Sonjay Dutt. He also appeared at the Battle of the Belts II taping. Journalist Ruby Arora released her sit-down interview with Satnam and he explained why he decided to join AEW. (This interview was taped prior to Satnam’s TV debut)
I had trials for WWE as well and I liked it very much and I liked AEW as well. AEW is like brand new. It’s only been a couple of years, and it’s really history for India in AEW and if I go into WWE, that would be amazing but amazing why? Because they already have Indian people over there, they already have Indian wrestlers. Why don’t I go start there with no Indian guys? Where there are no Indians. I should go there and create history again after reaching there. Not for me, for the Indian wrestlers, for everyone.
Singh was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 2015, becoming the first Indian-born player to be drafted into the NBA. In 2019, when the NBA hosted games in India, Satnam was not promoted to be in attendance. His draft rights had been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies months prior. He said he was not invited by the NBA, but his invite to the game came from RISE Worldwide, formerly known as ‘IMG Reliance’.
Absolutely, I was there .
That’s a really big question . But, on this thing, I also at that time, meaning… I thought, ‘Why didn’t that happen?’ I was thinking to myself, ‘Why didn’t I do that?’ But yes, I did get an invite from IMG Reliance, those who helped me get here. IMG sent me to the game like, ‘Come check it out. Come watch the game.’ So I was invited through them. There was nothing from the Federation or the NBA or anything. I was only there because of the IMG Reliance letter I received that we would like to invite you to that game and the NBA had the responsibility. They should have done that because they had an Indian basketball player who’s been drafted. They should have done these things, they had the responsibility. They should have, but they didn’t. I don’t know, I didn’t focus much on these things at the time and also I didn’t say, ‘Why didn’t you? Why didn’t they do that?’ I didn’t say anything. I silently watched the game and after the game, I went to my village, stayed home. But my eyes opened after that. There is no career in India in basketball. Okay… and… the only thing in India is that you get a job, be it a Punjab government job or a private job. You make money, that’s it. That’s your job. In India, no one cares what you do, where you’re from. If at all the NBA had thought that they could do anything, they could have achieved so much through me in India. They could have done so much for basketball through me.
Satnam went on to share that he was only greeted by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. He admitted that he felt low that day and it was then that he decided to step away from the game of basketball.
No. No one greeted me . The commissioner definitely came to meet me. Yeah, he came to me and he talked to me. I sure did meet him. Apart from that, no one came to meet or greet me.
I felt very low that day. I felt myself being very down. But at the time I thought one thing, that, ‘Satnam, it’s okay. What has happened, happened. What is done is done. What is going on, just leave it and just watch the game, see everyone and leave this forever.’ After that, I walked away from it forever. I said goodbye at that moment.
In America, there was a very good basketball player but that moment in India showed that even if you have any problems or are in trouble, if you want to do something, you can only do it yourself.
** The latest episode of the Wrestle Buddies podcast features interviews that were recorded at the pre-WrestleMania 38 media junket. Naomi was interviewed and discussed how grateful she is that the ‘Glow’ persona is a part of her on-screen presentation. Naomi touched on how Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque was critical in getting the ball rolling for her with that and added that she probably wouldn’t still be with WWE if not for the ‘Glow’ persona.
Naomi: Grateful. Grateful, grateful, grateful , they’re not gonna give that rehearsal time to — it’s for people that are important and people that matter and what’s on the show that day so like, super thankful for Triple H for really finally being like, okay, let’s hear this girl out. Let’s figure this out and he really worked me through the different ‘Glow’ outfits. One, I had to charge myself up with a light in the back. It was like — went through some stuff. It was horrible. It was so horrible. We went through all of that and I went out there and it didn’t translate well on TV so like, it doesn’t get old to me because I was like oh my God, I fought for this. It was hard to get this and if it didn’t work, I probably wouldn’t still be here so, yeah man, if it’s one thing that I could tell people that are coming up or coming in, just be consistent and you really gotta believe in yourself because I got a lot of no’s and shut down a lot about it.
WrestleMania 38 night two saw the crowning of Naomi and Sasha Banks as WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Naomi feels that Banks has one of the best wrestling IQ’s in WWE’s women’s division. She added that she was not sure if she would be a part of this year’s WrestleMania but found a way.
Naomi: Oh my God, awesome, easy, natural and finally getting some comeuppance on her. I didn’t know what was next and this, I — it’s sweet to be here with her. Definitely wasn’t sure if I was gonna be part of Mania this year, where I was gonna go but, seems like I always find a way.
An interview with Theory aired during the podcast episode. His on-screen involvement with Vince McMahon started in late 2021 via the ‘stolen egg’ storyline. Theory recounted how the storyline was presented to him by the powers that be.
Theory: So, here’s the thing, right? Is how a lot of this works is day of. So think about it, the day of, you’re like hey dude, you stole a hundred million dollar egg. I’m like, ‘What? Wait, what? Hold on.’ I was in Survivor Series the night before, Team Raw won. I was like, okay and now I stole an egg, like what’s going on? And they’re like, ‘Yeah, there’s this egg, it’s Vince’s egg. You stole Vince’s egg’ so I’m like, ‘Okay, what does this mean?’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, you and Vince are gonna have a thing today’ and I’m just like, ‘What?’ It’s just crazy but that’s how everything works, you know? It’s very day of, and I think that’s what keeps it exciting but also too, I think it keeps that realism in the characters. You’re like — because the character’s experiencing that. They just found out about that, you know? So it’s something really cool to just — I feel like that’s why WWE, like anything can happen because it really can, you know? Day of, people think everything’s so planned. It’s wild.
Rhea Ripley is currently paired with Liv Morgan in a tag team. Prior to Liv, Rhea was in a team with Nikki A.S.H. Initially, Ripley was not looking to be in a tag team and was enjoying being a singles talent but Nikki began to grow on her.
Ripley: With Nikki , it took a lot of warming up. I was definitely more of a lone wolf and I loved my singles career and I didn’t wanna be a part of a tag team but I sort of got asked to help out and then I got chucked in there and then I got stuck in it, and I grew to love it, I really did. She really grew on me and I did start to adore her and she was like my little sister. I just wanted to protect her and I wanted everything to be okay, I wanted her to be happy. Our chemistry together in the ring, I thought it was great and she was very, very special to me and I loved every second that I had with Nikki until she decided to stab me in the back. I thought it was time for me to go onto my singles career again. I was over the tag stuff. I didn’t — I just wanted to see what I could do by myself and she didn’t take that very well.
** On 4/15, as a part of Korakuen Hall’s 60th anniversary celebration, the Women’s Pro Wrestling Dream Festival took place featuring multiple Joshi promotions coming together to present a show. After the event was over, STARDOM CEO Rossy Ogawa, Ice Ribbon President Sajime Hato and Korakuen Hall’s manager, Kazuhiko Takayama all agreed that they’d be interested in a yearly ‘all-star’ event for Joshi promotions. The idea was first brought up by STARDOM’s Starlight Kid.
Ogawa: Revival of the all-star ? I think it would be interesting. However, I think it will be difficult unless a neutral party takes the lead.
Hato: I say, please do it every year at the Tokyo Dome or Korakuen Hall. If one organization does it, it will inevitably become exhausting. It is better for a non-group to do something that transcends the boundaries of the group. We are always willing to cooperate if there is an opportunity to do so.
Takayama: If there is such an opportunity, we would like to do it again. It’s a lot of work to coordinate, but if there is a request for such an event, we would be happy to work toward its realization.
** Sarath Ton a.k.a. Mikaze, who is a gear maker and costume designer for WWE was the most recent guest on Gettin’ Better with Ron Funches. Sarath revealed that he was offered a spot in the 2016 WWE Cruiserweight Classic tournament but had doubts because he hadn’t wrestled in almost two years at that point. Those doubts led to him deciding that maybe it was time to step away from the ring for good.
So I do that doing that, I just didn’t really have time to really wrestle anymore. So I was out of the ring for a while and I remember clear as day when the first C.W.C. came up and… I wanna say it was… I wanna say it was Canyon Ceman and William Regal and they asked me to be in the CWC. I got all the paperwork, I did everything. I was gonna get ready to sign it so I could be in the Cruiserweight Classic but then I was sitting there thinking, I’m like, ‘Yo, I haven’t been in the ring for like a year-and-a-half, two years.’ I’m kind of out shape and it’s WrestleMania season so it’s gonna be hard to devote time into training and getting ready. You’re giving me a month to get ready to possibly have a match with Kota Ibushi, with TJP. All of a sudden, I was just like, ‘Am I gonna be in shape enough to where I’m happy with my performance?’ And I started really — I started questioning whether I’d be, you know, ready for that. Then I started thinking, you know, ‘The biggest company in the world is asking you to wrestle for them and you’re second-guessing yourself. Maybe this is the time that you need to walk away’ and then I was just like yeah, I think if I’m second-guessing myself right now, then maybe it’s the right time to walk away so, I haven’t been in the ring since, but every so often I go train, just to — because I’m addicted to it. I like getting my creativity out. I’ll think of spots and give it to the wrestlers and see if they do it in the ring. But, you know…
Sarath’s significant other is Sasha Banks and the couple has been married since 2016. He talked about the negativity he deals with online because he’s married to Banks. Ton brought up the ‘Mikaze can’t fight’ jokes that have to do with Sasha.
Whenever I get that hate online, I always look… look at my life. My life right now, it boggles my mind so like, I just tell them, ‘What can you say to me that’s going to make me feel bad?’ Like, look at my life, seriously. I think about it and I’m just in awe of where I’m at in life. I’m thankful, I’m blessed and I just try to pay it forward because I never imagined me being in the position that I am. So like, yeah, whenever I hear negative things online, I’m just like, ‘There’s nothing you can say to me to bring me down.’ There’s absolutely nothing.
. It’s just stuff like that. Like okay, I get it, comes with the territory, you know? But, it’s just funny. That kind of — the fact that people take the time out of their day to push that kind of negativity out there, I’m like why? We can be doing so much more positive things in life, you know?
Kicking off the 2022 women’s Royal Rumble match was Sasha Banks and Sarath created Sailor Moon-esque gear for her to wear. He said when Banks first tried the gear on that morning, she hated it.
For instance, the Sailor Moon gear , she says it to this day, like right now, it’s her favorite gear I ever made her. What she won’t tell ya is about ten hours before at 2 o’clock in the morning, the day of Royal Rumble, I had her try on the gear and she absolutely hated it. Like absolutely just hated it and I knew in my head what it was gonna look like. I know for her sometimes, she sometimes is a very visual person. She has to see it so she couldn’t see the vision but I knew what it was gonna look like so we made some adjustments to the arm, the arm bands, the straps and I told her, ‘Just let me do my thing, we got this’ and then I end up finishing it, she put it on and it was like, you know…
** For episode #15 of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy, Christian Cage joined the show to discuss the Triangle Ladder match that took place at WrestleMania 2000. Christian recalled talents not wanting to follow the high-octane matches involving himself, Edge, The Hardys and The Dudleys.
Christian: I do remember when we started , when we were getting the reactions that there were some people that didn’t want to follow these matches so, there was a lot of always indecision as far as where we would be on the card because of matches that were having to follow it.
During that WrestleMania 2000 Ladder match, Jeff Hardy hit a Swanton Bomb onto Bully Ray on the outside. Matt shared that the ball of Jeff’s foot came out which was caused by Jeff’s legs hitting the floor after going through the table.
Matt: I do know after Jeff . Jeff didn’t even think he broke the table at first but the ball of his foot was out after this and it had to get put back in place.
Christian: He had bruises on the back of his legs, from his ankles up to his knees, on the back of his legs from slamming it on the concrete here.
When it comes to structuring their matches, Christian said Jeff always had one of the main highlight spots. It was the rest of the participants who had to figure out how to incorporate Jeff’s vision into their matches.
Christian: A lot of the times what would happen is we would come in with ideas as far as structuring the match and Jeff was… that was never Jeff’s bag, you know? Jeff was gonna come up with the one stunt that was gonna be the ‘holy sh*t’ moment of the match and he was like — that was his vision and then our job was to, okay, how do we figure Jeff’s spot in? How do we incorporate it? And get it to the spot where it’s gonna be the most effective.
Earlier in the conversation, Matt Hardy recounted being told by Bruce Prichard that they did not have to rush their WrestleMania 2000 match. Prichard added that if they needed extra time, that was fine.
Hardy: I feel like I remembered it was later in the show and the reason being, I remember Bruce Prichard, who’s running Gorilla and doing the times and timing out the show there, I remember he told all six of us, he said, ‘Guys, time is not an issue. Don’t worry about time. I know you guys are gonna do a whole bunch of crazy sh*t. Take your time. If you need an extra four or five minutes, it’s fine. Just don’t rush it, take your time. I know you guys are doing a lot of sh*t and there’s a lot of setup involved in it so don’t rush’ and we’re like, ‘Whoa, that was really cool’ and looking back on it now, 22 years later, like WrestleMania, I mean 15 or 20 seconds, I mean that’s just — it’s worth gold to get that on WrestleMania and they’re telling us, ‘Ah, don’t worry about it. I know you’re doing a lot of stuff, take your time, go out there. If you need an extra five minutes’ where things are like, you know, marked down to the seconds. In this day and age, if you get ten or 15 minutes on WrestleMania, it’s incredible but they’re telling us like, ‘Oh, if you go 25, fine, 30 fine, whatever.’ It’s like oh my God and we’re all rookies. This was like our first WrestleMania on the main card for all of us so it was a wild scenario. That’s why I feel like it was a lot deeper in the show because they had plenty of time on the show. It’s so funny that-that was earlier and they told us that even. You know, they weren’t worried about time so that’s pretty amazing.
** Sportskeeda pushed out the written version of their conversation with Mark Henry. Henry helped bring both Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill into pro wrestling. He talked about Bianca’s ascension and accolades in WWE and thinks Jade is on pace to becoming one of the best female talents of all-time.
I think both will . You have one that has main-evented WrestleMania already. The biggest wrestling spectacle in the world. And then you have another one that is almost 30 wins in a row and is on pace to be one of the greatest female wrestlers of all time.
So, I think I’m doing pretty good when I pick. It’s the same with the men. There’s some guys I’ve looked at and I knew they would be special. And they are. And that is having a good eye for talent. But also the work ethic. I have to see you work. Like you don’t have talent. And that is what I require.
** Phil Strum welcomed MLW CEO Court Bauer onto his ‘Under The Ring’ podcast. Bauer touched on his friendship with Gary Hart that led to Hart becoming a mentor to Bauer. Bauer shared that when he started his job at WWE, he tried to convince Gary to join him but Gary was content with retirement.
Terry Funk introduced me to Gary Hart, realizing that I probably needed some help on my booking and I knew Gary vaguely from The Great Muta and growing up seeing him with Terry Funk in the NWA but I didn’t really know much of his career and what I didn’t know is that this man would have such an impact on me and over the years would become a mentor to me and teach me about matchmaking, promoting, developing talent and just he is… he’s one of the best of the best. I’ve worked with Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson, Heyman, Jim Ross, some really sharp, bright, once-in-a-lifetime minds and Gary Hart’s right in that conversation; was a really sharp guy who was the booker for World Class, developed all those characters you see; One Man Gang, produced and made The Freebirds what they were so it was an incredible experience to learn and speak with Gary on a daily basis for years and mentored me. Mentored me beyond just the pivot from MLW to working for WWE but beyond that and we had a lifelong friendship from there on out and along the way, yeah, I went to WWE. Tried to convince Gary Hart to join me. Dusty Rhodes was a longtime friend of his and get him up there and he was very resistant and enjoying retirement and rightfully so.
As a part of MLW’s ‘Open Draft’ in 2021, Davey Richards joined the organization and has since signed an extension. Bauer spoke about what Richards adds to the locker room and also said that Richards versus Hammerstone from MLW SuperFight is one of if not his favorite match in MLW history.
I really wanted to up the quality of the in-ring and in our Open Draft last June, Davey Richards and having him come into MLW and signing with us and since then, he’s been so happy, he signed an extension speaks to that and he’s been such a great contributor in the locker room as a leader and in the ring with his work. He’s been fantastic and along with Hammerstone, those two had one of my favorite if not my favorite matches in MLW history dating back to 2002. I’m really proud of what they did out there. That was like a 25-minute classic and Charlotte was the perfect city to host it too. There’s so much history and they just embraced a match like that.
The topic of diversity came up and Bauer expressed that he wants diversity on his roster across the board in every sense of the word.
The more versatility you have, the better your product will be and what gives you that versatility is having diverse talent in both styles, both their backgrounds. I don’t want all guys that just grew up loving wrestling. I want guys that grew up on the streets and found their way into wrestling because they just happened to be really good at it. I want guys that have a fighting background from MMA, I want guys that have a background performing in front of different types of crowds. I want people that are just different and I don’t want the same guy across my roster. I don’t want a bunch of clones, I want diversity in every sense. Where you come from, every quadrant of America should be represented. Shouldn’t just be one type and I think it’s not just about, oh, we’re checking off boxes for optics. I think you’re gonna get a better product because you’re gonna have all these guys with different life experiences, just different journeys so why not tap into that?
** Last summer, Josh Alexander and TJP met in a 60-minute Iron Man. Alexander told the ‘Prime Time Conversations’ podcast that broke down emotionally after the match because he was pleased with the bout and surprised by the entire locker room giving him and TJP a standing ovation.
I was elated, I was relieved, I was all of the above of all that stuff because I knew the pressure that I put on myself to make sure that-that match and be like, ‘I don’t know what’s going on.’ But it was special.
** Several weeks after her AEW Women’s World Title victory, Thunder Rosa appeared on Throwing Down with Renee & Meisha on SiriusXM. She shared that she had a total of 100 thumbtacks on one side of her leg once the match was over. Rosa mentioned that her leg was wrapped because she had been dealing with some ‘issues’.
And even with the thumbtacks which I still have scabs… the little things on my legs so I went and got a tan last week and I didn’t know how bad they were. I had 50 that were punctured on my leg and bruises, yes! And I was blessed because I’ve been wrapping my leg because I’ve been having some issues and I had to wrap my leg to perform and it still punctured it but it would have been worse because I think I had like 100 in one side of my leg. So, that was with me and Britt Baker.
** Simon Miller of WhatCulture chatted with Johnny Gargano at WrestleCon in Dallas, Texas. Gargano commented on what would be Tommaso Ciampa’s last NXT match at Stand & Deliver and said there would be no ‘Johnny Wrestling’ if not for Ciampa.
I will say I — especially what’s going on this weekend with last NXT match. Tommaso’s meant so much to that brand. There wouldn’t be a Johnny Wrestling if it wasn’t a Tommaso Ciampa.
** Comedian, pro wrestling commentator and interviewer Jonny Loquasto spoke to Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald. Loquasto was with WWE from 2019 to 2020 and was released in April. He detailed how he got his start with the sports-entertainment company and reflected on his time there.
To be honest, it was just perseverance and hustle .
Loquasto is a part of the FITE TV team and during the interview, he shared that he’s signed to Undisputed Promotions which is a Boxing organization based in Florida.
I’m talking with a couple different promotions so I can’t say anything really concrete but as far as Boxing goes, I signed on with Undisputed Promotions. They’re out of Orlando but they are growing fast and I could not be more excited to be a part of their organization. I did their last pay-per-view and man, it was a packed house, incredible card, it was live on FITE and so they’re doing amazing things so I’m very excited to be continuing with them.
** Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and Diamond Dallas Page joined Rick Bassman on his ‘Talking Tough’ show.
** Part two of Chris Jericho’s chat with William Regal is up on the Talk Is Jericho podcast feed.
** Stew Myrick of Sports Guys Talking Wrestling welcomed Damian Priest onto the show.
** April 17th birthdays: ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Shota Umino, Dasha Kuret.
** TMZ posted the following video onto their digital platforms of Rob Gronkowski talking to Dean Muhtadi (Mojo Rawley) about the idea of having a tag match in WWE:
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.